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It’s no big secret that link building is a large part of any Search Engine Optimization campaign, but when it comes to link building strategies, there seems to be some confusion over the meaning of the word “permanant” in relation to link building.

There basically are two kinds of links: permanant and no follow. Anyone will tell you that permanant links are better for link building than no follow links, because no follow links contain an extra string of code that tells search engines not to “follow” them, or in other words, don’t track this link. Obviously, this wont help a search engine find your site through that particular link. However, another use of the word permanant in relation to link building is describing whether or not a link obtained will have lasting value.

A permanant link might suggest that link will be there permanantly, or that it allows search engines to track it. All permanant links can be tracked, and links from higher quality sites will have more weight, but no matter where you get your links, all will lose value over time. There is a good reason for this.

SEO is an ongoing process, and search engines make sure that it is. Sure, everyone would love to be able to simply build a link campaign and leave it be, allowing it to continually add weight to your pages search rankings, but that would be pointless, as everyone would have the same ability to build it and leave it, and therefore all link campaigns would be equal and no one would be able to take advantage of this convenience.

The trick to successful link building has to be the knowledge coupled with the ongoing process. SEO’s are busy at work, not only continually building links, but analyzing the data to find new strategies for building links. In this way of link building, irrelavant sites which lack current inbound links will lose weight, and this makes more sense compared to a real world scenario. For example, a restaurant with a lot of good reviews during its first year, but no good reviews during its second year. If those first year reviews had as much weight as the second year reviews, anyone looking for a good place to eat during that third year would be under the impression that it was a great place to eat, despite the fact that for a solid year following those reviews, their food and service went down in quality.

Likewise, links used in a link building campaign must continually be obtained, and the quality of those links should be good as well. So the question of whether or not links can be permanant should be answered with a no, because SEO must be an ongoing process in order to ensure that more relavant and current content is being returned in search results.

For many of our clients, it is very benificial to run campaigns for both paid and natural search rankings, but sometimes, this can cause issues. While an experienced Internet marketing firm such as Reciprocal Consulting can resolve these issues, or prevent them from occuring in the first place with careful planning, many people may not even realize that they are wasting money when Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization conflict in the same results.

The main problem occurs in a scenario where your site ranks well for both the natural search and your sponsored search. If a user clicks your PPC ad instead of the heading for your site in the natural search list, then you pay for the click, where if they followed the link via natural search, it costs you nothing. Depending on which PPC ad is displayed and which page of your site shows for the natural search, however, it may not be a concern.

Since a Pay per Click campaign gives you much more (immediate) control over your keywords and the information that users will see when they perform searches, it is easier to reel in conversions via PPC ads than by visits to your site via natural searches. The advantage of PPC is that you choose what the user will see when they search for certain keywords. When it comes to natural search, there is really no way of knowing what the user will see when your site shows up in the results, or which page they will be led to.

However, there are many methods within the SEO strategy that increase the relavance of the information that is presented to users in natural search. Proper on-site optimization is key to control over that information much like Pay Per Click. Utilizing title, header and meta tags are known to not neccessarily improve your rankings in SEO, but for the purpose of acheiving a higher click-through rate or better conversions for natural leads coming to your site, it is absolutely crucial to use these tags properly.

Another way to avoid competition between natural and paid search results is to lower bids on keywords that rank well in natural searches. This way, should a user search for this keyword, they will be first presented with the natural result, then if they happen to skip over it and move on to a second page of results, they still have the opportunity to find your site through the PPC ad, and in such a case, it is well worth it to drive that targeted traffic to your site.

There are many more methods for co-optimization of both PPC and SEO campaigns, so it is important to find an Internet marketing firm that knows how to use the tools and will not keep you in the dark when it comes to how they run your campaign.

There have been an awful lot of people talking about Twitter during the last week and, frankly, I’m not sure I like it. Since the world of Internet marketing, and more specifically the country of Search Engine and Social Media Optimization, is all about “hot topics”, I get the feeling that this particular topic is snowballing out of control, and I’m saying my piece now and getting out of the way before it causes an avalanche.

Basically, a lot of people are insisting that Twitter is a great tool for social media marketing, can be used to launch a viral campaign, and may even replace Google for searches one day. Well, I agree with the first statement – Twitter is very useful for networking with friends and family, and keeping in touch, but how far does it go to reach a target market of potential customers and clients?

Here are a few points on which I’d like to offer my opinion:

  1. Twitter is a great tool for marketing because there are so many people using it now. The idea behind this one makes about as much sense to me as saying “Times Square in NYC is a great place to witness to non-Christians”. Sure, the volume of possible targets has increased and, statistically speaking, this should mean that more will convert, but other factors are at work. In the Times Square scenario, more people means more eyes watching each other, more voices voicing their own opinions, and as unlikely as someone is to read religious material handed to them by a stranger, or listen to someone talking about the end of time, the thought of others seeing them reading the material can only be a discouragement, and the more people around them, the more likely they are to toss it in the garbage, or not hear. For the Twitter analogy, the more people there are to tweet to, the more people there will be tweeting, and your efforts to launch a viral message for users to retweet may be lost in the shuffle.
  2. Searching Twitter is more likely to yield conversions for a business using it, because the results are recommendations from friends and family members, and people are more likely to listen to their family members. I’m not sure to begin with this one, but it would seem to me that anyone who’s opinion I would value higher than a generic review (of a product, for example) is someone I know well enough that I don’t have to use Twitter to get that opinion. I’ll call them, email them, IM them, etc. There are so many ways to communicate with others online, Twitter is actually the last way I plan to connect with people. Given, many people post to Twitter more times a day than should be considered healthy, but this only goes against the effort of putting ideas out there. How many people really log onto Twitter in a given day just to see what others are saying, without the need to say something for their own benefit? It seems to me that for every person reading what’s been tweeted, there are just as many, if not more, tweeting themselves, which is just more information among which yours can be lost.
  3. Twitter allows users to follow other users, so it will be easier to target users. I disagree. I have 56 people following me on Twitter, many of whom I don’t even know. In a given day I might check Twitter once, and during that time, I generally check my direct messages, replies to my own tweets, and I might look at what one of the 27 people I follow are saying. I rarely reply, unless it is a reply to me or directed at me, and I almost never click links unless I know what it is already. On the other side, I rarely see responses, and out of the hundred or so tweets I’ve made (specifically to promote my own projects) I’ve received a total of 9 responses, and only one retweet. Maybe I’m one of the few who’s user habits on Twitter are comparable to an anti-socialite at the greatest party of the century, but what do most users really use Twitter for? I have an inkling that users either have far more followers than people they follow, and therefore they are likely on Twitter to post and not so much to read, or they follow so many people that they miss over half of the messages posted daily. So what would this mean for retweets? It means even the catchiest, most important message you could post may be missed or disregarded. How “a message thrown around on Twitter” is better for Internet marketing than “a search result that specifically targets the exact phrase for which a user searches” is beyond me.

What it comes down to for me is this: Twitter can be used for effective marketing, but not any better than Myspace, Facebook, Flickr!, Digg, Sphinn, or any other social media site with a lot of users. A lot of Twitter users post from their cell phones, or while at work, or on the run, so they don’t have time to read others’ posts – only to post themselves. The majority of replies on Twitter are between friends, and retweets are usually a courtesy to those you know beyond Twitter. A successful viral marketing campaign on Twitter is possible, just like it’s possible for me to become a movie star, so is it really worth the time and effort to utilize Twitter for SMO in your Internet marketing firm? If you’re lucky, I guess.

The aforementioned in no way represents the opinions of everyone at Reciprocal Consulting, it is simply my own. These are just my personal thoughts on the “hot topic” of the week in the Internet marketing world.