Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2009

It’s my birthday! And like last year, I have a gift for you.

Every year, I read hundreds (thousands?) of articles on the topic of Internet Marketing, from SEO to social media to web usability and then some. And every year, I hand pick the best articles that I’ve read and compile them in a resource that I hope will last a long time. Here’s my list for 2008. Here’s 2007. Here’s 2006. I painstakingly go through these resources with the hopes that these posts will serve as references for you in years to come. Yes, that’s right. Despite the changing landscape, the articles I list here are typically those that I feel are “timeless” in that they could be referenced in the future and still have utility. These posts are not in response to newsworthy events, nor are they displayed in any particular order. They are strategic guides that hopefully will enhance your internet marketing experiences in the future.

Every year, I can only read so many articles. I try to keep this as exhaustive as possible, but even so, I don’t know every great resource. Like last year, I enlisted in help from my followers on Twitter, many of whom gave me some great posts to add to this list. If you’re looking to be included on 2010’s list, you now know what to do.

Like last year, if your article is highlighted in this comprehensive post, there’s a badge for you to proudly celebrate this achievement on your site. Thanks again to David Mihm who specializes in Portland Web Design for creating them. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to grab the code you need for your post or site.

Without further ado, I now present to you the best internet marketing posts of 2009.

Social Media: Getting Started

  • Why You Have to Engage in Social Media, Even if You Don’t Want to (A Smart Bear): Jason Cohen (@asmartbear) makes a compelling argument into why social media must be considered, even if you have no interest in it. The article has examples of how social media worked too.
  • The Poetry of Social Networking to Court Customers and Invest in Relationships (Brian Solis): Brian Solis shares his foreword to Sean Percival’s book, MySpace Marketing.  In it, he offers some thought-provoking insights into what must be understood before going into social media marketing.  And… Brian Solis is the most eloquent writer I have ever seen in the blogosphere.  This post is really poetry, as are all his other writings and blog posts.
  • 40 Key Elements to Getting Started in Social Media (Louis Gray): Mike Fruchter writes an awesome blog post on Louis Gray’s blog about how to get involved in social media, from branding to blogging to Twitter to community. It’s definitely a worthwhile read.
  • Marketing on the Social Web: A Few Key Ingredients (Michael Fruchter): I love the graphic. But more than that, Mike’s post explains that social media is really about using social channels appropriately to communicate and converse — and as an extension of that, you might just end up being able to sell something. It’s really not that hard!
  • How Big Brands Can Start Testing Social Media (Conversation Agent): It’s really not that hard to get into social media marketing. It just requires a small shift in mindset.
  • Why Social Media is Scary (Steve Radick): Why is social media scary? There are challenges to be overcome by junior employees, developers, managers, and even senior leadership. Steve Radick tackles them all in this post.
  • The ABCs of Online Networking (Your Job Stop): I love Joanna Lord’s article — every single letter of the alphabet has an application in online networking. Don’t overlook these — at least consider them!
  • What Social Media is and What Social Media is Not (Louis Gray): So many people don’t get what social media is. Mike saves the day by straightening them out. :)
  • Is it Too Late to Catch Up? (Seth Godin): Seth Godin suggests ideas that will make social media slowly work for you as an organization.
  • Creating Your Social Media Plan (Outspoken Media): This good primer talks about securing your brand, setting metrics, knowing who you are, setting a presence, engaging, and assessing success.
  • 6 Steps for Creating a Social Media Roadmap and Plan (Green Marketing 2.0): Lorna Li writes very introductory post on what social media is and what you can do with it with some great insights.
  • A Corporate Guide for Social Media (Forbes): Forbes actually gets it when it comes to social media strategy in the workplace. Have a read and see for yourself.
  • 20 Ways to Drive Leads Through Social Media (Kyle Lacy): Here are some of the things you can do to start seeing some movement in this thing they call “social media marketing.”
  • 10 Tips for Social Media Marketers (PR Squared): Todd Defren tells you how to jump into social media marketing. What can you do today?
  • How to Create Measurable Objectives (Altitude Branding): We’ve talked about goals and strategies as it relates to social media marketing, but let’s break them down even further.

Social Media: Implementation and Execution

Social Media: Small Business

Hiring for Social Media

Social Media: Measurement and ROI

Social Media: General

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Leveraging Other Social Media Sites

Blogging

Reputation Management

  • Top 10 Ways to Save Your Online Reputation in 2009 (Small Business Trends): Business need to step up a notch and be a lot more personable to avoid a reputation management fiasco. Most companies need to start by simply acknowledging each and every incoming request from a customer as alluded to in #2.
  • Using Social Media For Reputation Management (DirJournal): Some of the tips here aren’t discussed in other articles, such as focusing on video and optimizing for local search.
  • How to Build a Reputation Monitoring Dashboard (aimClear): This is an incredibly huge post by Marty Weintraub on how to set up a reputation management monitoring dashboard, from doing the keyword research to finding additional keywords to monitor to actually building it. It has lots of screenshots and good actionable information that you can get started with today.
  • A Common Search Reputation Management Timeline (Search Cowboys): To summarize this post, if you don’t act to prevent reputation management issues, you’re doomed in the search world.
  • Be Proactive With Your Reputation Management (Vertical Measures): My book talks about how maintaining social media profiles can help you with your reputation management issues. This post echoes that sentiment and provides specific social networks that you should establish your presence on.
  • How Companies Should Respond to Negative Reviews (Outspoken Media): You shouldn’t always let criticism sit.  Sometimes you can respond.  What would you respond to, though?  How should you do it?
  • The Dos and Don’ts of Online Reputation Management (Search Engine Journal): This article is a simple easy list to follow for reputation management issues. Yes, you can push down negative search engine results, but you need a plan. You can get some direction on that plan by reading this article.
  • 5 Ways Negative Reviews are Good for Business (Small Business SEM): Matt McGee explains why negative reviews aren’t too bad after all. Just make sure you don’t get mentioned on Consumerist or Boing Boing. ;) (Of course, if you get there, it’s probably because your customers exhausted all avenues, which you should’ve been abreast of earlier!)
  • Online Reputation Management in the Future (WebProNews): Chris Crum interviews several experts about the possible diminishing impact of reputation management services — that is, when everyone has a reputation management issue, is it going to be less of a concern?
  • The Online Reputation Management Guide (Outspoken Media): Outspoken Media has produced an incredible online reputation guide. Rhea Drysdale talks about the nuances of assessing, building, tracking, and monitoring your reputation online.

Content Development/Marketing

Web Development

Video

SEO: Strategy

  • The SEM Toolbox: 79 Tools and Tips Every Search Marketer Should Have (SEO Contrarian): Ari Ozick provides a list of the best tools ever needed to do your job as a search engine marketer. Categories include backup tools, backlink discovery tools, link management tools, competitive research tools, keyword tools, domain tools, and a whole lot more.
  • SEO Hierarchy of Needs (Bruce Clay Blog): What step are you on when it comes to your SEO needs? What must you do next? This article by Virginia Nussey features a graphic that mimics Maslow’s hierarchy with an SEO spin.
  • Search Engine Ranking Factors (SEOmoz): Every year, SEOmoz comes out with a list of search engine ranking factors, which is incredibly valuable if you do anything remotely related to SEO or search engine marketing. Of course, it’s not perfect since the algorithm is kept under wraps, but this information has been guesstimated by trial and error.
  • Big List of Search Engine Ranking Factors (Huomah): David Harry revisits the discussion of the factors that he believes affects search engine rankings. And since he just came out with the recent training course SEO Dojo, which has been an incredible success, it’s a good idea to read this and listen.
  • What Aspects of SEO Should You Be Spending Most of Your Time On? (SEO Book): Peter Da Vanzo gives a good beginner’s guide for how to get into SEO for your new website.
  • Google is the Other Woman: The Relationship Algorithm (Foot in Mouth): This article uses an interesting parallel to judge how Google judges your site for algorithmic preference, but I actually would contend that all search engines typically follow the same rules of thumb. I love the analogies!
  • Future-Proof Your SEO (Huomah): Here’s an article which will actually likely be outdated in a few years, but I thought it was still good enough for the purposes of understanding the search landscape today with regards to what works and what doesn’t in search engine optimization.
  • The 100+ Ranking Variables Google Uses, and Why You Shouldn’t Care (SEO Book): In January, Aaron Wall predicted that search marketing success will come from engaging people. This is absolutely starting to take hold, especially as people actually talk about their favorite websites and search engines respond in kind. Twitter integration in search results, anyone?
  • Big Project, Small Budget: Where to Begin Your SEO Campaign (Search Engine Guide): If you are trying to SEO your site, you may want to start thinking about the areas you should put more emphasis on–perhaps because your budget constraints may limit you to only one of these areas.
  • 12 Easy Mistakes that Plague Newcomers to the SEO Field (SEOmoz): Even though this is a basic article on SEO, sometimes even seasoned professionals lose sight of this stuff. You can count on the “reciprocal linking” (read: link exchanges) to be a big mishap in “established SEO firms” from the amount of emails I get with that request daily across all my blogs. UGH :)
  • SEO for Large eCommerce Sites (AudetteMedia): Adam Audette is the SEO for Zappos. That means he knows a fair bit about optimizing billion-dollar business websites. He explores the techniques he uses for his big client in this article.
  • Creating a Sweet High Value Keyword List in 5 Minutes (SEO Book): Aaron Wall shows you how to create a high-value keyword research list in 5 minutes, then features a video on how to actually see what you just did.
  • 5 Free SEO Tools You’re Probably Not Using Yet (Search Engine Marketing Group): Here’s my question. Have you even heard of these yet?
  • How to Optimize for Conversion in Organic Search Results (Search Engine Land): SEO should be ROI-centric. If that’s not on your agenda, read this article and start thinking along the lines of driving real conversions.
  • 7 Rules for Writing URLs (Small Business SEM): If you do anything related to search engine marketing, understanding the URL structure and how to actually optimize it is important. Matt McGee offers tips on how to do this.
  • How Using Google AdWords Can Be the Best SEO Tool in Your Arsenal (RedFly Marketing): Dave Davis presents some pretty invaluable information on the potential for Google AdWords to be an incredible asset for search engine optimization. Yes, you read that right.
  • How to Up Your SEO Income by a Factor of 10 (SEO Book): Ari Ozick’s guest post for SEO Book is a darn good one – you won’t know until you test. It’s really that simple.
  • SEO Best Practices: New Policies Based on Updated Correlation Data (SEOmoz): It’s time to start reevaluating your SEO tactics. SEOmoz has looked at what works and reported on their findings.
  • 5 SEO Essentials: Charting Effective Search Engine Optimization (Online Marketing Blog): Dana Larson’s approach toward effective SEO is great. Most people forget about that in such a social media centric world.
  • 6 Key Tactics for Organic Success (Search Engine Guide): Jen Laycock provides six great tactics for organic success: keywords, content, code, optimization, links, and patience. Yes, patience is a big one!

SEO: Information

  • Small Business SEO: Costs, Expectations, Realities (Small Business SEM): This isn’t a “SEO how to” article. We always see enough of those. What this is is a good article by Matt McGee on what you should expect when you actually buy SEO consulting.
  • 5 Tips for Avoiding Deceptive SEO Companies (Small Business Trends): Since we’re talking about SEO, we might as well tell you what to look for so that you do NOT do business with some of these companies. Look for reputable companies if you ever need to focus on search engine optimization. Your rankings depend on it.
  • Setting Up an SEO Shop Overnight! (High Rankings): Jill Whalen rants about the “SEO shops” that give SEO the snake oil bad name. There actually are good SEOs out there.
  • 8 Short Steps to Forecast and Estimate SEO ROI (SEO ROI): Want ROI for your SEO efforts? Gab Goldenberg offers 8 steps on how exactly that can be achieved.
  • You Don’t Need SEO to Rank in Google (Sugarrae): Rae explains that SEO by itself simply isn’t the key to high rankings. Good content and marketing is really the key; SEO is just a secondary requirement.

Link Building

  • Get Your Link Building Requests Answered (Dream Systems Media): Matt Siltala writes an incredibly valuable article that answers how to get people to link to you once they’ve already established rapport with your competitors. He also brings in four experts who weigh in on the question.
  • Why Link Building May Not Work (Best SEO Blog): Sometimes your link building practices won’t work. Michael Martinez explains why beginning about 1/3 of the way down in this article.
  • How to Get Backlinks (Internet Marketing Techniques and Theories): Leo calls this post “very long.” I think I agree with him. :)
  • Secrets of How to Escape the Link Building Trap Now (SEO Theory): If you don’t want to build links, you might pursue these other opportunities to build links that don’t violate any guidelines. There’s also a service review in here for a link building program run by a pretty well known guy in the SEO space.
  • Buy Text Link Ads with these 101 Sneaky Tips (Search Engine Journal): Gab Goldenberg tries to stay under the radar when buying text links with 101 ideas that hopefully won’t get you caught.
  • Indispensable Link Building Applications (Wiep.net): Wiep Knol has a toolbox filled to the brim of great link building applications. If you do any link building at all, make sure to familiarize yourself with these applications.
  • Link Building Techniques, Interactive Agency Approach (Zeta Interactive): I get about 4-5 link building requests across multiple web properties a day. When reading this article, I realize that for 99.9% of these requests, none of these techniques (personalized requests, transparency, knowing the target website, etc.) are employed at all. Is that really so difficult? I guess it is when you outsource link building to interns.
  • A Big Bunch of Link Building Ideas (Search Engine Land): Debra Mastaler is a link building genius and when she talks, I always listen. In this article, she explores the consequences of actually linking out to other websites and what you can do to build other types of links.
  • Link Building from A to Z (SEOmoz): Wiep Knol is one of the foremost link building experts and has covered an entire alphabet of ways to get new links.
  • 10 Goals for Link Building Campaigns: Moving Beyond “Get More Links” (Search Engine Land): Garrett French writes a great in-depth guide on how you can build links, suggesting countless tactics and link prospect sources.
  • Link Building Evaluation Journal (Search Engine Journal): Building links to a website? How could you enhance your link portfolio? Dave Snyder suggests different ideas for different metrics of the link, be them the age of a domain, the anchor text, or the relevant authority of the link page.
  • 10 Link Building and Tracking Tools for SEO (Online Marketing Blog): Got links? Start testing them. This Top Rank Marketing blog post explores ten possible tools from which to do this.
  • 11 Effective, Efficient Ways to Use Limited Time to Build Links (Search Engine Land): If you’re tasked with building links but yet do not know how to manage your time, you might want to read this and follow Debra Mastaler’s suggestions.
  • Link Mixology: The 12 Kinds of Links Your Site Needs (Michelle MacPhearson): Michelle MacPhearson writes a good point on what kinds of links you should be getting if you intend to market your website.
  • 21 Link Builders Share Advanced Link Building Queries (Search Engine Land): Not all link building tips and tricks have to be Link Building 101. Here are 21 great advanced tactics that can help you get a little more out of link building.

PPC

Affiliate Marketing

Analytics

Usability

Landing Pages

Local/Mobile Search

  • Mobile Search Guide (cellphones.org): Now more and more people are using their cell phones and searching on their favorite search engine. My phone is old as heck but even I do it. But if you’re a website creator, have you optimized for mobile search? If not, perhaps you should, since your visitors might end up going elsewhere.
  • Local Search Ranking Factors (David Mihm): Just like there are SEO ranking factors, there are also local search ranking factors.  David Mihm gives you an exhaustive list of them for your perusal.
  • A Closer Look at the Local Search Data Providers (getListed.org): Any local business presence will want to make sure its information is accurate online.  Take a look at the providers listed to figure out where your information needs to be updated.
  • Blocking and Tackling: 10 Fundamentals of Local SEO (Search Engine Land): David Mihm, our resident local expert, provides a basic list of what you should do as a local business to get ranked in search engines.

Personal Branding

Building a Brand/Brand Evangelism

Public Relations

Community Management/Engagement

General Online Marketing

Everything Else Under the Sun

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Closing Notes

The year 2009 was incredibly huge for me. I gave birth to my first child, a little boy, who is my pride and joy. I published a social media marketing book. I’ve made great relationships, big and small, and I’ve worked on some fantastic projects that I could have only dreamed of just a few years ago.

In the past decade, I’ve graduated college, married the love of my life, switched careers to find my passion, and now I live through it every day. Every morning, I wake up excited to see what the day will bring. I’m aiming higher for the next 10 years — let’s see if I can top this. I’m truly excited to see what next year will bring.

May you all have a happy, successful, and wonderful 2010.

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