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Do you know the most important on-page optimization element? Is it internal links? H1 tags? Meta Description (is that even on-page?)? Your primary keyword? Secondary keyword? Or maybe it’s your page title?

Yesterday I stumbled across a web page that ranked No. 1 in its niche for the keyword the author was targeting. When I clicked View Source to check out what was under the hood on that page I discovered a div tag with the element title “hidden SEO”. It was followed by a long line of keywords, keyword phrases, and other SEO content. Could that have been the reason the page ranked No. 1?

Possibly. But even so ….

I wouldn’t put my life on it. That wasn’t the most important on-page optimization element.

So what is?

The most important on-page optimization element for any page you build for your website is the actual content on the page. If you think that’s vague, try building a web page with no words on it. Just build a sidebar with widgets. Does it look good? Do you think it will rank? Now add a link. Nothing more, just a link. Better now? How about adding a video. No description, just a video. Think you’ll make money with that?

I could go and on, but the point is real simple. A web page with no words, no content, no message that intrigues, entertains, enlightens, informs, educates, or sparks a call to action is not really optimized. It’s just there.

Twitter Chat has become one of the most popular features of the social media service whose mascot is a funny-looking bird. The way it works is the moderator, or facilitator, of the chat creates a hashtag that all members of the chat session can use to keep up with the conversation. While the hashtag is useful for keeping up with the chat, there are some tools that you can use to make tweeting easier during the chat session. One such tool is TweetChat.

The benefit to using TweetChat is that everyone who is a member of the chat session can make their tweets via TweetChat and the tool itself will automatically insert the hashtag after each post. That’s important because many members of a Twitter chat session will often forget to include the hashtag when they post.

So what are the benefits of hosting a Twitter chat session?

First, you can use it to develop relationships with your biggest fans and customers. Set a chat session to discuss an important topic in your industry and see who shows up. You can also offer discounts on items to people who show up at the chat sessions, so you can use it as a marketing and promotional tool. The biggest benefit to hosting a Twitter chat session is that you can often find new followers due to the public nature of the chat sessions. Because they are public and not private anyone can see the chat in progress. That means anyone who is following your hashtag or who performs a search for keywords that any member of the chat session uses will see your chat session and possibly join. Followers of each member will also see the chat and may join in.

Hosting Twitter chat session can lead to more followers and more business for your brand. It’s a great social media tool.

Have you ever wished you could broadcast a video online in real time to an audience of thousands of eager watchers? It won’t be long before you can.

I like this idea. It’s about as sublime an idea as I can think of. But what does it take?

  1. First, it takes a Google+ account. If you haven’t signed up for a Google+ account, then I’d suggest you do so. This is only going to get better.
  2. Secondly, you need a YouTube account. If you don’t have one, sign up for one now. Remember to sync your YouTube account and your Google+ account by using the same login address.
  3. Start a Google+ hangout. Invite people. Enjoy the hangout.

The Google+ Hangouts on Air hasn’t been rolled out publicly yet, but when it does go public, you’ll then be able to have a recording of your hangout post automatically to your Google+ stream and your YouTube account. Then, you and the other participants, as well as people watching the recording after the event, can discuss it. That’s powerful video marketing.

In fact, it’s the most powerful video marketing ever. After all of that, you’ll be able to share the video on Facebook, Twitter, LinkIn, and wherever else you have a social media presence.

Google+ Hangouts is already a powerful feature of the new social network owned by Google. When you add the ability to record your hangout and have it post automatically to YouTube – well, you can’t beat it. It isn’t exactly realtime (thought the event itself is), but it’s just one step away.

Thanks to all those SEO books that came out over the past 10 years there are a lot of small business owners who are making SEO mistakes over and over again. They don’t know they’re making mistakes. They’re doing things the way their SEO taught them to. But the problem is the Internet, and the search engines, have changed a lot in the last decade.

Here are 5 big SEO mistakes that most small business owners are still making:

  1. Key stuffing – This is the practice of adding too many keywords to your web pages so that you rank higher for those keywords. The problem is, if the search engines catch on that you are putting too many keywords into your content, then you will lose rankings.
  2. Spammy links – Many webmasters and small business owners are still chasing spammy links. Many are still using article marketing techniques from 5 or 10 years ago. These usually lead to spammy links. What will happen is the search engines will discount those links, so all your efforts to acquire them was wasted.
  3. Lack of link diversity – In your effort to rank well for your pet keywords you end up using the same anchor text for your links over and over again. Search engines like to see diversity in anchor text.
  4. Buying links – Here’s another big one. Many small business owners get roped into buying links. If they are found out, they will likely have their sites de-indexed.
  5. Duplicate content – Are you still using article directories and taking articles that other people are using too? They won’t rank. How about plagiarizing? I am amazed to see how many small business owners lift content from other websites. This will hurt your business.
    1. If you want to make your SEO better, start by avoiding these common SEO mistakes.

Have you ever wanted the ability to make offers on your Facebook page? To offer discounts, giveaways, contests, and engage your audience in other promotions that lead to your benefit and theirs? Well, now you can. Facebook has announced that Facebook Offers is in limited beta.

What that means is that you can request the ability to make offers on your Facebook page if you request it and Facebook grants it. The best I can tell at this point, Facebook will grant the offer to anyone who asks.

So what can an offer do?

Facebook Offers is a lot like Groupon. You make offers to your Facebook fans that you hope they will take you up on. When they do you get increased exposure for your business, more traffic to your website, and more customers sending you their money. You can reach new people with your offers when your friends and fans share it with their friends and fans.

I think Facebook Offers is a great idea. I’d like a little more clarification on whether or not it is open to anyone who asks. If it is, then this is a grand opportunity for all. If not, then it’s a grand opportunity for a chosen few while the rest of us will have to wait a while. Eventually, Facebook Offers will be open to everyone.

Facebook marketing is getting better. Slowly. But it is getting better and that’s something to brag about.

Internet marketing is for authors too. In fact, many successful authors use the Internet every day to promote their books and other merchandise. You can too.

One successful author recently increased his readership by several thousand fans just by following a very simple strategy for online promotion. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. The first thing Kevin W. McCarthy did was turn an existing book into a Kindle e-book.
  2. Then he set the price of the e-book at free
  3. Next, he sent out e-mail blasts promoting the book.
  4. And he set up radio interviews and online webcasts to help promote the book
  5. Finally, he promoted the book through social media

As a result of his efforts, Kevin W. McCarthy’s Kindle book became the No. 1 non-fiction book at Amazon. And all he did was promote his book in ways that successful authors everywhere do.

You can do it. And you don’t even need a previously published book. You can write your book right now and publish it yourself through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program.

By authoring your own book and promoting it through your e-mail list, website properties, and all over the web using the tools at your disposal – most of them free – you can maneuver yourself onto the best selling list at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBook store, and other online book merchants.

The key to success as an author is to have an idea, follow through with that idea, and then promote your book once it is published. It’s never been easier to be a successful author.

“Content marketing” is the new catchphrase. In the old days, people used “article marketing” to denote what today is often referred to as “content marketing,” but the two are really different.

Article marketing was the process of writing articles and then publishing those articles in directories for e-zine editors and publishers and webmasters to use as content on their own web properties. While this process in included in the overall concept of content marketing, there is a fine nuance that differentiates the two.

Content marketing is a broader category. Anything you do online that promotes your business or your content – whether it be on your own web properties or elsewhere – can be considered content marketing.

So is there a viable strategy to ensure that your content marketing is effective?

Yes, but it’s different for every business.

The first step to an effective content marketing strategy is to define your business goals. All of your content publishing and marketing should go toward helping you reach those goals. Anything that doesn’t contribute to the advancement of your business goals is superfluous and should be cut out. Anything that pushes you forward toward your goals is good marketing.

But is everything content? Content is anything you create, produce, or publish. It can include guest articles for your blog, articles you publish around the web, images and videos you load to your website or third-party sites like Flickr and YouTube, and anything else that takes up virtual space on a server and is public. That includes forum postings and blog comments on other blogs.

Your strategy should be to present your company in the best possible light in all situations. That requires forethought. Don’t market emotionally. Market responsibly.

Last year Yahoo! killed its Site Explorer product, which was a link building tool that every SEO and Internet marketer used to measure their inbound links. Now, the only such products available are paid tools. But a new service offered by Yahoo! may very well put the company back in the small business marketing services game.

Yahoo! has always tried to come up with ways to appeal to small businesses. In the early days of its life they gave small businesses a directory listing. Then paid services became available as well as display advertising.

Once PPC came into the fore, many businesses dropped their display advertising campaigns. It took a while, but pay-pay-click advertising won that war. That is one of the reasons Yahoo! fell to second place behind Google.

Among the features offered is a reputation management tracker. You can also see which search engines have your business listed. And you can track sales and report revenues as well.

It remains to be seen how useful the service is. Right now, it’s free, though premium upgrade plans are available for a fee.

Whether or not Yahoo! turns its Small Business Marketing Dashboard into a competitive product depends on how well they can deliver on the features and the benefits they promise. This may be Yahoo!’s last ditch effort to stay alive. If Small Business Marketing Dashboard doesn’t win hearts and minds, we may continue to see a steady decline in the influence of Yahoo!

An SEO company conducted an experiment with a well done control test that sheds some light on the connection between organic search rankings and social media promotion. The conclusion is that Google+ promotion increases search rankings. I think there may be some nuances this test doesn’t touch on, but it looks pretty reasonable to me that they’ve drawn the right conclusion.

I have noticed that Google+ is a good reputation management tool.

If you look at the results of the study, they seem to indicate that acquiring new Google+ followers is the best activity for increasing one’s search engine rankings, but that could be misleading. The results are based on gaining just 100 new followers. Would the results be the same if the number of new followers were 1,000? How about 5,000?

Next in line for increasing search engine rankings is getting +1s. It actually makes sense that getting more +1s would increase search engine rankings. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

That Facebook promotion actually does increase Google rankings does surprise me a little bit. But I’m glad to see that it happens. Facebook has done a lot to make itself a walled garden so a lot of your activity isn’t measured by Google. Evidently, Likes and shares are.

Tweets and retweets can also increase search engine rankings, but only by a smidgen. The only thing that surprises me about this is that the results are much lower than expected. I’d have thought that Twitter promotion would do more to increase search engine rankings.

Finally, simply acquiring new Twitter followers not only doesn’t help, but there was a slight decrease in search engine rankings. That’s another surprise. But this might not have anything to do with Twitter. If no other social media activity took place, then the slight decrease in search engine rankings might have been as a result of that lack of activity.

Given these results, it seems to reason that if you engaged in Google+, Facebook, and Twitter promotions simultaneously, then your search engine rankings should improve relative to the amount of activity engaged by your competition. Nice test. I’m glad someone undertook it.

One of the good things about Google is that it is constantly updating its indexing and ranking practices to make its search engine better. This of course has some drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that the search index itself will never be perfect.

Chris Crum at WebProNews illustrates how Google’s freshness update doesn’t always return the most relevant search result for a particular search query. By the same token, freshness also means that Google won’t always return the most recent search result possible for any given search query.

That last point is mentioned in this 10-point list on SEOmoz.

Google’s freshness update makes it more difficult to engineer effective search engine optimization campaigns. But I wouldn’t use that as an excuse not to try. I’m just saying that freshness makes it more difficult to guess how Google will react to the ever-changing landscape of content marketing.

For any given query, Google could return the most relevant-but-dated search results, the most recent search results that come close to matching, or a mixture of the two. We hope that most of the time it will be a mix.

While freshness changes things for Internet marketers and SEOs, it doesn’t change a lot. Our job is still to write the best content we can create about the topics we are writing about. If we do that well and we can beat the competition, then we should get search engine rankings for the short term as well as for the long term.