Friday, August 31, 2012

Linked in May Now Be the Second Most Important "Directory" Next To Google Places

Setting up the Profile on Your Linkedin Account for Best Results

Over the course of the next week or so, I am going to give a detailed tutorial on Linkedin as it stands today after major new products have been introduced.  In Linkedin you now have a truly robust business environment where you can tell your story like no place outside of your own website or blog.  With the addition of the company page and product pages within the company page, and the expansion of the profile, you can create a massive commentary on your personal and business capabilities.

if you would really like to fully follow the materials presented over the next week, may I offer you the opportunity to connect with me on Facebook so that everything is open to you to see how I have done my own site.  To be certain that you get my correct Linkedin site (there are a lot of Randy Kirks) past this shortened url into your address bar.

Once there send me an invitation and I will connect with you.  Then, if you like what I've written about this process or have enjoyed other aspects of my blogs or books, I would certainly be appreciative of your writing a recommendation. 

Next, go to the link for my company page and follow that page at 

Finally, check out one of my product pages at the short url 

We will start with the next post on this subject to set up your profile page in a way that will be more likely to be found on Linkedin search and Google Web Search.  The changes recommended will also result in a greater likelihood that folks who come to your profile page will decide to do business.  If you don't want to miss these coming tutorials, you may want to subscribe right now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

10 Main Reasons Small Businesses Fail - Author Entrerpreneur Randy Kirk

There isn't a lot that is secret about success in business.  But most small business people have never taken a business class.  Those who have commonly still miss the basics.  But it may not be too late.  Here are the top ten reasons that small businesses fail. 

Do you agree with this list?  Do you have other reasons you think are more likely to cause a business to fail. Let me know in the comments.

If your business is in trouble.  Call me.  I have helped many businesses turn disaster into six figure incomes.  310-910-1848

Does Your Business Have Enough Cash to Do That?

For the Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the message was lost.

For want of a message the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

I am flabbergasted.  Each of my fantastic short blogs on the Secrets of Marketing generate an immediate response of a pretty consistent number of views.  Some a little more, some a little less.  Then over time, they build to some very nice numbers.  But the one I did on money as a the most critical logistic in business was a phenomenal dud!  It couldn't be the content, since so few read it.  It must have been the headline or time of day I posted or something.  So please go read this post.  You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blogging as The Core of Social Media Integration

Long form is the most critical form.  We can all share a headline on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or google+, but the headlines have details behind them that may or may not be what is even in the headline.  Only rarely does the headline provide you with enough benefit to be worth the read, other than for entertainment.   Blogs, articles, website content, and videos tend to provide the longer, more detailed story.  Of these only video and blogs count as social media.  And obviously, blogs are written words that are already heavily interwoven into social media. 

Can you do Facebook without a blog?  Sure.  You can do any social media effort without a blog or even a website.  And everyone of those media can produce the occasional actual sale.  But if you read the pundits in this field, as I do, or if you are doing this for multiple businesses day-to-day, as I do, you begin to see the pattern.  FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked in, and YouTube are all great feeds to Blogs and Websites.  YouTube is the double threat, as it can lead to immediate and direct results without first sending the client to the blog or website, and there is also a nice stream of traffic to the blog and website from the videos.  The place where the sale takes place is on the Website, the blog, or YouTube.

I have been blogging since January 1995, which is pretty much when it all started.  I have steadfastly adhered to the principle of blogging three times per week.  I'm a professional writer, so I write fast, and theoretically well enough to have been published 100's of times.  So my work should not stand in the way of blogging success.  Some of my blogs have done well.  But only when I started blogging pretty close to daily did I start to see real results.  Only when I started to support my blogs with other social media did the numbers start to really inflate. 

You may not have the time or talent to post to your blog daily, respond to comments, and support your blogging with social media and videos.  You can hire it done (and please call us if that's what you want to do).  But the combination will work to produce steady business over time. 

If you would like me to send you a tutorial on blogging, just send an email to

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pinterest Provides a Huge Opportunity for Integration of YouTube and Blogs

Believe it or not, some American humans have never heard of Pinterest.  How can that be?

The first time I ever saw this new social media sensation, I was flabbergasted as to how amazing and cool it was.  I even considered making all my blogs and websites look like Pinterest.  And with the possible exception of Google+, this is the fastest growing social media site on the web. 

With 70% or more of the users coming from the gentler sex (can you still say that), and with those who are using it spending serious amounts of time pinning and repinning, the potential is huge.  We are in the process of creating Pinterest sites for all of our clients.  Here is one which you can see at

You have to love the visuals and the quick read.  It is also super easy to grab what you want for your site.  And the original creator maintains ownership of the content no matter how many times it is repinned.  Sure, you can screen shot things, but why??

You can put up YouTube videos, which is a great use of the concept.  You can also create little posters with words on them when that is needed.  So for blog posts, you can use the word poster approach, or use a fantastic piece of art to create intrigue that drives visitors to look up the post details. 

I think doing just what I did above is also a potential way to integrate.  Take shots of your pinterest and use those on blogs, Facebook, and Google+ to create traffic back to the Pinterest site. 

There is a huge amount of action happening around Pinterest around the idea of contests.  And starting the contest on Pinterest and then connecting it to the other sites can be a really solid way to build all sites. 

This is very, very new to our company, and we are still in the learning curve.  We would love to have your ideas in the comments regarding how to integrate Pinterest.

Google+ Is Facebook for Men - Might Eventually be #1 Overall for Social Media Integration

I am really starting to wish I'd started a huge storyline about Google+ being for men and Pinterest for women.  I wrote about this early via, but not often.  Now I've lost my chance to become famous for leading in this meme.  But this headline today in Forbes "Women Are From Pinterest, Men Are From Google+?" actually has the stats to back up their question.  I will deal with Pinterest tomorrow.  But what about Google+.  This much maligned social media site cannot be ignored.  Quite by accident, in my humble opinion, Google created an environment that is uniquely providing a place where men can do what men like to do.  Show off and debate.  The streams are rarely trivial, and at least in my circles, no one has described or taken a picture of any meals. 

The reason I prognosticate that Google+ will eventually be the big winner in social media integration is that they are uniquely setting themselves up for integration.  The very first thing you do is to separate your network into circles according to their common interest area.  While you can do this in Facebook, it is an afterthought, and for most FB fanatics, they aren't going to go back and divide up their 500 friends. 

In addition, the tools and toys that Google has already brought to the Google+ environment are very powerful for groups.  In particular, the hangout concept has huge potential. 

I would like to write another 1000 words on Google+, but the timing is wrong.  The merger with Google Places is happening right now, and everyone is waiting to see what that really means in terms of how content is uploaded, used, shown, etc. 

But this much I know.  Growing your circles, sharing updates to appropriate groups, and joining conversations when you have something to add are going to provide you with potential resources in the future.  Sharing the fact that you have a new video up, blog post posted, product in your line, website changed, or event being planned, not to mention hangout scheduled, are just a few of the ways you can integrate your media.  And if you have thousands in your circles, there will surely be an impact on your views and visitors to the target media content.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Facebook - Do We Really Need FB for Small Business Social Media Integration?

MySpace and Yahoo still exist almost a decade after they both became irrelevant.  They have a tiny, by internet standards, sliver of the market, which creates jobs and profits, and useful places for some to advertise.  So, I'm not going to be the first to announce the death of FB.  But what seems to be happening is death by a thousand cuts. 

    ▪    Pinterest is way more fun.
    ▪    Google+ is better for guys who like to debate and show prowess. 
    ▪    Blogs are better for sales and information about product. 
    ▪    YouTube is better for given an impression of authenticity, knowledge, and likability. 
    ▪    Linked in is certainly better for upper level associating and power networking.

So what exactly is left of Facebook?  Games and telling anyone who cares what your three year old said?   News of family and friends status changes?  A place to trade pictures?  My son says that the kids have switched some of that to instagram.  No wonder Facebook bought it.

On the other hand, I have clients who are possibly actually making money with FB.  If not money, at least friends.  In other words, I doubt if any of them could point to much in the way of phone calls or walk ins due to FB.  But clearly it is a media where people gather, and where they share what they like, so there is very likely to be an excellent potential for actual business as people feel more connected to a company. 

As a consultant I have not stayed up with Facebook.  As we create content for our clients on Blogs or Twitter, we use feeds to get this information on FB.  It is up to our clients to add any further proactive content and to react to incoming. 

Therefore when we Tweet or blog about a video, or Tweet about a blog post, the headline ends up on the FB page.  This can lead to more visits to the target media and make the FB page more interesting. 

What else would you suggest as being useful in the FB world for an overall media strategy?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Twitter Useful for More than Following Celebs? Maybe for SMB's to Promote Other Media

As many did, I jumped on Twitter early, and learned the details, downloaded the tools with the funny names, and tried to connect.  Then I tried to connect some more.  Nobody wrote back.  I'm a social guy.  I like having a conversation.  But it seemed like a pretty lousy way to make a friend.

So I read experts and followed their advice.  I now have about 1130 some followers, and I get about 300 Tweets and hour.  90% of them are somebody selling something or quoting some dead person, or making other statements that seem to be mechanical and self absorbed. 

Tell me in the comments if you find your experience to be different and why you think I'm not finding any real conversations.

Now I realize that I can reduce my tweet flow by a lot.  I can unfollow folks that aren't really making my day, or I can filter them out.  The truth is that I just haven't found anything to filter in!

Now that doesn't mean the whole Twitter thing is totally useless for a small business owner.  Some folks actually do follow some of their feed.  Things like stars, fads, brands, hobbies, scores, events, news, and such have a base of people paying attention.

And, I didn't want to go of half-cocked here today.  so I spent several hours on my own Twitter account, read some expert opinion and recommendations for optimizing a business opportunity, and learned very little new. 

My conclusion?  Almost like Linked In, but in this case I would say better for brick and mortar retail, and not so much for services.  Better for businesses that have fan bases, lots of sales or events, or where there is a critical news flow. 

But you can fairly easily add followers, and once you add them, you can sent out Tweets quickly and easily.  A good use for these Tweets would be to announce new blog posts, new videos, new articles, new products.  So, for instance, a retailer gets a new product in.  Do a two minute video, put it up on your blog, and your Facebook.  Now tweet about the product, the video, and the blog post.  Using what I suggested yesterday on Linked in, you can do the same thing there.  And, spoiler alert, you can do the same thing on Google+ and Pinterest.  Now with about 15 minutes worth of promotion, you might generate a significant increase in views of your video or blog post.

Repeat this process and watch all your numbers rise.  Capture some of those folks as likes, some into your circles, and some dropping emails, and you can now reach out to them in a more casual environment.  But it does take a decision to spend that kind of effort for months. not days. 

Please help others with your thoughts if you agree or don't.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Linked in Might Actually End Up Being the Link We Overlooked

If you read through my blogs and books, you'll see that my view of social media looked something like this:  YouTube and Blogs offer most local retailers and service companies an immediate return on investment, and sometimes and outstanding one.  Facebook, Twitter, and Linked in suck up tons of time and rarely result in an actual sale.  You should have a hand in all of them, but they aren't the best way to increased sales.  Google Plus and Pinterest are very interesting and are definitely worth a hard look. 

Now come Panda, Penguin, Venice, and all that.  With those algo changes we are back to unique, quality content being in the drivers feet at Google.  That means blogging and video are still the king and queen of social media, but it also means that the smart guys all know that.  How can you stand out?  By supporting your blogs and videos with FB, Twitter, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

So that brings me back to Linked in.  Over the past five years, Linked in has slowly but surely built up a vast network of people who have signed up and get the occasional email about someone's change in status.  There is just enough of a continuous presence to keep everyone interested.  Sure, there are those who make excellent use of Linked In to end employees or jobs, but I'm pretty sure you will agree that almost no small business owners have ever made a dime off of their involvement with Linked in. 

Now however, it is possible to quickly amass a large network in just a few hours of brainless activity while watching TV.  Inviting excellent, relevant people to connect with you is easier than following folks on Twitter, hoping they will follow you back.  You merely go to Linked in sites of those whom you are already linked to, and you can invite anyone they are linked to.  From there list you will undoubtedly find some folks who have even more relevant folks. 

Three years ago, this was a long arduous task, but it is common to find linked friends and people you may not even know who have 100's of connections.  So, over the past 24 hours I added 65 people with about 3 hours of multi-tasking in front of my boob tube. 

What is the advantage?  There are many things you can do with your Linked in group.  The basic idea is that you can put up an update, such as your availability for work, job description of a possible hire, or even a sale item or new product offer, and your group will have a high likelihood of giving it a quick notice.  And they may even resend it out to their group. 

Anyway, this is not the spot to list the many options available on Linked In.  The usefulness for the purposes of this post is that you can promote your blog posts and videos.  Takes a few seconds.  And if only a few check out you content, it helps to build your stats, hence your ranking, which help your visits, which helps your ranking.  And over time, as you will see, this process can grow everything at once. 

You merely go to your update, give a quick headline and description of the media you want to promote and give the link.  Easy.

So the little engine that could, the tortoise called Linked in has created a huge network that can.  What about my least favorite, Twitter.  That's next.

What have I missed?  What can you add?

PS.  While you are thinking about it, here is my Linked in. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogging, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google Places

The Secret of Social Media Marketing May Be in the Integration - part 1

We all come to our aha moments in different ways, and many who read this post may think that for such a so-called expert on Google Places and online marketing, that I am sadly behind the curve on the power of social media.  Or maybe not.  Most social media experts that I've followed tend to be very interested in one or two of the above, but not so much the possible linkage. 

As a marketer who believes in an all of the above approach, slowly but surely I've been weaving together strategies designed to maximize and optimize all of these and point them toward websites.  And secondarily, from all of those and off line activity, generate email lists for traditional businesses that provide a more personal link with the client.

I suppose the strategies and tactics that I'm referring to could also be applied to affiliate marketers, but that crowd seems to always be chasing the latest thing, and not carefully plotting a long term strategy.  So, this series is more about product and service providers.

Certainly Traffic Geyser is one that has most of what I'm talking about working for them.  But I have actually ended my relationship with TG with a very fond memory of what I learned, but I don't think they have quite the right overall approach either.

Over the next few days I will lay out a plan that might be good for some of you small business owners.  Not a huge amount of work after the set up is complete.  But results that should actually make the phone ring.  And I will be very interested to get feedback about how much of what i'm suggesting is wrong, old news, underdeveloped, etc.  I'll start the story tomorrow with my new appreciation for Linked In.  Maybe the stock market got it right giving them the high valuation and Facebook not so much.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Google Places - Google+ Local: Your Address Might Get You Suspended…Or Worse

Linda Buquet, the Queen of Google Places Forum, and now the founder of the Local Search Forum, not to mention a wise and accomplished fellow consultant, has brought some serious clarity to an otherwise very muddy picture.  When MUST you remove your address from Google Places visibility and what are the consequences of failing to do so. 

Google, in it's every improving quest to get rid of the spammers, has for some time now ruled that those who work from home and/or do not see clients face-to-face in their place of business, should "select the 'Do not show my business address on my Maps listing.'"  According to Linda, massive numbers of businesses who have failed to follow this rule have been slapped, and slapped hard.  How hard?  Listing suspended for months with no info on when they will be back on line.  To read the entirety of Linda's thoughts on the subject, go to

Of course, this raises some very interesting issues.  A photography business might very well meet with brides or others in their home, but Google is likely to assume that they do not.  The business could put a sign outside the home, but even then it isn't clear if that will be enough for the Goog. 

For now, the rule should probably be to be safe rather than sorry.  If you THINK that you might be in a service business that Google will THINK doesn't meet face-to-face with clients, and you operate out of your home, choose to do not show my address option. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Marketing Ideas, Secrets, Tips and More - All Free

Not sure if you are following my other blog right now, but traffic over there has doubled since I started this series, 101 Marketing Secrets from a Serial Entrepreneur.  The first 10 were the very basics, like setting goals, strategies, and tactics, plus knowing the difference.  Then I followed up with more fundamentals on sales, costs, profits, customer service, people and such.

Now we are more than half done with 11-20.  We have already dealt with issues like niche, brand, territory, client demographic, business personality, logos, color, and slogans.  Still to come in throughout the balance of this week will be one I really like on street view, another on brands carried, a fun one dealing with online personality, and a sleeper you might not think matters, but it does....Telephone manners.

I'd be willing to bet that if you took 2 minutes a day to stay up with this series, you would either get an insight or remember something your forgot every single day.  And if you spent 15 minutes a week reading and thinking about these fundamentals, you'd very likely make a lot more money in 2012. 

If you do go over to and read some of the stuff I'm writing, take an extra second to +1 or like some of what you see.  Even leave a comment. 

AND, if you know someone in business that might benefit from having someone like me as their vice president of marketing (very part time), along with my team of associates for only $845 a month, pass my name and phone along.  After all, I do answer the phone.  Randy Kirk 310-910-1848

PS.  Have you subscribed to this blog?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Google+ Pages Now Go Vanity as in

Within days or weeks you will have a chance to grab your favorite vanity URL for a Google+ profile or Google+ page in the Google+ world.  What does it all mean?

If you've been around the SEO world for a while, you have been up against these kind of wild free-for-all's before.  I remember in 1005, we thought the world would run out of good .com urls in about six months.  Kind of like we thought we'd run out of oil.  Do you know I'm still finding outstanding URL's 17 years later?

I happen to have stayed up late one night till the offerings on Facebook started and I grabbed Quixote.  That's a pretty cool one, and I felt real proud since I also have the CA license plate of that perfect version, but it hasn't made me a nickle.  And I've had to settle for Quixote7 on Twitter and Quixote77 on sbc global. 

I know that I'll be making some lists for me and my cliens for vanity name might actually add a benefit to our company or brand.  Geo specific terms like toyshopaustin might be important.

The race will be on shortly, so pick the ones you care about the most and try to stay on top of the announcement.  There is no clarity from the current announcement by Google as to when this will roll out, or if there will be a specific time when the starters gun will go off.

Google Places, Google+ Local Pages Verification Pin Post Cards Arriving

Time to Pick One Name!  I Like Google Places!

The first thing I notice about the new postcards is that Google doesn't know what to call the local business end of their offering.  No where on the card does it say Google Place, Google+ local, Google Plus Local Business or any other combination of those words.

The verify url is  The only other time there is a hint of what they think the resource is called is on the address side: "Use the PIN inside to verify your Google business listing today." 

I know I'm sounding a bit like a broken record, but how does a company this big and this smart fail to clearly brand a category of services that is this important to their own future and to the businesses they are serving.   All I can say is pick one!  My vote is Google Places.  I thought that was a great name, and that the public might have been starting to get it.  The Place Marker was also a great symbol with tons of potential for use in many ways. 

Google Plus Business Pages doesn't have anything close to the same coolness.  But if that's the direction, then lets get rid of Places and change the name.  'Nuff said.

If you want more check out this press release via

What do you think Goog should do about their branding?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name Might Smell Sweeter to Google

Should You Change Your Company Name to Improve Ranking on Google Local?

Why didn't I think of that.  Good use of keyword.
We all know that your company name as listed on your Google Places Dashboard and as clearly and 100% exactly repeated on all websites, directories, and citations, will effect your ranking on Google Places and Google Plus Local Business Pages.  We also know that if there are great keywords in that name and that you get those keywords into your URL, you are getting into Oreo Double Stuf territory.  So should you change your name.  I have written about how to add your name to the Google Places listing here.

Yesterday, I wrote my 12th Marketing Secret on my way to 101 Marketing Secrets to be revealed over the next 90 days at  And the subject was how to name or brand your company.  Here is where I am going to get profound, and also advertise my services:

Marketing is the business of strategically apply tactics that over time will increase traffic, sales, and profits.  An SEO company might say "Change your name to suit Google."  An advertising agency might say, "You need a cute and catchy memorable name that looks good on a pen."  A marketing consultant cares about both and wants to find a balance that will result in achieving the goals of increased traffic, sales, and profits.  Sometimes that will mean changing your name.

You may want to check out both of these posts to get some of the ways to reason through the decision.  As for me, I'm considering changing my company name to Apple Small Business Marketing Consulting and Search Engine Marketing Company.  Catchy, right?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Google Local Reviews, Zagat, Stars, More from Google Places Expert

Reviews are At the Bottom Of Your List of Concerns??  What Am I Missing?

Mike Blumenthal blogs today of possible returns to stars and the end of Zagat Hell. One can only hope he's right.  That would be way at the top of my wish list of improvements to what is still called Google Places. 

However, I can't explain the following phenomenon, and I'm hoping some of my loyal readership can.  Ever article, blog post, or video i do on reviews gets the least views, visits, readers.  I know that my clients would rather have a root canal than work on reviews, so maybe they also don't want to read about what they don't want to do.  Is that the issue?

While we are still using Zagat, reviews don't matter AS MUCH.  But they still matter and they still effect ranking to some degree.  Negative reviews obviously matter and need to be dealt with.  I have videos on Google Places Reviews and blog posts on this subject. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quality, People, Reputation, Customer Service Round Out Top Ten Ultimate Marketing Secrets

Have you checked out my other blog yet?  What's keeping you?  I usually charge for this kind of advice.  And, there will come a time when I take down my top 101 marketing secrets and start charging for the ebook.   But, while I'm writing the book, they're free.  Ten are up.  The top ten.  Check them out.  Let me know if I'm doing ok.  Or maybe they're not so great.  I can take it.  Just tell me they're messed up or wrong. 

Top ten so far:
  1. Set Goals
  2. Then Strategies
  3. Then Tactics
  4. Profit is the reason
  5. Cost is a major marketing issue
  6. Sales are necessary for profit
  7. Customer service is linked to profit
  8. Reputation may be biggest driver of traffic
  9. People are your most critical asset
  10. Quality is a marketing decision

GO TO:    Really!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Google+ Local Business Page Merger Now Taking Form - 8/3/12

My hat is off to my trusted assistant, Ashley, who sent an email this morning with the news that something had changed on Google Plus Business Pages.  According to Ashley:

"I noticed today that there is a new button when logged into a google plus business page that says verify business.  When you click on it it will send a postcard to the business address of the client.  Once they receive it in about a week, it gives them a pin that I can input to verify the business as the same one listed on the old places.  I will let the clients know to send me the pin number once they receive the postcard in the mail."

Once aware that the changes were underway, I checked over at Blumenthal's blog and he adds that you have to certify, even if you already have a claimed Places account.  He also states that the rest of the functionality will be available after the pin numbers are entered and the account is certified.

That's all we know for now.  Anyone know more than that?  Please share!

Perfectly Optimized Google Places with Mediocre Customer Service Is Disaster

SEO Experts Can Create Optimized Google Plus Local Business and Get Great Rankings On Google Places, BUT Poor Customer Service Can Destroy All the Benefits

My son is a serious baseball player.  As a left fielder, he needs to know how to play excellent defense, but whether he starts or not depends almost totally on one thing - his bat.  And after playing at the sport for 12 years, on thing keeps him from being an all star.  Can you guess?  It isn't his batting glove or his stance.  It isn't how cool his uniform is.  The difference in being a .220 hitter hoping to pinch hit and a .390 hitter batting first or fourth comes down to one thing.  Keeping his eye on the ball.

Let's be real.  As business owners we are not getting up early, taking time away from our families and hobbies, and risking our capital to gain a high ranking on some Google Search Engine.  Putting the finishing touches on our website so that it is perfect in every way may or may not contribute to our real goals and objectives.  All of the work done online is wasted if the job we do with the customer in front of us is shoddy.

If you are not getting your daily dose of marketing vitamins from my other blog, then there is no time like the present.  I am in the process of listing the top 101 Marketing Secrets that I've learned in a 40+ year career as a professional marketer.  We are now on number 7, and as you might have guessed, the subject is customer service.  That post might just be a life changer for you.

If you aren't already subscribed to this blog and to the Help4SmallBusiness blog, this would be a perfect time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

For Google Content Is, Was, and Will Be King re: Google Local

Don't Play Games with Someone Who Controls the Rules.  Google Has Always Been Clear.  Unique, Useful, Relevant Content is What They Will Reward.

Try silly stuff if you want.  Maybe you have already.  Google is getting better and better at rewarding great content and slapping spam and black hat.  Panda, Penguin, Venice have all wiped out entire businesses who were "helping" businesses and marketing consultants with SEO tricks.  JC Penny's and other major corporations have seen the wrath of Google. 

Check out the following video for a clear discussion of how to get to the top rankings on Google Search and Google Places/Google+ Local Business, and stay there through what will surely be new efforts by Google to get to their goal:  Great, well written, unique, useful, and relevant content.

Do you agree that the smart business owner sticks to a long term effort to create content that Google specifically says will fit its rules?  Or do you think it is better to try to trick the Goog?  Let me know in the comments.