There is an all-new system of computer generated writing being used today. Not only do we see it in screenplay programs (auto creates formulaic plots), but we also have what we call “spin software,” which is an application that automatically creates “new content” from old content using a thesaurus.

These “inventions” are not really a step forward, are they? They tend to completely undermine the moral integrity of writers—of writing—an art and communication that dates back for thousands of years. Now, every day, SEO firms and website owners are using computer software to create their writing in the hopes of improving their traffic while saving a buck.

However, as opportunistic as this thinking is, it’s not going to work. Google is already penalizing websites that “keyword stuff” and use articles that sound inhuman and repetitive. Here’s the issue: commercial websites need to bring the people back into writing. The human voice.

Sure, it takes work and possibly a moderate budget, but it is the personal aspect behind all of it that drives the Internet. If website owners continue to try to use computer programs to write for them then they will never keep readers’ attention. Even after all we’ve learned about Google’s new algorithm updates, you might be surprised at how prevalent spinning software is today.

You also have a large percentage of hack writers who write poorly, so much so that they resemble robots. Oftentimes, website owners outsource their SEO content to overseas firms, thinking they’re getting a great deal on a low price. Unfortunately, when the articles do come back they are in barely comprehensible English, with plenty of errors and strange robotic statements.

What readers really want to see is content with the human touch, with personality and character instead of cold and impersonal writing or keyword stuffed sentences. As search engines become more advanced, and more people use the Internet for reading as well as shopping and fun, we see an even greater need to improve the quality of writing. We are very quickly approaching an age where substandard writing doesn’t “cut it”, not only in publication, but in daily web traffic. The more people reading high quality magazines, blogs and news articles, the less likely they will be inclined to visit sites that feature grade school-level, peripheral writing.

Webmasters, believe this: real writing is worth it. Your readers want to understand the content they read and they want to relate to it—just as if they were having a one-on-one conversation. So in conclusion, remember this: just because the whole world is “going computers” doesn’t mean honest writing is being replaced by spinning software. The human mind remains the most amazing invention of them all.

This is a common question in online marketing, as companies are understandably nervous when it comes to writing huge checks for Search Engine Optimization services, without getting something tangible in return—and fast. The good news is that if the SEO company or writer knows how the business works, the major search engines can actually start looking for your content right away.

When you type in a search, you aren’t actually searching the “internet”; you are searching the site’s index. The spidering process (searching for new content) is a continuous operation and the search site’s “spiders” follow links all over the web from page to page, with the intent to find new content. The information they collect regarding these new sites and new pages is stored in the index.

However, here is where things get tricky. Just because you create a website doesn’t necessarily mean that it will appear “live” on a Google or Yahoo search. Search engines cannot find new pages by “magic”—it must come from a link that comes from a link from a link. In other words, your site must be connected to the rest of the Internet.

Therefore, after creating a website your first goal is to establish strong links from your various efforts in article marketing, guest blogging, and even social media page links. However, you can help grab the search sites’ attention by creating a sitemap page for your site, or auto-installing a plugin that creates a sitemap and “pings” search sites whenever new content is created.

However, just because that’s how it should work doesn’t mean that’s what happens. Some website owners might be disturbed when they search their own content but nothing seems to come up. This happens either because there is no sufficient linking system in place (the page is “invisible” and can’t be found through page to page linking) or because the page is so rarely updated that search bots only occasionally search and index the information. This can also happen in the event that the page’s content was penalized due to plagiarism or unoriginal, formulaic or incoherent content.

Search engine sites should automatically find your content if you are well connected. However, as a last resort you can request these search engines crawl your site by setting a webmaster account and making use of the tools they provide you with; Google, Yahoo and Bing all offer these services. This is not necessarily the same thing as search engine directory listings, which can range from unnecessary to just plain expensive (such as a paid Yahoo business listing).

For more assistance with creating a site and increasing your traffic, talk to an experienced SEO consultant. He or she can help you plan a successful launch campaign.

Guest blogging is the most popular venue for marketing online at the moment, and that’s largely thanks to Google’s upsetting the balance by penalizing popular “dump” article directory sites. It’s easy to see why Google, and online viewers, enjoy blogs more than article directories. Article directories are created solely for search engine traffic, usually picking up on popular to obscure keyword phrases. Guest blogs earn their traffic by appealing to human beings, and readers who have a vested interest in the blog site. A lot of article directory traffic comes and goes without any incline of revisiting.

No wonder everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of guest blogging. The question is, how does it work? The old fashioned way is to contact the blog site owner directly and ask to post a guest blog (or perhaps to follow the posted submission guidelines). Another way to do it would be to add other bloggers to your favorite users, and give them permission to post their blogs on your site—or perhaps even edit your site. Lastly, you can join a guest blogging network and be matched up with someone who has the content or the blog you’re looking for.

You also have to give some time to determine which bloggers you want to exchange content with, and what topics are worth fighting for. When it comes to asking for exchanges, be upfront and be prepared for a yes or no answer. Understand that some guest bloggers may not want to work with you because of your blog theme, or perhaps because of a lack of pay. Sometimes it’s only a matter of scheduling.

Of course, the blog network is a way to surpass this trouble, though you face just as many obstacles when joining a blog network. For instance, how well do you really know the other bloggers on the site where you will exchange contact? If you treat a guest blog network like an article directory, the results could be unpredictable.

On the other hand, it’s best to not “cold call” popular bloggers in this day and age, since all of the top dogs are being hounded by second-level websites hoping to earn publicity. In the end, whether you use a network or go fishing for blogs of relevance, it is best to take the time to get to know these people you are working with. Comment on their blogs, support their business, if you really want to get a solid connection back.

After finding a network of people you like working with, the next step is to invite bloggers to post on your site (and find blogs to support your content), set up a user profile and create access and permissions, and then determine dates and a schedule for publishing. You will also need to abide by, and create your own, guidelines for acceptable publishing.

Guest blogging is the way of the future as it focuses on original, conversational content—the type of online writing people want!

What is the latest news on the Penguin update?  Google Penguin continues to make changes, and those changes create shockwaves in the SEO and online marketing industry.  While the first rounds of Penguin were drastic (many well known article directories and blog spaces fell in a huge way) we continue to feel the effects of new or minor updates.

Why just consider some of the latest news concerning the algorithm “jolts” coming from Google’s staff.  The company announced that they are now going to start taking into account the number of valid copyright removal notices it finds for a given site.  This is no doubt in response to Penguin/Panda criticism that suggested scraper (plagiarist) websites were getting more traffic than original content sites.  Google stated that this new update will help users find legitimate sources of content more easily, since pirate sites will be penalized and their links will be pushed down lower in the rankings.

Google now offers its copyright owners the capacity to report potential copyright infringement.  An estimated 4.3 million URLs have been reported to Google.  So it’s safe to say that Google’s new algorithm updates are a sign of definite progress.  It’s not really fair for small press and publishing sites to be penalized just because a more popular website is stealing content.  Maybe things aren’t perfect at the moment (and there are plenty who criticize Penguin’s performance) but with 2012 and 2013 updates coming, we are sure to see some vast improvements in the way websites are penalized and rewarded.

It should be noted that Google also has an option for “counter notices”, just in case there is an error reported in evaluating and indexing copyright violation URLs.  Now mind you, Google does not have the authority to delete copyright infringing sites; only users and ISPs can arrange for this.  However, it can remove questioned URLs from its search results upon receiving a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owner.

What does this mean for you, the small or medium sized business trying to improve your search rankings?  Obviously, the days of copying and pasting content just as a means to cheaply fill space are over.  The days of recycling cheap content are also over, as content mills and even article directories (with no editorial process) are also showing signs of waning.

It’s time for you to invest in the content quality of your site.  You can start writing for your own blog or start building links on your own or you can contact an SEO firm to help you with this campaign.  Either way, the latest news on Google Penguin is actually a bit encouraging.  Maybe 2012 will be the year you escape from low SERP prison!

There is nothing quite like face to face, real human interaction—and that’s true whether you’re talking about a meeting with friends, an in-person business call or even a romantic date. The personal factor counts.

And nowadays with technology all around us, we are in danger of losing the personal connection. Therefore, perhaps it is a blessing that we have the likes of Twitter and Facebook to remind us of just how personal our lives need to be. Yes, the personal connection is what makes these social networking sites so immensely popular and a dynamic boost for increasing sales.

Of course, if you follow SEO news then you also realize that extremely popular social networking sites can actually help you build links. For the latest Google Penguin updates, social media pages grew while article directory and “content mills” fell. This is rather easy to figure out; millions upon millions of people are using Facebook and interacting on a daily basis, causing huge Internet traffic. Now compare that to an article directory…not as much happening.

Another site to discuss in your SEO marketing plans is that of Twitter. Twitter is a social interaction website that puts emphasis on short messages as well as links. Because of the worldwide popularity of Twitter, not to mention the hash tags that get the mainstream attention, Twitter pages are also commonly listed SERPs for broad searches.

In essence, by creating Twitter and Facebook accounts, (as well as other rising sites like LinkedIn and Pinterest), you are creating content on already-popular webpages and not fighting for respectability as you would, say, from opening a free website with a .hostzi extension.

Now just imagine if you were an entertainer or a local company trying to reach out and find new customers…but on a very limited budget. You have an ideal opportunity to advertise on Facebook and Twitter, investing only your time and creativity. (You can also outsource this job to an SEO marketing expert who has experiencing in driving Twitter and Facebook to website sales)

Here’s another aspect to consider. This “new generation” in marketing doesn’t necessarily put great importance on “sales” pages. Sometimes a social media page, in which a businessperson is NOT trying to sell, works much better at branding and showing the audience who he/she really is. As mobile marketing also becomes more important with the proliferation of iPads, Droids and Kindles, it is time to jump on the social networking bandwagon.

In 2012, the Internet, and in particular, social media, is where the party is. As a small business owner, you are wise to follow the latest trends in social media and SEO, and if necessary to enlist the help of a qualified SEO firm.

If you are new to online marketing then you are probably interested in learning the process involved so that you can take a “hands on” role in your marketing efforts. This is a good approach and can actually help your campaign, as opposed to just expecting an SEO company to perform a miracle. So, let’s start with 5 essentials that are needed for getting searched and indexed by major search sites, and improving SERPs.

1. Prepare your site for SEO.

This means creating a sitemap of all your pages, as well as linking your internal pages together through text links. There are also auto-ping services that let search sites know when new content is available. While pinging is basically preparing a special HTML code for the sitemap page, the good news is that there are CMS program plug-ins that can make the process easier.

2. Create Social Networking Links

Social networking is the best thing to happen to small business, since localized and social networking profile pages (i.e. Google Places, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) are actually considered quality links. These are links that people actually see and interact with, as opposed to dead web pages that are rarely visited.

3. Create External Links

It’s relatively easy to create an external link but you should be focusing on quality links. These links are typically guest blogs and magazine articles, as opposed to link exchanges, blog posts and even some low quality article directory posts. The key is the content, which should feature quality writing as well as anchor text that is coherent and related to the site content.

4. Optimize Your Pages

Pay close attention to pages, META descriptions, tags, and headings, ensuring that your selected keywords (related to your business and targeted audience) are repeated enough to be noticed, but not enough to be penalized for “over optimization.” By today’s standards, 1-3 times per 400-word article is more than enough.

5. Reach out to the local market.

While many national websites are feeling the wrath of Google Penguin and Panda algorithm changes, local sites are actually getting more traffic and higher rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). There is an algorithm update called Google Venice that actually matches localized searches with local businesses.

After these introductory steps, it’s really an issue of how thoroughly you research keywords, speak to your audience, and keep up the schedule. There is no doubt that search engines are hungry for new information, so the more you produce, the better. Obviously, not every company can produce new content every day. However, you need to find a balance between constant content and quality content. Once a month, or once a week, is ideal, depending on how often your customers want new information.

Not since Danny Devito’s sewer-dwelling Gotham hoodlum has there been so much trepidation at the mere mention of a penguin. Google Penguin is indeed the catalyst, the villain of 2012—at least to web marketers and company owners who now have to evaluate their SEO on a regular basis.

Well don’t relax yet, even if you have done a complete site overhaul. Google’s Matt Cutts has announced plans to continue to improve the Penguin algorithm. The update is being called the Penguin Jolt, since Cutts stated that in the coming months the search site would be giving out “jolts” of changes.

Google has publicly stated that the Penguin algorithm is still in its experimental stages, and thus the Internet should prepare themselves for these jolts. Cutts reiterated that when a major algorithm update is released, as Panda and Penguin, the first impact is great, and then additional algorithm updates have less impact over time. What appears to be happening is stability; the algorithm changes are stabilizing, as designers fix glitches and redefine parameters.

Remember that Google itself does not consider Penguin a penalty update, but an adjustment. The aim, while imperfect at the moment, is to draw more attention to sites with quality content and less spamming or recycling content. So what does all of this mean for you as a small to midrange business owner? Is now the time to shrink back or to invest more in this endeavor? Well, at this precise moment now is the time to prepare for Google algorithm updates, and have a strategy in place for whenever you feel the effects. It doesn’t take a visionary to foresee a glimpse into the near future. The search engines are responsible to the public. They want the public to continue using search sites in order to find the most specific information and the more detailed information.

Ideally, what you want to plan for, if not short-term then long-term, is either to hire a social networking and blogging manager, or outsource the assignments to a freelance writer. The Google brand is larger than any publishing house in the world, so we are expected to vastly improve the quality of our content, making it comparable or something close to magazine quality writing.

The only sure way to stay clear of the almighty penguin peck is to start planning now for your online expansion. Make noise on the Internet and keep the volume up. You can work with an SEO firm that ensures that your writing quality remains at a high level and that it is considered timely, news-oriented and always written with an expert’s voice. Now is the time to start planning ahead, even as you brace yourself for the upcoming “jolts” proclaimed for the rest of 2012.

When it comes to SEO investment, you can either pay for the writing or pay an SEO consultant. Most businesses would prefer to work with a consultant and not merely a writer, or a company that sells writing. Why? Because SEO consultants understand how Search Engine Optimization and web marketing work. They understand how to break down this information for consumers, for business owners and for employees.

Such a professional, usually with years of experience behind him or her, can advise you of the best steps to take and that’s in addition to some quality writing. For example, an SEO consultant might advise you to use less keyword density in line with Google’s new Penguin algorithm update. Or, an SEO consultant might advise you to avoid certain longtail keyword phrases because they are either too popular or not popular enough. Or, this person could tell you which article directories and which guest blogs are worth targeting based on link popularity. Some consultants can also advise you of full packages that are appropriate for a business of your size and growth.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to take an SEO consultant’s advice. If you have your own plan of action, then you can call the shots as you see it. However, many in business (who are not familiar with SEO, social networking or social bookmarking) are still sketchy about online marketing. They actually encourage their SEO firms and consultants to volunteer advice regarding keyword research, number of articles, quantity, density and subject matter.

Consultants not only research keywords—they also stay up to date with the latest news in the industry, regarding algorithm updates, statements from major search engine companies, and other industry trends. They are also qualified to give advice on HTML problems in SEO—namely page titles, META tags and descriptions, and other technicalities that writers often ignore.

Why not opt for an SEO firm with a consultant contact? It may save you money in the long run – if this consultant can prevent you from making an expensive mistake. For more information, contact an SEO firm that can help you with planning your next campaign!

Do you have a small business? Then you may have heard or read about the option of “buying” articles or “SEO articles” for your company. What does this mean? What does buying a few articles have to do with increasing your sales?

First, understand that a few articles on their own won’t really accomplish anything. If you have ever come across a magazine article in Time or Newsweek, who do you think derives the most benefit from the feature? Probably the writer himself—he or she is the one making a name for you. Most readers will probably not even remember the article or writer in a year’s time.

So you are correct in assuming that buying a few articles is pointless. However, Search Engine Optimization is not about the buying and selling of a few articles. This is a complete approach to web marketing involving communication with your website and with the major search engines that dominate the Internet.

Search engines require constant “feeding” in order to provide the best, most accurate results for their users. Therefore, the top “ranked” sites are the ones that provide a quantity of information, and ensure that quality is paramount. With a major investment in SEO content production, a company can earn high rankings for popular keyword searches and increase brand awareness, leads, and individual or group sales.

So if someone is advertising “a few articles” for your company, know that they will, for the most part, be forgotten after a short period of time. It is your obligation as a savvy webmaster or website owner to keep the search engines actively “crawling” your website—because of lots of new content. This way, you cannot be forgotten, because now you’re one of the few companies that understands SEO and knows that the secret to success in is consistency.

What are quality links in SEO today? Up until recently, quality links were just website pages that had good content, or at least coherently written content. That alone meant that the page was of high quality and so the link was counted. Unfortunately, this led to a proliferation of low quality article directories, with literally hundreds or even thousands of pages of rehashed information. Webmasters and some SEO firms deduced that they could just buy links and thus increase their rankings by sheer production schedule.

They were wrong, or so suggested the latest Google algorithm update. With Penguin, the latest major change, the search engine site let it be known that lower quality links were not going to cut it anymore. Not only did the company speak out against content mills, but they also cited over-optimization as a new no-no. Suddenly, major article directory sites were being blasted down into oblivion in search engine page rankings, and magazines, news sites and even company blogs were scoring higher traffic.

This does not necessarily mean that the age of the article directory is over. It’s just that Google is not doing any favors for article directories based on their popularity alone. It’s really up to webmasters to keep their pages relevant and professionally written, and to stop assuming that a popular directory is going to carry them along for the ride to the top.

The plan is actually working too well, considering that some fairly good pages are now being knocked down a few notches solely because Google doesn’t like the reputation of the article directory. This has pointed many SEO firms and webmasters towards guest blogging. With blogging, as well as online magazines, editors can maintain control over the reputation of the site. This means less content mill-style work or SPAM will be published as legitimate articles, and thus Google Search might be more generous in awarding higher search rankings to quality pages at these sites.

Guest blogging is a smart idea, but only if you find popular websites within your industry that are relevant and that match you in terms of professionalism. For more information, contact an SEO firm and ask for a consultation!