This week's major internet marketing headlines revolve around social media marketing developments and the ever-important role of content marketing in search engine optimization.

This week started with a lot of buzz about Facebook when The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is on track to earn $2 billion this year, with much of its revenue driven by social marketing efforts. News about the social giant, as well as insight on content marketing and new developments from the search market leaders, fueled the internet marketing community with plenty of headlines for the week ending May 6.

As Brafton reported, Facebook is on target to generate $2 billion this year, and rising social media marketing budgets are likely propelling this revenue. Notably, ads are paying off for advertisers as well as Google.

Facebook's Sponsored Stories boast high CTRs, according to TGB Digital data released this week. Marketers should take this as a sign that social recommendation is a powerful marketing tool.

In addition to taking out ads on the leading social networks, marketers should create Likeable content on their websites and put effort into their branded Facebook pages. As Brafton reported, research from CityGrid Media reveals that Facebook is becoming an important channel for consumers looking for local businesses. Twenty-four percent of respondents say they turn to Facebook when making purchase decisions, and 20 percent of consumers say they are highly likely to Like a local business to show support.

Marketers racking up the Likes will be happy to learn that Likester makes their Facebook recommendations more visible. The site serves as a searchable database, allowing users logged into Facebook to see what their friends have Liked.

While Facebook marketing is key to generating local traffic, the CityGrid Media study also suggests websites are key to converting local audiences. More than half of consumers (52 percent) consult websites before deciding where to do business, according to the survey.

This data serves as another reason for marketers to consider local SEO and content – and Google is now offering small businesses some enhancements to this end. The company has launched Business Photos – a service in which it takes professional photographs of businesses to help them make their Google Places pages more appealing to searchers. This should be of special interest to local merchants because research that shows Google Places drives the majority of traffic to local sites.

Google also made headlines when it was named the most reputable company of the year by Harris Interactive. Facebook also made the list this year, and while it lagged far behind the search giant as a well-regarded company, it may one-up Google in the two companies' fight to acquire Skype.

As Brafton has reported, both the search and social giants are trying to buy Skype. The winner gets access to the web video conferencing platform's half a billion users. Many analysts think the acquisition makes more sense for Facebook, and social marketers may find Skype users more eager to connect with Facebook following an acquisition.

Increased Facebook usage would be good news for many brands, as three-quarters of marketers now use social media campaigns. Facebook marketing, in particular, is gaining rapid adoption, but Twitter isn't too far behind.

The microblogging site made headlines this week with rumors that it has acquired TweetDeck. This could be good for Twitter marketers, as TweetDeck's directory features might enhance brands' visibility on the social site.

Social marketing may have generated significant buzz this week, but search marketing was still a prominent part of the internet marketing conversation. The announced end of Yahoo's search marketing blog is being described as a sure sign that the company is moving out of the search market.

Meanwhile, AOL seems to be generating revenue by moving from a search strategy to a content strategy. As Brafton reported, the site has seen revenue fall, but it saw growth in display ad revenue for the first time since 2007. Company officials attribute this to the content produced by the company's newsroom journalists.

This week's headlines made clear that content marketing should be core to any marketing strategy. In addition to AOL's successes, Google recently shared some SEO tips for marketers impacted by the Panda update, indicating that quality content is the way to achieve search ranking success.

As the company said in its blog post, “Our advice for publishers continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus too much on what they think are Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals.”

Another vote for custom content for SEO lies in the fact that Google is now showing linked news headlines within standard search results. As Brafton has reported, when searchers look for news providers on the general web, Google now returns results with top articles. As the feature evolves, this could become a way for marketers offering custom news content to get more of their landing pages featured on general results pages.

Google has also spoken in the past about the value of site speed for SEO. This week, Google described its new page load time reporting with Google Site Speed Analytics.

Many marketers are probably looking for SEO advice from the search giant and other experts. Eighty-six percent of marketers are currently investing in SEO, according to a report from Econsultancy and SEMPO.

Content generation is clearly key to SEO, and it is also vital to email marketing, which is proving to still be a valuable marketing channel. A survey relayed by Mashable reveals that email use is on the rise, particularly work email – good news for B2B marketers.

On the mobile front, search marketers should remember to optimize for Bing. Microsoft and BlackBerry announced a partnership this week, and Bing will fuel BlackBerry searches moving forward. Mobile and search marketers should take note as on-the-go search engine use rises, since RIM represents a large share of the smartphone market.

Next week, internet marketers will be waiting to hear whether Facebook or Google wins the Skype acquisition. There may also be more updates about the increasingly popular local mobile market. Internet marketers, stay tuned!

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.