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If Google+ had a blog comments system as a part of its service, would you use it? There are plenty of reasons why you should think about it.

First, such a blog comment system would offer your blog an additional layer of SEO. Comments made on your blog through the Google+ service would most likely receive preferential treatment in the search engines. And that would benefit you as well as your commentators.

Another reason why Google+ blog commenting would be a decent service is because every time you used it your reputation within the Google brand of services would get a boost.

Those two reasons alone are good enough to say that it would be worth it. But should you also drop your Facebook comments?

When it comes to Google+ or Facebook, I’d say don’t pit them against each other. There’s no reason you can’t use both. Some of your Facebook friends won’t use Google+ and some of your Google+ friends won’t use Facebook. If you had both comment systems on your blog you would end up with a wider reach.

What’s really important in today’s online marketing climate is that you make the most of all the tools at your disposal. Are you doing that?

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a full on war going on between Google+ and Facebook, which is interesting because they may not really be competing.

Google+ is really all about integrating all of Google’s services into one service that ties them all together socially. Facebook is just about connection. Period. Always has been.

Later this month Facebook will introduce its Timeline across the board to every user. How will that change things?

First, you’ll be able to add a huge header at the top of your Timeline to define who you are and what you’re about. That’s a very important branding element for small business owners who are using Facebook for marketing.

The Timeline is being billed as the story of your life. If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, it could just as well be the story of your business’s life. And that’s huge. But is it really a whole lot different than what you have now?

It will be easier to search for past events in your Timeline – for you and for your subscribers.

Oh, and speaking of subscribers, that’s something else Facebook has added. Instead of friending everyone who asks, just get them to subscribe to your public updates. You could build a business on subscribers alone. What do you think of that?

I believe Google+ may very well become the most important reputation management tool you have and I’ll tell you why.

First, if you update your Google+ account on a regular basis – that is, you post to Google+ in the public stream – then your Google profile will rise to the top of the search results for your name (whatever name your Google account is under). Notice that I said “in the public stream.” That’s very important.

With Google+, you have the ability to post only to your circles, which makes distribution of your posts limited only to people within those circles. But those limited posts don’t show up when people look at your Google profile. If that’s all you post, to the outside world it will look like your Google+ account isn’t active. It really doesn’t matter what you post to your public stream, it will be visible to all and it will affect the rank of your Google profile.

Another reason Google+ will become an excellent reputation management tool is because Google is integrating all of its services. You can use Google+, Picasa, Google Docs, Google Reader, and all of the Google services to push your reputation to the forefront of the Google search results.

The more active you are, the higher you rise.

Online marketing is becoming less and less about SEO all the time. That doesn’t mean you should give up on SEO. What I’m really saying is that SEO is not the be all-end all of Internet marketing.

In the early days of online marketing, you had directories and search engines. There were these things called web rings, which on one uses any more. And there were display ads and articles, which was mostly about SEO. But that’s about it.

Around 1998, things began to change. Google was born. SEO took on greater prominence – for about five years.

In 2003, things began to change again. Blogs were becoming popular, social media was gaining ground, and PPC was big and strong. PPC was not about SEO It was about reaching your target market quickly and effectively. It still is.

But in the last couple of years we’ve seen the growth of mobile apps, QR codes, e-book readers, and a number of other emerging technologies that threaten to expand the Internet marketer’s reach outside of traditional online strategies like SEO, link building and social media. And I believe these opportunities are going to grow more prominent.

When it comes to online marketing, focus on what’s important for reaching your target market. SEO is important, but it’s one channel. Don’t get wrapped around a tree looking for the forest.

Online marketers have recently begun using a different kind of language. It used to be that you’d hear a lot about link building, social media marketing, and the use of other terms to give a fragmented impression of Internet marketing strategies. But there is one term that draws all of these concepts together under one impressive term.

That one term is “content marketing.” So what is it?

Content marketing includes the full span of content that you produce to promote your brand. It begins with your own website content, but it doesn’t end there.

Beyond your own website you have your blog, your social media profiles, directory submissions, video content, links, articles, Knol pages, Squidoo lenses, guest blog posts and anything that involves promoting your content in hopes of drawing attention to it.

All content marketing is really about one thing – drawing attention to yourself. Anything you use that does that falls into the category of content marketing. That even includes press releases, forum content and comments on other people’s blogs.

So here’s the question you have to answer about your own content marketing efforts: Are all of your efforts consistent in terms of your message and brand? If not, what do you need to do to get it there?

Content marketing is as much as creating perceptions as it is anything else. What are you doing to make your content sell your business?

Is there ever a time when you should stop your PPC campaign? Absolutely. But when is that time?

Obviously, you don’t want to stop something that is working. So if you have a PPC campaign that is bringing you an ROI, then that’s not a campaign you want to stop. But you do want to stop those campaigns that are not working.

How long should you let your pay per click campaigns go before you decide to stop them? You don’t want them to go on too long.

It depends on how much money you have invested, but if you aren’t experiencing enough click throughs or the click throughs you are getting aren’t converting, then that’s when you want to put your PPC ads on pause and redirect your advertising efforts.

CTR is an important metric. How many click throughs is enough? It’s different for every campaign, but if your click throughs don’t match your expectations, then it’s time to find out why. You can pause your campaign long enough to tweak your ads and see if that increases your CTR.

Conversion rate is another problem. If your PPC ads aren’t converting, it’s likely your landing pages. Have you tested them? If not, then you should pause your PPC campaign and engage in a little multivariate testing of your landing pages. Find out what works, then restart your pay per click campaigns when you have the kinks worked out.

Google+ has opened up a lot of new opportunities for online marketers. One of those opportunities is with video marketing. Through Google+, you can do four types of sharing:

  • Links
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Long posts, like blog posts

Each of these Google+ forms has its own strengths. But with videos, you can add a whole new dimension to your Google+ experience as well as your total online marketing.

Since Google owns both Google+ and YouTube, sharing of videos is seamless through Google+. You can upload your videos to YouTube and share them via Google+. But that’s so obvious.

Another way to expand on your video marketing through Google+ is a bit more complex (and not so obvious).

Google+ has something called a Hangout. It’s a video conference that you can hold through the Google+ platform, and you can invite anyone you want to attend. You need a camcorder and a microphone. Google+ does the rest.

But what about that video? Glad you asked.

Promote your hangout, send out your invites, and deliver a keynote address on some topic that is important to you and your followers. While you’re at it, record your hangout. If you use a camcorder that records and saves your presentation as you are making it, then you can have your video made as you are delivering your keynote. Then you can upload it to YouTube and save it back on Google+. Just a thought.

Like a lot of things, competitive research comes in different sizes and shapes. Here are 5 types of competitive research you might consider when thinking of ways to spy on your competition.

  1. Financial Research – One of the most basic types of competitive intelligence is looking at your competition’s financial information. Do they look like they are headed for financial disaster? Are they profitable? This type of research is easier for public companies.
  2. Market Studies – Market studies tell you how you compare against your competition in terms of market share and influence.
  3. SEO Research – This includes keyword research, but it also entails an analysis of search engine rankings and other key metrics for companies doing business online.
  4. Technology Research – What technology does your competition employ in the course of doing business? Is it proprietary or do they use off-the-shelf technology? In some industries, technology can be an influential factor in who is leading the pack.
  5. Customer Satisfaction – Are your competition’s customers happy with the service they are receiving? If not, why not? This can be a very important part of your competitive research. Too bad many companies forget about it.

These are not the only forms of competitive research available to you, but they are each important in their own way. One thing is clear, if you want to lead in your industry, competitive research is a necessity.

Here’s a question for you: What’s killing e-mail marketing?

Is it PPC? Search engine optimization? Video marketing? Social media?

Answer: None of the above! E-mail isn’t dying.

It’s fashionable to proclaim the death of old media when new media arrives. Those who remember the early advent of DVDs will remember how they were supposed to kill the movie theater. But the box office is still going strong and some of the biggest box office openings in history have occurred after DVDs.

The Internet hasn’t killed radio or TV. Search didn’t kill directories. Social media didn’t kill search. Nor will it, or anything else, kill e-mail marketing.

E-mail is a private space that people will allow you to enter if you’ve built their trust. You can use other media – search, social media, and videos – to build that trust. Then you use your website to get people to give your their private e-mail address, which you can then use to send them invitations and marketing messages that close the sale or seal the deal. E-mail is where the transaction is solidified.

E-mail marketing is far from dead. The best Internet marketers are using it to make their dough. You should too.

It’s been just a couple of weeks since Google+ went public. Before then, you had to wait for a user to send you an invitation and then you entered a waiting list. Well, now the waiting list is gone and so are the invitations. But what kind of world has it left us?

In its first two weeks of being public, Google+ saw 2 million new users. Its servers slowed down and some users experienced a few minor glitches while using the service. That’s a good thing.

No outages. Nothing stratospheric in terms of hiccups. But it was noticeable.

Google+ still continues to grow at a steady and highly noticeable pace. Many users are anxiously waiting for business accounts to be introduced. That will add another level of competition between Facebook and Google+, a competitive landscape that is already pretty tough. But what about LinkedIn and Twitter?

At last count, Google was somewhere in the neighborhood of No. 5 or 7 in traffic for social media websites – right behind Twitter and LinkedIn. It won’t take much growth to pass them both.

I think we may be leaving the world where social marketers proclaimed Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were the most important social services for businesses. In the future, you will likely hear that Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are the most useful services. Do you agree?

A couple of weeks ago Facebook added some new features that improve its interface and allow small business owners the ability to reach more people and manage their profiles better. One of those new features is “Subscriptions.” But you have to activate the feature.

Why would you want to activate Facebook Subscriptions? Plain and simply, because it allows others to follow your Facebook updates without friending you. That’s a benefit to you since you don’t have to be bothered with friending them back and being inundated with status updates for everyone who falls into that category.

People will use the Subscription feature to see if you are someone they want to friend. If your status updates are useful to them, then they’ll friend you. So it’s a good way to screen people to see if you want them to be your friend or not.

To activate your subscriptions, go to your Facebook profile and click on your name to go to your home page. Under your profile photo, click Subscriptions. On the right tab you’ll see a button labeled “Allow Subscriptions.” Click it. Then you can edit your permissions to determine who can leave comments and participate on your wall.

Facebook is beginning to become a useful marketing tool for small businesses. But you have to use intelligently.