Mobile Friendly & Google Search

Most every webmaster that has availed themselves of the Google Webmaster Tools and more specifically Google Analytics will have received notifications along the following lines:

Google systems have tested 8 pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 8 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

What they mean of course is that your website will be shown at the bottom of a 100,000+ website listing — somewhere on search results page 425. Basically no one will see your site and you will be effectively removed from the internet. Yes, there will be connectivity that would theoretically allow people to access your website. But, practically speaking, your site will be in a locked filing cabinet stored in a disused lavatory in the basement with a broken stairs — and don’t forget about the lion. Continue reading

PLS App — Dev Goes On

The first functional preview of the Parallel Life Survey is posted. You can find it at the Akashic Library: http://akashiclibrary.com/books/pls1/

It is running. Soon we will have it working better and better.

The next step in the process is to add more chapters. I thought perhaps we could add 7 more chapters bringing us to 10 total. So if you have already sent in 3 chapters, please send in 7 more. And, if you have not sent in any chapters as yet you can still participate by sending in 10 chapters. Continue reading

Google Adwords — A Beginning

First a disclaimer: I have just started working with Google Adwords. It’s been about a week. This blog is my way of:

  • organizing my thoughts on how it works,
  • highlighting areas I need to dig into deep,
  • expose my understanding so that it can be corrected.

I have some good friends that are mentoring me through this process. So this blog is like a quiz. Continue reading

App Success Is a Lottery

It is no secret that success in the various app stores is pretty much a lottery. While there are many things that you can do to guarantee failure, there isn’t much you can do to guarantee success. In fact, a recent survey by App-Promo.com suggests that 60% of developers don’t even break even (meeting development costs). And, horror of horrors, 80% of the app developers did not make enough money to support a standalone business.

Personally, I think these numbers are pretty damn good. That means 40% of all app developers surveyed broke even (or better). And, 20% of app developers surveyed made enough money to support a standalone business. In the world of brick n’ mortar, in the world of storefront business start ups how many succeed? By comparison these numbers are pretty good. And, if you stand around a room of competitors and don’t believer you are in the top 20% of those present, you don’t belong in business. “Damn right, I’m better at what I do than four out of five of these other schmucks.” Is this a proper attitude? It is gracious to think this way? No. However, if you take the time to ask the winners in the room, they will confess (if they are being honest) that they do believe they have a definite competitive edge. Continue reading

Forget About SEO

Well, maybe “Forget About SEO” is a little inflammatory. Perhaps a more accurate way to phrase this would be: “refocus your attention on content and user experience.”

There are many websites and SEO gurus that have much to say about keyword density, header balance, and dozens of other SEO gimmicks and tricks. Are these really just gimmicks and tricks? Or, are they sound advice? That all depends upon you the reader. If you are looking for a magic wand that will transform your website with a flick of the wrist, then they are gimmicks and tricks. However, if you have laid a firm foundation of solid content and optimized user experience, then the gimmicks and tricks are transformed into sound advice. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Trust Link Popularity

First of all it does not matter that I do not trust link popularity. I’m just whining in the wind on the off chance that someone from google will happen by and bother to read my blog.

Link popularity is measured by the number of links that point to a website. Some misguided folks have confused the number of links that point to a website with its popularity. There is much more to the story. Continue reading

Title Attribute

Warning:

This article is about the title attribute NOT the title element found in the header of your webpage.

First a bit of advise

This might resolve the whole issue of title attribute for you. If you’re looking at it because you would like to improve keyword density and work on your SEO then there’s no need to dig any further: Google and most other search engines do not take the title attribute into account when spidering a website. Continue reading

Image Alt Attribute

There is much confusion about the proper use of the alt attribute. The first confusion is reference to the alt attribute as the alt tag. This is more or less okay, but….. if you do a google search on alt attribute you will get results that are generated by more knowledgeable writers. So, while it is okay to use alt tag it would be better to at least know the proper term. If for no other reason when you see alt attribute used in an article you will know that they are talking about your good old friend alt tag. :)

Before we talk about the more philosophical aspects of the alt attribute let’s get right to the meat of the matter.

Proper-ish Use of Alt Attribute

  1. You must use an alt attribute on images.
  2. It may not be used for any element other than img, area, and input. For our purposes just concern yourself with the img element. And know you may not use alt on tables, href links, or anything else.
  3. Use the alt attribute to provide text for visitors who can’t see the images in your document.
  4. For decorative/style images, use alt="" instead of irrelevant text such as “red line”, “spacer”, etc.
  5. If the image contains text then use alt=”that text”. If the image is company logo such as Galaxy Website Design  then use alt=”Galaxy Website Design”.
  6. Alt attribute is not for tool tips. It does not (or at least should not) work that way.
  7. Remember the alt attribute is a substitute for those who cannot see the image for one reason or another.

When & Why is Alt Attribute Displayed

The alt attribute is displayed when the image is not. The alt attribute is literally the alternative to the image.

Reasons for seeing alt text:

  • Viewer is visually handicapped and is using a screen reader.
  • Viewer has image download turned off by choice.
  • Viewer is using slow connection.

First and foremost consider that the alt text is being used by screen readers. So be compassionate. The alt attribute is NOT the place to do keyword stuffing. Please have mercy on those using screen reader software.

Some people look at webpages with image download turned off by choice. Therefore they will see the alt text. They may have turned of image download for any one of many valid (and/or invalid) reasons. The choice was theirs. The alt text should make sense for these folks. You can turn off image download in your browser to see what this looks like. If you are a stuffer, hopefully you will be suitably shamed into better alt attribute behavior after looking at your pages in this fashion.

For those will slow internet connections, they will see the alt text temporarily while the image is being downloaded. When my broadband is acting more like narrowband dial-up, I will often see the alt text on the page while waiting for the image to download.

Alt Attribute Use Summary

  1. Alt-text is required for all images.
  2. If the image is active (link, button, area) the text alternative is the function of the image;
  3. If the image is not active but conveys information, the text alternative conveys the same information;
  4. If the image is redundant or conveys no information use alt=”” for the text alternative.
  5. If the image is text then the alt-text should (usually) be the same as the text in the image.
  6. Make it as short as possible, but as long as necessary

Some Reference Links

Host Blog As Folder Not Subdomain

When deciding on where and how to host your blog consider the following.

If you have the choice between:

  • myblog.someotherguysdomain.com
  • myblog.yourdomain.com
  • www.yourdomain.com/myblog

Use www.mydomain.com/myblog.

This will improve the ranking of yourdomain.com. Why put the work in to build the reputation of someotherguysdomain.com when that effort can go into building yourdomain.com? Continue reading

Just Say No To SEO

Admittedly a slightly inflammatory title for an article about SEO. The lesson that I hope you can take away from this blog is that it is a mistake to concentrate on SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)  You will be much better served by concentrating on WSO (WebSite Optimization).

To concentrate on WSO (website optimization) requires first that you divide SEO into two distinct and separate areas of endeavor — 1) website development, and 2) website marketing.

All of the discussion around SEO have confused these two. The topics of website development and marketing of one’s website have been mushed together. This has served (either deliberately or accidentally) to confuse the issues of web development and marketing. This has made it possible for certain service companies to create a niche for themselves that allows them to provide a service that is inherently difficult to measure.

Let’s get back to basics. Let’s have those folks that know the products and services represented by the website spearhead the development — with expert technical help where and when necessary. And, let’s have those folks that know marketing spearhead the marketing of the website. If you happen to be running a one man (or one woman) operation, then get yourself two hats and get down to business wearing only one hat at time.

In my next blog, let’s start assigning SEO tasks to each of these hats.