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Is there an SEO activity that is more important than all the others? Is it link building? Social networking? Writing meta tags? Keyword research? Looking over analytics reports?

Actually, it’s none of those. The most important SEO activity that you can perform at any time is content creation.

That’s right. As simple as it sounds, content creation is no mundane activity. It is the heart and soul of SEO. Without quality content there is nothing else that you can do that can make your website’s SEO effective.

All the link building in the world is fruitless if you aren’t producing quality content on a regular basis. What good is analytics without content? Why are you networking if you have no content? Meta tags without content is senseless. Yet, many webmasters spend a great deal of their day engaging in one or more of the above activities without producing any new content.

When you produce new content for your website you are telling your website visitors and the search engines that you take their concerns seriously. I’d rather spend an hour writing more content than two or three hours on each of the other activities combined.

If you aren’t creating new content every day – even if it’s just one article – then you aren’t really doing SEO.

I have to admit that when I read the title of this article at SiteProNews I thought, “OK, here’s another shallow article on how domain names are the Holy Grail of SEO. Isn’t that so 2005?”

After reading the article I have to agree with its premise.

Much has been said of link building, link baiting, and other here-today-gone-tomorrow SEO schemes. But Google always seems to find a way to make these “hot” SEO tactics not so hot after a series of algorithm changes. But one thing Google has never seemed to target for limitation is the domain name. It could very well be the most important SEO ranking factor long term.

I like the way the author puts it in these paragraphs:

Many SEO experts would suggest high quality backlinks from keyword related authority sites to be the overriding factor for high rankings. Others would suggest, in the new improved Panda-Empowered Google, on-page and on-site metrics are now the most important ranking factors to be considered for high listings.

However, I would suggest another old ranking factor, which is still one of the most over-riding factors for getting those top listings in Google. Simply put, having the exact keywords or keyword phrase in your domain name and title, is the most important ranking factor.

Unlike other SEO ranking factors, domain names are a tight security against fluctuating algorithms intended to kill search engine spam. Just by putting your exact keyword phrase – your primary phrase – in your domain name and ensuring that your website is full of high quality content, that alone is a goldmine of search ranking potential. In many cases, link building isn’t even necessary. I’ve seen sites rank on that alone.

The key is in choosing a keyword phrase that accurately depicts what your site is about without getting cute. Then, filling that website’s pages with high quality content which also targets that keyword phrase without going into excess.

Domain names are like real estate. If you build your business on the most desirable corner in a city, then you will no doubt get tons of traffic. People will stop in to see what you are about. And the real estate is limited. In the same way, a domain name can be like that street corner. Its value can increase according to market demand and the limitations imposed on the space.

Do it well and your domain name can serve you for years to come.

A discussion with another Internet marketer about the growing popularity of Pinterest led to a disagreement over the value of its traffic. The other Internet marketer exclaimed, “You can’t get any traffic from it and if you do it won’t be valuable traffic.” I disagree.

Evidently, I’m not the only one.

A WebProNews article indicates that Pinterest traffic is up 3.6% from December last year. Not only that, but the guide also tells you how to make the most of your Pinterest social networking activities.

Pinterest is a unique service in that it relies mostly on graphic content, unlike other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Google+ comes close, however, Google+ also provides benefit for video marketers and textual content publishers. Pinterest is almost exclusively graphic in nature. But it is social. You could say it’s more like Flickr or Photobucket except that the social features are much more enhanced.

Because it is social in nature, one of the most important parts about Pinterest to keep in mind is to make friends. That means follow other people’s Pinboards and connect with them over your tastes in graphics. But you should be careful not to violate anyone’s intellectual rights, and you should spend considerable time sharing your own graphic content as opposed to just pinning others’ graphics. Mix it up, in other words.

Perhaps the most important part of Pinterest is your ability to group images by category. If your categories are interesting, then you’ll stand a much better chance of gaining new followers and by doing so you’ll get the referral traffic you are seeking. Like any social network, be interesting and people will follow.

Incrementality is a term that is associated with how many PPC ad clicks are caused by a lack of similar organic results. In other words, if you have a PPC ad that targets a specific keyword phrase and you receive 100 ad clicks in the absence of an associated organic result, 50 of those are said to be incrememntal if they are not replaced by clicks on organic results when those organic results are present.

Let’s take a concrete example.

Let’s say you are targeting the keyword phrase “red banana.” If you have a PPC ad that you run periodically targeting that phrase and you get 100 clicks a day on that ad when there is no organic search result for your landing page, we’ll consider that your base of comparison. Now, let’s say you have an organic search result that appears alongside your PPC ad. If you get 50 clicks on the organic search result when it is present and 50 clicks on the PPC ad, then you do not have any incremental clicks on the ad. However, if you only get 25 clicks on the organic result and 50 clicks on the PPC ad, then 25% of your ad clicks are said to be incremental.

Google recently performed a study concerning incrementality on ad clicks.

The interesting thing about this study is that it shows that 50% of ad clicks are incremental when the advertiser has the top ranking for the targeted keyword phrase. If your organic result is in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th positions, then advertisers’ incrementality rate is 81%. The incrementality rate is 96% for advertisers whose organic rankings are in the 5th position or lower.

While Google is careful to point out that individual advertisers will have differing results, this is a telling study. For one thing, it illustrates the importance of high organic search rankings. But it also says that PPC advertising is more important when your organic search rankings are lower.

Do you have a book in your head? You can translate that book into formats that are easy to read in the palm of your hand. The two leading e-book publishing formats are Kindle and e-Pub. By targeting your manuscript to these formats you will reach about 90% of the e-reading public.

E-books used to exist in PDF and HTML, and that was it. But that was before Amazon revolutionized the publishing industry with its Kindle.

Amazon has the Kindle Direct Publishing program that allows anyone – yes, anyone – to upload a Word document and have it reformatted for the Kindle. Then you can sell it on Amazon and keep 70% of the profits. Likewise, Smashwords will take your Word document and put it through its Meatgrinder churning out a manuscript in as many as 10 formats. Those include:

  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Kindle
  • E-Pub
  • PDF
  • RTF
  • LRF (for older model Sony Readers)
  • Palm Doc
  • Plain Text (download)
  • and Plain Text (view) – viewable as a web page

So what do you do after you’ve published your book in these formats?

The first thing you do is build a website to promote your book. Then you want to drive traffic to your website, but instead of offering the books for download on your website, you’ll offer a link to Amazon and one to Smashwords where people can go to download your book.

There are two reasons why you do it this way. First, even though your book will have a description and other marketing information at both Amazon and Smashwords, having your own website allows you to include more sales and marketing material than either of the other two services and to present in a format that you have more control over.

The second reason you want your own website for marketing purposes is because you can take advantage of the Amazon and Smashwords affiliate programs.

Amazon pays you 70% royalties on every sale. Smashwords pays you 80%. But you can make more money if you sign up for their affiliate programs. That way you can promote the books on your website and receive a sales commission for each copy you sell in addition to your royalties.

If you want to be a published author, you need a hub – a home on the web. That’s what your website does for you. Become an author today.

If you had any lingering doubts that search engine optimization was still a valid form of marketing, you can put them to rest right now. According to WebProNews, search is up by 68% since 2008.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone really. While the hype these days is around social media, search is still getting a lot of air play.

The interesting thing is that Microsoft, or Bing, has gained the most ground in that time. Google has already increased the number of searches it gets. In fact, it’s share of the search market is almost 70%. Bing’s is just under 20%. And Yahoo!’s is falling.

For the first time in search history, Bing is actually No. 2 in terms of total market share. Yahoo! has fallen to No. 3.

And here’s another surprise: A few people are still using AOL.

What all this boils down to is that more people are searching for information online through search engines than ever before. That means that search engine optimization is no less important than it ever was. In fact, I’d say it’s more important now than it ever has been. And that will likely increase even more going into the future.

So let’s answer the all-important question: Why? Why is search growing?

I think it really boils down to one thing. More and more people are using the Internet. As the younger generation gets older that means more people enter into the information market. And older people are going online more and more each day as well. All that spells a huge increase in search driving up demand for professional search engine optimization.

Where people are searching there is a need for more information. That means you should be putting your marketing money into search. Even now.

If you don’t have a huge budget but you still want to take advantage of the benefits of link building, there are ways you can build solid links to your website or blog without spending a lot of time or money on the effort. It does, however, take some creativity.

The first step is to ask for guest bloggers to write content for your blog. Set up a Guest Blogger page on your blog and get people to sign up to be a guest blogger. Then, give them some sample post titles to write, but be willing to accept other types of posts as well. Keep an open mind. But one thing you don’t want to sacrifice on is quality. Insist that all content you publish is high quality content.

Be sure to promote your guests posts through your social media accounts. Then follow those guest bloggers on their social media accounts. Retweet their tweets, Like their posts, and build that relationship.

After you’ve built your relationships, cash in. Ask those fellow bloggers if you can write a guest post on their blog. When you do, use the rel=author tag to link your guest posts to your Google+ account (you do have one, don’t you?) and link your Google+ account to your guests posts. Also link those guest posts back to your blog or website, which is the inbound link that you’ve been coveting.

Building links this way won’t be fast, but it is effective and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Most web pages that suffer from mediocre search rankings can have those rankings increased with just a few simple tweaks. In most cases all it takes is 3-5 small improvements that take less than 5 minutes each to fix. Here are 5 very small web page improvements you can make to better your website’s SEO in less than 30 minutes.

  • Alt tags – Got a photo or image that you are adding to your page? Include an alt tag. Make sure that your alt tag uses your primary keyword for that page. The alt tag is to notify the search engines that the photo is there and what it is about. It will definitely increase your SEO to have alt tags on all your images.
  • Inline JavaScript – This kills so many web pages that it’s not even funny, especially if the JavaScript is at the top of the web page’s code. Take that inline JavaScript and put it into an external file, then call it into your web pages with a single line of code. That alone should increase your web visibility because search engines don’t crawl JavaScript and you want to watch your code-to-text ratio.
  • Unique meta descriptions – If you have two or more web pages with the same or similar meta descriptions, rewrite the meta descriptions until they are all unique.
  • Keywords in subheads – Subheads are often overlooked in pages with lots of text, but if you add subheads every third or fourth paragraph and ensure you have your keywords in those subheads, then that will go a long way to optimizing your web pages.
  • Optimized meta title – Like the meta description, a unique meta title can do wonders for your on-page SEO. Don’t just take your page’s headline and make it your meta title. Instead, write a unique meta title using the same keyword that is in your headline.

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you should find your on-page SEO improving your search rankings almost immediately.

Are you a CEO? Do you have direct access to the CEO at your company? If so, then you should do everything you can to convince him or her to open up a Twitter account and start tweeting.

According to the latest survey, 77% of consumers and 82% of employees trust a company more when its CEO tweets.

Tweeting puts your CEO on the front line of customer service rather than hiding behind a desk on top of a 700-foot ivory tower. That spells “inaccessible,” and in an age of expected accessibility it is the cardinal sin. Your entire company will benefit if your CEO isn’t afraid to get his social media hands dirty.

That doesn’t mean he should just jump in without getting a primer first. Certainly, you should have your PR or marketing consultant discuss the pros and cons of Twitter and develop a social media strategy.

I wouldn’t stop at Twitter either. Try out Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn as well. All of your top executives should have a social media presence.

It’s hard to ignore social media in today’s world. It’s so expected that if you ignore it you will be relegating your company to the trash heaps of history. And there are enough companies heading in that direction without yours joining them. The best part about social media is that you don’t have to spend all day working it. You can have a viable plan with just 15-30 minutes a day.

If you’re a CEO, work out your social media plan now.