Keyword Research

One of the first steps in optimizing your website and planning and effective SEO strategy is to conduct thorough keyword research. Many companies are beginning to understand how important and necessary a good strategy is, yet they have no clue how the process begins. The answer is keywords. A keyword or keyword phrase is what a user will enter into the search engine to find the products and services that they desire. Many companies only partially grasp the concept of keywords, and will say something like “I want to be the first site that comes up when you type in the word ‘real estate agency’.” What many companies don’t understand is that an SEO company performs extensive research on which keywords or keyword phrases will benefit your company the most.

While no SEO company should guarantee you the “first ranking” or “top spot” on the search engines as they do not work for or with the major search engines, they can get you to the number one position or very close to the top. Two important concepts when conducting keyword research are search volume and competition. Search volume is important to look at, since the greater the number of people searching for your chosen keyword means the more natural traffic your website will be acquiring. Competitiveness for that particular keyword, however, can make your SEO efforts much more demanding. Business often think that they should be optimized for their business name as opposed to a more general or frequently used keyword. Optimizing for “Example Business Name” will not have as much search volume as “Austin real estate” for example.

So how do you get started on optimizing your website? Your SEO company will begin first with keyword research, where they can determine not only how many local and global searches are conducted on a monthly basis for your potential keywords, but they can also estimate the difficulty of getting your website ranked.

Any good SEO company will be able to get you ranked over the course of time. While competitive keywords can take more time and effort to build your ranking, they are often the keywords that pay off more in the long-run, since the increased traffic will be going to your site versus your competitors. Keyword research is especially important if you have a smaller SEO budget, since you will have less room for error. A larger campaign can benefit from using multiple keywords, and will help expand their visibility.

Once your Austin SEO company has decided which keywords are ideal for your company, they will create an integrated campaign for onpage and offpage SEO that will primarily optimize your keywords while adding a mix of blogging, natural link building and social media management.

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.

Google Play

Google has become synonymous with innovation. They have been estimated to run over a million servers and process over a billion search requests daily. Anyone who knows technology knows that Google is no longer simply the leading search engine. The company offers email service, document trading, a social networking service and even its own web browser. Google took the lead in the development of the Android mobile operating system, one of the only phones that competes with Apple’s constantly upgrading iPhone.

In true Google form, they’re now paving the way on an entirely new project—Google has taken lead on a new digital entertainment destination where you can keep and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps all in one place. Google Play uses cloud computing to store all your entertainment, so you can access it from anywhere at any time. Cloud computing is also a great way of storing your information because you never have to worry about moving your files or losing them, if anything should happen to your computer.

While developers are thrilled to release Google Play, some wanted to go with the name “Google Market” to stay with the Android Market theme and to more accurately describe some of the features it offers. Their position is that “Play” doesn’t convey the fact that Android has created some very innovative enterprise communication tools, which can all be used in a work setting. Google wanted no confusion between their newest offering and Windows Phone Marketplace, which is why they went with “Play” instead.

Google Play will be featured in Google’s black bar, which will attract many more potential customers than Android could alone. In fact, according to StatCounter’s February data, 27.24 of the Web’s pageviews are viewed in Chrome, compared to the 1.93 percent in Android.

So what exactly can you do with Google Play? You can buy close to any kind of music you’d like, with millions of options, as well as store up to 20,000 songs for free. You’re free to browse one of the world’s largest selections of eBooks, download over 450,000 Android apps and games and even rent some of your favorite movies, all in one place. Google has shown an interest in offering movies for sale, but that portion is still in the works.

For those with Android Market, Google eBookstore or Google Music, these will all become Google Play, and the Android Market app will be upgraded on your phones or tablets in the upcoming weeks. Will this have any affect on page rankings and SEO? As a search engine optimization company, we believe every Google creation will have some kind of affect on our business. While the jury is still out on Google Play, we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.

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 SEO Work?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an intrinsic component to online marketing. How do you expect to market your product or service, when your website is buried like a needle in the haystack of the top search engines? Many people are just now understanding the importance of SEO, and that websites don’t just magically appear at the top of the results page.

So what is exactly is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is just that; it’s an optimization of the domain itself and your search engine placement, not just by your company’s name, but by the services or products you may offer. In other words, if someone types in your company’s name and you’re first to appear, your site may still not be optimized. The fact of the matter is that if someone knows your business’ name in the first place, you are not gaining new customers. SEO helps promote your business by being searchable by keyword. If someone is looking for a dry cleaner in the Manhattan area, your site can be one of the first results found.

SEO can be complicated if you don’t know how to do it properly and it is time-consuming and requires the right techniques. Sometimes inexperienced businesses can spend hours on the wrong techniques, and are not fully optimizing their time and effort. A small business owner can do their own SEO, but since the industry is constantly changing, most businesses find that hiring an SEO company is a better use of their time and money.

Here are a few important SEO components:

Keywords – Keywords are the terms or phrases that you would expect someone to use while searching for a product or service that you offer. That New York Cleaner would want to pick phrases like “Manhattan Dry Cleaning” “Dry Cleaner Manhattan” and so forth. For local businesses, SEO can work somewhat quicker, since the keywords for local search tend to be less competitive than a general search term. Larger, more national or international brands will have higher competition with their keywords. Choosing the right keywords will make or break your campaign. Optimize for keywords that have high search volume and that are relevant to your products or services. Don’t let a snake oil firm fool you into guaranteeing a #1 position for keyword that has little to no competition and only 15 searches per month!

Consistency – SEO is a constant process. You can’t just sign up for a directory or build some links and be done. The most effective SEO is performed a few times a week, at the least, and acquires building up the authority of one’s domain. SEO companies are great for this reason because they can focus on your domain consistently. If you are trying to run your business and do SEO on your own, you will not be able to dedicate the time and effort that an SEO firm will on your behalf. Do what you do best and let your Internet marketing firm do what they are known for.

Timeframe – SEO does take time. Some of your competitors may have started much earlier than you, and have links built up for months or even years. Don’t let this discourage you! Like we mentioned before, SEO requires consistency, and many times your competitors have stopped using SEO services thinking they outranked all of their competition. While it isn’t possible to guarantee a ranking with SEO, it’s much better to be on the first page of results than the tenth, so the sooner you get started, the faster your website will start showing up.

It’s important to realize that not all SEO companies are the same. For more information on search engine optimization techniques and Austin SEO companies, visit us at ArteWorks SEO.

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.