So, did everyone have a good brouhaha good time for New Year’s? Are you ready to delve into 2012’s planning, marketing and magic? I don’t know about you, but around the office here, we’re ready to do more with less. We’ve taken a step back – but not a backwards step. – And if that isn’t enough double speak, I don’t know what is.

2012 Happy New Year

It’s 2012 – Are You Ready?

This is our 4th post of 2012. As far as the Mayans are concerned, this is the end. In the technology world, some people are predicting (rightly so) the year of the Mobile. Others have embraced QR codes as the second coming. Times are changing, my friends.

We even *gasp* went so far as to DARE not send out a blog post for one day (whether it will affect our readership or not remains to be seen). However, after a busy year, it was time to refuel the energy levels and decide how, what stories, which lessons and so on make sense for 2012.

Transitioning into the New Year

If you have a small company or a Fortune 500 and have yet to grasp that social has to be a part of your compass, brand, energy, purpose and (yes) daily language, you’ve been sleeping under a rock. We deal in a world of language and communication. Like it or not, text and keywords are how you, we, the world, formulate important concepts.

Yet, those concepts change, simply because life changes. We then have to formulate new words, new key terms and new text to define those changes.

For this particular blog post, we’re going to look back over the years at our most popular posts and what they’ve offered our readers. What concepts have changed? Experience leads to innovation and change of thought; do we think differently at the end of the year than we did at the beginning?

Are Social Media Tools Relevant to SEO?

Written in 2009, we covered a topic that was cropping up all over the place: social media and SEO. The end conclusion of the article was, “While social media in and of itself isn’t that helpful with SEO, the resulting links are.”

We’ve seen incredible results from a mixed campaign of SEO and social. Social seems to act as a magnifier of marketing efforts, due to the inherent viral nature of sharing. After the past two years in search, algo changes, G+ in Google, Facebook in Bing and so on, the picture is becoming much clearer.

In short, SEO and social media need to have seamless integration. It’s no longer about “the resulting links”. Individuals without websites are showing up in the results pages because of a Google Plus or Facebook profile. Some business owners have made one network or the other their home base, as it were.

Seamless Integration

The takeaway for you: If you’re using social media and have a website presence, make sure you connect the dots. The lines are fading between social media and SEO; having those connections ensures that you don’t lose out on your marketing efforts.

Merging Keyword Strategies and Effective Copywriting

No matter how you slice it, you need keywords, and this article does a fairly good job of explaining that. However, a lot of things have changed since we started the SEO Article Archive – patents, signals, Panda, copyright issues, citations… Because of this, the understanding of how keywords work needs to be clearer. (Read: Semantics and Relevance: Even Keywords Need Support Sometimes)

Key words and phrases work much like marketing words do in advertising. The next ad you listen to on the radio, pay attention to how many times they say certain words, and which words they repeat. The repetition of these words send signals to your brain, much like using keywords sends signals to the search engines.

The takeaway for you: We’ve written several articles since this time about how to effectively merge keywords into your site, copy and campaigns. Again, they connect the dots between your topic and those searching. Make sure that the terms you’re using are actually relevant to what you’re trying to convey and accomplish with your site.

Morphing Facebook

When we wrote this, Facebook had made an attempt to take over Twitter’s traffic (say that three times fast). They’d changed a lot in order to do this. Obviously, it failed. Odd, then, that they’re doing the same thing now that G+ is out.

How much have they changed over the past few years? We can’t even count the ways: ticker on the side, FB timeline, sharing abilities, lists… it goes on (and on, and on).

They’re the number one social platform. They have a larger user base than most countries have people. People use them for business and personal, fun and work. Why can’t they be happy with that? Ah, c’est la vie. Facebook will always be Facebook…

Always Another Platform

The takeaway for you: There’s always going to be another social platform; there’s always going to be the next best thing and the next shiny tool. Unless you have many clones, there’s no way you can keep up with all of them. Don’t try; pick the ones you can build a community on, and stick with them… unless they turn into MySpace (in which case, run).

You’ve already established your community and your story… why would you stop and start all over again.  Don’t be a foolish; learn how to listen and grow your audience.

“Big Brother” Google Step’s on SEOs

Before you ask, no – we don’t feel any different. We’ve seen example after example over the past few years that show us how Google feels about our profession. So what’s another year without fear in the SEO community?

Google isn’t all cherries and ice cream. There are enough lawsuits targeting them around the world that they should be enough to give you a taste of reality.

The latest includes things like moving search to https. Oh, sure, they call it a privacy issue; yet, we know they’re still tracking the key terms. They’re just being selective about to whom they’re giving that data to: i.e. the advertisers. As well, they’re testing PPC now, giving people the ability to fill out a “request a call” form from the SERPS. In other words, they’re trying to make it so no one ever leaves the search results pages.

The takeaway for you:Google is in business for Google. Before you put every cent, and every effort, into marketing with Google, remember that. Also, remember that they have control over your account; if you do something against their terms (whether you do it knowingly or not), they can shut your account down. Be very careful to observe the rules.

Google Is Always Watching You

How to Write an SEO Article

This is a good old stand by and, although we’ve written several updated and in depth versions, it’s still one of those good “foundational” articles. Having said that, however, it’s written from the article submission frame of mind… and that, friends, professional SEO specialists, and readers, has changed drastically.

For one, many article submission sites were hit by the Panda update, which pointed to a dearth of quality content. As well, many have lost their appeal to the visitor, lessening the impact that article submission once had.

Today, we look more towards content marketing (in truth, it’s a lot like article submission… but… not). With content marketing, your articles are written with an actual site and that site’s audience in mind (for example, guest posting for our blog). Rather than submit the same article to umpteen different directories, like many have done in the past, content marketing is a single, well written – nay, crafted – piece of art that you hang up in another person’s gallery.

The takeaway for you: Content marketing is more involved than article marketing, but can also bring better returns in terms of traffic, authority, publicity and, yes, ranking. Pay close attention to the sites you visit in your industry. If they offer guest article spots, give your site a marketing and publicity boost; offer a crafted piece of art!

Cutting It Short, Because Time is of the Essence

We were going to cover our top 10 posts of all time. We stopped at five because 1) we’re long winded and we’ve hit our self-imposed maximum word count and 2) because your time is of the essence.

We can’t do with you what we normally do with clients. With clients, we sit down and talk about their project – and then we shut up and listen. Since we can’t do that, we share with you what we do, and give you a starting point. Therefore, it’s time for your homework assignment – and since you’re busy running a company, you’re going to need all the time you can grab to complete it.

Create Your Masterpiece

Look at your top posts, landing pages and guest blogs and compare them with the “you” you are today. Were you able to tell your story? Can people say three things about you just by following you and reading? Have you branded yourself?

What are some of the things you can take away from them? What are some of the lessons you can share with your readers? What has changed since those top posts were written? This is good practice for you, in terms of paying attention to the content you’re putting out; you’ll be surprised at the amount of information and ideas that occur to you.

Our 2012 predictions, by the way, since everyone who’s anyone is giving them…

The world is not going to end. SOPA will have forced some underground groups to get a nice network. The housing market will still suck, and the 1% will still ignore reality. We, however, will keep steadfast and continue to shoot with both barrels while taking names along the way!!