Are the lines starting to blur between search engine marketers and public relations practitioners?

- Utah PR people are talking about keyword-stuffed press releases.

- SEO firms are offering online public relations and press release optimization services . . . (

- SEO firms are offering copywriting services.

- PR firms are pushing “new media,” blogs, podcasts, Diggs, etc….

- Internet marketers are pushing the “seo press release.” (Newspapergrl)

- PR firms are tracking the number of hits to a news story/press release online . . .

- SEM firms are doing ad buys (it’s called pay-per-click).

- Both parties are pitching stories to journalists (and citizen journalists).

- Both are employing “new media” in the form of blogs.

and on, and on….

Search Engine Rankings and How to Keep them

Website rankings search engines are a vital element of your overall marketing campaign, and there are ways to improve your link popularity through legitimate methods. Unfortunately, the Internet is populated with droves of dishonest webmasters seeking to improve their SERPs by faking out search engines.

The good news is that search engines have figured this out, and are now on guard for “spam” pages and sites that have increased their ranking by artificial methods. When a search engine tracks down such a site, that site is demoted in ranking or completely removed from the search engine’s index.

Some high quality sites are being mistaken for these web page hooligans. Your page may be in danger of the “spam” nets and tossed from a search engine’s index, even though you have done nothing to warrant it. But there are things you can do – and things you should be sure NOT to do.

Link Popularity
Link popularity is mostly based on the quality of sites you are linked to. Google pioneered this criteria for assigning website ranking, and virtually all search engines on the Internet now use it. There are legitimate ways to go about increasing your link popularity, but at the same time, you must be scrupulously careful about which sites you choose to link to. Google frequently imposes penalties on sites that have linked to other sites solely for boosting their link popularity. They have actually labeled these links “bad neighborhoods.”

You will likely be penalized when a bad neighborhood links to your site; penalty happens only when you are the one sending out the link to a bad neighborhood. But you must constantly check all the links that are active on your links page to make sure you haven’t created bad links.

Link Penalties
The first thing to check out is whether or not the pages you linked to have been penalized. The easiest way to do this is to download the Google toolbar. You will see that most pages are given a “Pagerank” which is represented by a sliding green scale on the Google toolbar.

Your best bet is to link to sites with more green.

Don’t Use Hidden Text
Some webmasters have gotten around this formula by hiding their keywords in such a way so that they are invisible to any visitors to their site. For example, they have used the keywords but made them the same color as the background color of the page. You cannot see these words with the human but search engine spiders can. A spider is the program that Google, Yahoo!, MSN and others use to index web pages, and when they see these invisible words, penalties are likely.

Sometimes the spider will penalize a page by mistake. If the background color of your page is gray, and you have placed gray text inside a black box, the spider will only take note of the gray text and assume you are employing hidden text. To avoid any risk of false penalty, simply direct your webmaster not to assign the same color to text as the background color of the page – ever!

Penalties of Cloaking
The final potential risk factor is known as “cloaking.” The page the spider sees is “cloaked” because it is invisible to regular traffic, and deliberately set-up to raise the site’s search engine ranking. A cloaked page tries to feed the spider everything it needs to rocket that page’s ranking to the top of the list.

It is natural that search engines have responded to this kind of deception by imposing steep penalties. The problem on your end is that sometimes pages are cloaked for legitimate reasons, such as prevention against the theft of code, often referred to as “pagejacking.” This kind of shielding is unnecessary these days due to the use of “off page” elements, such as link popularity, that cannot be stolen.

Cloaking of any kind will put your website at great risk. Just as you must be diligent in increasing your link popularity and your ranking, you must be equally diligent to avoid being unfairly penalized. Monitor your site closely and avoid deceptive internet marketing behavior.

Flash/Video Integration at its finest (tooting the horn)

I’ve been writing some case studies for my company Fifty Studio (web design/internet marketing) and I was looking through one of the websites our team recently did. Frankly, it’s pretty amazing to see what Chris, Grady, and the rest of our interactive team was able to pull off.

Regal Security really wanted to be able to connect their executives with potential sales recruits using their web site, and they wanted to make it as personal as possible. Here’s a screen capture and link to the site. (click on “Meet the Team” and then click on one of the executives)

Regal Security, Washington

Food Storage, Emergency Food and 150 years of Prophecy

I recently found an interesting line in a book I’m reading about early Mormon Pioneers who lived in the Southern part of the Salt Lake Valley. Apparently, the counsel to store food (emergency food preparedness) isn’t a new thing by any means. This caught me by surprise at first because I never imagined that early Americans had extra food to store when they barely had enough to eat during some winters.

As recorded in Andrew J. Allen’s journal, 11 October 1863, page 24.

“To day arrangements were made to have the ward visited to see that all the brethren had one years supply of grain on hand.”

When I was a teenager, my friend spoke of a time when his dad was out of work and the family was able to get through a period of tough economic times because they had a year’s supply of food on hand. Another friend recently told me that he has been able to pay his house payment and car payment but food and gas are causing strain on the budget while he goes through some economic hardships. Whatever the case, it has been an amazing lesson to see that “food storage” and “emergency food” have been used in instances outside of hurricanes or earthquakes so that a family could remain self-reliant.

On a side note . . .
Connor Boyack has an interesting article on the subject of being prepared. He has a link at the end of his article that points to a number of prophecies on being prepared. An Analysis of the Ten Virgins

BYU: The “almost” college of Draper, Utah

Dr. John “Rocky” Park, who was a teacher in the early days of Draper, Utah was (ironically) paid well by the people of the city (then known as Draperville) because he was was such a good teacher, but he didn’t stick around . . . Why?

Doctor Park’s village school came to the attention of President [Brigham] Young and other [LDS] Church leaders in 1867 during one of their semiannual visits to Draperville. His was the best school they had seen throughout the settlements. The Church authorities desired the same teaching concepts in the schools their children attended. President Young told Bishop Stewart the Church would build a college in Draperville if they continued to foster quality education and build up a community.

Brigham Young attended a meeting on the subject in the home of Draperville settler W.B. Ennis where Young said pointing to the hills South and East and said:

That is the place for the Church University, and if you brethren will lay the foundation, we’ll see that it is finished.

That is roughly the area where the new Draper, Utah Temple is being completed, but there is no University there.

Because of a division of opinion among the people of the town about where to place it (rather than on the location pointed out by Brigham Young) it was never started, and the Church University was built at Provo.

Lesson: Disagree with the prophet, and BYU gets built somewhere else. Not only that, but your wonderful teacher will leave to serve as President of The University of Deseret (today known as the University of Utah).

source: Sivogah to Draper, City: The History of Draper, Utah.

Where is the Spirit World?

The statement below, which was used from the Gospel Principles manual from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has left me thinking a lot lately.

In a funeral sermon, Joseph Smith declared that the spirits of righteous people who have died “are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and are often pained therewith” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 326). Other latter-day prophets have made similar statements. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, p. 18; or Ensign, June 1971, p. 33). President Brigham Young said: “Where is the spirit world? It is right here” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 376).

It’s an interesting question to ponder if you believe in an “afterlife.”

Giuliani says: “Standing for Something.”

During the Republican presidential debate on Saturday January 5, 2008 a recorded question was posed from President Bush on how he would support a candidate who makes decisions based on principles and guidelines. When Rudy answered, he said a something about a president “Standing for Something.”

What Rudy doesn’t know is that he quoted the title of the book Standing for Something, which was written by LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley. The full title of the book is actually Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes and highlights 10 virtues we should stand for as a people on this earth.

Those “10 Virtues” are: love, honesty, morality, civility, learning, forgiveness and mercy, thrift and industry, gratitude, optimism, and faith.

Photo of Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, Others

I thought these were worth sharing.

Photo of Joseph Smith (copy of an original daguerreotype)

Photo of Martin Harris

Photo: Salt Lake Temple Under Construction

… More Photos of Salt Lake Temple Construction

Photo: Nauvoo Temple