In this installment of my “Top Ten” tips to better Search Engine Optimization, I’ll be reviewing “10 Things to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website”.

SEO isn’t easy! Let’s just call it what it is, Hard and Time Consuming. A major mistake that a lot of people make, in an attempt to make things easier, is looking for short cuts to optimize their website. Many of these shortcuts provide short-lived result, but can harm your rankings in the long run (or even get you black-listed from search engines!). This is where I like to refer to a couple of old sayings to help remind people to stay focused:

–          “If it’s worth doing… It’s worth doing right!”

–          … and, “If it’s too good to be true… then it probably is!”

Keep your eyes on the prize folks! Don’t let other people take advantage of you and your business. Avoid bad neighborhoods, link exchanges and farms, don’t keyword stuff and… well… just keep reading, and Good Luck!

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Google is running a business.  Their business depends on returning the most relevant and useful search results to web surfers, so that they’ll continue to use the Google Search Engine, click on Google ads, and generate revenues.  Because quality search results are so important, Google takes people who try to cheat the system very seriously, and they have very well-documented rules that they use to identify search engine “spammers.”

Break any of these rules, and your rankings will suffer, or even worse, your site can be black-listed… removed entirely from Google.  You may benefit from a brief boost in search engine rankings, but Google always catches up. Trust me; you do not want to fight Google in order to get your website re-listed. […]

So you have decided to do your own Search Engine Optimization. Then you have most likely come to the realization that it’s nowhere near as easy as you initially anticipated. You have also found that it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to cover the gamut of SEO without the help of some sort of tool or software. So today I’m going to go over some of the free SEO tools available online, that I have found to be extremely helpful over the early years of my SEO education. Some of these tools I still use even today, so take notice… and good luck on your endeavor. […]

A lot of time and effort goes into setting up a website when it is first created, but once the website is launched, the work is not over! Think of your website as a constant work in progress. Every day is a new chance to make a great first (or second, or third) impression.

How often you update your website should be based on how often you expect visitors to return. If you have a blog and want people to come back every week, make sure that you have new articles every week. If you have a simple, service-based website that people don’t need to visit that often, then just check back once or twice a year to make sure the information and links are still accurate.

Here are six reasons why you should be updating your website content on a regular basis: […]

If your business has been avoiding E-commerce because you think your target market doesn’t buy things online, you may be making an expensive mistake.

According to the report Generations Online released earlier this year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, an amazing 71 percent of all online adults use the Internet to make purchases. […]

Google is huge, no doubt, but one area they have struggled is in establishing a social networking platform to connect their huge user base.  The more time users spend with Google – the more opportunities for Google to monetize off of them.  Granted, they have a lot of cool and free tools to play with, but there is a reason Google Adwords appear in your Gmail inbox.  Having a social network that users can hang out on for hours at a time is the big nut Google hopes to crack, and Google’s primary social networking nutcracker for the last few years has been Orkut.

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While email has been around as long the Internet and may not be as “trendy” as the new social media marketing strategies, email campaigns and email marketing are still among the most popular and effective tools in an advertiser’s arsenal.   According to a recent study by the Center for Media Research, 56.8% of marketers polled “realistically” plan to use email in their advertising next year.

But even though email may be “old”, new strategies and technologies come along every day that can help you start an effective email campaign, or improve your existing one.  Below, I present five new things to try along with five things you really should avoid when planning your next email campaign.

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Now that the hype has settled and the new website smell has faded, let’s take a look at Twitter and how to maximize it’s effectiveness via third party Twitter tools.  These tools come in various forms; from websites, desktop apps to mobile phone applications, there are many ways to get your tweets in order.

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Regardless of what your business does, what services you provide or what you want to sell through E-commerce, all business web sites have at least one common need: They all need to attract visitors in order to succeed.

Obviously, volumes upon volumes of information have been produced on various tips, tricks and tactics for building both search engine rankings and site traffic. Often overlooked in the middle of that huge data dump, however, are three simple things you can do to help build your site’s search recognition and drive more visitors to your site.

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Yep, that is my predicition.

In 2009, while our economy continues to slug along, those that do a good job of marketing themselves online stand to have a very good year. We’ve all probably heard stories of how a lot of people became rich during the Great Depression – because it is true. Those that keep their eye on the ball when everyone else is distracted will continue to hit home runs – it won’t be as easy as it was before, but it will still happen.

Markets are shifting right now. While mainstream for quite some time now, the internet is now starting to subplant other channels of distribution and marketing. Newspapers are struggling, some either are, or are planning to go to internet-only distribution. Video, which had the exclusivity of TV delivery, is now more popular than ever online (even traditional TV’s might be hooked up to a PC or Apple TV), Google searches are replacing Yellow Page look-ups, users are carrying around internet-enabled cell phones loaded with mobile apps that connect to their online accounts, businesses are advertising online with pay-per-click advertising. While lower than before, the spikes in gas prices over the last few years has more people getting used to the idea of staying at home where they can spend more time surfing the web. A new generation is growing up not knowing of a world prior to high-speed internet. Social networking is redefining public relations for major companies and public figures.

There is a fundamental shift that is taking place – while we thought we have already seen the impact of the internet on our lives, we are now realizing that the last 10 years was just a slightly advanced stage in it’s infancy. A major growth spurt is coming in 2009 and a lot of companies that thought they had a “web presence” are going to get left behind, while a lot of companies that are “plugged in” to the coming changes will reap great rewards.

So, what are the nutshell nuggets of knowledge to pull from all this?

First you can’t be just a “web presence”. You can’t be “static” online. You can’t think of a website as the beginning and end of your online efforts. Sure, it has worked in the past, and in many cases working still. But at some point it no longer will.

Second, change the way you think about the internet – almost consider it a parallel universe. 20 years ago, they called the concept “virtual reality”. It made a lot of buzz but died down as the real world realities of the internet’s limitations at the time softened our vision of this “cyber-space”. Now we are seeing virtual reality slowly coming about. Sure, it’s not a funny headset and Tron-like graphics, but the internet is becoming another place that we exist, or more importantly, where your customer’s exist. They are not just hopping online to do a quick search with a keyword phrase to find your product or service and then signing off, they are living much of their life there. So, you will need to be “plugged in” to where they are, what they’re doing and how to get their attention.

We are already seeing this shift in our business. We are not a website development firm anymore, despite my old-habits-die-hard habit of calling us that. We are actually an interactive agency now. Developing the site for your web presence is no longer the beginning and end of our involvement. Throughout 2009 we will be asked to build the “main” site, setup the blogs, create sub-sites, recommend lead tracking solutions, secure advertising, handle marketing campaigns, develop a social media strategy, manage company brands, oversee public relations, broadcast online call-in radio shows, produce video, write copy, record podcasts, program applications, create training materials, research keywords and provide consultation services.

By being prepared for changes in 2009 as the internet leaves behind it’s infancy, you can be a part of it’s growth spurt.