How is your Google Pornyness factor?

Yes, you read that right–Google Pornyness. Apparently, Google includes a risqué element in their search engine algorithm. Before you go off the deep end, let’s look into this search criteria a bit more.

Google Pornyness Rank Factor

For some reason, I immediately thought of the movie Burlesque. Honestly, I have no idea why. I guess it is all about being a little bit naughty. 😉

As you know, Google has an algorithm that runs many different factors to produce its ranking for search results. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, informed Congress that there are over 200 factors in the ranking algorithm. Three that Pichai mentioned were relevance, freshness, and popularity. In other words, Google evaluates many criteria before revealing search results. Google’s Gary Illyes, in a Reddit interview, was asked to provide more search factors in the algorithm. Illyes’ response, “Country the site is local to, rankbrain, pagerank/links, language, pornyness, etc.” (There is that word, again!) So, pornyness must be a Google term. If nothing else, it does serve to give us a chuckle.

Google does include in its ranking appropriateness of content. Safe search is a default when you open a browser to conduct a search. That means that Google does not show questionable results unless a user disabled safe search. Kudos to Google for doing this as there are many persons of varying ages conducting web searches.

What does that mean for you?

Consider what you make your keywords and content. You do not want to include material that would be deemed adult oriented inadvertently. Thus, eliminating you from basic searches. In turn that will lower your ranking and reduce your web traffic. Although not perfected, images are also considered when being ranked. Avoid putting up photos that reveal too much.

We have something to chuckle about now. It seems, also, we have a new term to add to our vocabulary. *G*

Related links

Podcast about pornyness

SEO Tools Since There is not a Miraculous SEO Pill

SEO Ranking

 

 Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Off-Page SEO

Just when you think you understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO)…There is another element of SEO that you need to keep in mind when you build your website. The other aspect is off-page SEO. Yes, you have on- and off-page SEO that you need to plan for and focus on. Let’s take a look at what off-page SEO is and does.

What is off-page SEO?

In short, off-page SEO is what indirectly happens on your website. On-page or “regular” SEO is all about your content, speed of you loads, site structure, and data. The details that make your site great, keep people interested, and inform your visitors. (More information about on-page SEO.) Off-page SEO, however, is about:

  • Links that point to your site and pages. You do not want just any links. The websites that lead to your site need to be credible. Getting other sites to point in your direction shows the world that you are reliable. Links also provide a type of referral of your work and website. That is one reason that I include “built by Web with Grits” link in clients’ footers. The link is not intrusive, but it does provide a way for crawlers to find my site from other sources.
  • Social media that that leads and mentions your website, and local hits such as Google maps and business. Your social media content should always be about engaging your audience. The material should be interesting, attractive, easy to read. You are building your brand when you use social media. You are letting your readers know there is more to you than just a website. Always keep in mind what people think of when they hear your name. You can also include promotions (when relevant), brand building information, polls, etc. Get your readers to interact and engage.
  • Popularity, quality, and relevance. People want to see what others think about you. Testimonials share you are great, that your work is high quality, and that what you do and say is relevant to them. Off-site SEO is what brings traffic to your site. Include reviews, creating trust, providing an authoritative voice. What are those cruising the web going to think about you when they see what others have to say about you? Will your reviews show people you are someone worth hiring? People may find you in searches, but if they are an informed consumer, they want to know your track record.

Off-Page SEO is your Reputation

All of the above factors are nothing more than old fashioned word of mouth done digitally. In fact, what others say about your business is integral to obtain more popularity, tell people about your quality, and prove to people that you know what you are doing.

Your website may be the perfect example of SEO optimization. However, if your off-page SEO does not tell readers that your site is quality and worth their time to visit, people are not likely to pursue reading more about you. In fact, they will likely not visit your site. Set up your off-page SEO so readers WANT to know more about you.

It is ultimately about your online reputation.

Related Newsletters

Choosing a Web Designer

If you are at all like me, you have a tendency to search for information and often get inundated with the many options available. For example, when I want to get a new vehicle, I begin with the size, then I work to reviews, visiting dealers, and putting up with pushy sales persons before I decide on the make, model, and package. All that work takes time. It also requires that I make an effort to think through decisions before I visit a dealership. The same is true when choosing a web designer.

You do a web search, and you immediately get a list of potentials. The list goes on and on and on… So, you take some time to read through some of those listings. You might narrow your search to those nearby. You may spend time asking friends, family, and coworkers. Just like my car buying experience, you will end up with lots of information. But, did you find any indicators that helped you make a decision?

Absolute must have characteristics

There are a few essential web designer characteristics that are a must-have. These could be a deal breaker for you and your website if the person or company you choose does not have the stuff that really matters. Let’s look at the 3 C’s for choosing a web designer.

Client focused

Your web designer should focus on you, the client. Also, the designer should focus on your clients! Your website is there to draw new clients and to support your existing customers. A great web designer will take the time to understand your target audience and to get to know you. These two facets of the project are critical, so the design and web presence are tailored to meet specific needs. You have a particular niche and a targeted audience. The web designer will ask questions about those aspects to learn.

Communication

Your web designer should communicate with you. The conversation will happen by email, phone, instant messaging…however you and the designer set up communication. There is no reason you should be left in the dark about the progress of your new website. Your dialogue should include learning about your business and your clientele. The designer needs to know these things to better support you. There should also be an outline of actions and deliverables. Good communication is necessary from your designer and by yourself.

Collaboration

Your web designer should work with you and include you in the process. Yes, you hired the designer to create a website for you. However, it is your website, and you should be able to have input on the design and content. In fact, you must take on those roles. The designer cannot magically create your content and does not know your audience as you do. Both you and your designer need to work together, which fosters creativity. Keep in mind, though, that you did hire a web designer since you do not have the required web skills. Let the designer user her/his skills and knowledge. At the same time, the web designer should rely on your knowledge and skills about your work, industry, and target audience. Each of you has strengths that contribute to the success of the project.

Other good traits

Now that you have an understanding of the absolute characteristics of a great web designer, other dynamics will be involved. You should also consider these traits when choosing a web designer for your project.

  • Project focus. A good designer will be able to stay focused on you, your needs, your goals, and the project. Remember that communication, collaboration, and client-focused are must haves? The 3 C’s are part of the project focus and will be a guide to keep you and your designer on track with your project.
  • No cookie cutters. A big difference between a designer and a great designer is the ability to go beyond the template or cookie cutter mentality. Every web page does have basics. However, special attention to the details makes each project unique. With your help, your designer will be able to create a design that is made just for you specifically. The 3 C’s will help drive this creativity.
  • Copywriting. A website is a mix of images, colors, fonts, and copy. The words on the page should guide visitors down the page. The layout of text should also lead readers into more depth about your business. Your designer will be able to marry words, images, and other elements when creating your unique website. You designer, though, will likely rely on you to provide the groundwork. Again, it is through collaboration that you bring your knowledge about the industry and your target audience. Through communication and supporting each other, your designer will be better able to assist you, the client.

Ready to choose your web designer?

The 3 C’s of a great web designer are at the core of what I do. Contact me if you want to collaborate on a redesign of your current website, or if you want a new site. I will help you focus on your clients’ needs and will keep the communication lines open, so you are in the know every step of the project. Let’s collaborate!

If not me, then use this information to guide your decision when you want to choose a web designer.

Related articles:

 
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Is it time to redesign your website?

It is early in 2019. We all made it to the end of 2018 and determined to make 2019 even better. Right? As I wrote in another newsletter [2019 New Year’s Resolutions] we often make resolutions to begin a new year. Some of us manage to complete our resolutions successfully. Did you consider that it may be time to redesign your website? Perhaps that is something to resolve to do early in 2019.

When is it time to redesign your website?

A website, like most things, has a shelf life of 3-5 years. Just like your car, refrigerator, and computer, you have to update and upgrade your website. Think of it this way. You walk into a home, and instantly you feel like you took a trip back in time. You find yourself in the home of Wally and Beaver; the house is perfectly 1950s! What do visitors see when they open your web pages? Are they taken back to an era long past? Another way to consider the change is the difference between digital TV sets and HD TV sets and small screen versus a large screen. Your site visitors notice the difference immediately.

Time and resources

It takes a significant amount of time, talent, resources, and money to create or redesign any website. Before you decide to take that plunge to make a change, consider a few questions. In short, the point of a redesign is to increase visitors and keep things working smoothly. If your current site does that, then perhaps all you need are some tweaks. We will talk about that more in a moment.

Questions to consider

Other than seeing cyber moths fly from your web pages when someone opens your site, there are concrete items to review and help you determine whether you redesign your website, or you incrementally make changes that freshen the site.

  • What do your clients want and expect? What are other sites in your industry showing and providing?
  • Is your site vaccinated and current with its shots? Your website security may be an issue because you have not kept the tools updated. Your site is vulnerable to being hacked and may potentially spread disease (virus, trojan, malware) to your site visitors. That would ruin your reputation!
  • Is your website responsive and flexible? More and more persons are using smartphones and tablets to access web pages. The smaller screens require your website to adjust everything you see. If your site’s mobile version or tablet version is not conducive for viewing, you may lose credibility. You will lose visitors!
  • Do your web stats show a decline in conversions and an increase in bounce rates? High bounce rates often mean that people are not finding what they want to see on your web pages. Lower search results indicate that your web pages no longer are current on the words people use to find web pages and information. Higher bounce rates mean that customers are leaving your website too quickly. Instead, you want them to stay on your site and look around.

Two renovation plans

There are two ways for you to redesign your website.

The first method is obvious: a full-blown redesign. In this method, every page and all of the content is reviewed, modified, and reconstructed for a fresh design and feel.

The second method is to come up with a long-term plan. Then, make planned incremental changes. You do not want to make random changes. Instead, take the time to think through your site and come up with steps to make a difference.

Think of it as method #1 as building a house from the ground up while method #2 is working a well thought out remodeling of your site. The latter is completed in steps just as you would a makeover in your home.

Redesign your website

Regardless of the remodeling method you choose, you need to start with the basic questions: What is working? What is not working? What does my target audience want to see? Your website is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have. It is essential to keep the site fresh looking and up to date with information.

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Color Blindness Web Design

We all see the world from various perspectives. Some of us may agree with others about things that we see while other people will differ on their viewpoint. The concept of colorblindness creates an entirely different view of the world. Colorblindness and web design is something that many of us probably do not consider. So, what exactly does that mean when you are designing a website? Let’s examine some facts about usability considering color blindness web design.

Color blindness

Approximately 1 of 12 men and 1 of 200 women are colorblind according to the We Are Colorblind organization. Without digging deeply into the scientific aspects, colorblindness is a defect in persons’ retinas that reduces the colors that they see. The three main types of colorblindness reduce viewing of green, red, or blue colors. In other words, if you have a green sight deficiency, you cannot see green completely. What I mean by this is that if you were looking at something that is turquoise and you have a green deficiency in your site you are more likely to see the item as blue or some shade of brown or gray.

Web design

Keeping in mind that your visitors may have color sight deficiencies you should consider how to visually provide images that will not be impacted by the color. Perhaps one of the most common examples would be a line graph where each of the data lines is a distinct color. One line maybe green while a second line is blue. The third line might be red with a fourth line being brown. If someone has a green deficiency, then the brown color will likely take on shades of a blue-red combination or gray-black. A blue deficiency in sight would mean that the brown takes on different shading because of a lack of blue in the color combination. So if you rely entirely on the color scheme to distinguish various points, it is possible that visitors may not be able to recognize what you are explaining.

Let us make this a little more realistic by considering the stoplights that we use within the United States. We know that red is on the top, the second color down will be yellow, while the bottom color down will be green. The top color red means stop. The second color yellow means caution and to slow down or prepare to stop. While the green refers to the driver that it is okay to travel. However, someone with colorblindness may not be able to distinguish the red or green colors. Because of the set order of the colors, the person knows that the lit circle is telling her or him what traffic control to maintain.

Different perspectives

Color is an essential part of web design. We do not need to create monochrome websites. However, we do need to take into consideration the role that color has in our plan and in the information we present. Let’s considered the line graph that I mentioned previously. You can still display the line graph in the various colors. To support those that might have color blindness it is better to include texture for the multiple colors. What that means is the red line may be made of dots. Another track, yellow, might be portrayed by vertical lines of yellow. A blueline could be presented as diagonal lines leaning to the right. Including the simple design elements allows you to have color but also equips you to share your information with someone that is not able to clearly distinguish some colors.

Helpful tools

Colororacle.org has an application that you may download for free. Once installed the Color Oracle applies a filter to your screen enabling you to view what you were designing as if you had a color deficiency. The application is made for Mac, Linux, and Windows. The site also has some design tips as well as a page of useful links.

Trello is an online application that is often used for project management or task management. The Trello company has incorporated a color blind friendly mode which will still use colors but will add the textures we discussed previously; horizontal lines, vertical lines, diagonal lines, wavy lines.

We Are Colorblind organization has a page of examples that are worth checking out.

Color blindness web design

The next time that you are creating information to post on your website, or you are working on a site design project you can keep in mind the impact color has for some of your visitors. When you have this in mind as you are creating your information you are better able to incorporate the needed elements more naturally than if you had to return and make changes after-the-fact. Something simple, such as using texture, can make a big difference in how your visitors gain information from your content and your site. There are many resources that you can find and use. Perhaps the most well-known resource is the W3C. The group works diligently to make technology and its various forms usable and accessible for everyone.

Trello color blindness mode sample

Article: How do the colorblind think and talk about color?

 

Photo adapted from Sarah Pflug from Burst

#webwithgrits #smallbusiness #colorblindwebdesign

SEO Ranking: Today, I am #1

A few weeks ago I posted a newsletter titled, SEO Tools Since There is Not a Miraculous SEO Pill. I discussed several elements that affect your SEO ranking. I mentioned things such as

  • keywords,
  • keyword phrases,
  • taking the time to do the SEO work,
  • structured content,
  • website visitors,
  • keeping your location updated,
  • maintaining up to date site plugins and security,
  • customer reviews, and so forth.

I’ve been practicing what I preach. Since that earlier newsletter, my SEO ranking has changed.

My SEO rankings

When I wrote the SEO newsletter that I mentioned, I wanted to know how Web with Grits ranked in the search. I conducted Google search number one using Chrome browser, and search phrase

“web design Lexington GA”

At that time, I found that I ranked #3 for web design in the Lexington, GA area. Since that time I’ve been working on things such as regularly publishing a newsletter. I also take time to publish on social media regularly. Lastly, I have been working to build my Google business profile. All of these helpful items are playing into how well I rank on a search using Google. Today, when I performed search two the same as before: Chrome browser, Google search with phrase “web design Lexington GA”. I found that my results improved. WOO HOO! I now am showing up as the first web designer in the area. (Caveat: you may have different outcomes if you do the same search after reading this article. Search results act like the stock market by continually fluctuating every time a search is conducted.)

First place ribbonSearch number two results for “web designer Lexington GA” today were drastically different from my original search. The listings this time had several paid advertisements that “rate web design companies.” Scrolling down past the paid results, I found a small map displaying dots for various businesses located in a larger geographical search area. Below the map were three web design companies. Web with Grits was listed as #1! The second business was about 15 miles away, and the third was about 25 miles away. I continued to scroll down the page. Search results varied drastically with advertisement listings and web designers in Lexington, KY (over 400 miles north).

I recently heard about a new search engine, duckduckgo.com. I decided to try the same search phrase using this site: search number three. The results were significantly different. The Duck results listed several web design companies. None of them, though, were nearby. Places in Lexington, KY, and Lexington, MA, for example. I also conducted search number four using bing.com. The results were similar to duckduckgo.com.

Same search different results

I have always found it intriguing how the different search engines provide results and SEO rankings. You must keep in mind that each company has its own dynamics and criteria for search results. Just like people, you cannot make all of the search engines happy. Google is considered the top search engine. What you practice is focusing your efforts on Google SEO practices. Now, if you know for certain that your customers and likely visitors consistently use another search engine you might want to consider another strategy. I, personally, do not think that is a great idea. Regardless of the search engine, having an SEO plan and working that plan will pay off. As I stated before it takes

  1. dedicated work,
  2. an SEO plan, and
  3. time to boost your rankings.

On a whim, I thought to try another Google search number four but using a different browser. I used the same search criteria, “web designer Lexington GA.” Google provided results similar to that I had from my first search. The first few listings were paid advertisements. Then, approximately a third of the way down there was the location map. The map shows dots for web designers listed in proximity to Lexington, GA. This time, however, I am listed as #2 in the rankings (same search, different browsers, slightly different times). Another surprise was that the third business was not the on the original or second list. It was a completely different business.

So why the different results?

I have been sitting here looking over the two different search results. I am wondering why the differences. To be honest, I do not see anything specifically different that would cause varied effects. The first search provided advertisements followed by the location map where my SEO ranking was #2. The second search, conducted today, showed me with #1 SEO ranking. The fourth search, using a different browser, listed paid advertisements before the location map showing another company as the first rank with me back to #2.

Now to make this conversation a bit weirder, I opened up a third different browser and conducted the Google search number five. This time there were no paid advertisements listed at the top. In fact, I did not see any indication of paid ads. The location map was presented first thing. I was listed first. The second company was as before. The third company listed was the unique company that was recorded in the second search result, but not the first. The results below the map listed other web design companies in Athens GA, Lexington KY, and a few companies that rank web design businesses.

SEO ranking plan

This little experiment, if nothing else, shows that your SEO ranking is continuously in flux. The results that I found should not discourage you from keeping your company information on the web current. Instead, the data shows the importance of current information on your website and having an active presence on the web.

a line graph showing an increaseFor the small business owner, I suggest that you continue doing your updates and continue following a few simple pointers. First, it is always good to keep the keyword and keyword phrases in mind as you write for your website. Think of what visitors would type in a search to find you and the information you have posted. Second, conducting keyword research is always useful. This may provide you with insights into potential visitors to your website. Third, I suggest that you keep your Google business listing updated and include regularly posted bits of information on your Google business. Fourth, like other businesses, it is always good to have positive customer reviews. Your review section can be on your website, you might use Facebook, and you might use Google business. Fifth, providing visitors and customers various ways to talk about you and to make contact with you tends to have good results.

As I have stated before it is crucial to have an SEO plan. Once you have a plan, it is essential to work the plan to help improve your company visibility.

Continue doing the basics that were mentioned in the previous paragraph.

  • Get customer reviews published that are positive and give other potential customers an idea of your business.
  • Most importantly, however, is your communication with people. You can do that in person as you meet different people. You can communicate through newsletters.
  • You should always have an elevator pitch in mind for when someone asks you what you do.Man icon in front of comment bubble
  • Send out regular postings with information that people may find enjoyable or informative.
  • Respond to any email messages that you receive promptly; I would say within 24 hours.
  • Historically the best way to promote a business is to have satisfied and happy customers that talk about you and what you have done for them.
Always be the best that you can be, give the best that you can offer, and make people feel valuable.
 

Do you need help?

Of course, if you feel that you need some assistance, please feel free to contact me. We will talk about how we can work together to build your business. Just let me know.

SEO Tools Since There is Not a Miraculous SEO Pill

It is a beautiful, sunny, warm, lazy late summer afternoon. I am sitting on my front porch swing relaxing and letting my thoughts enjoy the sun, shade, and gentle summer breeze. For some strange reason, I started thinking about a conversation I had with my chiropractor, Dr. Doug Giles. He and I chat about various things when I visit him for an adjustment. Doc knows that my work is web design and technology. He shared with me that he was at a professional development workshop. One of the vendors that presented addressed the need chiropractors have for a robust website,  the importance of quality SEO, and the need for professional SEO tools. The conversation focused on what SEO is and its quality.

SEO Basics

Before I produced an expert sounding answer, I asked for more details about the SEO presentation at the workshop. Doc shared what he heard. I smiled and shook my head. The vendor talked about the standard importance of SEO from a sale pitch perspective.

A what?

Yes, a sales pitch in the form of a workshop. Surely you have attended one of those. I’ve heard time and time again, the inevitable doom if you do not get your SEO in line with search engines. Of course, the vendor shared how he has the perfect solution. Just let him know and he would assist anyone with the need and will also work on a website built just for chiropractors.

Yes, SEO is essential. However, the ranking you receive in search engines is based on many factors. You need to have great keywords, well-structured content, well-ordered website pages, side headings on your pages and postings, location, etc. One element not often talked about is time. You need a track record on the internet; a history, if you will, about your website. A factor that may have just as much weight as the prior is the number of visitors you get to your website. Your site also needs to load quickly and responsive to the device a visitor uses. In other words, your site needs to load without any hesitation. What was the last web page you visited that took more than a couple of seconds to load? Did you wait for the page to load? Or, did you go to another site? I am guessing that you visited another site. If by chance, you waited for the page to load, you most likely found that a large image or a video was the culprit causing that page to display slowly.

Your website needs to adjust to display on each of the devices that people use to view. That would include smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

Your site needs to be up to date. That includes the content. Posting a blog at least once a month helps to keep your website in the active sites category. I suggest twice a month at a minimum, so about every 15 days.

Your plugins must be current. Plugins are vital since they equip your site to function as you wish. Developers update their plugins from time to time. Search engines are designed to notice if something changes on your site. Updating plugins is a change that shows up on search engine scans. Let’s not forget that keeping all things updated is also useful for website security.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. There are many factors involved in good SEO.

Pug dog pointing out SEO tools and tips written on chalkboardSimply put, SEO takes work and dedication. There is not a miracle SEO pill you can buy or choose to make you rank highly in searches. There are, though, steps you can do to make sure that you are included in the search results.

Here is the real kicker. Just because you have your SEO just right, your rankings are not guaranteed to be high on the list. A high ranking takes time and effort. When you work to make yourself known people will find you.

SEO Tools

Primary points to keep in mind when you think about your SEO and the content on your website are:

  • Keyword or keyword phrase – A keyword is what persons most likely will use for a web search when looking for your site or posting. Every posting and page should have their unique keyword.
    • Keywords must be used on their respective pages and postings.
    • Keywords must be part of the page and post title.
    • Keywords must be part of the side headings on a page and post.
  • Keyword research – If you do some research time, you will be able to find the keywords that people use related to your business and postings. Google provides many web tools for people to use and there are a few other sites that offer similar information.
  • Visitors – For your site and content keep in mind what people would place in a search engine to find your business. For example, for Web with Grits, a search phrase may be “web design Lexington GA.” At this time, I am in the top 3 results when I conduct this search. My address is outside of Lexington, GA. Naturally, I am not directly on the target.
  • Location – Keep your site contact information up-to-date and at least include your city and state. Use Google Business to help you with web searches.
  • Reviews – What people have to say about your postings and your business adds value to your website and for your visitors. You might want to consider a simple review form for your customers to complete. You can then use that information in a review section on your site. Facebook, also, has a review (now recommendation) section that will help your visibility.
Toolbox labeled SEO Tools
 

Use your SEO tools and work your SEO plan

I think you can see that having a solid SEO plan is essential. You can also see that to be found on the internet that you must work for recognition. If you create a solid SEO plan and work that plan, people will find you on the web. Your ranking will improve over time. Give your customers the best you can offer. Keep that unique edge you have over others and publicize it. Find help when you need it. Continue developing your SEO.