Fake Online Reviews Cost 19 SEO Companies and Their Clients Dearly – 5 Tips to Doing Reputation Management Correctly

Yesterday the New York State Attorney General’s Office announced that 19 SEO firms and their online reputation management clients had agreed to pay in excess of $350,000.00 in fines for false advertising and deceptive trade practices by posting fake online reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google Local and CitySearch. The posting of a fake online review was determined to be a form of false and deceptive advertising known as “astroturfing”.

The undercover sting operation, known as “Operation Clean Turf”, revealed that the fake reviews were obtained by paying individuals in Bangladesh, Eastern Europe and the Philippines from between $1 and $10 per fake review.  It was determined that the reviews would be relied on by consumers in making purchasing decisions and thus constituted false advertising and deceptive trade practices.

1. Don’t Post Fake Reviews

While this may seem blatantly obvious in light of Operation Clean Turf, it still must be stated. Any form of online marketing which is deceptive, fraudulent or misleading should be avoided.

2. Engage Disgruntled Customers

In the event that you do have an unhappy customer, attempt to engage that customer directly and offer to make things right.  Offering a refund, or a discount on a future purchase, or an exchange can go a long way towards smoothing things over and getting a customer to change his or her opinion of your business.

3. Approach Site Owners Directly

In the event that negative press appears on a website such as a discussion forum, it never hurts to simply ask the site owner or administrator to have the negative thread removed.  Oftentimes, simply pointing out to the site owner the harm being caused by the post, as well as your efforts to rectify the situation with the unsatisfied customer can result in the removal of the negative information.

4. Encourage Satisfied Customers to Post Reviews

Encourage all of your customers to post reviews of your business.  While nobody can satisfy every customer, presumably you are still in business because you have mostly satisfied customers.  Encourage these customers to review your business online.  Caveat: do not offer customers incentives for posting favorable reviews or provide suggested language.  If you are doing your job as a business owner, the favorable reviews will come.

5. Hire Only Reputable SEO and Reputation Management Firms

Do your research and due diligence before hiring any SEO firm or reputation management agency.  Find out how long they have been in business, ask if they outsource their work offshores, and don’t be afraid to ask hard questions about the specifics of the strategy that they plan to employ on your behalf.  Remember that you get what you pay for, and if it seems fishy or dishonest, move on to the next agency.

What do you think about the posting of fake online reviews?  Do you have any additional suggestions for business owners seeking to enhance their online reputation?

The official press release from the New York State Attorney General’s Office, including a list of the 19 SEO firms and clients involved, can be found at http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-agreement-19-companies-stop-writing-fake-online-reviews-and

By: Matt Foster

USPS Goes Local

Local search isn’t something that can be ignored. In the past people used the phone book or Yellow Pages to find local businesses and services. In this day and age we know that most people turn to their smart phones and Google searches to find what’s near them. If you do business locally and haven’t submitted your address to Google Places you are falling behind in your marketing needs. Whether you have a brick and mortar store or run your business online, you should be using local search in your marketing and SEO strategies.

If you don’t have a physical address because your company is virtual or run solely online, there are ways you can be listed in Google Local. PO boxes are not allowed but companies such as Mailboxes Plus allow you have to mail box with their address and a suite number. The United States Postal Service has caught on to the competition and the importance for businesses to have local mailing addresses for Google’s search results. USPS now offers street addressing.

USPS is now offering a new service for their post office box clients. If you need a local address, you can use the physical address of the post office location and will be given a unique suite number. This makes it possible for businesses who don’t have store fronts to be listed in local searches. Again, just by submitting the address doesn’t guarantee your ranking. You will still need to properly optimize and have an effective SEO strategy to rank at the top of Google Places.

So, why is this important? Google customizes search results for each users based on location and browsing history. Local companies are favored in search results. Local listings appear at the top of a search result because businesses in a different city from the user show no relevance. Google is frequently updating their search queries to favor relevant searches for the user. Even when you don’t include the zip code or city name during a search for a service or business, local search results usually always appear at the top of your results.

Author: Krystle Green is the Vice President of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization firm located in Austin, TX. For more information about SEO, SEM, or social media please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.

SEO and Issues Relating to Page Load Speed

Speedometer

Is Your Site Speed Adequate?

It seems that web design has come full circle. Not too long ago web pages were designed to be compatible with slow dial up modems and needed to load quickly. A good design therefore kept images and code to a minimum so a user could access the page easily over a modem connection. With the advent of broadband connections page speed became less of a concern and developers were more at liberty to create pages with fancy animations, graphics, transitions and effects, all of which required substantial bandwidth due to the image heavy and code heavy requirements of this type of design. But then came mobile, with bandwidth limitations often similar to that of the dial up connections of yesteryear. Google now includes page load speed as a factor in its search rankings and that has received a lot of attention, with many SEOs saying that most sites do not have to worry about it. However, this ignores usability factors such as bounce rate and rate of page abandonment, and little attention has been given to the negative consequences in search rankings to pages with high rates of abandonment.

Google now factors in page load speed as one of its many considerations in determining the quality of a site to be listed in its search results. Google is not too picky about this, however, as only 5% of pages are claimed to be affected by this consideration. So as long as your site is in the top 95% of pages on the web with regards to page load time, the page speed factor will likely not be of consequence to you. A Google Page Speed tool is available online so that you may see how your page stacks up against all the others. The results are given in a score of from 0 to 100, with any score over 5 (representing 5%) considered acceptable.

The fact that only 5% of web pages are affected by the page speed ranking factor has caused many SEO professionals, while acknowledging the existence of page speed as a factor in rankings, to then advise clients that it is not something with which the client should be concerned. This approach, however, ignores other factors relevant to both users and Google itself, and is demonstrative of a tendency within much of the SEO community to focus on only one or a few factors when advising clients as opposed to considering the big picture.

The problem is twofold. First, a page that loads slowly will discourage users from using the page. A large amount of users leaving the page and returning to the search result is knows as the bounce rate or rate of abandonment (the opposite of this is known as stickiness, when a user “sticks” on a site and clicks through multiple pages). Second, Google considers bounce rates and rates of abandonment in its search rankings.

So let’s take the example of a page that scores a 15 on the page speed tool. An untrained SEO provider might state that this is acceptable. However, what this means is that the page in question, while acceptably exceeding Google’s minimum expectations, is still slower than 85% of the web pages out there. The the page is frustratingly slow, Google’s opinion notwithstanding. Now consider the fact that by some estimates over 50% of all search traffic now comes from mobile devices. What do you do when you are on a mobile device and it takes five, ten or twenty seconds to load a page? Most people return to the search results and try again.

The effect of this is that the site owner is losing a large portion of her potential customers. That is a problem. Focusing on rankings only without respect to usability and conversions is a topic for another article. Suffice it to say, however, that if somewhere around 50% of your users are on mobile and are never making it to your site because of your slow page load speed you have a problem.

So the site owner takes an immediate hit in the bottom line as a result of a high abandonment or bounce rate.

Now this is where the snowball effect comes into play. Google also tracks user behavior after the user leaves the search results and lands on a page. If the user bounces off that page, or quickly abandons it by clicking the “Back” button on the browser, then Google knows that. How would you interpret this if you were Google? If a user finds a search result, goes to a page, and then quickly returns, the most logical interpretation is that the page did not offer information relevant to the user’s search query. So Google considers that as Google is in the business of providing relevant results. The slow-to-load page is given a sort of relevance demerit, and its search rankings suffer.

Also consider the fact that Google looks out for nobody but Google. It has obligations to its shareholders. If Google got a reputation for providing results full of slow to load pages, Google users would defect and find an alternative that provided them with speed. Google can’t allow that to happen. To argue the point that page speed is irrelevant to search, or a minor factor in search, is to argue that user behavior is irrelevant to Google’s business model.

So the snowball effect of a page with a low but otherwise acceptable page load speed is this: a slow page load speed will result in higher bounce and abandonment rates. Higher bounce and abandonment rates are interpreted by Google as both (1) a sign that the page is not relevant to the given search query; and (2) a threat to its business model. Therefore, the slow page suffers in the rankings.

By: Matt Foster. Mr. Foster is an SEO consultant and the CEO of ArteWorks SEO in Austin, Texas. Mr. Foster can be found on Twitter @ArteWorks_SEO or on Linked In at /arteworks.

SEO for Parallax

Unimpressed with Parallax SEO?

Unimpressed with Parallax SEO?

Providing SEO for a site utilizing the parallax scrolling effect may at first seem a bit challenging, given the fact that on its face a parallax site does not offer the opportunity for deep links or individually optimized page content. However, there is no need to be unimpressed – there is a solution! Here’s a hint: treat it like a Flash site.

What is a Parallax Site?

The parallax effect is typically achieved using Javascript or JQuery to create a scrolling or 3D effect when jumping between named anchors on a single web page. You can see some examples of sites created using the parallax effect here: http://webdesignledger.com/inspiration/21-examples-of-parallax-scrolling-in-web-design

The navigational scheme is such that when navigating about the site, instead of going from one individual URL to another for each page, one long web page is created, which page contains the entire contents of the site. Named anchors are used to jump or scroll between pages. When the user navigates about the site, instead of a new page loading on the screen, the new page scrolls, slides, or “whooshes” in from above, below, or the side, depending upon where the user is at within the one page site’s content, and to which named anchor the user is navigating.

So a site created using the parallax site is an entire site written as one big, fat, giant web page file, graphics and all. The negative SEO implications of this are obvious, and mainly center around (a) the inability to deep link to individual pages of a site using a unique root-level URL; and (b) the difficulty in optimizing basic on page elements such as title tags for individual page content.

Background

We were contacted by a potential client who owned a children’s entertainment center. Think of something along the lines of laser tag, or a bowling alley, or a pizza arcade, or a go cart track. The client had determined to build the site using the parallax effect, and wanted to rank well in the search engines for a variety of keyphrases pertaining to specific events that might be searched for on Google. For example, the client wanted to rank well for such things as birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras and the like.

Normally this would be accomplished by creating separately optimized pages for each of the specific events (title tags and such), describing the packages available for each event, and deep linking using appropriate anchor text to each of the pages. With the parallax site, this was simply not possible.

The Solution

I began to think of solutions to the problem and I found myself treating the parallax page as akin to a Flash site. There’s not much one can typically do with a Flash site – except one thing. Typically I would advise the owner of a Flash site to create a machine readable HTML version, both for the search engines, but also for purposes of accessibility and for those users who may not have the Flash plugin. This would not be considered duplicate content and would not infringe upon any of Google’s guidelines.

In the case of a parallax site though, there would be a duplicate content problem if we created separate “landing” pages for each of the children’s events, as the landing pages would be duplicative of the event content on the parallax page.

So the solution that I came up with was to organize the site content into two separate types of content: (1) Content important to the user but not likely to be searched for; and (2) Content important to the user and highly likely to be searched for.

Examples of content in the first category, that a user would be unlikely to search for yet which would be important information for the user would be such things as a contact form, maps, photo galleries, catering menu, testimonials, and the like. It is highly unlikely that someone is going to search for “laser tag testimonials”.

Examples of content in the second category, that would be both highly likely to be searched for as well as information useful to the user would be the specific events, like birthdays, bar mitzvahs, and such. People search for things like “laser tag birthdays” or even the more general “Austin birthday parties”.

By defining the schism between the two types of content, we can then begin to organize our SEO strategy and incorporate it into the site build. We decided to use the parallax effect on the home page and on all general information-type pages, such as contact, gallery, menu, testimonials, map, etcetera. We included in the parallax page a section called “Events”.

When the user eventually scrolled his or her way through to the Events page, we presented the user with a list of events typically hosted by the facility. Examples would be those given above, such as birthday parties, team parties, church parties, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, and such. Each item on the list was a hard link to an individual URL which contained content specific to that event (keyphrase), including optimized on page elements such as title tags, and customized content appropriate to that event.

The net result is that the user starts off on the parallax site, clicks through to a particular event, and lands on a static, or “hard” page, for that event. When clicking back from the event, onto any of the navigation buttons (Home, Contact, etc.), the user is returned to the parallax page and the scrolling effect can begin anew.

The creation of the “hard” event pages allows for individualized SEO for all necessary on page elements, customized content, and deep linking to the site.

Problem solved!

By: Matt Foster

Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO Austin, an Internet marketing and search engine optimization firm located in beautiful Central Texas. For more information, please visit www.arteworks.biz.

New Year’s Resolution – Lose That (Website) Fat!

It’s a new year and a great time to embark on a quest to lose all that extra fat that we have put on over the years. I’m talking about website fat, of course. All of that bloated code, deprecated HTML tags, tables, javascript, JQuery, Flash, images and such. The new trend in both web design and search is to get lean – less is more! Not only does leaner code (faster loading websites) improve search engine rankings (the importance of speed in search engine rankings is no longer merely a topic of debate, it is accepted fact among knowledgeable SEO providers), but also dramatically improves the user experience (in other words, increases conversions, stickiness, and return visits) for the vast numbers of mobile users. If you aren’t willing to cut the fat from your site to create a speedy and enjoyable experience for mobile users, you could be missing out on over half (yes, upwards of 50% of all web searches are now conducted on mobile devices) of your customers.

(As an aside, at the time of writing in January of 2013 I am well aware that our own company’s website is in dire need of a weight loss regimen in accordance with the recommendations in this article. Fear not, as I am not only willing to prescribe the medicine, but I am willing to take it too! Our new website is currently under construction and is anticipated to be launched next month.)

Known as responsive web design, modern user and search engine trends require that most websites over two years old be reworked so as to upgrade to HTML5 and CSS3. The use of these new tools eliminates fat by dispensing with the need for Javascript, JQuery, Flash, and many images, as well as creating leaner HTML code and reducing HTTP requests to the server.

Throught the use of what is called a “media query”, a website can be adapted (or respond to, hence the term “responsive” web design) to any number of screen resolutions or screen sizes, from the smallest mobile device to the largest flat screen display. Media queries establish the operating system, browser, and viewport size (basically, the screen size), among other items, and then tell the site how to display itself to automatically fit the device it is being viewed on. Media queries can also be utilized to serve different file sizes of the same image, for low resolutions (low file size) images for smaller viewports on handheld devices with low bandwidth to high resolution, larger file sizes for HD or “retina” display devices with large screens and a broadband connection. This ensures that the user will get the most optimum viewer experience regardless of the device utilized to view the site.

HTML5 and CSS3 also eliminate the need for many images (therefore HTTP requests to the server and image file downloads) by enabling the site to display gradients, navigation buttons, backgrounds, rounded corners, text effects such as drop shadows, divider lines and the like through the use of a few lines of code. In other words, there is no need to create and download actual images, the code and stylesheet can now be written so as to tell the machine to draw the image or effect itself! Also, the need for Flash or javascript/JQuery transitions and animations can largely be eliminated via this same technique. This cuts tons of website fat, increases download speed and response time. Forms also are no longer dependent on javascript/JQuery or other scripting, as HTML5 fully supports native form functionality.

Also, through the addition of a few lines of code, all of these new features can be made backward compatible for older browsers that do not support HTML5 or CSS3.

With the increasing use of limited bandwidth mobile devices, the above techniques greatly reduce site load times. This, in turn, improves a site’s performance on the search engines as well. Therefore, I would strongly recommend getting a website checkup today so as to maximize your site’s customer reach and SEO performance. Happy new year, and good luck with your new website diet!

About the Author: Matt Foster is the founder of ArteWorks SEO, a web design and SEO firm based in Austin, Texa. For more information, please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.

What You Shouldn’t Change in 2013

SEO 2013

A new year is something to celebrate! It’s a time to start fresh, make resolutions, and strategize for another successful (or more successful) year of business. SEO had quite a few changes in 2012 and the new year allows us to question and/or predict what changes might occur over the course of 2013. The many updates by Google had the industry on its toes fixing problems, reevaluting strategies, and trying to new ways to enhance or improve our campaigns for clients. While a new year offers a lot of opportunities and challenges, there are some tried and true SEO strategies that you shouldn’t change in 2013.

First and foremost, you should always have a solid foundation from which to build your search engine optimization campaign. The foundation begins with a fully optimized site. SEO your site, but do not over optimize. A site is for the user and should be built to be user-friendly. However, there are onpage elements that should be properly optimized. One change that you might want to consider for 2013 is ensuring that your site is mobile friendly. Last year we all saw the effects of mobile search and how it has increased with the addition of smart phones.

Content will always be king in the world of search engine optimization. This I feel will never change. High quality content both on the site itself and through blogging is useful and a very integral part of a campaign. Social media content, status updates and such, should also remain at the top of your list for continued practices in 2013. Content should continue to remain fresh and posted regularly. Fresh content could consist of social media updates, videos, and/or blog articles. Promote content in a natural way and build links without black hat practices.

Staying up to date with social media platforms is another practice you shouldn’t change in 2013. Social has been a proven technique for increasing traffic, brand awareness, mentions, links, and the like. Popular social media platforms in 2012 included Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, and Pinterest. Post regularly and stay engaged with your target audience.

About the Author: Krystle Green is the Vice President of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization Austin firm located in Texas. For more information about SEO, SEM, or social media please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.

Worried About the Latest Google Updates?

Search Engine Optimization is still a very new form of online marketing; and Google has made a billion dollar industry out of focusing website traffic, increasing online exposure and implementing unique online advertising campaigns. Since Google is the leading search engine and one of the most successful tech companies in the world and offers websites the chance at gaining unprecedented online exposure through qualified SEO practices. Like most things of value, however, people will find a way to offer cheap imitations and knock-offs. In Google’s case, it was black-hat SEO companies promising to give companies top rankings for their sites, using spammy linking and deceitful, back-alley short cuts.

Luckily, Google got themselves to the top of their industry through innovative ideas and masterful troubleshooting, and have been able to weed out some of these unreliable SEO companies through the Google Updates. These updates are complex and highly guarded algorithms, which can detect when websites have engaged in unfair and deceitful SEO practices. Their most recent updates have been known as the Panda and Penguin updates, and have created quite a stir in the SEO industry. Fortunately, top SEO companies that have engaged in white hat tactics all along shouldn’t worry too much about the updates, since they’ve known these important SEO secrets all along:

Link Earning – There’s a difference between link buying and link building; link buying or sharing deals with trading or buying links from reputable sites with a high page rank. These sites are basically recommending your site and offer their current credibility and good standing to show that your site is also credible. Link building is free, but requires time and dedication from your SEO Company. Building links is a great way to keep your site optimized and to stay within Google’s strict guidelines for SEO. Link Earning goes one step further than link building and earns credibility and backlinks based on your website’s merit, your quality content and your informative blogs.

Quality Content – Earning and building quality links is key, but it’s virtually impossible to do so without quality content. Your site can offer informative product reviews, important industry insights, or simple “how to’s” on your company’s products or services. The internet has become a virtual library for millions of users, and when readers find your site to be informative and easily understood, they will want to share it with others. Another huge factor in SEO Austin is staying relevant and up-to-date, so blogging 3-4 times a week is imperative.

There are hundreds of other factors involved in achieving an optimized site, but as Google changes its standards, those may be slowly weeded out. Quality content and earning links is the key to keeping your site optimized.

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.

Google for Educators

It’s no secret that Google has transformed the search engine industry in its short sixteen years of existence. What you may not know, is that Google is involved in hundreds of side projects, including home automation projects, robots, and even a driverless car! While Google invests over $2 billion a year on research and development projects, some products are just better than others. Some need tweaking, customer surveys and feedback, while other projects are abandoned in their early stages. One project that Google continues to improve is its’ Google for Educators program, which compiles hundreds of great instructor resources all in one place, offers training and education for instructors, and competitions for students K-12. Here is a brief rundown of what Google has to offer:

Google Teacher Academy – A free professional development program for both primary and secondary educators from around the globe. The Academies are an intensive, two-day event where educators are given a hands-on experience with all of Google’s free products and applications. Participants can network with the 50 other professionals that have been hand selected based on their merits, dedication to teaching and passion for learning.

Google Apps for Education – Google’s Apps for Education are very similar to the apps they provide for companies and individuals. They offer Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Maps. Another application they have is geared towards education and is their “Google Book Search,” which is a virtual library for students to find books, magazines, and encyclopedias. Finally, the Google Drive application pulls the applications all together in a clean and easy to use dashboard.

Google+ for Universities – Google+ for Universities is a great tool for connecting students with their professors and teaching assistants. Both students and teachers can organize their demanding lives with online social and academic circles. Each campus organization can have their own circle, which integrates with the other applications, keeping everything in one place.

Google for Students – As if Google didn’t already offer students and educators enough tools to succeed, they also offer competitions and awards for students interested in higher learning. They offer competitions for web developers, called Google Code Jam, for ages 13+, Google Science Fair for Middle and High Schoolers and a Doodle 4 Google competition for K-12. For awards, Google likes to recognize students for excellence in math, computer science and programming.

For more information on Google, search engine techniques, and how your search engine optimization company should be optimizing your site, check us out at ArteWorks.com.

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.

Why Does SEO Take Time?

Now that companies realize how effective and important search engine optimization is to their online marketing efforts, they want to optimize; NOW. Unfortunately, the search engine optimization world doesn’t work that way, and if you do find a company that guarantees you overnight results, you could actually be harming your efforts and setting your website back in the rankings.

There are quite a few reasons why SEO takes much longer than a pay-per-click or even social media campaign. These are actually two of the biggest reasons why companies have given up on an effective SEO campaign; because they’ve either been scammed or swindled by a company that promises quick results for a low cost, or they have worked with a legitimate SEO company that didn’t produce immediate results.

Implementation – Your company can research hundreds of SEO companies, talk strategies and compare prices for months before even beginning your search engine optimization efforts. While we do recommend finding a quality SEO company, all the analysis and preparing won’t get you the results that an implemented campaign will, so it’s important to know what you want and to get going as soon as possible. The best part about hiring an SEO Austin Company is that they can help you analyze your website’s efforts as you go, and can make recommendations and adjustments along the way.

Competition – Search Engine Optimization has become a very competitive field, since a top ranking page can increase a company’s traffic and visibility. A site in the top ranking position usually receives 40% or more for a keyword’s given traffic volume! Even brick and mortar businesses. Understand that getting traffic in the door is the first step to making sales, and this is no different in the online world. Since the majority of your efforts will go towards optimization specific keywords and key phrases, you’re bound to have some competition. Sometimes your competition is years ahead of you in their SEO efforts, but that shouldn’t discourage you. An aggressive SEO campaign can start to see page movement in the first three to six months, and if your competitors have decided to slow down on their campaigns, you can easily catch up in as little as a year.

Steady Progression – Any effective strategy will take time and results will not happen overnight. They shouldn’t happen overnight either. Link building, increasing traffic, and building the reputation of the domain takes time. Google and other major search engines do not want to see that your site has gone from 10 to 1,000 links in one day. This isn’t natural and it is a clear sign that links have been bought, and we all know what happens when you pay for links. It can also take a few months to bounce back from a penalization by Google if a previous strategy wasn’t implemented correctly or if you suffered from one of the many algorithm updates. While some keywords can rank fairly quickly (30 days or less), others are highly competitive and given your current position, budget, and other factors it can take a month or longer to be ranking in the #1 position.

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.

Why is Google Shutting Down Products?

Google has become one of the most cutting-edge companies in the entire world and they got that way through taking a lot of risks with their products. Some of these risky programs and applications have been profitable, and others not as much. Luckily, Google’s leaders know when to pull the plug on these products, and have a “spring cleaning” of sorts. Their latest round included The Google Mini, Google Talk Chatback, Google Video, iGoogle and Google Symbian Search App. While some of these products may be unfamiliar to you, there are almost always devout users that don’t take the news very well. iGoogle shutting down, for instance, has left quite a few loyal “Googlers” pretty upset, and they’re letting Google know just how they feel.

Google recently released this statement: “On November 1, 2013, iGoogle will be retired. We originally launched iGoogle in 2005 before anyone could fully imagine the ways that today’s web and mobile apps would put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips. With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for iGoogle has eroded over time, so we’ll be winding it down. Users will have 16 months to adjust or export their data.”

While it may be an inconvenience, Google is giving users a significant amount of time to find a replacement product, since they feel iGoogle is becoming antiquated anyways. While this may be true, and other apps may be more effective, Google could be potentially harming their brand by introducing and eliminating products too quickly. First of all, apps like iGoogle integrate with Chrome, which helps Google stay in front of users every time they open their browser. More importantly, Google may be discouraging users from trying their newest products, since users may be more reluctant to get attached to their products.

One the other hand, Austin SEO companies understand Google takes pride in introducing new and ever-changing products, and has built an empire with this technique. While a small amount of users will inevitably be affected in any cutback, Google is freeing up the space and capacity for the newest and most effective products, which may capture millions of users. So how many products and services has Google burned through in the past few years? Here is a list of just some of the most recent cuts:

  • Google Buzz
  • Google Wave
  • Code Search
  • Jaiku
  • Google Labs
  • Google Bookmarks Lists
  • Google Friend Connect
  • Google Gears
  • Google Search Timeline
  • Knol
  • Google Health
  • PowerMeter
  • Slide (and Super Poke Pets)
  • Aardvark
  • Google Desktop
  • Fast Flip
  • Google Notebook
  • Sidewiki

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.