Monday, November 25, 2019

Has SEO overrun your website?

Has SEO overrun over your website?

It’s pretty simple, really.

Branded searches are far and away the most effective searches. That means if you deliver your Brand in external communications, people are likely to come looking for you, not just people who look like you.

Which is kind of the idea.

It’s not that you should ignore the potential of SEO. It’s just that maybe it’s not a good idea to let SEO-driven web copy overrun your website. The point, after all, is to communicate. And using 12 words when five will do, makes communicating more difficult. Especially, for example, if you're using some of them over and over in an attempt to manipulate search engines. Keyword stuffing is a big mistake and can actually hurt your SEO performance. So pace yourself.

There's this from an article in Search Engine Watch last year (emphasis added):

"Search engines are in the business of connecting an audience with the content that will satisfy their search intentions, which means they use algorithms that do their very best to favor high-quality, informative content. When content isn’t written for a human audience, but is instead structured to game an algorithm, the result is usually a spammy and artificial read that doesn’t serve a site visitor’s needs and (in almost all cases) doesn’t deserve their attention.

"Consequently, keyword stuffing is rightfully considered a black hat technique that goes against SEO best practices."

Say you’re a South Florida hotel. Don't load up on "South Florida" ticklers, like mentioning that you’re in South Florida and the weather in South Florida is pretty terrific and there are great restaurants in South Florida and the whole family is gonna love it in South Florida and South Florida is easy to get to and those South Florida beaches  . . .  hoo boy!

Never mind the problems keyword stuffing presents, is that sort of thing going to draw people to your property? 

And then there are the sites full of references to “downtown” or “center city” when the property, well . . . isn’t. That’s not even honest.

There’s real value in SEO, just don’t count on it for everything and don’t turn your website into a word-heavy SEO repository. B
ecause your primary target ought to be people, not algorithms. 

And you reach people with advertising, PR and social media.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Is your website ADA compliant?

Is your website ADA compliant? It better be.

This may or may not be something you’ve paid a lot of attention to, but the Americans With Disabilities Act now includes regulations for websites.

Colors, font sizes – that sort of thing. According to an article in Forbes earlier this year "Your website, of course, isn't discriminating based on not having an elevator or ramp, but it may not be using appropriate colors, fonts and file types. Hard-to-see colors and fonts can discriminate against people with visual impairments, as can certain file types that don't allow computers to read text out loud for those who need such an accommodation." 

Read the whole thing here. It’s worth the time. Here’s another good read. Obviously, there is plenty more out there.

Your web firm is probably on top of this, but just in case, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with it . . . 

. . . if for no other reason than to avoid the expense of fighting a lawsuit. There are legitimate suits being filed, but these days, nuisance suits (the kind where the plaintiff knows it will cost you less to settle than to pay the legal fees involved with fighting it) are a fact of life. In any event, don't think you'll be able to simply point to your web design firm if the government or somebody's lawyer comes calling.

If you Google something along the lines of “is my website ADA compliant,” you’re going to find a lot of sites where you can enter your web address and get a free test. Obviously, almost all of these free checks are sponsored by companies who want to sell you solutions. But you can run the test, sometimes without even giving up your email address. Some of them will offer a detailed summary of any problems they have identified and others will just tell you how close you are to being in compliance and leave it at that.

Again, these people want to sell you something, but if you run your site through two or three and get similar answers, you’re going to get a pretty good idea as to whether you ought to be concerned or not. 

Here are two of those we’ve tried to get you started. Surely you can find more.

AudioEye Marketplace

Web Accessibility by Level Access

There are good reasons for ensuring that your site is ADA compliant. Obviously, you don’t want to run afoul of the government. Or risk a lawsuit. But if you want to be crassly commercial about it, you wouldn’t want to lose any business because someone can’t navigate your website, either.

However pure or commercial your motivation, it can’t hurt to take a few minutes and see what's what with your website.