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You might think that, if you watch a lot of YouTube videos, online video marketing is a low quality endeavor. That’s not necessarily true. It is true that many online videos suffer from lack of quality in terms of production features, but don’t take that as an indication that all online video production is low quality.

First, the most important thing about online video marketing is that it be effective. If a home made video produced on a shoestring makes its creator a few thousand dollars in a couple of weeks, then that’s effective marketing. Who cares if it’s low quality, right?

While it’s true that low quality videos can make you money, it’s also true that a higher quality video has more potential to make you more money. Effective marketing is effective marketing.

Keep in mind that you have other alternatives to YouTube. There are other online video sharing sites that can drive traffic to your website and allow you to show your marketing prowess. The key to successful video marketing online is quality, and there’s no reason you can’t have a high quality production that makes you money.

When you want to find out the truth about online video marketing, talk to a professional who delivers on quality.

Some trends come and go. Some stick around. I think the following 4 Internet marketing trends may be keepers. At least for a little while. Have you discovered these trends yet?

  1. Blog Marketing – Blog marketing has been around for a long time now, but it took a little dip after Google killed inbound links. Nevertheless, it seems to be making a comeback, particularly for businesses that want to use it for marketing and branding purposes.
  2. Mobile Search – Mobile search is a trend that is sure to stick around. People not only read blogs and news with their mobile phones, but they update their social media accounts and make purchases.
  3. Local Search – All kinds of businesses are discovering local search. And unlike traditional SEO, you can be very powerful and effective on the local level within just a few weeks.
  4. Social Media Marketing – Facebook and Twitter are all the rage right now. You’d think they are passing phases, but they’re not. If you are running a business, social media is a must in today’s fast-paced marketplace.

Now is the time to hop on board these Internet marketing trends. Don’t just ride the waves until they hit the beach. Make them a part of your daily routine.

You’ve got you a business Twitter account and now you’re ready to go. You’ve started posting, but you’re not getting a crazy amount of interaction. The question to ask is, are you getting personal enough?

Social media marketing is an interesting game. Online, users prefer a little more personal touch. They don’t want to be bombarded with endless dry and impersonal marketing messages. They want to talk to a real human being, even if they’re talking about business. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid talking about business at all.

A new study indicates that this could be true (though I do see some problems with the study as presented).

The study seems to indicate that young people prefer the personal tweets, but older people prefer no tweets at all. It also indicates that younger people consider personal to be more credible. However, it’s interesting to note that they preferred all personal to part personal and part business. That just doesn’t seem right.

I think the takeaway from this study is that you should incorporate personal messages into your business tweets. Don’t make it all dry. But don’t get so carried away with personal information about yourself that you tell too much. If you ate the worm, don’t tell us you danced on the table and took off your clothes.

Spam is a big problem. There’s search engine spam, e-mail spam, social media spam, and canned spam (just kidding; checking to see if you’re really reading). :-)

I’ve read blog posts from SEOs and Internet marketers that essentially blame Google and its policies for search engine spam. I don’t think it’s a fair accusation. Who would you blame for e-mail spam? Or how about social media spam?

Whenever there is money to be made, there will be cheaters. Stock markets provide a way for people to invest money in hopes of getting a profitable return. Certain practices, like using insider information, are illegal and considered unethical. But people still practice them, and if they are caught they will pay the price.

Of course, spam is not illegal. But the search engines have policies in place to address spam in their indexes. Are they perfect? Do the search engine policies effectively control spam 100% of the time? No. But it’s not for lack of trying.

The real cause of spam is greed. Some people would rather risk future profits for the quick dollar now. That’s essentially the motivation behind every spam message you see – whether in your e-mail box, your search engine listings, or your social media walls. If you are a legitimate Internet marketer, however, you don’t want to get caught being a spammer. It can be a real reputation destroyer. Instead, focus on providing value and deliver on your promises.

A lot has been said about article marketing. Good and bad. It used to be the preferred online marketing method for serious Internet marketers. For some people, it still is. But when I say “article marketing,” what do you think of? Yeah, that’s what most people think about – link building.

There’s nothing wrong with writing articles and submitting them to article directories in hopes that you’ll attract inbound links to your website. And there’s nothing wrong with writing guest articles for other blogs and websites for the same reason. But ask yourself this question: How much time do I spend seeking inbound links via article marketing and guest blogging versus writing content for my own website?

If you spend more time seeking inbound links through articles and guest blog posts than you spend writing quality articles for your own website, then I’d say you aren’t spending your time wisely.

The reason I say that is because there is no content more valuable than the content you write for your own website. Search engines can always change their algorithms to devalue links that you spent hundreds of hours chasing. We’ve seen that several times over the years. But if you write quality content for your own website, you will seldom see a change that devalues that content. The key word there is “quality.” In other words, not spam.

Never forget this: Content is king. It always has been and always will be. Links are good, but the best article marketing you can ever do is to write quality content for your own website.

A few years ago, if you wanted to advertise using a pay-per-click model, you either had to go with Google or opt for one of the smaller search engines, pay less, and get less traffic. In fact, that wasn’t too long ago. But now, Facebook advertising is growing at a very rapid pace and seems to be threatening Google’s dominance. One thing that could tip the balance for advertising is real-time advertising.

According to AdAge, Facebook has started experimenting with real-time PPC ads.

It works like this: You post a status update that says, “I love peanut butter sandwiches.” In that instant, an ad appears on your wall promoting peanut butter. Maybe it’s Jif, maybe it’s Peter Pan, but you know it’s peanut butter. Would you click the ad?

I’m guessing that many users would click the ad – probably enough to make it worthwhile to advertisers to spend money on real-time advertising.

The article doesn’t say whether real-time ads would cost more than regular PPC ads, but if the value is there, it might be worth paying more. Virtually anything can be promoted in real time just based on users’ posting habits. This takes PPC advertising to a new level and it could push Facebook ahead of Google as the preferred PPC provider.

Do you ask your friends questions on Facebook? Well, because a lot of people do, Facebook has now decided that a Questions feature would be nice. So they’re introducing one.

Personally, I think it’s a good idea. After all, Q&A sites are quite popular right now, so why not get in on the action? Facebook, after all, is the most trafficked website online. Allowing users to ask questions and answer them might actually result in more usage. At the very least, it could lead to more page views on Facebook, which could lead to more advertising dollars for Facebook’s pocketbook.

No problem, right? They’re a business. Let them make the money.

I agree. But will the average user see it that way? I mean, one of the hallmark features of the Questions format is that friends of your friends will be able to respond directly to your questions. Is that what you want? If not, then you shouldn’t use Facebook Questions.

I see this feature getting used a lot by businesses. The blog post doesn’t say whether or not Admins of fan pages will be able to ask or answer questions. If not now, then I think it will come to that at some point in the future. Even if it doesn’t, what’s to stop a business person from asking questions of potential customers and getting those questions answered, which will ultimately lead to the beginning of a Facebook relationship. See where I’m going with this?

Is the Facebook Questions feature a good one? I think it’s good for business. It may even be good for consumers. But will you use it?

Social Times says it is. And it’s easy to see how they’ve arrived at that conclusion.

Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have been going through heavy growth phases in the last few years. At some point, that growth is going to slow down. Social Times is saying that could be this year.

By slowing down, they don’t mean that growth will go negative. Rather, the social media sites will continue to grow, but at a much slower rate.

What’s that mean, exactly? It means that the social media users who are on those sites will be more savvy and sophisticated than the users of the past five years. As such, they will be more discerning users and less likely to click a link out of curiosity. You’ll have to work harder to get that click and to make the sale.

When it comes to social media marketing, there are several components that are necessary to run a successful and engaging campaign. Here’s what you have to think about:

  • Competitive Intelligence – Who is your competition and what are they up to?
  • Market Research – Who is your target market, when are they online, which social media sites do they use, and when do they use those sites?
  • Strategic Planning – Which social media sites are a best fit for you, what times of day should you be posting, and what messages should you be promoting?

Gone are the days when you can just log in and start tweeting. You need a social media marketing plan and your plan should begin with research.

If you’re a small business owner and have decided to use Twitter to expand your business and market your brand, how do you go about growing your Twitter following? Is there a trick?

There’s really no trick. There’s no magic pill or special recipe. The most important thing to remember is quality, not quantity.

That said, you do want followers who are interested in your product or service, but you don’t necessarily want a bunch of followers for the sake of having a bunch of followers. So where’s the balance?

First, keep in mind that you have a target market profile. You do, don’t you? Another way of saying that is the ideal customer. If you provide a local service to Boston, Masschusetts, it won’t do you any good to have a couple of thousand followers from Los Angeles. But a couple of hundred followers in Boston would be pure gold.

Start by looking up by keyword the type of people you want following you on Twellow. When you follow people, don’t follow then unfollow them when they follow you back. That’s considered uncouth and it could get your Twitter account suspended.

You want to be consistent in your tweeting. Try to tweet at the same time every day. If possible, set aside 10-15 minutes at a time two or three times a day for tweeting.

Another thing you want to do is reply to tweets and retweet the tweets of the people you follow. This builds good will. And if you enter into conversations about your niche with your followers, then you will attract other people interested in your niche.

Growing a Twitter list takes time. It doesn’t happen in one day so be patient and keep tweeting.

Competitive research is one of the most important parts of doing business online. If you are going to beat the competition on the playing field, then you’ve got to know as much about what they are up to as you can. That means, you’ve got to get your feelers out and do a little competitive intelligence work. Q&A sites are a great opportunity for doing that.

One way to use Q&A sites for competitive intelligence is to query your competition’s name or name brand on the site. You’ll almost always find people asking about and discussing the features and ways of using your competition’s products.

If you read the answers on those questions related to your competition, you can often learn new things about your competition. If not, you can sometimes use those questions as a platform for suggesting your own products as an alternative. In other words, if someone asks a question about alternative uses for your competition’s product, then that’s an open door for you to discuss your product.

Competitive intelligence is non-negotiable. The only way to win in any market is to know what you’re up against. Q&A sites present the perfect library of information on resources on almost any industry, and it’s a great place to learn more about the competition.

>Web design has come a long way in the last 20 years. It used to be, if you wanted to build a web page, then you had one option – HTML. Hypertext Markup Language is the basic language of the Web. Today, if you are building a website of any kind, chances are you are going to incorporate HTML into your programming even if you use other languages.

But HTML is not the only language you need, by far. If you expect your web site to have some interactive features, then you’ll need more – much more – than HTML.

CSS, or cascading style sheets, is a language devised to help Web programmers build websites where design elements can be defined in a single document across multiple pages. Then you can use HTML for your content on each individual page.

PHP allows Web site designers the ability to add interactive design features into their web pages without jacking up the HTML.

JavaScript is another interactive and dynamic Web language with some useful features.

Microsoft has joined the web design game as well with its own programming languages and Web application framework. ASP is the basic Web language of Microsoft. ASP.NET allows you to build more dynamic web pages on a Windows server.

Other application frameworks have entered the market as well. One popular one in recent years is the open source Ruby on Rails, which is based on the Ruby programming language. Twitter, and a few other popular websites, was built on Ruby on Rails.

So, to answer the question, how many Web languages do you need for Web design? You really only need one. But if you want to build dynamic web pages that are interactive and keep visitors coming back for more, sometimes you need to incorporate several languages into a single web design.

If you are a real estate agent or broker, you might feel more comfortable getting your SEO advice from another real estate agent or broker, or from the National Association of Realtors. That might not be such a good idea, however.

Think about this: Would you caution your real estate clients against getting real estate advice from anyone other than a real estate agent? The reason is obvious, isn’t it?

The NAR recently posted SEO advice for real estate agents in an article on its website. The problem isn’t so much in the general advice NAR gives, but in the specific advice.

For example, its six recommended SEO practices include:

  • Write better page titles
  • Broadcast your links
  • Use keywords generously
  • Reword outgoing links
  • Develop a site map
  • Tweet about it

That’s a mediocre list, at best. What’s not on that list and should be are: 1) list your site on local directories; 2) claim it on Google Local, Bing Local, and Yahoo! Local; 3) and start a blog. But the nitty-gritty details of these bullet points isn’t much to be desired either.

For example, hear what NAR has to say about keywords:

Your main keywords should appear at least 10 to 13 times per 700 words on a page, says Mark Menzella, who runs RE/Advantage, a real estate Web design company in Fairfield, N.J.

In industry speak, this concept is called “keyword density.” The problem is, keyword density is a huge myth. It doesn’t work. There is no optimal number of times a keyword should appear on any web page. That’s because the search engines use almost 200 criteria for determining where pages rank for a specific keyword.

Let’s look at what NAR says about tweeting:

“Now that tweets are indexed in Google, Twitter has become an important part of SEO strategy,” says Misty Lackie of Go Smart Solutions, a technology consulting firm in Grover Beach, Calif. So get a Twitter account if you don’t already have one, and create useful tweets that happen to include your business keywords and links to your site.

Honestly, I’ve never seen much SEO benefit from tweeting. Keywords in your tweets don’t help you much in terms of your website’s SEO. Even anchor text in your links from Twitter are low grade since those links are no-follow links. That’s not to say that Twitter is a bad marketing tool. Rather, it’s a highly effective marketing tool for getting you some local exposure, but for SEO, it’s not a must-have tool.

Your best bet for good SEO advice is not to rely on industry professionals within real estate. You should get your real estate advice from real estate agents and brokers, but get your SEO advice from professional SEO consultants.

YouTube presents one of the best online marketing opportunities around. And I’m not just talking about producing an occasional video and uploading it to the site and bookmarking it. I’m talking about producing your own series or regular YouTube show through your own channel.

A YouTube channel is essentially a home page on YouTube where all your videos are posted. But it’s a more organized and strategic method of producing and marketing videos on an ongoing basis than simply throwing up a new video every two or three months. It’s like having your own TV show except that it’s on YouTube instead.

So what are the benefits to having your own YouTube channel? Here are a few off the top of my head:

  1. It’s free. It costs nothing to start a YouTube channel.
  2. You can drive targeted traffic to your website with every video.
  3. If you can consistently produce great video content that entertains and informs your audience, then you can attract a loyal following of viewers on YouTube.
  4. You can also monetize your video content on YouTube and turn it into a money-making channel as well.
  5. Having a popular YouTube channel is a great reputation management tool.

These are just a few of the benefits to having your own YouTube channel. There are plenty more. I’d encourage you to look into it for yourself.

Online reviews can help or hurt your business. If you get a lot of positive reviews, then it can certainly give a big boost to your online reputation. On the other hand, negative reviews can put a dent in your reputation. That is, unless you can find a way to turn those negatives into positives. That’s precisely what I’m going to teach you how to do today.

Here are 5 ways to turn negative reviews into a positive:

  1. Refrain from being a jerkwad – Instead of getting angry and lambasting the reviewer with insults for the entire world to see, take a step back and don’t do anything at all. Cool down first. After you have had a chance to calm down and think about what the reviewer said, then you can offer a level-headed response with some reason.
  2. Thank the reviewer – When you do respond, thank the reviewer for their input. Then, offer to resolve their situation amicably.
  3. Issue a sincere apology – Be sincere and apologize for the bad experience. Most businesses won’t apologize at all and most that do will do so badly. If you apologize sincerely and make the reviewer believe it, then you’ll be way ahead of your competition.
  4. Offer to fix the problem – If possible, send a private message to the reviewer offering to resolve their problem amicably. Offer a coupon or a discount on a future service. Maybe you can offer a free product or service on their next visit. Whatever it takes to make them a happy customer, do it. There’s a good chance you could turn a negative review into a positive review – and keep a customer.
  5. Leave your phone number - If you cannot send a private message through the review site, leave your phone number instead, and offer to have that reviewer call you so that you can resolve the problem. If you offer a discount or free service in lieu of the phone call, then you could turn a negative into a positive with just one phone call.

When it comes to online reviews, every review is a reputation management opportunity. Turn those negative reviews into an opportunity to perform an awesome service and see what happens.

StumbleUpon is a website that is often billed as one of the most trafficked social media sites online, however, it rarely makes it to the top websites on the web list. I’ll let you decide what to make of that, but I think StumbleUpon is a great website to get to know for a few reasons.

First, StumbleUpon is notorious for sending websites tons of great traffic. It doesn’t take a lot of effort either.

Secondly, StumbleUpon is a website where you can discover other great websites on topics that interest you. There are primarily three ways to search for websites at StumbleUpon:

  • Other Stumblers/Friends – You can search the Stumbles of your friends simply by visiting their Stumble pages, called blogs. If you download the StumbleUpon toolbar, you can do that directly through the toolbar. Just click on the Stumblers button and you’ll be taken to your list of friends where you can pick the friend and Stumble through their Stumbles.
  • By Topic – Another way to search StumbleUpon is by topic. You have your favorite topics and StumbleUpon uses those to help you find websites related to those. Perform a search and find other websites like those you have Liked in the past.
  • Channels – You can also search by channels. There is a YouTube channel, an All channel, a friends channel, an images channel, and a videos channel. These channels allow you to search for specific types of content based on your previous Likes.

So now that you know how to find websites through StumbleUpon, how do you promote them through StumbleUpon? Two ways.

The first way is to Like the website. This adds the site to your Stumble blog and you can add a description that allows you to elaborate on why you like the site. The second way is to share that web page with your friends. You can actually do both.

Often, it is best to send out your content to your friends first. Let someone else be the discoverer of your content. On StumbleUpon, whoever is the first person to Stumble a site is listed as the discoverer. You don’t want to get a reputation for being the discoverer of your own content over and over again. So try to encourage your friends to discover your content. You can then Like it after it has been discovered.

StumbleUpon is a great source of web traffic. If you use it effectively, it can deliver great traffic to your website.

SEOmoz is a leading SEO blog and they recently posted a very thoughtful essay on Q&A sites and the value of SEO. I encourage you to read the entire blog post, but I’ll offer a few highlights here.

For starters, there is a general encouragement that, despite Google’s recent farmer update, Q&A sites still are a great opportunity to build your own reputation and to do some back linking. If you’re not familiar with the farmer update, let’s just say that Google introduced an algorithm that put a slap on some of those how-to sites, what are generally referred to as “content farms.”

Interestingly, many of the sites that were affected are sites that are written by average Joes. These sites are HubPages, Squidoo, and Associated Content. Even EzineArticles, the popular article directory (and a few other article directories), took a hit. But many of the Q&A sites did not. This forms the basis of Pavel Israelsky’s argument.

I’ll have to hand it to Pavel. He does a good job of outlining why Q&A sites represent a great opportunity right now. Here are his six reasons:

  1. People Google more questions than generic keywords
  2. Q&A sites have grown in popularity in the last year
  3. Q&A pages rank high in the search results
  4. They also offer great diversification opportunities for your link portfolio
  5. People prefer to link to Q&A pages than to corporate-sponsored pages
  6. Targeted traffic means better conversion

I can’t really argue with any of those points. Keep in mind, however, that if you use Q&A sites to target your important keywords, be sure that you find out which questions related to those keywords are being asked in the search engines. That will be key to optimizing your Q&A posts. If you answer questions that are asked, try to optimize your answers as well.

Q&A sites are a relatively recent phenomenon. If they start getting spammed with useless content, you can expect another Google slap down, so don’t go hog wild. Just see the opportunity for what it is and approach it intelligently.

Does your Internet marketing firm communicate what they are doing with your website or is all you get a bunch of silence? In other words, are they explaining what they are doing and why they are doing it?

The attitude among many Internet marketing companies is that clients don’t understand and don’t care about the nuts and bolts. But we believe it’s your website and you should know what’s happening with it. There should be no secrets between your marketing firm and your company. None.

When there is silence from your Internet marketing company, that’s a recipe for blackhat SEO to creep in. Blackhat SEO is search engine optimization strategies that are not approved by the search engines. You can scan the news headlines and see some high profile companies who have been stilted by their Internet marketing companies because those companies used blackhat techniques that got their clients in trouble. You don’t want to become another statistic.

Ask your Internet marketing company what tactics they use before you hire them. Get them to show you a step-by-step plan for your website before they go to work. And don’t approve anything that you aren’t 100% legitimate. Otherwise, you could see your Internet marketing strategy in jeopardy.

An article on WebProNews asks a very important question: “Has SEO Peaked?”

Of course, this is a question that gets asked once or twice a year. And I’m pretty sure the answer is always the same. Chris Crum concludes that it is still important, but it’s changing. Yep, I say. It’s changing alright. And there’s nothing we can do about it.

One of the ways in which SEO is changing is the way in which people are searching for information. It seems that more and more searchers are using social search instead of traditional search. Unfortunately, social search is something that Google hasn’t really excelled at. Which means that many webmasters are going to find that their biggest referrer is not Google. It could be something else.

In fact, the article goes on to say that the biggest source of web traffic for a lot of websites will be where they spend most of their attention – search engines or social media. That makes sense.

If you start seeing the majority of your web traffic coming from Twitter, it could be because you spend a lot of time on Twitter. If you start seeing it coming from Bing, then maybe it’s because you spend a lot of time optimizing for Bing traffic. So what’s the lesson here?

There’s no real lesson. It may be a cause of celebration. Website owners no longer need to feel tethered to Google. Then again, it may mean SEO is just a little bit more difficult.

Chances are, if you’re a strapping young man between 18 and 25, you know a few MILFNs – Moms I’d Like To Farmville Neighborize. They’ve dropped their overalls and moved on to Cityville to build a thriving metropolis instead.

That’s what moms are doing these days. They’re playing Zynga games. They’ve traded in their soap opera cards and started playing Cityville, Farmville, and Frontierville – the triumvirate of Zynga games.

So how do you reach this new gaming demographic? Bing bribed them with Farmville dollars.

In the last day or so, I saw a Cityville offer to plant some sweet potatoes for charity. That made me wonder if Zynga game product placements might be down the road. Will Cityville citizens get a chance to build a community building named after a famous Las Vegas casino? Or maybe they’ll get a chance to name their streets after famous celebrity personalities.

Social media optimization has reached a new milestone. No longer are you relegated to bookmarking your content on such sites as Delicious (which, rumor has it, was sold by Yahoo recently) and Digg. Now, you may have opportunities to reach the 25-44 year old female demographic through Zynga social gaming.

What’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure it will be interesting.

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