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Blog comments for SEO get a lot of flack – and for good reason. If you spend your time leaving comments on blogs within various niches just so you can get a coveted link back, then there’s a pretty high chance that you are a spammer. Many of your comments may not even get approved. If that the case, then you are wasting your time.

So what would cause a blog comment to get deleted without being approved by the blog master? Here are some reasons your blog comments might get trashed with barely a read:

These are just some of the reasons why your blog comments might be considered spam and deleted. Take the time to leave good comments on the right blogs and they’ll be approved.

Google Panda has all sorts of websites trying something new. And about every 3-4 months now, Google updates its update and you’ll hear a little murmur ripple through the blogosphere. Well, HubPages is taking a different approach. They’re assigning subdomains.

Assigning is correct, unless you claim your own subdomain by August 10.

This is a great article marketing opportunity for Hubbers. If you’re not currently a Hubber, then you can still get the online reputation management benefits.

The way HubPages works, you can put links in your articles, but your articles better be quality articles and not spam. If your articles are low quality, then your subdomain will be low quality and will likely have low search engine rankings if any at all. Bottom line: If you want your subdomain, and your articles, to rank well, then you’d better write high quality articles. Period.

That’s the way article marketing should be. Your high quality articles will produce links for your web pages, send traffic to your website, and provide you with a strong voice of authority with an equally strong reputation.

Start building your HubPages now. Be diligent in your efforts and you will see a huge increase in your reputation and get the traffic and links you want.

The Internet has changed forever how public relations is done. And that includes how press releases are written and distributed. One powerful emerging trend is the video press release.

There are multiple applications for the video press release. One very popular application is to use the video to accompany a written press release through online distribution. This method is powerful because it incorporates the traditional elements of press release writing with search engine optimization, social media promotion, and video or multimedia enhancement.

Another way to make video press releases work for you is to publish them on your own website. If you do a lot of public relations work, then you can have a page of your website set aside for press releases – and that includes video releases.

Of course, video press releases can also be distributed online as standalone public relations pieces. YouTube, Vimeo, and many other video promotion websites will take your video press release and make it available to their website visitors.

A multi-pronged approach is always best online. The more widely you distribute your content – whether it be SEO content, social content, or videos – the more likely you are to drive targeted traffic to your website. And you are likely to reach different segments of your market by making your videos more widely available.

Video press releases are powerful because they engage people on various levels – by sight, through audio, and visually. They are apt to spark an emotional response, a necessary component in any PR campaign.

WebProNews reports that Google+ is beating LinkedIn for referral traffic on several websites. But it’s still trailing Twitter and Facebook.

That’s pretty astounding when you consider that Google+ has only been rolled out for a month or so and then as a limited beta test. Not everyone is using it yet.

When it finally goes public, what will the statistics be then?

One important point to consider was made by a commenter on the WebProNews article:

If the second trendline is significantly higher than the first then you have internal synergy and true growth in social media exposure. If the second trendline is equal to or lower than the first, then all you have is Google Plus siphoning off referral numbers from other sources.

That’s an important point and I think even the folks who conducted the initial study on this probably didn’t gather enough data to make a conclusion regarding that point. If Google+ only takes away referral numbers from other social networks, that’s not enough to say it’s a worth the effort. But if your Google+ traffic increases while your other social network traffic remains the same, then it could very well be a force to reckon with.

Then, of course, there’s the increase in spam that going public will likely draw. That will be a force as well. Bottom line: The jury’s still out on Google+.

The debate has been going on a long time. Some proponents of web design prefer to design their website using HTML. Others prefer a content management system, or CMS. But which is better?

I think it depends.

First, some CMSs are better than others so you have to be careful which one you use. Do you go for a paid CMS that you have to spend oodles of money on or do you opt for the paid open source version?

Here are some things to think about before deciding to use HTML or a CMS.

  • Security is better with an HTML website
  • Designing a website from scratch is usually easier and quicker with a CMS
  • You have more control over design with HTML
  • A CMS can be enhanced with plugins and add-ons
  • Traditionally, SEO has been more effective with HTML, however, many CMSs now rival HTML with search engine optimization
  • CMSs are often code heavy and can slow down your website, which diminishes your SEO effectiveness
  • You don’t have to know any coding languages to work with a CMS
  • If you design your website with HTML, it can be very tedious; one character out of place can mess up your entire website

There are pros and cons to using either a CMS or title=”HTML website design”>coding a website with HTML. Weigh your options and choose the one that is best for you.

Article directories have been around for a long time. Traditionally, they look like any other directory. You show up, look at a list of categories, and publish your article in the appropriate category. Then e-zine editors come along and pick up your article for publication. However, in recent years, article marketing has moved off into a different direction.

Here are 5 non-traditional article directories to try:

  1. HubPages – Let’s start with HubPages. You write articles in “hubs,” which are clumps of articles in the same niche, each article covering a different aspect or topic within that niche. What makes HubPages unique is that you can monetize your articles with Amazon affiliate links, Google AdSense, and other strategies.
  2. Squidoo – Squidoo Lenses are highly focused single-page resources on a tightly-knit topic. Build links to your website by focusing your Lenses on narrow topics.
  3. Knol – Google Knol pages are usually longer and more technical, but you’re allowed to include photos and links from your knol pages to other pages on the Web – even your own website.
  4. Helium – A place for authors and writers to build a loyal following for their articles on any topic.
  5. Triond – Triond doesn’t just publish your articles on its own website. There is a network of niche websites where your articles can appear as well, allowing you to expand your audience.

Article marketing is alive and well. We’re just doing it a bit differently these days.

E-mail marketing has been around since the early days of the Internet. It was one of the first firmly established Internet marketing tactics and is still today one of the most effective ways to reach an audience and earn an income online. Here are 5 ways to make e-mail marketing work for you.

  1. Use your website to collect e-mail addresses. Give something away in exchange for your website visitors’ e-mail addresses, then mail them periodic offers for your products and services and affiliate products.
  2. Get your website visitors to subscribe to an ongoing newsletter or e-zine, which you mail weekly or monthly with unique content they cannot get anywhere else.
  3. Use your mailing list to promote your online website and blog content. When you post something new, send a note to your list and guide them to your new content.
  4. Provide an e-course for your site visitors. Use your website to sign up new members for a free or paid e-course.
  5. Send out coupons for your products and services to members of your e-mail list to encourage the purchase of more products and services.

These are not the only ways to use e-mail marketing effectively, but these 5 techniques are ways that successful online marketers have used e-mail marketing in the past. I’m sure you can come up with your own creative way to market to your list using e-mail.

Most online marketers see where search and social media cross. Heck, even Google is starting to employsocial media tools to make its search engine better. But what about competitive intelligence? Does it intersect with social media at all?

You bet it does.

In fact, if you aren’t using social media for competitive research, then you aren’t using social media to its fullest potential. The first thing that comes to mind is following your competition on the top social networks. At a minimum, you should be keeping tabs on what your competition is doing at

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

And if you are a local business with local competition, then you should consider looking at what your competition is doing at

  • Foursquare
  • Meetup
  • Google Places

Just to start.

Social media is a tool with many uses. Competitive intelligence is just one of them, but it’s an important one. You can spy on your competition through any social network just by following them and learning what they are up to. If you want to be sneaky, you can set up anonymous accounts or proxies and spy on your competition that way.

Any way you do it, social media is a great competitive intelligence tool. Don’t ignore it.

Googler Jeremy Sussman explains in the following video how Google Maps uses location, relevance, and prominence to rank a business in Google Maps. Watch the video and we’ll talk about what the relevance factor means.

So what is meant by “relevance?”

Relevance in Google Maps means you have done everything you can do as a business to ensure that your Google Places profile matches the search queries that people use to find businesses like yours. Factors that determine relevance include the category you put your business into, keywords you use when writing your description, and other traditional SEO factors.

Of prime importance is category. If your business is a restaurant, you don’t want to categorize it as a butcher shop. That’s a no-brainer. But even subtle differences can make a big difference in Google Maps. For instance, an auto repair shop that does not do body work does not want to list itself as a body shop.

When you write the description for your business, be sure to use keywords that are naturally associated with businesses like yours. Don’t spam, but use natural writing methods to describe your business using the right keywords.

Other items that could affect relevance are how you write your offers within Google Places, whether your domain and business name have a keyword in them, and whether or not you use your business address in your listing.

Relevance is an important factor in Google Maps search. Learn how to make it work for you.

If you own a local business and you’ve been wondering how you can use the search engines and social media to attract more customers to your business, then I highly recommend Google Places. It just got a whole lot better.

More and more, Google has been embracing social media. And Google Places is becoming a nice blend of social media with search engine optimization benefits.

The Lat Long blog outlines some of the recent changes that Google Places adapted to make it better. I must say, the changes are a welcoming upgrade. Here are some of those changes and how they can benefit you.

  • Google Places is now more personalized. You can upload your photo and all of your reviews will appear in one location for easy referencing.
  • You can make friends on Google Places – not a bad idea. Your friends don’t have to be local. If you travel a lot, you might have friends all over the planet. Each friend is a connection to more local places in every area of the world where you have friends. You can share each others reviews through any Web interface including your mobile phone.
  • It is now a lot easier to rate and review local businesses of any type.
  • You can search for specific types of business in any location and review the ones you want.
  • The new Google Places web design is a 100% improvement.

The best way to use Google Places is to be a reviewer. If you are a business owner, don’t just sit back and wait for reviews. Be proactive. Review other businesses and you will develop new contacts in your local area. Those contacts will see that you own a business and are more likely to visit your business if they like and trust your reviews.

Business reviews just became a lot more social and those social benefits carry more search engine optimization benefits. Thank you Google Places.

True reach is a social media metric that many social media marketers use to determine how effective they are being at reaching their audience. There are various ways to determine true reach, but one way that I have seen used by online marketers is to measure your most loyal followers and the level of influence and interaction they have among their followers.

For instance, if you have 500 followers on Twitter and you interact with 10 of those on a regular basis and those 10 followers each have an average of 10 followers, your true reach is 100 (10 X 10).

Let’s expand the numbers a bit: You have 1,000 followers on Twitter and another 2,000 on Facebook. Let’s toss in another 2,000 connections on LinkedIn for a total of 5,000. If you have a network of 20 people across all three social networks who are influenced by your content and those 20 people have an aggregate of 250 followers and fans among them, then your true reach is 270.

So how do you know if your true reach is high or low? You can only measure it against your potential reach (your total number of followers plus their total number). With 5,000 social connections who among them have a total of 250 connections, your potential reach is 5,250.

Your true reach should be somewhere in the range of 25%-50% of your own total follower count. But I wouldn’t get wrapped around the numbers. Keep an eye on them and understand that the true reach metric is simply one of manysocial media measurements to watch.

Direct mail marketers have enjoyed a long hey-day of success and profits thanks to the U.S. Postal Service. But Postmaster General Patrick Donahue is predicting that mail delivery will move to three days a week – within 15 years. That makes me wonder, how much will postage cost then? Probably over $1 per delivery.

With postage expected to go up to 45 cents at the end of this year, direct mail marketers can’t afford to cling to the paradigms of the past. It’s high time to move into the future.

And what is the future? Well, I think we can safely say it is now.

Internet marketing is here to stay, and it’s replacing the old paradigms. If you wait 15 years before you start on your plan for marketing online, then your business will be as dead as the U.S. postal service. You should be online right now, and you should be marketing your business online right now – even if you still use direct mail marketing.

Smart marketers measure the times as much as they measure their own efforts. It is clear that the U.S. postal service, and direct mail, are moving into the past. The question is, what are you going to do about it – for your business?

Does it matter how much you spend on advertising? Does it matter how much you spend on pay per click advertising? I’d say it only matters if you are not achieving an ROI on your investment. Or, rather, it doesn’t matter if you are achieving a positive ROI.

It seems that Google is making hand over fist on the top 20 PPC ad keywords.

No wonder. Look at the top 5:

  • Insurance
  • Loans
  • Mortgage
  • Attorney
  • Credit

If you are in the banking, mortgage, credit, or legal business, then you have to pay top dollar for your PPC ads or risk big chances that you won’t get much traffic from your advertising. But the bottom line for any advertiser is, How much ROI do you realize based on your ad spend?

If you are a small insurance company, for instance, and you target your PPC advertising toward a specific niche within the industry or a geographic location, then you can cut your ad spend down based on a narrower market definition. You are also more likely to realize an ROI.

The key is to target your advertising to the specific niche you want to do business with. Narrow your market down as far as you can before you advertise. Long tail keywords are much more profitable for smaller budgets than general keyword phrases.

Instead of focusing your local blog on specific keywords designed to push your content up in the search engines (what some people call spam and others refer to as SEO), why not use your local influencers – people and organizations – as well as ordinary people to geotarget your local blog?

I’m talking about your business blog, and I’m talking about an unusual way to accomplish local SEO without simply focusing on churning out keyword-based content designed solely for SEO.

There are a number of ways you can accomplish this, but here are 5 ways that you can use local people and organizations to help you SEO your website locally.

  1. Hold a contest in which the winner is highlighted on your blog.
  2. Write a community service blog post once a week where you highlight a local person or organization for its service to the community.
  3. Choose a customer and make him/her the Customer of the Week. Write up a feature story about that person.
  4. Once a week or once a month, choose someone who is not a customer and ask them to try your product or service, then interview them about it an publish what they tell you (even if it’s negative).
  5. Write a story highlighting the 1,000th customer of the week, or something similar.

There are a lot of ways to geotarget your website, but if you try one of these five methods, then the content can naturally be geotargeted for maximum SEO benefits. Just be sure that you say what part of town or the neighborhood the person or organization you are focusing on lives in or does business in. You’ll see your title=”local website design SEO” target=”_blank”>local website geotargeted in no time.

In this day and age of content scrapers, website owners must be diligent in protecting what is theirs. Here are 5 ways you can ensure that you protect your content.

  1. Add a copyright notice to your website – While this won’t protect your content 100%, it will put content scrapers on notice. Some scrapers will see your notice and leave well enough alone, but enough content scrapers will ignore it that you should do more than just state your rights publicly.
  2. Send a request for removal – Many websites will remove your content if you simply ask, however, many more more won’t. That’s why you should be prepared to send a Cease and Desist Letter from your legal representative followed by a DMCA complaint filed with Google. But remember, you can take them to court, however, many content scrapers are in third world countries and out of reach of U.S. law.
  3. Use your Robots.txt disallow – If you know specific robots that are scraping your content, block them.
  4. .htaccess – Block robots from crawling your content using your .htaccess file.
  5. Use Creative Commons – Like traditional copyright, Creative Commons has its limitations. However, you can assign a wider variety of rights to your content if you want to encourage sharing, adaptive uses, and other types of creative licenses.

When it comes to protecting your content, be diligent and aggressive.

There are different ways to skin a cat, as they say. But when it comes to kicking off a brand new Internet marketing campaign, there are certain things that you definitely want to include in that effort. Leave them out at your own peril.

Here are the steps you need to take in your online marketing campaign. Some of the steps can be performed in any order while others should be performed in the proper order stated. I’ll let you know when it’s OK to veer into a different direction or rearrange the order.

If you’re used to doing a lot of offline marketing, or traditional marketing, then you’ve likely noticed that it has become quite expensive in the last few years. Oil prices have driven up the cost of paper and everything else. The economy taking a downturn has caused many businesses to stop advertising altogether, or diminish their marketing budgets.

But there is hope. Online marketing is less expensive and, if done right, is much more effective. That’s why so many businesses have transferred their marketing and advertising budgets to online.

Here are 5 online marketing methods that are outpacing their offline counterparts:

  1. Pay Per Click – Pay per click advertising is the online equivalent to some forms of print advertising. The difference is you pay only when a desired result takes place. It can be less expensive and deliver a higher ROI.
  2. Social Networking – Offline, you go to business functions. You often have to buy dinner, pay for transportation costs, business cards, and other incidentals. Online, you just show up. And talk to people. Make friends and contacts. Sell them stuff. The time commitment is higher, but it’s a lot easier on the budget.
  3. Video Marketing – Liken it to TV advertising. Do you really want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on 30-second spots that disappear with the money? Instead, pay for one video and it stays live online forever.
  4. >Website Design – Call them online billboards. Just like outdoor advertising, you have a limited space – your prospect’s browser window. Unlike outdoor billboards, that space can be expanded. And you can build many websites for less than the cost of a handful of billboards.
  5. Search Engine Optimization – Sorry, but there is no offline equivalent to search engine optimization. Yet it’s still the most effective online marketing money can buy.

Try just one or incorporate them all into your marketing plans, but online marketing is where it’s at.

It’s hard to believe that many SEO companies, Internet marketers, and companies online are using blog comment tactics from 2005 – tactics that aren’t at all effective and could hurt your reputation. On a daily basis, Reciprocal Consulting deletes spam comments, and some of them are from other Internet marketing consults who should know better.

Here are 5 specific ways that your blog comment might be considered spam and sent to the spam folder or the trash bin:

  1. Your comment is generic and adds no value to the blog. I see this all the time. Comments that are written and are so generic they could appear on anybody’s blog. If you aren’t commenting on something specific within the blog post you are commenting on, then your comment could be considered spam.
  2. The name you add to the comment form name field is your company name or a keyword. People like reading comments from other people. Companies and keywords don’t interact well with people. You’ll get more respect for your comments if you add them under your own name.
  3. Your e-mail address doesn’t match your domain name. This one is particularly puzzling when I see a comment from a Web marketing company representing a client and the e-mail address is from the Web marketing company’s domain rather than the client’s. I delete them.
  4. Your comment is full of links. The reason we ask for your website address is so that you can get a link back for your comment. There’s no need to add multiple links to your comment. We consider that spam.
  5. Your comment is in a foreign language. I see this often enough that it’s worth a mention. Why comment in Japanese or Spanish when the blog you are commenting on is English? I’m just saying.

With all the valid link building strategies available today, blog comment spam isn’t necessary. Why waste your time?

In February of this year, Google came out with the Panda Update and smacked down some very authoritative sites, including EzineArticles and several other popular article directories. A lot of smaller sites were affected as well.

Specifically, the update addressed low quality content on these sites. Many smaller sites were hit because they contained several pages of small amounts of content that didn’t really help their site visitors. For instance, an e-commerce site with 10 similar products might have had descriptions for those products where the only changes in the content were the names of the products. That doesn’t say much for originality and is definitely a characteristic of low quality.

Here are 5 specific lessons we can learn from the Google Panda update:

  1. Quality Over Quantity – You are better off consolidating your products into one grouping if they are so similar that you can’t produce quality content for each product description.
  2. Focus On Becoming An Authority – Authority sites reign supreme in Google’s eyes. To become an authority, you have to focus on consistent quality content over time.
  3. Use Social Media – Social media authority is every bit as important as content authority. Branch out beyond your own web properties.
  4. Photos Are Nice But …. – Instead of loading your site with photos, use the photos to enhance textual content. Your text is the meat of your content. Too many photos means too much fat.
  5. Age Is Important Too – Quality + Time = Authority. The age of your domain is an asset. If you do everything right over time, you’ll do well in the long run.

Keep your eyes focused on quality content, authority, and social media branding. These are the tools that successful Internet marketers are using to get ahead post-Panda.

Reciprocal Consulting has been an advocate of video marketing for years. There are good reasons why, and the following statistics (borrowed from this article on video marketing) illustrate some of those reasons:

  • Over 40% of consumers watch videos on a weekly basis.
  • Viral video marketing campaigns increase clickthrough rates by 750%.
  • Product videos sell 45% more products.
  • YouTube is considered the second biggest search engine online; it may someday surpass Google as the No. 1 search engine.

Video marketing is already hot. It’s about to get hotter. As companies figure out how to provide cheap videos that drive traffic to any website, you can bet that more and more videos will be uploaded to sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

Here are our top three tips for helping you produce a world class video that will market your products and services.

  • Make your video creative. Give it something to make it stand out. With billions of videos being uploaded to YouTube every day, competition is stiff – and it’s going to get stiffer.
  • Use testimonials, but make them real. Don’t stage your testimonials or use fake testimonies with actors. Use real customers who are excited about your products and services. Testimonials are powerful mareketing tools.
  • Keep it real. Be genuine and be yourself. People will see through any veneers you create so make your video a true reflection of who you are.