Google Ranking Help, How To Get On Google 1st page, Organic Search, Social Media Uses

Get Your Hand Out Of My Pocket……….Should You Pay For Back Links To Improve SEO



With all the advances in technology  your business can go from being a thought to an real business with a website, logo and business cards within a day.  When I started my business over 3 years ago I was amazed at how much I could get done with Vistaprint. I was able to get 500 business cards for about $10.00!  There are many more services available to small business owner’s today. is the new  Vistaprint offering custom cards.  As soon as you register your domain you will be inundated with requests for your money to save you time.  SEO Strategy companies offering you free assessments of your site, Online listing services offering to get you listed on over 50 sites with just a click of a button.  You know you need to optimize your site, but do you need to pay an arm and a leg for it?  One of the best ways to gain page rank organically is to have back links, or links to your site, thus increasing the relevance and page rank of your site based on the referring sites linked to it.  I have received many requests to pay to have my site back linked to a network of sites to improve my ranking quickly.  I was tempted, but I wanted to see what the experts thought about link building so I did a little research and here are the results.

To understand the need for back linking you have to understand the usage or importance of a link.  If you compare the internet to the US,  your site would be considered a great hole in the wall microbrewery.  I’m in Washington D.C. but you are in northern California. The Natural Bohemian (Natty Boh) brewery is just a short drive up 295, it’s convenient easily accessible and familiar so I buy from them constantly.  A friend from California comes to visit and brings a 6 pack of your beer from California and I am hooked.  I go online and buy a case, and the next time I visit California I make it a point to visit the actual brewery.  My friend from California supplied that link that lead me to your brewery.  This is the same with back links to your site, if your site is new no one is referring to your site for information or for services so your relevance is low.  My friend created a link to your brewery/site.  My friend was a trusted source so the conversion rate was high.  This is the same thing as with link building links from influencers, authorities on the industry and educators confirm the relevance of your site.  But how do you build these links? has a detailed strategy that goes the natural route but is very effective.

1.) Natural Editorial Links:  These are other sources linking to your site as a resource.

2.)Manual Outreach: These are links that you manual contact a blogger, website etc and ask a back link to your site.

3.)Self Created: These are links that are created by sites that have guest book sign-ins or blog comments.  These can be plentiful but

have low value.


If you are looking at the list you can see how daunting a task link building can be.  With that in mind, most SEO Strategist and Small Business owners will opt for the pay per link model.  Google, Bing and other Search Engine frown upon this option.  The reason being, you may be linked to low quality sites that may not be related to your site simply trying to trick the system.  As most Web Masters and SEO Consultants know, Google’s refresh will always catch up to you.  If is found that you have paid for link building then your site will be effected significantly.

Although the thought of paying for such a task seems wise, the consequences could be extreme.  It takes a long time to build relevant quality links, but manually building links is the only way to go.  The best way to achieve this is to create quality, useful content and others will link to your site.  You may not be able to afford the cost of the alternative.


Juan De Cruz, Jr.

(240) 479-0082


Social Media Uses

Starting Next Week: Blogging 201 News

Blogging 201: Branding and Growth starts Monday, October 20. If you’re a recent alum of Blogging 101 looking to build on the skills you’ve developed so far, or a blogger looking for new ways to grow your site and its audience, this is the course for you.

What will Blogging 201 cover? We’ll introduce tools to increase your traffic within as well as through other platforms, discuss ways to develop a coherent, effective brand for your blog, and show how to use your archives and your site’s stats to build your readership.

During this two-week course we’ll give you a daily task and provide you with all the necessary resources and information to complete it (there will be no new tasks on weekends, to give you time to explore more on your own, or just publish a post or two). You’ll also have access to The Commons, a private, staff-moderated space where you can chat with other participants, ask questions, and give feedback.

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Google Ranking Help, How To Get On Google 1st page, Online Marketing, Organic Search, Paid Search Marketing, Social Media Marketing Consultant, Social Media Uses

The Curious Link Between Social Media & Chain Music

Social Media Marketing Consulting
The Curious Link Between Chain Music and Social Media

I am a self-confessed Hip-Hop head.  I reached my Hip Hop heyday in the 90’s with groups such as Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde and De La Soul.  This form of Hip Hop was called “conscious” rap because of the content, thought and movement that was a product of the music of the time.  Studio Gangsta Rappers were shunned and your rep was based on the music you produced, not a marketing campaign.  As a 42-year-old Social Media Marketing Consultant I struggle to stay true to my Hip Hop roots, or move on to Classic Jazz?  I can not relate to today’s version of Hip Hop “Chain Music”.  No content, no point, just a catchy heavy base beat and a gold chain.

When you look at the current Digital Marketing landscape……one could say it’s gone the way of “Chain Music”! Social Media is  “en vogue” so companies jumped in flooding timelines with shameless sales plugs and pitches.  Forbes Magazine wrote about the importance of Social Media for Small Business as far back as 2011.  Over that span of time the Social Media Marketing Industry has changed immensely.  It was the connection that was important…….an online interaction that creates an in person engagement.  With the introduction of Facebook Ads and other products, you can pay for Likes and Followers.   It’s no longer about building an organic online community, it’s about paying to get into the timelines of the masses.  Social Media has gone the way of the Google Search Consultant…”but you have 50,000 impressions!”  When numbers become the game in Social Media, failure is imminent.  When there is no true content, people will eventually learn the truth.  There are those Social Media Marketing Consultants and Agencies that get it right.  They realize that just setting up an “Enter to Win an iPad” link  isn’t true traffic.  When I see companies and marketing consultants that get it right, I remain hopeful for our industry.  Despite all the filters that keep  your message out of timelines unless you pay to play……..we can still be heard if you have the rigtht content, the right message and the right audience.

Just as my hope in the Social Media Marketing industry is renewed from time to time, my hope in Hip Hop is renewed when I hear song’s like  Wale’s “Chain Music”. Wale is a Washington D.C. Metro area native and has been on the scene for years but he didn’t receive the national recognition he deserved until he inked a deal with MMG.  Although Wale’s message hasn’t changed, his delivery has……a line from Chain Music states, “tried to give you light and a message, but you’d rather have some VVS’ (diamonds).  He realized that the culture of the Chain Music era is a necessary evil, just as Social Media is a necessary evil for businesses.  If there is no engagement, no connection, no information exchange……..Social Media Marketers may as well trade their corporate suits in  for gold chains.

Juan De Cruz, Jr.

Social Media Marketing, SEO/SEM, e-Mail Marketing Consulting

(240) 479-0082

Social Media Uses

Testing 1,2,3 The Tiffany Taylor Cd Review

When I was asked to do a CD review for Tiffany Taylor, I first delved into her bio listed on her website  When I review music, the one thing I want to do is connect with the artist, to see what they are about and how their personality flows through their music.  Tiffany’s bio states that she’s on her alternative flow and that shows not only in the songs on her CD but also in the wide range of musical influences which range from Whitney Houston to Karen Clark Sheard.  Testing:1, 2, 3 is described as a love affair gone wrong…..that initial anticipation of something new and then the eventual realization that it may not pan out.

The Artist.....Tiffany Taylor!
The Artist…..Tiffany Taylor!


I received Testing 1,2,3 from Tiffany’s manager prior  to returning to the DC area from a short trip to Charlotte, NC.  While I am not a singer or musician and couldn’t explain syncopation or read a sheet of music, music is an integral part of my life.  To me the great test of a CD is if it can stay in rotation in your car during your daily commute. And there is no greater test than if music can survive a road trip.  As I set out on my trip up 85 north I popped in Testing:1,2,3 and noticed the wide vocal and genre range of Tiffany as early as Track 3 “Comin’ Home”.  “Comin’ Home” as Tiffany states is her…..”alternative flow”.  Another alternative head nodder is Track 8 “Get It Together”, I found myself nodding to the track uncontrollably.   I loved the energy of the track and the harmony.  Trust me, you’ll grab your Rock n Roll air guitar too!

The love story theme is heard in tracks 4 through 6.  My favorite track on the CD is “Freelude” which unfortunately is just an interlude.  This track and “I’ll Never 4get” are the tw0 most powerful tracks in my opinion.  While Tiffany does possess the skill to master the alternative songs, it seems as if her strength lies in the slower ballads.  Testing;1,2, 3 has something for everyone, from alternative, ballads and even the upbeat party track Tore It Down”.  Just like in love, there are many faces and forms, this is the same for Tiffany’s musical repertoire.  You can’t just peg her to one style!  Be sure to get Testing:1,2,3!

Social Media Uses

All black everything…..the proposed future of the internet! (A layman’s guide to SOPA)

You’ve probably seen the blacked out Google logo, the blackout and please don’t try to look up anything on Wikipedia today!  You may have heard of SOPA/PIPA, but if you’re not an attorney or super nerd, how do you decipher the legalese, and what does it mean to you? I am not an attorney and while I may be a nerd with swag, I’m not a super nerd, so I was as confused as others.  Most people simply scan issues and if they feel that it does not concern them they quickly move on.  While at first glance SOPA seems as if it only affects the big guys like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube…..look a  little closer.  I’m always about enlightenment, so please don’t take my word for it.  You can click on this link (SOPA) and view the bill for your self.

The Particulars

The goal of SOPA is to stop piracy on the internet by FOREIGN websites that are not under US jurisdiction/and also those that are, the way they are going about it is a little extreme.  We have all downloaded a leaked copy of an upcoming CD or even a movie or two.  The goal of SOPA is to regulate this copyrighted material.  This is where it becomes a little ambiguous, that enforcement can trickle down to bloggers and those who post content like myself.  The internet, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube has created a wroldwide info-share that rivals any news outlet.  When the recent Italian Cruise ship crashed, I had articles, reports and pictures many hours prior to local news outlets reports on the tragedy.  For argument sake, say that the site I received info from  had one photo or portion of content that was deemed copyrighted.

Under the rules of SOPA, the Attorney General can:

1.) Require the internet service provider to block access to the site within 5 days.

2.) Search engines will be required to remove all mentions of the site from it’s indexes.

3.) Ad providers will be required to stop ad service to the site.

4.) Payment providers will be required to stop payment to the site operator.

That international news source would be blocked from me.  I know you’re thinking that sounds extreme, and you’re thinking it really doesn’t affect you, but let’s look a little deeper.  Any site that has a comment box that allows it’s users to post comments, media or links can be in violation of this.  Say if you posted a parody of your favorite song to Youtube.  That song is copyrighted, so you would be in violation.  Even if you were not intending to profit from the posting of the video.

The main thing with SOPA is, we all are infringing on copyrights, we all post news articles, photos, songs and videos to our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube accounts.  But this knowledge share is what makes up the digital community.  I am a blogger and Social Media Strategist, while I do create my own content, there are times that I spool the internet for interesting stories and articles to post.  As an independent marketer under SOPA, I could pay the exorbitant fee to monitor my website to ensure that all of the content that I or my followers post is not infringing on any copyrights, or risk being pursued by the Attorney General.   It’s a digital “Witch Hunt” in my opinion.  Think of how stripped down the internet would be when everyone is scared to post content that may be deemed in violoation of SOPA?

I understand the feelings of groups like the  Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) who are looking out for their interests in regards to piracy.  But the issue isn’t right vs. wrong, left vs. right or good vs. evil, it’s a simple issue of new vs. old.  Piracy is wrong but in an attempt to end piracy, SOPA allows a blanket restriction of the new forms of news, idea and thought sharing.  No longer is news simply confined to national viewing audiences, as we saw with the revolution in Libya.  The internet and Social Media has leveled the playing field when it comes to the distribution of the news.  The public can decide what is newsworthy, versus ingesting what ever news story is fed to them.  We can form our own opinions, arguments and feelings based on the uncut, uncensored truth.  And isn’t that what America is all about?  Let’s not stop free speech on the way to stopping piracy!

Juan De Cruz, Jr.

The Social Media Juander

Social Media Uses

God will not be mocked…..even on Social Media!

It has been a while since my last post…..but trust me I have had numerous things to say! Well myself and a whole host of others have been having a verbal and written love affair with the ex-Gator Tim Tebow.  Although my Silver and Black Raider heart hates to say it……it is actually an interesting story.  A few weeks ago I read an article by Jemele Hill, Lions Disrespected Tim Tebow’s faith.  I dismissed the article as over sensitive and senseless……but if you really look at it, maybe Jamele Hill had a point.

Tim Tebow swept into your living room with no throwing ability or skill and yet he has managed to win 6 straight games! The main thing a quarterback needs to do is throw, and that’s the one thing that Tebow can not do.  The Tebow era started off with a surprise come from behind victory at Miami, where he struck the infamous Tebow (prayer) pose after the victory.  A few individuals took a picture of themselves doing the pose and posted it, and so the internet/social media Tebow splash began.  Even stars such as Dwight Howard were pictured posing doing the Tebow.

Enter the Detroit Lions, they sacked, tackled and intercepted Tebow so much he should have taken a knee and prayed for deliverance! After sacking Tebow, a Detroit linebacker struck the infamous prayerful pose, mocking Tebow.  I didn’t take offense to the action…..but others did.  They stated the Lions actions were classless…… distasteful.  When you analyze the mocking a little deeper, in essence they were saying that no matter what amount of prayer or Christianity it can’t effect the outcome of a football game,  I mean, doesn’t God have more to do than  make sure Tebow wins, I mean hey…..let’s just look at all of the world disasters and issues going on.

Tebow kept his wits about him, didn’t back down on his faith or beliefs, and somehow, through it all, he has engineered 6 straight wins.  Almost like the Red Sea parting, water being turned to wine or walking on water, Tebow has inexplicably managed to beat NFL teams without the use of his arm…..the ONE thing a QB should be able to do.  Is this a miracle, does God actually care enough about football to choose sides, or is it that he will not be mocked?

I was in a restaurant last week and overheard a group of guys talking about the Tebow phenomenon…..I butted into the conversation and we all said the same thing… do you win a game going 2-8 throwing?  How do you engineer a 95 yard game winning drive (against my Raiders) without throwing the ball?  We all came to the same conclusion, some defensive coordinator will engineer a defense that will expose Tebow, but sure enough……he won again Sunday!

How can you explain this?  Unless as one of the gentlemen I spoke to last week told me……”maybe this God thing is real!” Since the Lions mocking incident, Denver has not lost a game, and the once hot Lions have lost numerous games, had issues with their coach, their number 1 pick….and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. So who’s mocking who now……”maybe this God thing IS real!”

Social Media Uses

Guru’s, Wizards and Experts (Who can you trust to handle your Social Media)

When I decided to branch out on my own to become an independent Social Media Marketing Consultant for small businesses, I noticed that I was just one of thousands, maybe millions of people doing the same thing.  I browsed individuals titles in different LinkedIn groups and profiles, I even scoured Craigslist and other forums to view the competition.  I was amazed at all of the creative titles which included Social Media Guru, Expert, Specialist, King Queen etc.!  I got so confused, with all of the mentions of Wizards, Guru’s and Warlocks…..I wasn’t sure if I was reading a Harry Potter series or an offer of Social Media Marketing services.  By the amazing things that people promised, I was expecting Professor Dumbeldore, Harry or the one we do not speak of (Voldemort) to materialize to run Social Media Marketing Campaigns. While we mere mortals sit back and await the magic to spill down from Hogwart’s….the Wizards and Gurus form a special Social Media Marketing Strategy!

The truth is, there are no Wizards, Gurus or Experts.  The reason being, Social Media is ever-changing.  It originally shaped our personal communication and now we have seen how it has shaped the way we do business.  As small business owners, and large companies for that matter, scramble to form a voice via Social Media, they are met with empty promises!  If you are looking to contract someone who says they know all there is to know about Social Media…….in the words of Ghost Face Killah…..”Run”! Social Media is an ever-moving target, there is no plateau, just a consistent climb.  just because someone can construct a Fan Page doesn’t mean they are an Expert.

Misconception Number 1 

“People think if you build it they will come!” @JemekaShamae

This has to be one of the greatest misconceptions.  Social Media Marketers will contract their services to build a Social network, but they don’t advise their clients on how to increase traffic, how to track what posts are effective and how to maintain a constant online presence.  “You have to take time to develop your content and voice!” –Jarvis Holliday If not you’ll have a Social Media network no followers and a look of….”what now?”

Misconception Number 2

“Whoomp there it is!”

Some fraudulent Social Media Marketers lead their clients to believe they will see instant results.  The truth is, you have to develop content, you have to engage your followers and listen to your followers prior to dumping your marketing campaign on them. Think of Social Media just like a friendship, it takes time to develop trust and a connection.  You wouldn’t barge in on a new friend and ask for money.

Misconception Number 3

“It is what it is!”

So many people think that the world of Social Media is just a malaise of Likes, Retweets, Fans and Followers.  They fill as if they just post random thoughts that they will increase their following.  The truth is a real Social Media Marketing strategy is far more cerebral than that.  There is software out there that helps to measure the effectiveness of your content, the click-through rate to your website and also the conversion rate of page views to likes.  If your Social Media Marketer isn’t offering these services then you really need to explore your professional relationship.

The Marketing Cycle for Social Media is longer than that of standard marketing campaigns.  It can be compared to Transactional versus Relationship sales.  As you search for a Social Media Marketing Consultant, be sure they are not promising you the world…..and just  giving you Hogwarts School of Magic!

Juan De Cruz, Jr.


Social Media Uses

Hey Young World, The World Is Yours!

If  you are in your 30’s like myself, you may have thought back to the late 80’s hit by Slick Rick, “Hey Young World“!  Just as the memory of that song brought about the melodic chorus to your mind’s ear, the use of Social Media is music to the ears of those who are truly engaged and realize the scope and power of Social Media.

I have been in the field of Marketing since 2002, in that time there have been numerous changes in the field.  I secured a position at a Marketing/Customer Acquisition Firm in Charlotte, NC.  I was impressed by the cerebral approach they took to marketing.  The main goal was lead generation which was done through a marketing mix of internet lead gen, SEO,  print and media.  We analyzed the most insignificant factors to see how they would effect our Marketing efforts.  We were a cutting edge firm that prided ourselves on staying ahead of the competiton beccause we were always prepared.

I was promoted to the positon of Regional Marketing and Sales Director for the Southern California Region.  I ran up and down the coast, creating promotions and coming up with ideas for successful Marketing strategies for our clients.  With the backing of my home office and their marketing research data, I felt there was no way I could go wrong.  2008, enter the drop in the economy, the uncertainty of the direction of the new leadership of our country coupled with rampant job loss and you had an environment where if your industry was dependent on consumer purchasing habits there was a level of uncertainty. Marketing campaigns were not as succesful, leads decreased and in the end I was laid off.

As I started applying for jobs, I realized that the Marketing field changed.  While I was a Regional Rep, I used Facebook to keep others updated on where my day to day travels took me, the crazy people I would meet while on the road and the occasional GPS malfunctions that would have me wandering all over California.  I noticed that companies were using Facebook to market products, field complaints or suggestion from customers and also lead focus groups.  Although I had a Twitter account I barely used it because I didn’t know how to say I felt Twitter was a breeding ground for ego-maniacs in 140 Characters. Now almost every major company has a Twitter account.  I created a Linkedin account for networking purposes, but I never really used it to it’s fullest, now 48% of HR recruiters search Linkedin prior tpo viewing a job board. (Me 2.0, Dan Schawbel)

Social Media has and cotimues to reshape the way society communicates, socializes, stays informed and also shops.  Facebook can no longer be dismissed as a young peoples fad, Twitter has turned into a job board, Linkedin “IS” your resume now.  Social Media Marketing firms like Social Living and Groupon have placed small businesses on the same playing field as large companies, so much so prior to creating their own Social Media Discount division Google Offers, Google offered to purchase Groupon for $6 Billion dollars and was declined. So there’s no future in Social Media huh? Facebook aided in a political revolution! Since 2008 Groupon has seen drastic growth there are in 500 markets in 44 countries!

When you master the art of Social Media, the world is yours, there’s no limit to the things you can accomplish. So join me on this journey as I keep you informed on the new trends, how to brand yourself through the use of Social Media and give you a behind the scenes look at how I use Social Media in my daily life.  Welcome to the journey!

Juan De Cruz, Jr.