Will Twitter and Friends’ Class Action Lawsuit have any Affect on the Future of Social Media?

Social Media Applications have become one of the greatest ways to advertise and interact with your customers. These platforms have virtually changed the face of the way we market our companies. While social networks emerged to connect individuals to each other, in recent years, they’ve become more geared towards companies who want to interact with their customers on a weekly or even daily basis.

Since becoming one of the fastest and most inexpensive ways to market to customers, these sites have taken full advantage of their newly available demographics and market data. Some of these sites, however, could be walking a fine line between market data and user privacy, allowing apps to connect the users’ personal information. Twitter and 17 other companies have recently been sued by 13 people in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas for invasion of privacy.

The claim that’s been made by these 13 individuals, mostly from Austin, Texas, is that these companies applications have uploaded and stored their users’ smartphone address books for the up to 18 months without their users permission.

The 17 other companies in question include Path, Twitter, Apple, Facebook, Beluga, Yelp, Burbn, Instagram, Foursquare Labs, Gowalla (no longer in business), Foodspotting, Hipster, LinkedIn, Rovio Mobile, ZeptoLab, Chillingo, Electronics Arts, and Kik Interactive.

While only 13 individuals are currently involved in the class action case, the lawsuit claims that billions of contacts could have potentially been taken without permission or notification:

“The surreptitious data uploads–occurring over both cellular networks and open, public wireless access nodes in homes, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, stores, and businesses all across the nation–have, quite literally, turned the address book owners’ wireless mobile devices into mobile radio beacons broadcasting and publicly exposing the unsuspecting device owner’s address book data to the world.”

While many companies have yet to release a statement, Hani Durzy of LinkedIn has publicly stated that their applications do no such thing.

So what kind of affect will these practices have on the social media industry? It seems that most users accept that their demographics, personal information and sometimes even their location can be monitored by their applications and networks. In 2011, social media giant and leader of the industry issued what seemed like a public apology for the privacy violations and has seemingly been quickly forgiven by its loyal users. A search engine optimization company understands the value of social media, and can help explain how your company can benefit from a mix of SEO and social media techniques.

Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Internet marketing firm, who has been active in the SEO industry since 1995. Mr. Foster can be found on Twitter @ArteWorks_SEO. ArteWorks SEO can be found at www.arteworks.biz.

Search Engine Optimization Keywords

So you’ve decided to hire an SEO company to work on your online traffic and page ranking—it’s a great first step in promoting your business online. The only problem is it seems like they’re speaking a different language! To bridge the gap between you and your SEO Company, here are a couple key terms you should become familiar with:

Algorithm – An algorithm is the formula created to keep the rankings fair and determines your page’s rank based on search queries, number of incoming links, keywords, meta descriptions and the quality of the site, among other factors. Most major search engines’ algorithms are unknown by any SEO firm. This is especially true with Google. Your SEO firm has to determine, research, and test what strategies they know to be effective.

Analytics – Analytics are used by search marketers to determine how much of your Website’s traffic and conversions have come from SEO and/or PPC efforts. It can also tell you what keywords were used when someone found your site, their geographic location, a search user’s demographics, what pages were landed on, how long a user was on the site, and much more useful information that can be used in developing an effective online strategy.

Backlinks – Your backlinks point back to your site from a different domain. Backlinks have also been known as a site’s “link popularity.” It is a myth that backlinks are the only important factor the search engines look at when ranking a site. The quality of the link is much more important than the quantity of backlinks a site has.

Black Hat SEO – Black Hat techniques are unethical and often only a temporary way of increasing your search engine rankings. Many search engines have cracked down on these kinds of practices and are penalizing websites that use such techniques. A common black hat technique is engaging in a link exchange program or a paid link exchange which is highly frowned upon.

Keyword – Keywords are very important to an SEO strategy. They can make or break your campaign. These are the words your target audience will use to find relevant websites through a search engine. A user, for example, is more likely to search using the phrase “Austin SEO company” than they are “ArteWorks SEO.”

Keyword Research – Keyword research is a first and very crucial step in the SEO process. Keyword research allows you to discover which exact words people are using in searches. The research will show what the search volume of the phrases or words are and the competitiveness of them. Once you understand how your target market is searching for your industry, you can move forward with a effective SEO campaign.

Landing Page – A website’s landing page is the page where a visitor arrives after clicking on a backlink, anchor text link, or advertisement.

Link Building – the process of acquiring backlinks to a site by a variety of techniques such as submitting the site to niche directories, other similar industry sites and having a link to be added to their website, leading back to yours. This can also be done by using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, forms, guest blogging, and/or blog commenting; just to name a few.

Natural or “Organic” Results – Organic results are just that; results created naturally, without any paid placement or inclusions.Paid results are usually at the right of a Google search of the first 3 listing that appear in a light pink box directly above the organic listings. Local search results are often shown next to a map, called the ten pack, and organic results can appear directly below and sometimes mixed in with local results. Google is often changing how a search will appear and users’ typically have customized search results.

Page Rank – Page Rank is a system that Google uses to rank pages on a 1-10 basis.

“White Hat” SEO – White Hat SEO techniques are performed with high ethical standards, and follow Search Engine Guidelines. Generally, White Hat SEO company will create results that last much longer, due to their organic and proven methods. It can take months to recover from being penalized by a major search engine and white hat techniques avoid penalization at all costs.

Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Internet marketing firm, who has been active in the SEO industry since 1995. Mr. Foster can be found on Twitter @ArteWorks_SEO. ArteWorks SEO can be found at www.arteworks.biz.

Will Google Glasses Forever Change How We Look at Computers?

Google is planning to release a high-tech set of display glasses by the end of 2012. These glasses are a revolutionary concept in computers, and will take the idea of the mobile computing one step further. The glasses are rumored to have an outward facing camera, whose job is to record your movements and gestures. Supposedly, the technology will also allow your hand can reach out like a computer mouse and control the glasses’ navigation. The best part about these glasses is that the lenses are clear, which allow you to stay in touch with the rest of the world, instead of the traditional tablets, that can become all-consuming. The glasses will be Android based, and will have flash and voice input capabilities.

Sources say the glasses will be priced similar to a smartphone, and could cost anywhere from $150 to $600, with some sources say closer to $250 for a pair. The glasses may look a little geeky in their first versions, but will supposedly look similar to a pair of Oakley’s Thumbs MPS player glasses. While the screens are transparent, the heads up display is only for one eye, and will supposedly not even take up the whole screen.

Google is still unsure if they will find a market for this product. The glasses are considered a pet project, to see if the world is ready for a new form of computing. The idea was thanks in part to Google’s ‘Google X’ laboratory, where they trial experimental, “out there” ideas. Google has always allowed it’s engineers to devote 20 percent of their time towards these experimental projects and have tested out products as wacky as talking refrigerators and robot workers. There is even a rumored ‘self-drive’ vehicle in the works that could change the future of transportation. Google proudly admits that they have invested quite a bit of money in very speculative Research and Development projects; some of which have been more successful than others.

If Google can find a market for their Google Glasses, they could potentially change everything we know, from marketing and advertising, to the way we do business and operate in our personal lives. Adding a fully functioning computer to our already expanding human capacity could elevate our society to a completely new level. Buyers, however, will be the ones to accept or reject this technology, and it may prove to be only a first step in introducing a revolutionary product from Google. As a top 5 search engine optimization company, ArteWorks is excited to see what kind of response this kind of technology will receive.

Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Internet marketing firm, who has been active in the SEO industry since 1995. Mr. Foster can be found on Twitter @ArteWorks_SEO. ArteWorks SEO can be found at www.arteworks.biz.

Full Service SEO

It seems the world has finally recognized search engine optimization as one of the leading forms of online marketing and advertising. Now that companies are beginning to understand how important SEO is for their website and the success of their business, it seems that a new SEO company pops up each day. A very important question becomes ‘When searching for an SEO company, what should you be looking for?” And what, exactly, is a “full service” company?’

SEO – Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important keys to getting your website noticed and being competitive on the search engines. Engaging in an effective SEO strategy can get your site placed near the top or at the top of a major search engine’s results, which can result in hundreds or even thousands of visitors to your site each day. To optimize your site, an SEO firm must first do a careful analysis of your current ranking, the strategies used recently, the content of your site, and review code for any crawl errors. Next, your SEO firm should be researching the most beneficial keywords for your company, and which words will get your site ranked the highest with high search volume and quality traffic.

SEM – Search engine marketing increases your web site’s traffic and visibility in search engine results pages through a mix of contextual advertising, paid placements and paid inclusion. SEM can be used as an umbrella term, and while it could technically fall under the category of SEO, it’s important not to confuse the two, as SEO should focus on a your organic ranking whether for a local or national listing. Search engine marketing can include but not be limited to social media marketing with Twitter, Facebook, and/or Pinterest, widgets/buttons, online contests, guest blogging, PPC and the like.

PPC Management – A successfully managed pay per click campaign can be expensive, but an unmanaged campaign can be a downright waste of money. Many people are willing to spend money on pay per click advertising, thinking it’s the most “hands off” form of online advertising. Unfortunately, this isn’t true, and when it comes to thousands of dollars of marketing money, it’s always best to analyze where your money is being spent and if it’s being used as effectively as possible.While SEO has a longer lasting effect from its efforts, PPC allows you to “rent” an online space for a desired search term. If you do not monitor your ROI from a PPC campaign, we suggest that you focus your efforts on a search engine optimization campaign.

Website Promotion – Website promotion is very important. Climbing the search engine rankings is nearly impossible without a bit of website promotion. Your full-service SEO company should consider your competition, the keywords and key phrases used by your target audience, as well as the various search engines’ interpretation of your site to really promote your site effectively.While you are not currently ranking at the top of a search engine, promoting your website can help with increased traffic and visibility. This will also help in reputation management as you control what content is created in regards to your website or business name.

Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Internet marketing firm, who has been active in the SEO industry since 1995. Mr. Foster can be found on Twitter @ArteWorks_SEO. ArteWorks SEO can be found at www.arteworks.biz.

Why Use an SEO Company?

Search Engine Optimization is not always as easy as it seems. In order to achieve a lasting result and to optimize your website ranking, you must devote hours of work each week over an extended period of time. Not only is the actual SEO process tedious and time-consuming, but you must conduct sufficient research in your current ranking, as well as your competitors’.

Many times, you may have the knowledge to do your own SEO, but you end up devoting much of your time to the process and slow your productivity on your own company’s work. If you’re considering undertaking the SEO responsibilities for your company yourself, you may want to consider these factors:

Time-Consuming – Like we said, SEO can take anywhere from 10 to 40 hours a week, and if your company is small, that basically boils down to one job devoted to SEO only. Hiring an SEO company requires little supervision, and many SEO companies have become fully-integrated and can offer you social media services, as well as website development and design. Hiring an SEO firm instead of paying someone in house to do a full time job, you have the luxury of an entire team of professionals working towards your rankings. Hiring a firm can be more cost effective than hiring a full time employee requiring a salary and benefits to work on your SEO campaign.

Scams – Unfortunately, like most things on the internet, if something seems too good to be true, it may just be. If you plan on teaching yourself or an assistant how to do your own SEO, you may find different sites that promise you certain results for one small payment. Always keep in mind that a real SEO company cannot guarantee rankings, as it’s a complex analytical system, and requires time to build. There are different sites with many approaches to SEO and you have to be sure not to engage in black hat activities that will leave you unranked and penalized by Google. You can not learn enough to be fully aware of the proper techniques in one day or from a day training seminar from an “SEO Guru.” You must understand the history of how to rank, what the search engines look at when ranking one’s sites, quality link building, how to write optimized content and the like.

Lack of Consistency – Optimizing your site takes consistent weekly, or even daily effort. What would happen if your office had a busy week? A busy month? It’s very easy to put SEO off when it’s not your source of income, and you can lose ranking quickly if you are in a competitive market. An SEO company can work daily; weekly or even monthly based on your budget, and can work much more efficiently. Let the firm you hire do what they do best, and you stick to being the best in your field as we help your business to grow and succeed.

Get a Boost – Even working with an Austin SEO Company for six months can help boost your rankings. SEO is a constantly changing business, so what worked for you a year ago may not work today. Try testing out an SEO company for four to six months, and allow them to help your website get a boost on the search engines. Being number one on a major search engine can certainly help boost your business as the number one position is likely to garner most search volume for a particular keyword.

About the Author: Allison Schnur is the Marketing Manager of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Austin SEO firm located in Austin, TX. For more information about our top rated search engine optimization company please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.

How Does Social Media Help Build Brands?

Social Media is without a doubt, one of the easiest and most effective ways to reach your target audience and communicate with thousands of potential customers. One of the greatest features of social media is that your message can easily turn “viral,” when others share with their own personal networks. In this day and age, it’s almost imperative that your company take advantage of the social media market if you want the competitive advantage.

Not only does Social Media help your company maintain brand awareness, but it’s one of the most cost effective ways to advertise. Traditional advertising campaigns can cost thousands of dollars—imagine the costs of a commercial, magazine ad, or multiple billboard placements. Smaller businesses just can’t compete with traditional advertising and are realizing the true power of Social Media.

Social Media allows you to create a brand for your company, since you are no longer just talking at your customers, you are talking to them. Your company may like to offer weekly specials and discounts, or you can become the company that runs an annual sweepstakes. Another great way to boost report with your customers is to become the expert in your industry. Let your customers ask you questions and leave comments. When your company is willing to share its knowledge, it can show how helpful and informed its employees are.

Social Media offers your company the opportunity to build brand awareness and loyalty. For small businesses, customer loyalty is extremely important, which places emphasis on customer satisfaction. Allowing your customers to “Opt-in” to your Social Media pages helps you keep track of their satisfaction, feedback and suggestions. You can offer prizes for customers who respond the most, or those that offer their feedback. Social Media has become a truly interactive form of marketing, so the sky is really the limit with how you’d like to interact with your customers.

Beyond just creating and promoting your brand, you are helping to drive more traffic to your website and blog. Writing a relevant and exciting blog is one great way to drive your customers from your Social Media site to your blog and home page. Social Media can also help improve your search engine rankings, and help you to generate sales. Many Social Media sites will allow you to search out words or phrases, so if you offer tutoring services, you can search phrases like “need help with school” or “I need a tutor” then you can easily connect with potential customers.

It seems pretty obvious that Social Media isn’t going anywhere, and the sky really is the limit with this amazing advertising medium. It’s not too late to get started, and choosing a great Austin SEO company can be a huge help, since they understand just the way to give your company to boost it visibility.

About the Author: Allison Schnur is the Marketing Manager of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Austin SEO firm located in Austin, TX. For more information about our top rated search engine optimization company please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.