Links To Beat The Holiday Blues | This Month In SEO – 12/08

The last time we were together here we were celebrating Halloween. I didn’t make it for the Thanksgiving holiday. And now here we are again celebrating even more holidays and the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Seems only appropriate to dedicate This Month In SEO to the holidays. Happy Holidays everyone. Regardless of which you celebrate, I hope the holidays have been good to you.

As always you can find more links to great resources at my Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Sphinn. Now on with the show.

Social Media

It’s probably preaching to the choir, but in 2009 you’re going to need social media. You can use it to communicate with customers and network with peers. You might even use social media to find your next job. Myths still abound about the benefits of social media, but let’s face it, the social web isn’t going anywhere. Just remember your etiquette and remember you can learn how to make better use of social media from a variety of sources, even artists.

You’re convinced. 2009 is the year and you’re ready to learn how. So how about some tips to improve your social media results today. You really can get social media tips from a wide variety of sources. How about from an airplane 30,000 feet in the air? Yep. Some of the best effects of social media are through networking so why not build a small yet powerful network by following a template for growth.

Want another reason for needing social media in 2009? How about the fact that Twitter is poised to go mainstream in the coming year. But can it be useful for businesses? Absolutely, even if some days it feels more like a time sink. More followers usually means better results at Twitter so how can you increase your followers and get a few extra subscribers along the way?

Blogging

Many bloggers will probably tell you the hardest part of blogging is continually coming up with fresh ideas. How do you beat blogger’s block and develop unique post ideas? Being creative goes a long way toward keeping things fresh. Don’t stop there, though. Your creative side will help crafting your posts, but you can still learn a few things from journalists about editing those creative pearls. Just don’t get caught up counting how many posts you write.

Do you have a strategy for your blog? Why not? You should. You can apply the 48 laws of power to your strategy. Perhaps guest posting will fit into your overall strategy. Maybe your strategy will call for better optimization. Whatever you decide to include your strategy should help you create better content and help drive more traffic to your blog.

How does a blogger earn a real full-time income you ask? What? You didn’t ask? Oh. Well would you like to know anyway? Securing advertising is one common way for your blog to bring in revenue. Some might suggest writing paid reviews, but is it a good idea? For the most part paid blogging is a lose-lose situation.

WordPress

Have you heard? WordPress version 2.7 is out. Yeah it wasn’t hard to miss, was it? I’m using it on my development blog with plans to upgrade here soon enough. After a few minutes getting used to the new interface I learned there’s a lot to like in this latest version of WP. You might already be using it too so instead of trying to convince you I’ll simply let you read about some of the new features and tips to improve your WP blog. And if you haven’t yet upgraded there’s tips for you to make the process go as smooth as possible.

Regardless of the version you’re using you’ll probably want to extend WordPress with plugins. Curious about the plugins Andy Beal uses on Marketing Pilgrim and why he kept them all to himself till now? Maybe you’re only interested in some of the best seo plugins available to you. One new plugin called moderator will let you moderate your blog without even having to log in.

How about coding your own plugin? It’s not as hard as you think once you know plugin anatomy. If you’re a theme developer have you taken advantage of the fuctions.php file? The files offers a way to include plugin functionality directly in your themes.

Interested in taking your skills to the next level? Then watch some excellent video tutorials. There are 30 to choose from. Are you a theme developer? Do you have a checklist to make sure you don’t forget something when building a new theme? Even if you’re not looking to develop themes and just want to make improvements on your own blog there’s a lot you can do. You can add a Google custom search engine, make it so your Digg button only shows up on appropriate posts, and add an external feed if you want to promote other blogs or present the latest news to your readers.

Design And Development

It may sound like a bunch of psycho-babble at first, but understanding gestalt principles of perception can greatly improve your designs. You’ll probably find yourself using the principles to improve your user interfaces and they may help generate a higher click through on ads. Good designers should be aware of the latest design trends, but remember that trends come and go and it’s in your best interest to develop a library of design styles

A designer’s work is never done, which is why you’ll want to improve your productivity and add to your web design toolkit. Maybe you’ll be more productive with a new graphics editor or maybe you simply need to build a library of icons to save time.

Have you heard? CSS can do most anything. Of course it’s not without some fundamental problems, but you can certainly do a lot with css. You can create drop-down navigation and do some pretty cool things with css borders. And while you may prefer to hand code all your css there are still plenty of tools to make your life easier.

Designer’s may not have complete control over their client’s marketing, but design and marketing are inexorably linked. So what can a developer control when it comes to internet marketing? Quite a bit it turns out including designing sites that keep reader attention.

Link Building

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that links are important and I’m sure you know that all links were not created equal. The more you understand what makes for a quality link and a balanced link profile the more success you can have with your link building efforts. Is there an optimum growth pattern for links? Does the velocity at which you acquire links make a difference? Is deep linking in trouble? Maybe if the courts have their say. And can you really compare a link to an elephant? Apparently you can.

It’s much easier to get links to informational content than it is to sales pages. But there’s content and then there’s linkbait. How do you generate strategies for effective linkbait creation? And once created how do you actually get links to your linkbait. Could social media submissions be the key.

There’s more than one way to skin a link. It’s not all about linkbait you know. Look around and you’ll find many techniques and tactics for acquiring links. Some from 2008 and some for 2009. He may or may not come if you build it, but if you incentivize it you’ll increase the odds he’ll arrive. You don’t need to be a big business to get link building tips. Small businesses are welcome too. Just don’t miss out on some of the obvious.

SEO

Before you can optimize a web page you need to know what it is you’re optimizing for. It’s important to research and discover keywords and develop a strategy for building a list and refining it. On the surface you might think any word or phrase that drives traffic your way is a a good thing. No so. Some keywords will ultimately do nothing to improve your situation. In addition to the list of keywords you want to rank for, you’ll also want to build a list of negative words to stay away from. And yes, like it or not, keyword ranking reports can still be put to good use.

SEO Tools aren’t the end all and be all of optimization. Your most important tool will always be your own brain. Still tools can be very useful in collecting data and giving you a picture about a site. Are some tools missing from your arsenal? Do you even know about all the tools that are out there? One tool you likely know and use is Google Analytics. Have you set up advanced segments in your account yet?

Who owns the search page? You may hope your site is the owner, but isn’t it really the searcher who creates the page? Could it also be the mass of searches who help shape the results pages? Perhaps rankings could be affected as certain phrases have a sudden burst of popularity. The search engines themselves naturally have a say in the matter. They’ll attempt to correct your spelling or supply results based on synonyms to the words you searched for.

Search engines are adding video and other media to results whether you want them to or not. As a site owner are you optimizing for more than content? You should be. Search results have evolved over the years and they’ll continue to evolve in the future.

Site structure leading to accessible content, keyword research, link building, and social media. These are the fundamentals of SEO. Apply the basic fundamentals and you should start to see growth in your search traffic. When you make it to the second page of results don’t sit back and rest on your laurels. Now’s the time to take advantage of some advanced white-hat tactics to bring you up to page one. And when you’re getting the search traffic you want and building a name for yourself, be careful about outing other SEO’s. It may not be your best strategy to sustain growth.

Business And Marketing

The best thing you can do for your business is to build your brand. In fact the future of your business may depend on it. It doesn’t matter if your business is service based or if you sell products. Even affiliate marketers would do well to brand themselves. If you want to be a top marketer you need to establish your business brand and your personal brand too.

You know the term, but what exactly is viral marketing? Viral marketing is about ideas that spread on their own after a little push from you. It works better when it’s built into the product instead of being tacked on after. It’s about reaching the right people who can propel your message further. So get out there and ignite your viral marketing campaigns and learn the keys to make your message stick.

Traffic is one thing. Converting traffic into paying customers is another. Each is a lever in a successful ecommerce site. To increase conversions you’ll want to have a solid landing page that eliminates resistance and overcomes the objections your visitors may have to making a purchase. Creativity goes a long way toward helping you stand out and getting people past their objections. And if you do everything right you may be able to create subliminal connections between your site and the hot trends.

People are irrational and can’t always explain why they make one choice over another. That can make it tough on marketers since visitors may not always respond to our logical reasons for buying a product. Fortunately that irrationality is often predictable. By leveraging that predictability we can sometimes nudge people to take the actions we want. Sometimes all it takes is a few subtle things to make a sale or to convince clients to keep working with you.

Search Engine Patents

Want to know what the search engines were up to this past year? Or better yet, where they might be headed in the future? Then how about a look back at some 2008 patent goodies for some insight into the thinking of search engine engineers.

Is it really almost 2009? For some of you it might already be the new year. I still have a few hours left of 2008 here, but it’s about time to call it a day, a month, and a year all at once. Out with the old and in with the new I say. Enjoy the first day of the new year tomorrow and hopefully you’ll be starting the year off with a nice long vacation weekend. I know I will. Happy reading.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

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