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Quora has made a name for itself as a Q&A site. Relatively new to the game, it has grown quickly and is the Q&A home of many savvy and high profile people. Originally, the site had a strict no self-promotion policy. However, recently, that has changed.

There are two ways to look at this change. You can see it as an opportunity or you can see it as a problem. If you are of the glass-half-empty variety, you could see it as the spammers are taking over. But if you think in terms of the glass being half full, then you’ll want to jump on the Quora bandwagon real quick.

In April, Google started indexing Quora in its real time search feature. That’s awesome news for marketers using Quora for traffic generation. It’s already been established that Quora posts are great for SEO.

Whether you see the glass half full or half empty, the risk is there for Quora to become another content farm under Google’s Panda rules. Quora can avert that eventuality by incorporating a few simple rules into its answers policy to combat link and content spam. But will they? The debate is on.

Until this is settled, the best thing for a social media marketer to do is to get involved in Quora and reap the benefits. If you post on Quora now, you can enjoy the benefits of excellent social media positioning and search engine optimization. Rarely do online marketers get to kill both of those birds with one stone.

I’m convinced, after years of being in this business, that an Internet marketing plan is something that every business would benefit from. In most cases, a company that has an established marketing budget can get more mileage from their marketing with less outlay if they transfer some of that budget into Internet marketing. But what does an Internet marketing plan consist of?

Of course, every business is different. Therefore, every Internet marketing plan will be different. The first step is to determine the needs of your market and approach those needs with an open mind.

Once we’ve established your priorities and the needs of your market, your Internet marketing plan could consist of any of the following special tactics:

  • Pay per click marketing – PPC is a pay-as-you-go marketing tactic. You buy clicks and send them to your important landing pages. It’s very effective and costs are determined by how much you are willing to pay per click.
  • Search engine optimization – SEO is the long-term tactic. We’ll help you rank your web pages in Google, Bing, and other search engines in order to attract the right customers.
  • Social Media Optimization – SMO is a different kind of Internet marketing. It’s about building relationships through connections off of your website.
  • >Custom Web Design – Your website should be a reflection of your business and your values.
  • Online Video Marketing – Online videos are the 21st century equivalent to 20th century TV advertising – only better.

When it comes to developing an Internet marketing plan, the strategies you use depend on your market, your business, and your goals. Talk to someone who has designed a custom Internet marketing plan more than a few times.

So you’ve decided to start a blog to promote your business. That’s a good move. But how often should you update your blog?

That’s a good question. The answer is, It depends.

How much traffic would you like your blog to receive? How serious are you about search engine marketing? Do you want the search engines to crawl your blog often and update their search engine listings accordingly? Are you doing it for fun or for profit?

Blog marketing is not a hit-and-miss proposition. It is a commitment. The more often you do it, the more likely you are to see positive results. That’s how it is with just about anything. Right?

The search engines view each of your blog posts as a single web page. But they also pay attention to your entire website. Every time yo update your site, they send their spiders back to crawl it. Update it every day and you’ll get crawled every day. That means each blog post you write has the potential to achieve high search engine rankings in addition to your site as a whole achieving those rankings.

Every blog post is a new opportunity. The more opportunities you have, the better your marketing. So how often do you think you should be blogging?

HTML 5 is in full development mode and I believe we’ll see the first iteration go public within the next year, maybe two. One of the most interesting changes from HTML 4 to HTML 5 is how page sections will be used during the design phase of website development. Here are 10 web page sections HTML 5 offers that will lead to better and more efficient website design.

  1. Body Element
  2. Section Element
  3. Nav Element
  4. Article Element
  5. Aside Element
  6. H-tag Elements
  7. Hgroup Element
  8. Header Element
  9. Footer Element
  10. Address Element

Most of these are new to HTML 5. A few, like Body, H tags, Header, and Footer are currently being used by HTML 4. While HTML 4 offers a way to include a navigation element on your web pages, HTML 5 changes the design process by including the Nav Element in the HTML and giving it its own code structure.

I’m particularly excited about the Section Element, Article and Aside Elements, and the Address Element. These HTML features will allow any website to be laid out in classic magazine style.

The Article Element will make it easier for web developers to add content to a web page that can be easily syndicated. The Aside Element will allow web designers to add sidebars to web pages easily and without fanfare. The Address Element will give content authors a way to provide contact information for each content element they produce.

HTML 5 is going to be a major new development in web design. I hope you’re looking as forward to it as I am.

Google Analytics is now tracking page load time. This is significant for a number of reasons.

First, conversion rate. It is now widely believed that page load time affects conversion rates. After all, site visitors will not wait long for your page to load. You have about eight seconds to capture their attention. Anything beyond that and they’re off to some place else. This is true whether they arrive on your landing page from an organic search engine listing or a pay-per-click ad.

Secondly, page load speed affects your pay-per-click quality score. There is no doubt about it. If a competitor’s website loads faster than yours and you are both bidding on the same keywords, the slower loading landing page will likely rank lower in the ad placement resulting in fewer clicks.

Thirdly, you will likely lose organic search rankings too. The jury is still out on whether Google uses page load time to determine search engine rankings, but I’m betting that they do. If that is the case, then you will see fewer click-throughs in addition to a lower conversion rate.

What all this boils down to is less traffic to your sub-par pages, and fewer conversions on the traffic you do get.

If you haven’t paid attention to your page load times until now, you should start thinking about it right away. Track and measure those page load times and fix your deficiencies – before they fix you.

Say what you will about Google, but they are clearly a company that seeks to improve. They may not always succeed, but the effort is there.

According to an article in Marketing Pilgrim, Google’s latest effort to improve local search involves sending real live human beings out into certain markets to “touch base” with local small business owners. I think this is awesome and it shows some promise of good coming of it.

The Pilgrim article mentions Google’s three goals with regard to improving local search:

1. Introduce them to and educate them about Google Places and local search in general
2. Claim their Place Page and give them tips about managing that page moving forward
3. Introduce them to and educate them about the NFC (near field communications) window decal that Google would like to see in every merchants’ window across the land.

I think Frank Reed makes a salient point when he says that Google should reach out to small business consultants in local markets too. After all, small business owners often consult these consultants with regard to local search marketing measures. Much of Google’s business will likely come from consultants who sell their services to the small business owners and it will likely lead to more business for Google.

If you haven’t learned local search is the future of search marketing and that Google and Bing hold the keys to success in that channel, well, let me be the first tell you. I’m excited about the future of search.

SEO copywriting is really nothing new. It is based on the same principles that copywriting has been based on for thousands of years. The difference is that the content being written is geared toward both human readers and search engine spiders, with keywords being a principle anchor to hold it together.

Here are 5 basic SEO copywriting techniques that every content writer should keep front and center.

  • Write For skimmers and scanners – Online readers don’t read, they scan. Make your content easy to scan by making it visually appealing with images, lots of white space, bullet points, and page layout structure.
  • Use power words – Words like “free,” “easy,” and “powerful” are what veteran copywriter Robert Bly calls power words. Use them liberally in your content and snag your readers like a fish.
  • Make a list, check it twice – Lists make your content easy to read and organizes your writing for your reader (so they don’t have to). Everyone loves lists.
  • Quote the quotable – Why use your own words when someone else’s are more credible. If you can secure a famous quote, or a quote from a famous person, about your topic, then your content will earn instant credibility.
  • Get their attention with headlines – Headlines are the first thing your readers will read. Make them bold and compelling. Guard their honesty, of course, but capture your reader’s attention with a bold promise (then deliver on that promise in your content).

These 5 copywriting techniques are powerful and easy to implement in your SEO content. Make it easy for your reader and you’ll see the big payoff.

Over the years, many Internet marketers have compared search engine optimization with pay per click advertising and offered their opinions on which is better. It’s not an apples to apples comparison, but at least the fruit are in the same family. Both rely upon keyword research and use search engine marketing principles. But what about a comparison between PPC and social media? How would that fare?

While the comparison between PPC and SEO is more akin to a comparison between a lemon and a lime, the comparison between PPC and social media optimization is like a comparison between a raison and a tomato. Both may be fruit, but they have very little in common.

Social media, for instance, does not require keywords in order to be effective; PPC does. That’s not to say that a social media campaign cannot incorporate keywords. If social media is keyword-based, it can influence your search engine rankings. The jury is still out on whether PPC influences such rankings.

Another difference between social media marketing and PPC is that social media is about building relationships. PPC is about driving traffic. Period.

You can develop a relationship on social media and lead your prospect to a sale right there on Facebook or Twitter without ever getting them to your website. With PPC, your goal is to get them to your website or landing page. Period.

PPC is better for short term results. Social media is a marathon. Can short term results happen? Yes, but if you don’t get short term results in PPC, you’ve failed. Not so in social media.

Both social media and PPC can be effective, but the threshold for success on PPC is much higher. You can expect lesser results on social media and still be effective. Plus, it’s easier to measure results with pay-per-click marketing.

Would I discourage you from using either channel? No. I think you should use both deliberately. But understand their differences before you do.

Is there such a thing as the most important web design element? Doesn’t it depend on your Web marketing and web design goals? Yes, it does. But it also depends on what you can use your website for and the current conventions. Right now, there is one Internet marketing channel that is considered the most effective channel of all.

I’m talking about e-mail marketing. Since it is the most efficient and most effective means of conducting online marketing, it makes sense to put an opt-in form on your website. I consider it the most important web design element.

Of course, you should put a lot of careful thought into the placement of your opt-in form on the page. Where do you want it to appear and what do you want it to look like?

Your e-mail marketing opt-in subscription form should be eye catching. You want the reader to notice it. But you don’t want it to be so noticeable that the site visitor fixates on it. It should be visible and inviting so that you increase your opt-in subscribers. But you don’t want it to take away from the information on your web pages.

>Website design is a creative science. Nothing is absolute. However, if you consider that e-mail marketing is still the most effective means of marketing online, then an opt-in form for your e-mail marketing campaigns is an essential element for any website.

Internet marketers don’t talk about web citations very often. But there is such a thing as a Web citation that doesn’t involve a link. It can be helpful in obtaining decent local search engine rankings.

If you look at your Google Place page as well as your Yahoo! Local and Bing Local listings, then you’ll notice that your business address and phone number are included in those listings. As they should be. But what if your business name, address, and phone number appear on other pages around the Web without a link pointing back to your website. Would that help you?

I believe these types of Web citations do, in fact, help you if you are a local business seeking local search rankings. It means that local businesses do not necessarily have to have a load of inbound links in order to rank for local search terms.

So where can you find these Web citations?

First and foremost, you should have your contact information on your website. Secondly, industry or niche business directories, as well as local community directories, can be a big help. Your local Chamber of Commerce website can also provide a link. If you are a travel-related business, then the local visitor’s information center could list you as a resource. General directories like YellowPages.com and Superpages can also provide the information.

In those listings, of course, a link can help you – it will never hurt. I am simply saying it isn’t necessary to give you a respectable local search ranking. However, you still want to be competitive.

Here are two scenarios to illustrate how links and Web citations work together to improve your local search visibility.

  1. You have 100 Web citations of equal relevance to your closest competitor’s 50 Web citations. All other search criteria data are equal. You will likely rank higher than your competition.
  2. Both you and your closest competitor have 100 Web citations of equal relevance. You have 100 inbound links of high quality and relevance while your competition has only 50 inbound links of equal quality and relevance. All other factors are equal. You will likely rank higher than your competition.

So, as you can see, Web citations are important for local search positioning, but so are links. If you have both, then you are going somewhere.