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A recent study shows that marketers and ad agencies are pretty close in their ideas about certain marketing tactics like online advertising, video marketing, blog content, and mobile.

I’m really not surprised by these results. I assume that online advertising is a reference to display advertising, but the study doesn’t say. I suppose it could also refer to pay per click marketing. Either way, it seems that ad agencies, and particularly marketers, see a lot of value in this tactic.

More importantly, video marketing has seen a sharp increase among both marketers and ad agencies. A full 12% more marketers are investing in video production while 7% more ad agencies are recommending it. No wonder. It’s an effective way to market online in 2012.

Mobile marketing has taken a huge leap. 30% more marketers are marketing through mobile and 10% more ad agencies are recommending it.

But what about blog content marketing? 1% fewer marketers are using blogs and 1% fewer ad agencies are recommending it. I wonder why. When you consider the SEO benefits of blog content, the long term reputation management benefits, and the branding benefits that blogging has to offer, I wonder why more ad agencies aren’t recommending blog management and why aren’t more marketers going that route?

It could be a perception that the blogosphere is oversaturated, but even if so, it’s quite effective in terms of driving traffic and engagement for brands that are using it. Video is good, mobile is good, and advertising is good, but so is blogging. What are your thoughts?

In a recent interview with Eric Enge, head of Google’s webspam team Matt Cutts outright says that local businesses can escape the thin content rule using just a few sentences on a web pages about a particular store location in a particular city.

Here’s the scenario: Let’s say you own a chain of restaurants and that you have restaurants in 100 cities across the south. So you build a separate page on your website for each city. Instead of publishing the same 2 or 3 paragraphs about each location on every page, which would not be helpful to visitors and not be good food for search engines, just write a couple of sentences about each location that is unique to that location. That’s not thin content, Matt Cutts says.

Here’s the actual exchange between Matt Cutts and Eric Enge:

Eric Enge: Let’s switch gears a bit. Let’s talk about a pizza business with stores in 60 cities. When they build their site, they create pages for each city.
Matt Cutts: Where people get into trouble here is that they fill these pages with the exact same content on each page. “Our handcrafted pizza is lovingly made with the same methods we have been using for more than 50 years …”, and they’ll repeat the same information for 6 or 7 paragraphs, and it’s not necessary. That information would be great on a top-level page somewhere on the site, but repeating it on all those pages does not look good. If users see this on multiple pages on the site they aren’t likely to like it either.
Eric Enge: I think what site owners may argue is that if someone comes in from a search engine and lands on the Chicago page, and that is the only page they see on the site, they want to make their best pitch on that page. That user is also unlikely to also go visit the site’s Austin pizza page.
Matt Cutts: It is still not a good idea to repeat a ton of content over and over again.
Eric Enge: What should they put on those pages then?
Matt Cutts: In addition to address and contact information, 2 or 3 sentences about what is unique to that location and they should be fine.
Eric Enge: That won’t be seen as thin content?
Matt Cutts: No, something like that should be fine.

That should clear up any confusion for local businesses with multiple locations within their city or chains with multiple locations across multiple cities who want to have a web page for every location on their websites. You can escape the thin content rule if you do it with finesse and have unique content about each of your locations.

Some things are hard to measure. The size of the universe, an idea, social media ROI, just to name a few. Veteran thought leader Shel Israel recently made some observations on marketing and social media in Forbes. One particular comment focused on measuring ROI in social media.

Organizations are back to measuring social media programs in terms of ROI, which makes as little sense as determining the ROI of wearing clothing to a business meeting. There are just some things that have obvious value, but are very hard to measure in dollar value.

Marketers have always tried to get a handle on how much money they’re spending is affecting their bottom line. You want to know if your investment is paying off. Are your profits increasing as a result of your efforts?

Those are all good questions, but maybe they’re framed incorrectly. Instead, try asking “Is the feedback I get from customers through social media actionable information?” Or maybe this one: “Are the relationships we’re building through social media meaningful, and can they lead to a long term sales relationships?”

If you pay a full-time social media manager a salary of $30,000 a year, how much business do you expect to earn from that? If you gain a 10% increase in your customer base each year on that investment starting with 10 new customers in your first year, how long will it take for you to see a positive ROI? Do you even know?

But here’s the best question: How would you know?

Social media marketing is not an exact science. Most businesses have multiple touch points before they win a new customer. Was it the social media that got you that customer, your SEO rankings, or your off line billboards?

Social media has become a fact of life. It’s not a matter of measuring ROI. It’s a matter of entering the conversation that is already taking place around your niche. You’re either in it or you’re not.

Keyword research is one of the most important parts of the search engine optimization process. But why?

Here are 4 reasons why you should not skip the keyword research part of the process.

  1. Your keyword research will either affirm that your keyword list is on target or identify keywords on your own list that are not profitable and therefore should not be pursued.
  2. When you begin your optimization process, or the content creation aspect of the optimization process, you will have identified your most profitable keyword opportunities.
  3. Good keyword research will uncover missed opportunities. These are keywords you didn’t think about that provide you with the necessary data indicating profitable opportunities in your SEO campaigns.
  4. By conducting your keyword research you will be more focused throughout the SEO process and be able to optimize your web properties more deliberately instead of flailing about guessing about what keywords will work best.

Before you build your website, write your blog, or undergo any SEO activity in your optimization campaigns, spend some time conducting keyword research. It will save you a lot of time and headache in the long run and likely will even pay off handsomely as you identify the most profitable keywords for your business.

Twitter has always been a good place to market your products and services, meet new prospects, and enter into conversations about your services. But it recently got even better.

One thing that makes Twitter so special, or at least puts it on par with Google and Bing, is the fact that now you can use an autocomplete feature in Twitter’s search engine. This may not seem like much, but use it a few times and see how much time it saves you.

Another new feature is the search for people you follow feature. If you have a large Twitter list and you’re trying to find just one person on the webwsite, then search for them by Twitter name. Very useful tool.

But that’s not all. Twitter has always been a great destination for serious social media marketers.

With Twitter, you can start or join a conversation around any topic while turning followers into friends and business prospects.

Aside from the social nature of Twitter, you can save time using the autocomplete feature when you are looking for topics to blog about, then your blogging time can be cut in half or thirds. Save a bundle on the writing and the posting. You are posting your blog posts on Twitter, aren’t you?

Pinterest started out as a way for users to share images with friends and fans. It quickly became very popular and is now one of the fastest growing social media websites online. But did you know you can also post videos to the site?

It’s true. For about the last month users have been able to pin videos. It’s a new aspect of the service that is catching on and one that I’d say is useful to anyone who markets their business and its products and services with video.

While YouTube is still the largest and most trafficked video sharing website, Pinterest is a good site to add to your video marketing portfolio.

If you do use Pinterest alongside YouTube – and you should – then be sure that you give your pins a different title than your videos on YouTube. Even if they are the same video, for SEO purposes, you want the titles and descriptions to be different. You can optimize your pins and YouTube videos with the same keywords – though sometimes you might get more traction by using different keywords if they are relevant – but you want them to have different titles and descriptions so that you don’t end up with duplicate content.

If you’ve started using Pinterest, add a few videos your pinboards. See what kind of traction they get.

I’ve often wondered why Google doesn’t organize its search results by category. And I don’t mean in a vertical-specific way. Most of the web is organized by category and tags. So why shouldn’t search results be?

That’s what Bill Slawski is alluding to.

Could you imagine a meta tag that tells the search engines how to categorize your web page? Or perhaps a searcher might give Google a clue that your website doesn’t fit into the categories that she is likely to be searching in. Some of these categories would be rather obvious.

For instance, if you sell used cars and your car lot is located in Seattle, Washington, then you might fall into a local-specific category for “Seattle” and the broad category of “cars.” If you sell Lincoln Continentals, it’s pretty obvious that your website won’t fall under the category of “presidents,” but will robots be able to discern the difference?

Furthermore, would category-based search improve the web? If a user could search a category called “cars” or clue the search engine in that a search for “Lincoln” is a search for an automobile and not the Great Emancipator, would that improve search?

What do you think? Is category-based search a good idea, or does it present too many complications?

One of the biggest mistakes that new Internet marketers make is starting a blog then to stop writing it. The mistake part is not the starting part. The big mistake is in the stopping.

I’ll be the first to tell you that blogging isn’t for everyone. But, if you decide that you want a blog, then keep in mind that it IS one of the most powerful marketing vehicles on the planet.

Blogging is constant SEO. Every blog post is a separate web page, so if you blog every day for a year, that’s 365 web pages on your site. And each one of them has a variety of chances to rank well for specific key phrases related to your niche. Let’s just say there is an average of 3 key phrases that each blog post could rank for. That’s 1,095 potential No. 1 rankings.

Now, multiply that by 10 years of blogging.

But that’s just one benefit. Blogging also has the power to brand you long term, deliver massive and constant traffic to your website, increase your website’s link portfolio, make you an instant expert … and the list goes on.

Nevertheless, it never surprises me to see small business owners start a blog and 30 days later to stop writing to it. You’re killing your business. Why would you do that?

Internet marketers, and SEOs in particular, are prone to making mistakes with their online marketing. Many times they make a bunch of little mistakes here and there, but they can often make big glaring blunders too. Today I’m going to talk about one of the most common mistakes new Internet marketers make with their websites and why you shouldn’t make this mistake.

So what is the biggest mistake Internet marketers make? It’s real simple. They freak out.

Specifically, new Internet marketers and SEO types are prone to freaking out when they see their search engine rankings go down. Don’t do this. It’s natural.

New websites usually get a big boost in search engine rankings when they first appear in the SERPs. Don’t ask me why, but it seems that once Google finds a website the search engine sends it straight to the top of the SERPs. Then, like a stock whose price was too high, a correction is in order. Rankings fall back to their natural levels.

This is nothing to get alarmed about. Keep focusing on the fundamentals of SEO – creating content, building links, analytics – and don’t do anything stupid like buy a bunch of low quality links.

From time to time you may see your rankings rise or fall sharply. This too is nothing to worry about. Google frequently updates its algorithms and sometimes these updates create a little dance in the search results. Sites rise, sites fall. After things settle down you’ll end up at your natural ranking level again. Just keep doing the fundamental things and you’ll be fine.

This is just what you’ve been looking for. Well, that is, if you are a small business video maker.

We all know how expensive video production can be. Especially if you have to find and pay for talent to be in your videos. And if you want professional grade videos – not those home made throw togethers that are popular in certain circles – then you should expect a somewhat big production budget.

But I think YouTube is about to change all of that, and for the better.

AdAge is reporting that YouTube will soon launch a marketplace where video producers can hook up with talent for their videos. This is a great idea and I’m surprised it’s taken so long to get there. But I like what Baljeet Singh, group project manager at YouTube, had to say about the talent on the world’s largest video sharing site.

“The creativity coming out of YouTube rivals that coming out of creative agencies any day of the week,” he added. “And we already know that their content performs really well on YouTube.”

In other words, if you are a small business making a video to promote your brand, why pay thousands of dollars to an ad agency to get you a celebrity spokesperson when you can be just as effective with a fraction of that cost by hiring direct from the marketplace a YouTube celebrity? There are thousands of people on YouTube now making six figures by producing their own video channels. One of them could be your short video on-screen talent saving you a bundle while you get a professional quality video that promotes your brand.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?