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More and more, I’m seeing top-notch SEO experts – people who have been the top leaders in SEO and Internet marketing for more than ten years – saying that chasing keywords is no longer an SEO best practice. That just doesn’t seem right, but I’ll have to agree with them. If you want to rank well in the search engines going into 2013, I recommend focusing on high quality content without the keyword spam.

What do I mean by that?

Jill Whalen has an article at SiteProNews listing 18 former SEO best practices that could now work against you. I think this is a very important list.

Right in the middle of her article, however, is this paragraph:

Today, and for the foreseeable future, SEO is much less about optimizing for specific keywords, and much more about technical issues, social signals, and the overall trustworthiness of a company and its website.

Pay attention here because this is real important. The emphasized phrases are mine.

Trust: The New SEO

If you aren’t optimizing for specific keywords, then what are you optimizing for? Answer: Trust. That’s it. Your new buzzword going forward is trust. That’s the new SEO.

Does that mean you can’t use keywords? No, not at all. It does mean that your keywords should not be the focal point of your content. The needs of your readers should be the focal point of your content with the end goal of earning and building trust at the forefront of your thinking process.

In reality, this is the way it should have always been. Keywords can get your site ranked, though going forward this is questionable, but they won’t build trust in your brand. Only high quality content that meets the needs of your readers can do that.

Forget about stuffing keywords into your content, building back links with anchor text, and other manipulative SEO tactics. Just write great content. That’s your new SEO strategy.

Last Christmas shopping season was a record-breaking season. In fact, Cyber Monday (November 29, 2010) was the biggest online shopping day in history topping $1 billion in sales. Are you ready for this year?

Whether or not we’ll surpass that landmark day in online sales this year is a big question, but it’s not out of the question. In fact, it’s quite possible.

Online sales have increased year over year for the past three or four years. The trend is developing. More and more people are getting comfortable shopping online and the Christmas season is the time when they are most likely to break down and whip out their credit cards. Online merchants should be ready. And if you’re not ready by now, you’re not likely to be ready.

What’s it take to succeed in online commerce? You have to have a website ready to take orders. That means you need an attractive web design with clear and easy navigation and a safe and secure payment system. The No. 1 factor in whether online shoppers are willing to buy from you or not is whether you build trust. If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.

Cyber Monday is just around the corner. Are you ready? Let the shopping begin.

It’s difficult to ignore Facebook. It’s the most trafficked website online and there’s a good chance that you use it even if to a limited degree. But is your site integrated with Facebook?

Facebook integration is easy to latch onto. Who wouldn’t want to be integrated with the most trafficked website online? A lot of people, actually.

When 42% of people using (or not using) a particular Web property express concerns over privacy, it should stop and make you think. No website has come under so much scrutiny over privacy issues as Facebook. It’s been criticized from every corner of the Web. And if your website is integrated with Facebook, then this should be of concern to you.

On the one hand, the benefits of Facebook integration cannot be denied. You are effectively given access to its billions of users worldwide. More realistically, you have access to every Facebook user interested in your niche. What percentage of them care about privacy?

Facebook integration becomes a major issue when you know how your customers feel about privacy, and about Facebook privacy in particular. If enough people refuse to interact with your site because of privacy concerns, then Facebook integration could work against you. This is one area where a little market research can go a long way. Do you know your customers that well?

Facebook has officially announced that it has changed its privacy protections for users. Specifically, the changes indicated will

While the jury is still out on whether or not these changes will be effective in giving users the privacy they want, from the face of it there could be a slight hindrance to marketing through Facebook. The question is, by how much?

And the answer is, no one knows. Not yet.

But if users can block third party sites more easily then your marketing efforts through Facebook could be hampered to a degree. If users can block your applications more easily then that could hamper your marketing to a degree as well. Now it’s up to you to figure out how you will navigate those hurdles.

The only sure way to overcome these types of user-control hurdles is to build trust your brand. If users trust you then they will recommend you to their friends. If they trust their friends then you’re in like Flynn. That’s not really any different than it has been in the past. The only real difference is you’ll have to work harder to build that trust. Are you up to the task?