Technology News Briefs — Feb. 21, 2013

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U.S. to Crack Down on State-Sponsored Cyber-Crime

The Obama administration is promising be more forceful in its protection of U.S. businesses and economic security from cyber-crime.

Attorney General Eric Holder, during a Feb. 20 press conference to announce the government’s strategy, said the U.S. will work with like-minded governments to turn up the heat on the perpetrators, increase criminal prosecutions and begin a 120-day review to determine if new legislation is needed.

Although Holder did not name China as a threat, he said those responsible for rampant cyber crime include “individuals, companies and even countries that are eager to tilt the playing field to their advantage.”

“There are only two categories of companies affected by trade-secret theft: those that know they’ve been compromised and those that don’t know it yet,”  Holder was quoted by The Wall Street Journal. “A hacker in China can acquire source code from a software company in Virginia without leaving his or her desk.”

The government’s tough new stance comes a day after a report by American security firm Mandiant Corp. accused China of sponsoring cybercrime against U.S. businesses and defense contractors.

Twitter Launches Ads API

Twitter is making it easier for brands to advertise on its social networking site.

The company has launched an ad API that will enable marketers to run ad campaigns through its partners, eliminating the need to buy them through Twitter. Marketers will then be able to integrate them into their existing cross-channel advertising strategies.

“Equally important, users will continue to see the most relevant Promoted Tweets from advertisers,” Twitter product manager April Underwood said on the firm’s advertising blog.

“With the Ads API, marketers now have more tools in their arsenal to help them deliver the right message, to the right audience, on the desktop and on mobile devices — all at scale.”

Twitter has been testing the system since January with a handful of partners: Adobe, HootSuite, Salesforce, SHIFT and TGB Digital.

Twitter said it choose these companies to partner with because “they offer products that address some of the most pressing needs of marketers.”

The social media site is currently evaluating the next group of partners to join the program. Those interested in getting on board can apply here.

“This is just the start of our efforts that will give advertisers more choice — and for our partners who are ad tool providers, the Ads API represents a new way for their expertise to meet the needs of their clients,” Underwood said.

FCC Approves Move to Allocate More Wi-Fi Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken the first steps to unleash more wireless spectrum to increase Wi-Fi data speeds and reduce congestion at Wi-Fi hot spots such as hotels and airports.

The FCC approved a proposal to make up to 195 megahertz of additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band available to unlicensed wireless devices — a 35 percent increase.

It also approved a proposal to create a more flexible regulatory environment, and to streamline existing rules and equipment authorization procedures for devices throughout this band.

This means Wi-Fi users will eventually have faster uploads and downloads in hotspots.

The vote by the five-member council Feb. 20 means the proposal is now open for public comment. Once the time has elapsed for public feedback, the FCC must then write up the official regulations before voting on them again.

 

 

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Technology News Briefs — Feb. 21, 2013

How to Spend Less Time on Social Media and Still Get Results (Part 2)

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Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series. Part one was published on our site yesterday.

Time is a precious commodity for small business owners. And, because social media is often seen as a time-consuming task, many are lax with their posts or even shun it all together.

There are ways, however, to save time and get results when using social media. The following tips are from marketing consultant and author, John Jantsch.

Combined engagement

“Other tools make it simple to monitor and update your accounts from one spot. You can use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to create a dashboard that lets you handle multiple social media accounts from a single platform, saving you time.”

Individuals who have a certain number of social media accounts already use tools to keep all of them updated. It is only sensible that a small business owner should make use of these tools to do the same. After all, they are free to use. Not only can you update multiple accounts, these tools give you one dashboard to monitor them as well.

Get automated

“One bonus of having a content stockpile is that you can use tools like Socialoomph, Buffer and Timely for Twitter to schedule its release automatically. This doesn’t mean you can put all of your social media posts on auto-pilot though, because that just defeats the purpose.”

Some advise against scheduling but when the content published is good, it works. Do not make it do all the work for you, however. The whole idea of social media is to interact with your followers, not to continually publish your articles as if they were press releases.

Set up topic alerts

“Save yourself time from searching for industry news articles by setting up a Google Alert for specified topics. You can search through the results for news that relates to your business. When you find something of interest, you can share it with your followers.”

This is a way to make sure your content is shareable — one of the best ways to spread awareness about your small business’ online presence. As long as your followers or fans know you always offer them something interesting or informative, they are more likely to share your content with their friends.

Use social networks for customer service. 

“Many small businesses are starting to take advantage of social media as a way to provide better customer service. You can quickly and easily respond to any issues or comments that customers leave on social networks rather than having to wade through e-mails or have customers waiting to speak to someone on the phone.”

In this case, feedback is your friend. It does not matter if the comment is negative or positive; you should always respond. This reduces the need to attend to other complaints through other communication mediums, saving you time and saving your business money. Tackling them through social media also has the added benefit of real-time. You can address an issue as soon as you are informed, increasing the chances of solving the problem faster.

When used correctly, social media can be a huge boost for small businesses. Planning and organization are key to taking the sweat equity out of social media so it truly works for you.


Henry Conrad is a 29-year-old game developer from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aside from gaming and being a tech junky, he also dabbles in creative writing, which allows him to create great storylines and backgrounds for his characters. Follow me on Twitter and join me in Google+.

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How to Spend Less Time on Social Media and Still Get Results (Part 2)

Are You Undervaluing Your Long Tail Keywords?

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Every business has a short list of keywords they would love to rank well for.  Big, broad, highly-searched keywords like “insurance,” “IT services” or “cheap airfare” could drive tens or even hundreds of thousands of visitors to the top ranked websites. There is no denying that websites on the first page of Google or Bing are bound to get the lion’s share of click-throughs, but the more searched a keyword is, the more competitive it is and the harder it is for websites to make much headway. For instance, you could spend months (maybe even years) trying to claw your way to the top of the SERPs for a broad keyword like “consulting” and barely crack page three after months and months of work. Most websites can’t afford to only exist on page three, four, five or deeper in the search engines—so what’s a website owner to do?

The answer to success lies in the long tail keyword, which is still being undervalued by many site owners. Here are a few things that might help change their mind:

Long Tail Keywords Deliver Better Traffic

“Consulting” gets more than three million searches a month, but what kind of consulting are those searchers looking for? Business? Technology? Someone that needs a health-care IT consultant is looking for something very different than someone who needs small business consulting advice, but in theory both those searchers could use “consulting” to start their search process.

A lot of site owners are blinded by the search volume of a particular keyword and fail to account for user intent. Long tail keywords may have a smaller search volume but searchers that are much farther along in their buying cycle and know exactly what they are looking for and are more likely to convert are using them. A 2011 study found that long tail keywords convert 2.5 times better than broader terms. That’s what happens when you take user intent into account and drill down to the kind of keywords your specific target audience is using to search. Broad keywords might send more traffic your way, but long tail keywords send better traffic and that’s far more valuable to your bottom line in the long run.

Traffic from Long Tail Keywords Adds Up

Let’s say your enterprise software company had a list of 20 “priority” keywords you wanted to do well for. This list might include broad keywords like “ERP software” and “ERP system.” Since those keywords are fairly competitive, your company might only be on page two for the search results. But, since they are highly searched, you still might be getting 700 to 800 visitors a month from those two keywords alone as searchers dig through the SERPs. Now, let’s say you broaden that list of priority keywords to include 150 other long tail variations (after you’ve optimized your website for SEO) that include things like “enterprise accounting software” or “online ERP software.” Those keywords might only send 10 to 15 visitors to your site each month (maybe even as few as two to three), but 10 extra visitors times 150 keywords is 1,500 extra visitors every month. And like I mentioned before, that’s 1,500 extra highly targeted visitors coming to your site each month. If you’ve done a good job with your SEO program there are probably another 300 even longer tail variations of your actively targeted keywords that are driving traffic to your site. All of those keywords, even if they only send one or two visitors are month, start to add up. In fact, another SEO study found that long-tail keywords provide more than four times the volume of traffic than their broader counterparts when you add it all up. I can’t think of any website that doesn’t want to quadruple its traffic (more targeted traffic at that) from keywords they can actually dominate with a strong SEO program.

Long Tail Searches Are Becoming More Common

Back in 2010, Google announced more than 20 percent of searches for the year were searches that have never before been seen. It’s safe to assume that single or double word searches like “insurance” or “mortgage company” weren’t among that new list of keywords. Your target audience is getting better and better at using the search engines to find the exact information they want, which means they are searching using more long tail, targeted and specific keyword phrases. These search phrases could easily be four or five words long. Think someone searching for “life insurance for small business owner” or “hospital pharmacy outsourcing” didn’t mean exactly what they typed in? Those are the kind of visitors you want to pull into your site. Since long tail searches are getting more and more common, long tail keywords are getting more and more valuable. In theory, there is no limit to the way people can search for information and two people could search for the exact same thing in completely different ways. The best way to position your site in front of those visitors is through long tail keywords.

I know it’s tempting to look at a keyword like “shoes” and think to yourself: “Even if I could get one percent of those 24.9 million searches I’d be set for life.” But just remember that search volume isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to SEO and choosing your keywords. You might always be working toward that broad keyword as the end goal (and who knows, someday you might get there) but, in the mean time, it’s the long tail keywords that help keep your website alive and your doors open. Don’t undervalue the power of the long tail!


Nick Stamoulis is the president of B2B SEO company Brick Marketing. With nearly 13 years of industry experience Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by more than 150,000 opt-in subscribers. Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or nick@brickmarketing.com

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Are You Undervaluing Your Long Tail Keywords?

The One Program Your Nonprofit Needs (and Probably Doesn’t Have)

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Are you involved with a non-profit organization (NPO)? Is your organization looking for a cost-effective way to increase donations, further the cause and grow your management or volunteer base? If you answered yes to these questions, starting your own non-profit affiliate network may be the right solution for you.

To read the rest of Matt’s article, click here.

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The One Program Your Nonprofit Needs (and Probably Doesn’t Have)