Do you like Twitter

Since I have been on Twitter I have seen the oddest widgets and gadgets popping up. Sure - give me more bookmarks and reasons to have a long list! Not.

Look - you have to be conscientious and proactive when dealing with a new Social networking outlet. I should know; I work on the Internet. We try, and sometimes are quite successful, at new software, gadgets and media. With that said, I have only been using Twitter for about one month and it wasn’t until a nice Canadian @orenoque asked me to look at some of the tools he uses. So I am thinking this is a hot tool if you can dice and trim all of the fat.

Let me explain.

Everyday I get anywhere from three to six new links that I find interesting. Most are focused on how to use your Twitter to maximum capacity. I can see how one might imagine strapping goggles and a flight hat on before sitting down to use this turbo tool. I am not going to bore you and give you another list of all these tools. Suffice it to say, you can Google Twitter tools and see hundreds of pages on the subject.

For example, some Twitter tools deal with how to mass DM (direct message) your followers. One is about managing the whole experience named Tweetdeck. While I am still trying to figure out what the whole experience is, I tighten my goggles, tuck my hair in and move forward. Yes, Twitter is hot, but I have to be honest: sometimes it’s boring, yet watching your followers grow is a feat and enjoyment in itself.

Maybe saying “boring” is a bit unfair, but I really do get bored when the people I am following are merely spewing links that really are of no interest to me. The ones that really bug me are the ones that constantly promote their own agenda. I am not saying don’t do it, but give us all a break (and you know who you are, @’s).

Granted, I am a newbie, but I have seen my followers grow to over 300 in less than a month. I truly believe it is due to paying attention to what works and how to maximize your Twitter-ability.

Then I happened on this tool, Tweet Effect. Well, let me tell you, if you took marketing 101 in college, you would have loved this gadget. Can you imagine how many papers you could have aced if you only had a tool that could quantify and qualify your results? The only problem is they do not save or generate reports on their results. Therefore, your best bet is to copy your numbers.

Another great tool that I recently find is Qwitter. It’s a great marketing tool, because it lets you know someone quit following you, and on what post. Between Tweet Effect and Qwitter, you have a strong chance of finding out what interests your target audience and what doesn’t.

Maybe I am putting too much emphasis on the quality of my followers and I should be happy I have any followers at all. The way I see it is even if you have hundred of followers, remember we want to hear about a variety of things - not just how wonderful you are and what a great tool you have created. Give me ideas of how to harness my creativity, give me snippets about people in your life, and yes, a “good morning, how are you” is always welcome.

In conclusion, I would love to hear what your favorite Twitter tool is and how it has helped you grow your business. If you can muddle through all the tools out there and find just a few to can harness the power of Twitter, then strap your goggles on and get ready to become a Twitter expert.

SEO Is Not As Simple As People Think It Should Be

Just ask around. From person to person, SEO giant to start-up writer, you won`t receive the same answers, and there will never be 100 percent agreement, when it comes to SEO techniques and strategy. This is specifically the case in regard to Search Engine Ranking, Meta Tags and, specifically for this little blurb, Reciprocal linking. The disagreements come as no surprise to you, I am sure. There will always be differing voices sounding off on what and why the best SEO practices and procedures are, especially when traffic is the measuring stick; but, the trick is to be able to distinguish who is right.

The fact of the matter is that you may find that some SEO techniques work exceedingly well, bringing you and the client the best possible results, more so than you could have even anticipated. Then again, some techniques are failures before they even leave your mind. No matter how many times you try a certain strategy (and this can differ by situations and change easily with trends), it just won`t work. The advice for the latter is pretty simple: do something different. Throw that technique away, or shelve it as an SEO memorial of days gone by, and move on to something else. This is often a problem that you will run into and one that you must learn to deal with, for the health and wealth of your client.

Unfortunately for some, the strategy known as Reciprocal linking fits into this latter category. The practice of `swapping off` links to other`s pages in an effort to boost traffic and bring in more bang for the buck simply is an archaic method and needs to be let go. Put the High School track trophy into another room, and place this strategy on the top shelf of your study`s bookcase. It is old news. And it will back fire on you more times than it helps you. This is due to the fact that searchers who you use your links are really using you to cross-connect – to get somewhere else other than your page. They don`t and won`t stay long enough to look around and possibly buy. So don`t waste your or their time.

Now, a warning must be given: don`t turn a deaf ear to this; please listen. The temptation for those who are used to this strategy is to stop up their ears, turn the music up louder and pretend that you don`t hear me. If you do that, you won`t be listening or receiving the information that can (and will) give you the edge that you are looking for. Look, if I have said once, I have said it a 1000 times. The world of SEO is not a solid rock on which we all stand and bask in the sunlight. More times than not it feels more like sinking sand. To avoid losing your footing and to stay upright, you will have to be flexible. Don`t make things worse off or more complicated for yourself by sticking to what you think worked in the past. It`s just not that simple anymore.

Staying Competitive and Current

There are too many people out there who think that they can (read should) continue to keep doing the same things, and use the same tactics, that they have been from the beginning no matter what happens in the marketplace and no matter what changes come about in the SEO community. The path that lead to good results in the past will lead to the same, if not better, results in the future. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “There is no need to re-invent the wheel.” The only changes that they might make would be subtle at best, and this would only be because of some outside pressure.

The problem is that this is not going to work for very much longer, folks. The SEO structure is completely changing as Google and the other main search engines are switching their focus from keyword-dense content to what is called “organic” content. A roadblock has been built on your “established” way, and it is time to find a detour.

What is meant by “organic” web content? Simply put, organic content is articles, blogs and other mediums that are not loaded with keywords and/or are highlighted in any way; instead, they are naturally written material that stand out because they have relevant, relatable information for whatever is put into the search engine. Another way of defining “organic” would be to say that they are not paid results in any way, but are grouped according to what the crawlers consider to be the answer to the search inquiry. This is a drastic departure from the older SEO approach.

For those new to all of this, this is how the older approach worked. The SEO-based content is the stuff that has all of those keywords that are either bolded or highlighted in color, mostly red, so that the search engine crawlers can find the keywords and be able to “rank” the webpage or article in order of how many times it is clicked on, read and used more often than the other material that contains the same or similar information. Then, those web pages and articles are “ranked” according to the keyword content.

By going “organic” Google and the other major search engines are about to turn the search engine world on its ears by totally changing the way content is ranked. Pretty soon, there will no longer be much need for SEO-based content, and that has many of the people who gain their living and reputations by mastering the SEO-based content running around like chickens with their heads cut off. But now is not the time to lose your head. Nor is now the time to press forward on your proverbial path, even if there is a roadblock staring you in the face. The key here is to start switching the focus of your writing style from SEO-based to organic-based content that will actually do better in the long run.

Gain control. Take a detour. Be willing to adapt and go “organic.” This is where the market is heading, and this is your best way to stay competitive and current.

Submit Your Articles and Websites to the Directories or not?

There is a debate being thrown around in the SEO ring that is ruffling a few feathers out there. The argument goes like this: “With the changes happening in the marketplace, isn’t submitting websites and articles to directories a big ol’ waste of time?” (Hear the ruffling.) Though trends might be leading toward saying Yes, there are those who adamantly put there foot down with a resounding No. They not only see website and article submission as the only accepted practice, but they are pretty sure that it is written in the Bible somewhere – permanently engraved on the very stones of the Ten Commandments.

For them, the rules are simple and straightforward: “Thou shall always submit any newly designed website to the website submission directories and/or place any new articles on the article directory lists so that they can be searched out and ranked. This will always aid the consumer when searching and the website in being found.” No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This is the best, and only, way to do things, and all should follow this greatest path to maximum success and efficiency.

Well, that might have worked then…and “then” is the operative word here. But it doesn’t work anymore. Not now. Not in the rapidly changing marketplace which demands anything but rigidity. What worked last year, 6 months ago, or even yesterday might not work tomorrow. There is so much that is changing in and around the SEO community that even the “experts” cannot agree on anything. Unfortunately, these disagreements and arguments have the potential to tear apart the very fabric holding the community together. But, this does not have to be the case.

What have we all learned from yoga? Flexibility and balance are the keys to success. These are the ways to stay in the game. You have to be able to move along with the ebb and flow of the market, and able to keep pace with the trends and patterns. When guidelines and standards change, don’t freeze up, panic and respond like a cornered wild animal. Be willing to lessen your grip on the old way, and open your hands to the new. Translation: be flexible.

But you also don’t have to throw everything from the past in the trashcan in order to start fresh. Use what has worked then and be open to what will work now. That is what it means to be balanced.

Here is the gist: nothing about SEO will stay the same, because everything is constantly changing to keep up with the marketplace and the consumer. The only thing that will stay the same is the fact that everything changes. So what is the answer after all? Should you submit articles and websites to the directories? Let yoga be your guide.

SEO Debates – Fact of Fiction

In the world of SEO writing, there are not a few important debates taking place. These “controversies” range from topics as fundamental as the use of SEO to as specific as the changes that W3C is implementing to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Excite. There are a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding these controversies, so let’s take a look at all the rumors and set you straight.

• First debate: There is a right way to do SEO. Answer: Fiction. The acronym SEO stands for search engine optimized which is used in any search engine like Google. There is no right way to do SEO as different strategies work differently depending upon company policy.

• Second debate: SEO doesn’t really work with Google. Answer: Fact and Fiction. Yes, SEO works well with Google, bring vast results for clients and consumers. Yet, Google will also be changing how it ranks web pages later next year. Working with W3C, Google will change their requirements from keyword searches to organic results. “Organic” simply means a natural search that will be more suited to the searcher, instead of the popular keyword searching results. This should (and will) bring more people to the right site.

• Third: SEO companies are becoming obsolete. Answer: Fiction. This controversy surrounds the results that a company may get from an SEO company, as well as whether or not to do business with them due to their lack of results. While some will argue that if a client doesn’t get results with a company, then they should not hire them again, the truth is that after the change in Google takes place, this particular argument will indeed be moot. If you are an SEO company, it is advisable to run what you have as far as pages, but start the transition now, in order to be compliant with the impending change. And as far as doing business with an SEO company is concerned, your best bet is to go with a company that has proven results. Bear in mind, however, that once the W3C changes take place, SEO will be less important and the natural search will become more important. If you are working with a company currently that does SEO, then you will need to ask them how they will become compliant with the recent W3C move.

To sum up:
The Google/W3C changes may be frightening at first, but they will ultimately have the interests of the consumers in mind. SEO, too, is changing and the best thing that can be done is to roll with the punches and conform to the new changes. Ultimately your company will see better results with more qualified people that will be interested in buying from your company. This will, in the long run, bring you more qualified customers that will increase your sales and bring the ever-so valuable money back into the coffers. And we all like/desire/need that.

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