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Veteran folk rocker Neil Young sang a popular song in the 1970s and 1980s that went something like this:

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll will never die

Later, King Missile made a hit with a song titled “Rock and Roll Will Never Die.” The message has become a clarion call for rock musicians who want the romantic dream to live forever.

SEO is no romantic dream (and some would argue neither is rock and roll), but you could apply this message to it just as well. SEO is a marketing tactic for online businesses that involves writing your web content in such a way that search engines rank that content against other web pages for specific keywords. If you do it well then you rank high. Bottom line.

The reason SEO will live forever is because search engines rely on content. Searchers thrive on it. Robots feed on it. Webmasters provide it. If you provide what human searchers need and what search engine robots feed on then you’ll always be in business. SEO is a necessary tool for doing business online.

Screenwerk has a great read here on the Internet on TV.

Imagine sitting in front of the tube watching your favorite TV show and up on the screen (in the corner of the screen so as not to interfere with your viewing) comes a little popup box. It’s your friend who lives thousands of miles in L.A. sending you a chat message through Facebook. You type a message into your remote control to let him know that you are watching a show and you’ll chat in fifteen minutes.

A couple of minutes later you get a another popup box. It’s your mother on Skype. You shout at the TV, “I’ll call you in 30 minutes!” OK, she hangs up.

Across the bottom of the screen you see little text ads scroll by every five to ten minutes. You calmly say to yourself, “Those ads are really annoying.” But then you remember those $60 cable bills. One of the ads, much to your chagrin, catches your attention. (Those ads are provided by Google, by the way.) You pick up your remote and click the ad – a little popup box appears in the top left corner. You’ve been taken to the advertiser’s website.

Since you are still watching your show, you leave it the way it is. When the show is over you send a message to your Facebook friend, “Let’s chat.” You dial your mother on Skype. And you enlarge the website panel in the corner of your TV so that it takes up the full screen. What a multi-tasker you are!

Is this the future of Internet TV? Will you someday be able to chat, talk on VOIP and surf the Internet all on TV? Gone are the commercial breaks, gone are the cable channels and their high-priced monthly bills. Programs are paid for by revenue made from pay-per-click ads. Search engine marketing is bigger and more effective than ever. Can you see it? Am I dreaming? Is it possible?

Your RSS feed can be a very valuable tool for your reputation. And in today’s online culture you need a good reputation management strategy. Use your RSS feed to give your online reputation a boost.

The RSS feed is something your site visitors will subscribe to and by subscribing to your feed they are giving you permission to contact them over and over again. Of course, the feed is what is contacting them. It’s an automatic content delivery system that your site visitors receive after subscribing. It’s a great reputation management tool because your site visitors use the feed to make judgments about you and your business.

RSS stands for really simple syndication. That means you can become a syndicated columnist or author simply by writing a blog or developing a website. And when you make it work for you, your reputation will thank you.

A call came in and it was a client asking why he wasn’t getting any sales. A quick look at his website revealed that it was flagged as a malware distributor. The client was spending hundreds of dollars a day on PPC ads. No wonder he wasn’t making sales.

If you’ve been hacked and the hacker has inserted a Javascript code or malicious malware onto your site, its files and folders, or on your server somewhere then it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on advertising or how well written your PPC ads, Google will flag it as a malware distributor. Visitors to your site wills see a big red interstitial ad notifying them of the danger. You’ll lose money so pause your PPC campaign immediately.

In order to clean up the site you need to take a look at all your files, particularly the index files in each folder, and see if there are any code insertions that don’t belong. If so, remove them.

After you have removed the malware or unwanted code, change your passwords – to your blog, your hosting account, and anywhere the hacker may have had access to. Make them difficult to crack. Then log into your Google Webmaster Tools account and request a site review. Google will crawl the site again and if the malware has been removed the flag will be removed. You can start your PPC ads again.

Internet marketing has been around long enough now that just about everybody knows somebody who does it or has done it. It’s a bit of a misunderstood term, however. Internet marketing can refer to any type of marketing online and there seems to be a bit of a mystery around it. I’d like to dispel some of the mystery.

There are some common elements between Internet marketing and traditional off line marketing. The tools and techniques may be different, but the goals are the same. You’re building relationships.

So how do you go about building relationships online with people you may never actually meet in person?

That may be the mystery I was talking about earlier. It’s not really hard. First, you be yourself. Secondly, you show up at places where people you’d like to meet are hanging out.

If you are single and want to meet new people to date then you might go to a dance club on Friday night. Why? It’s crowded, people drink, single members of the opposite sex (or the same sex, if you are into that) are there looking for the same thing.

On the other hand, if you don’t like to dance then you might go to a sci-fi convention or a business networking meeting. Maybe you’d prefer to roller skate on Friday night.

Whatever the case, you do things that you enjoy and meet people who enjoy the same things, right? Well, that’s largely how online relationship building is done. You go where the people are: Facebook, YouTube, Google … and you engage, get to know them, let them get to know you, one thing leads to another.

Is the mystery gone? If not, keep reading this blog for more great insights into Internet marketing tactics that shine.

Who are you conducting competitive intelligence for? Are you doing it for you or for your customers? Or maybe for your stockholders?

Competitive intelligence should be seen as an asset. Whether you are a corporation or a small business, you have competition and if you expect to remain competitive within your niche then you need to stay on top of what your competition is doing. Your stockholders expect it. Your customers will appreciate it (even if they don’t know you are doing it). Your employees need it. And you have a responsibility to each of them.

Competitive intelligence is something that must be done for your company’s survival. Without a good idea of the competitive landscape within your industry you will likely not survive. That will place your stockholders’ investments at risk, your customers could end up doing business elsewhere, and your employees may lose their jobs. A good competitive intelligence strategy is a necessary part of doing business.

CSS – cascading style sheet – is a fairly new method of designing web pages, one that separates the presentation from the content. The main reason style sheets are important is because they allow you to design all the pages of your website with one file rather than use HTML to design every single web page and all the elements on each page. With CSS you can set the design elements one time and apply them to all of your pages by calling the stylesheet forward at the appropriate time.

Web design is no easy task any way you look at it. But HTML has its limitations. With CSS you can overcome those limitations and design your entire website from one document.

Stylesheets operate on classes, the essential element of web design with CSS. Every element on a web page can be assigned a class and you can design a unique look for every web page on your website by using one stylesheet. All you do is assign each web page element a class as defined by the stylesheet.

There are many advantages to doing it this way, but suffice it to say that a website designed with stylesheets is much more flexible than one that isn’t.

Many small business owners still wonder “just what is viral marketing?” It’s a good question. Isn’t it related to social media marketing?

Well, sort of. There is a difference.

Social media marketing is any marketing that utilizes social media as its primary distribution model. Viral marketing can often be accomplished through social media, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in order to achieve its desired effects.

So what are those desired effects?

Viral marketing – the heart of it – is really about getting others to share your information with their friends through voluntary efforts. When you have that being done on a mass scale, your content is said to “viral.” That is, your viral marketing campaign is successful. The question, how do get that to happen?

There are various strategies for succeeding at viral marketing. First, your content has to be worthy of sharing. If it doesn’t interest readers then readers won’t share it with their friends. So the most important thing is to make your content super content. Then, you’ve got to get it front of the eyes of influential people. Find the most connected and influential people in any circle and get them to view your content. If they like it they will share it. After that, it’s a matter to giving your content a little nudge here and there. Successful viral marketing is achievable.

Coffee breaks are refreshing. Take a short walk, smoke ’em if you got ’em, fill your coffee cup and head back to the desk for a second wind and a great second half of your work day. More productivity, higher morale, and a happier disposition.

It works the same way in social networking.

You could consider the social networking a part of your recreation. It’s so fun you don’t want to give it up. But if it’s that much fun then you may not be getting any work done. On the other hand, if it’s too much work then how social is it?

The fact is, if you are social networking to make contacts for your business then it is work just like any other work. That’s not to say you are spending the entire day networking, but some people do. You start your day a-Twittering and it just doesn’t stop. Take a break. Refresh yourself.

It’s OK to take a day off of Facebook and come back refreshed. You might even take a full week. But don’t be gone too long. Any momentum you’ve built up by networking can be destroyed with too long off. So measure your days and refresh your energy. You deserve it.

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010. Have you established any search engine optimization goals for this year?

It might seem like an academic exercise to establish goals for SEO, but it’s really not. If you want your search engine optimization efforts to be successful then you’ve got to have a plan and you’ve got to work your plan. That requires setting some goals.

The first step to successful goal setting is to analyze where you are now. What got you here? Have you been tracking your progress?

Some of the important SEO metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Search engine saturation
  • Number of inbound links
  • Keyword rankings
  • Page rankings per keyword
  • PageRank
  • Traffic count (visitors, unique visitors, etc.)
  • Bounce rate

These are not the only metrics that are important, of course, but it’s a good start. Figure out where you stand right now then chart a course for where you want to be by year’s end. Goalsetting is not a difficult task, but it is an essential one – even for search engine optimization.