Palo Alto-Based SEO Company
A. Blum Localization Services
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Our Palo Alto SEO Company
Overview: We are a Palo Alto-based SEO company founded in 2016. Our business model combines SEO ranking services with Social Media Optimization and Search Engine Optimization training workshops.
Our goal is to help our clients improve their organic ranking results, increase their web traffic, and stop outsourcing work within three months.
How this is done: We provide clients with a full overhaul of their web content to improve it in every way possible. Our teaching will follow this.
About our teach method: We offer hands-on training where we want a client's staff to “learn by doing”. This provides motivation and drive.
For example, we make a backup of the client's current site and use this offline as a tool to work on as a group.
Our service is provided online worldwide and in-house (we come to you) for all points across California.
Our Palo Alto SEO company specializes in organic ranking.
In Palo Alto, California: Our office is at 345 Forest Avenue, just east of Stanford University. We are 8 blocks from the Hewlett-Packard Garage on Addison Avenue established in the late 1930s. It is noted as the first area startup which would become one of the world's largest technology companies. (Discover Stanford's role as the birthplace of Silicon Valley and an overview of Palo Alto area Tech history).
What Is Organic SEO?
Definition: Organic SEO is defined as non-paid, natural results on a search engine page. There are two ways to rank on search engines:
Pay for a given keyword or keyword phrase. With paid results you appear with the mention "sponsored' or 'ad'.
With hard work as natural results which are known also as organic ranking. See how Google explains the difference between organic and paid search results.
How We View Search Engine Optimization
It is our contention that 60% of Google's ranking factor comes from standing out as an authority.
SEO is part of a “family” of related Internet Marketing work. The distinction between Social Media Optimization and SEO, for example is not huge as the same work ethic has to be applied to a Tweet as to a core web page.
Along with great content, on-page and off-page SEO techniques are customized per project.
Here are some key points for good ranking
There is no such thing as a one-size fits all SEO checklist.
Organic Search Engine Optimization requires persistence, perseverance, and continued expansion to achieve and sustain results.
Alternative text should not contains extraneous information and should NEVER be used to stuff keyword phrases into your page.
Your navigation of a site should exclude planned sites and planned pages. Stick to what is ready and live and not what is “up soon”.
Twitter is one of the best social networking sites for SEO.
Do not expect to rank for over two keyword phrases per page.
Never optimize multiple pages for the same keywords.
The smaller your site, the more content you need on your home page!
Outbound links matter. They provide a reader with additional resources and validate what you are saying. Choosing these links should be a matter of careful attention. (See: Good resources for outbound links).
Future Planning With An SEO Audit
An SEO audit is a detailed checklist of tasks which are reviewed and takes about 5 hours for most medium-sized firms. The purpose of the SEO audit is NOT to say “this is where we are”, it is to say where you should be in 2 months, 5 months, and a year hence. The audit is a future-based guide with a timeline.
Important: It is wise not to start an SEO audit till you have done keyword research. Without the knowledge of keyword phrases that are being searched for (versus a subjective choice of terms - See: What is Google Trends data — and what does it mean?) in your target language and geographic area.*
Our role, doing the Audit and working on a client's web content is about putting guide posts down. Note: You will find of interest this page by Google.
Items We Check:
Terms that are not being properly optimized.
A review of lots of server-side tweaks.
A navigation structure review.
Page and image names (file names and URLs).
The use of great outbound links which help to validate what you say.
Use of the proper link qualifications.
Proper use of analytic tools.
Usage of good Web Accessibility fundamentals.
Use of Social Media (to become extra top ten results in a keyword phrase query).
Alt images and any keyword stuffing.
Naming of image files (the URL such as /images/description-more-details.png).
Checking for broken links.
The use of embedded content (some of which may be best presented as a clickable/touchable thumbnail image instead of a script that takes time to load and forces outside resources to run).
The loading speed of your site.
Captions and content description for your videos.
Listing all backlinks from high quality pages.
Proper use of your robots.txt and XML sitemaps.
Search for duplicate content.
The compression of your image sizes as well as your markup.
* A current (past 12 months and 5 year view) of user actual searches (using Google Trends and other tools).
We read: "(...) With Google Trends, you can compare two search topics simultaneously to understand which is more popular with users. A “topic” is a group of terms that share the same concept in any language, while a “search term” only includes data for that language. To do so, after you’ve added one topic, simply click “+ Compare” and type in your second topic. By comparing keywords for products or services you offer, you can get a quick and helpful picture of which offerings are in greater demand and likely to have an effect on your sales volume in the short term. (...) Let’s say you own a small flower shop and Mother’s Day is approaching. You want to know which of your products to prioritize promoting online. By using the comparison feature in Google Trends, you can compare search interest for the topics 'flower delivery' and “'gift baskets.' Source.
Along with comparison there is Expanding your search by time to identify seasonal trends, Using Google Trends to discover new opportunities, and the essential Refining your search by region or city.
Google Trends provides the following types of data 'Real-time data is a sample covering the last seven days and non-real time data is a separate sample from real-time data and goes as far back as 2004 and up to 72 hours before your search".
Prerequisites To The Study Of SEO
HTML basics (HyperText Markup Language is one of several languages used to build web pages. It is based on tags and attributes [Example: Some common HTML tags include <html>, <head>, <title>, <body>, <p>, <a>, <img>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>, <table>, <form>, and <input>] which define the structure, content, and appearance of a web page. See more: HTML markup basics).
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets allows for the centralization of style information. It defines, for example, font, color, spacing, and layout, for web pages. CSS rules are applied to the elements in the document).
— Mobile web development (As the name implies, mobile web development refers to creating content optimized for usage on mobile devices. This will be achieved by using responsive layouts, optimizing content for fast loading speed and other means).
Serve images in modern formats (Serving images in modern formats can result in smaller file sizes and faster page loading times, improving the overall user experience on a website. See more: Image file type and format guide and Graphics on the web).
Audio and video delivery (Note: The success of sound and image delivery depends on factors such as the type of media format used, the speed and reliability of the user’s internet connection, and the capabilities of the user’s device).
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs are web applications designed to provide users with an app-like experience by taking advantage of modern web technologies and delivering them through a web browser. They offer several key benefits, including offline support, push notifications and the ability to install the app directly on a device’s home screen, making them accessible even without an internet connection. — Adapted from the Wikipedia about PWAs).
User input and controls (Examples of user input and controls are text boxes, drop-down menus, buttons, check boxes, radio buttons, and other elements).
Unix — Apache introduction (Plan on Using a UNIX server? The .htaccess file is a configuration file for Apache web servers, which allows you to define custom rules for the server to follow, such as URL rewriting, security measures, and IP banning. It can be a powerful tool in optimizing your website and enhancing security).
On/Off-Page SEO Suggestions and Tweaks
Important: There is no such thing as a ‘one-size fits all’ SEO checklist. Your application of on/off-page Search Engine Optimization techniques needs to be customized for each web project.
Make OUTBOUND links to authority pages which validate & expand on what you are saying. Places to find articles: Google Scholar | Khan Academy | Wolfram|Alpha and MDN Web Docs.
Use Google Trends to help you define keywords based on past search history for a given market. (See ‘Google Trends: Understanding the data’).
Watch for rising searches on Google Trends. We read “(…) If you see ‘Breakout’ instead of a percentage, it means that the search term grew by more than 5000%.” Source (Google).
Study well the ‘Structured data markup that Google Search supports’. Related: ‘Introduction to structured data markup in Google Search’.
Use ‘Microsoft Clarity’! It is free and provides heatmaps, color coded scroll map (which shows the depth of scrolling by a user) and more.
Wordpress SEO (not sponsored) suggestion: Stick to the Yoast SEO  plugin.
See link qualifications. Learn about noreferrer, noopener and nofollow. (See also ‘User Generated Content’ or the UGC Link Attribute and the rel=”sponsored” link description).
Scan your pages with Google’s Lighthouse. For SEO Audits see this Google page.
Suggestion: Add social media sharing buttons to selected e-commerce, blog and core content pages (not by default on every page).
You may find a inspiration for marketing, SEO and Social Media Optimization from Google Primer providing users with five-minute lessons.
Add breadcrumb navigation to a large website. In other words, define the hierarchical structure of your pages and assign appropriate nmes to each level (e.g. home page, content, sub-area). Use HTML to create breadcrumb navigation, with each label wrapped in an anchor tag. Style the breadcrumb navigation with CSS to match your website’s look and feel.
<li class="breadcrumb-item"><a href="#">Home</a></li>
<li class="breadcrumb-item"><a href="#">Content</a></li>
<li class="breadcrumb-item active" aria-current="page">Sub-Section</li>
ADA / Accessibility info: We are now at the end of the breadcrumb code example.
Some SEO Suggestions For PDF Files
Note: Your objective in making PDF files should be to add details about content you speak about in your cornerstone (core) site pages. Do not aim to rank the PDF for a keyword.
The Title of the PDF document should include the company or brand name at the end of a 3 part title. Example: ‘Keyword | More About The Content | Brand Name’.
Learn to edit PDF metadata. (Add keywords and a description)
Make a dedicated (manual) XML sitemap for PDF files.
Make the PDF file name a hyphenated description of 2 or 3 words. Example: “../pdf/keyword-keyword.pdf“. (We suggest that you always use dashes between terms).
Avoid irrelevant or generic names like “document-1.pdf”.
Avoid capitalization in your file name.
Using a PDF for media content that is hard to resize on a responsive website can be a good way to share PNG and JPG images together with text and hyperlinks.
It is a good idea to make a link to your core site from the top of your PDF file. Note: Only make such links if there is a large amount of unique content. See the risk of making a ‘doorway page’.
Share the location of this XML sitemap in robots text file.
Your PDF file(s) should be hosted one folder deep from your domain root.
Check out this podcast: ‘Non-HTML files on the web’ by Google Search Central.
In More Detail
Reduce the size of images! Large images can increase the size of a PDF file. If you have high-resolution images in your PDF, consider reducing their size and resolution. There are many image compression tools available that can help with this.
Use optimized fonts: If you’re using custom fonts, consider embedding only the characters that you’re actually using. This can help reduce the file size of your PDF.
Use efficient compression: PDFs can be compressed using different methods, such as JPEG or ZIP compression. Have a look at this compression tool.
Use PDF optimization software: There are many software options available that can optimize your PDF file size without affecting the quality of the content.
Flatten the PDF: Flattening the PDF means that all the layers and transparency effects in the file are merged into one flat layer. This can help reduce the file size and make it more compatible with different devices.
Make a PDF text-based! Search engines have trouble indexing images, so avoid using images as the main content in the PDF. Instead, use text-based content that is easily readable by search engines or take the time to tag the alt text for images. Also, for Accessibility make sure to use easy to read fonts. See PDF Accessibility Checker.
Human vs AI Generated Content
I have said often that in 2023 Google bases 60% of its ranking factors on content authority. '
Question: So, can Artificial Intelligence replace copy writers?
Answer: Maybe, but not for quite some time. For now we have way too many errors and versions.
In time, a combination of high quality syndicating data made for AI and much faster computer power we may see the creation of extremely high quality content by machines.
Currently: There is a large amount of simple data sharing that is going on with the bots of today. If you ask “What is the capital of rance” you will have data handed to you and not involve AI.
/// Note to our site visitors: This section needs to be expanded. Please check back shortly. [Message by Ardan Michael Blum on the 20th of March, '22]. ///
How automation can create helpful content
Google Search’s guidance about AI-generated content
What Others Are Saying | Curated Article Collection
Web Accessibility Helping SEO
Making a website barrier-free is a responsible act that can also have a positive effect on your ranking. It is our contention that search engines like Google look for universally accessible content and rank higher websites that offer a good user experience for everyone.
Opt for manual captions / or validating the automatic captioning process of videos. See: “How to adjust your caption settings on YouTube“.
Try to avoid text links that state simply “read more”.
Use a page-specific navigation which jumps to main sections.
Ensure that floating items do not overlap on mobile or tablet devices by adjusting the CSS styles for each item to position them correctly.
Back in the early days of the World Wide Web the idea that an underlined word could be clicked on was not universal. Back in 1998 sites had “link: ___”. Today everyone knows what a link is but people with Online Accessibility barriers may get confused if you underline a non-link.
Alt Image Tags
It is essential for people who rely on assistive devices such as screen readers to find good image descriptions.
Alternative text (also known as alt text) is an attribute added to an image tag in HTML, which provides a description or a summary of the image content for users who may not be able to see the image, such as those who are visually impaired or using a screen reader.
Text should convey the same meaning or the function of the image and not focus on the page's main target keywords.
In more detail:
Be descriptive: The alternative text should describe the content of the image in a concise and accurate manner. It should provide enough information to convey the meaning and context of the image.
Be brief: The alternative text should be short and to the point. It should summarize the image content without being too verbose.
Be relevant: The alternative text should apply to the function of the image. It should convey the same purpose as the image itself, whether it is to illustrate a concept, provide information, or enhance the user’s experience.
Avoid repeating information: If the information in the image is already provided in the text on the page, the alternative text should not repeat it. Instead, focus on describing the content that is not already available in the surrounding text.
Use plain language: The alternative text should be written in clear language that is easy to understand for all users.
When there is too much data in an image for an ALT description: If the image is an infographic, and/or has complex charts or graphs, then the detailed description of the information should be provided elsewhere (for example, in a data table). You can mention in your image ALT that this information is found, for example by clicking on the image which will take the user to a HTML pure text page version of the infographic data.
Test the alternative text: Before publishing the content, test the alternative text by using a screen reader or other assistive technology to ensure that it provides an accurate and meaningful description of the image. See lower down for testing tools.
Technically speaking there are 2 different ways to describe an image. One is the ALT and the other is the Title attribute. The use of both is recommended but the title tag is not necessary. See 'Image SEO: How to optimize your alt text and title text'.
If an image is used for page design then in the Alt tag write "This is a decorative area' or simply use an empty alternative text (alt=""). A work-about is to avoid decorative images by the use of CSS made backgrounds.
On many sites there is a default top left brand logo. This appears site-wide. Be attentive to how you name this image. You might want to add a navigation note - as in most cases clicking on this image brings one back to the home page.
Web Accessibility Barriers
Poor color contrast: People with limited vision or color blindness cannot read text if there is not enough contrast between the text and background. Tip: Make sure that colors are not the only method of conveying important information.
Use of color alone to give information: People who are color-blind may not have access to information when that information is conveyed using only color cues because they cannot distinguish certain colors from others. Also, screen readers do not tell the user the color of text on a screen, so a person who is blind would not be able to know that color is meant to convey certain information (for example, using red text alone to show which fields are required on a form). More: 'Avoid reliance on color'.
Lack of text alternatives: (“alt text”) on images. People who are blind will not be able to understand the content and purpose of images, such as pictures, illustrations, and charts, when no text alternative is provided. Text alternatives convey the purpose of an image, including pictures, illustrations, charts, etc. No captions on videos. See 'Everything you need to know to write effective alt text'.
Inaccessible online forms: People with disabilities may not be able to fill out, understand, and accurately submit forms without things like:
Labels that screen readers can convey to their users (such as text that reads “credit card number” where that number should be entered);
Clear instructions and error indicators (such as alerts telling the user a form field is missing or incorrect).
To interact without relying on a mouse or trackpad.
[This section is adapted from content found at www.ada.gov].
WAVE Accessibility Evaluation Tool by WebAIM, available for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
Our Palo Alto SEO company uses HTML Validator which has many functions (including CSS validation and Accessibility checking).
Siteimprove Accessibility Checker Chrome extension, check single pages including password-protected pages (original Siteimprove extension).
axe DevTools by Deque, Chrome extension, must be used in “Inspect” mode.
Accessibility Insights for Web by Microsoft, extension includes some automated checks, visualizing Tab stops, a guide for manual assessments, and can save a report.
ANDI (Accessible Name & Description Inspector): a "favelet" or "bookmarklet," not an extension, that will provide automated detection of accessibility issues, reveal what a screen reader should say for interactive elements, and give practical suggestions.
Contrast Checker by WebAIM, includes lightness sliders to adjust the colors to ones with sufficient contrast.
Colour Contrast Analyser by The Paciello Group, a separate application that can select colors using an eyedropper tool.
Contrast Ratio by Lea Verou, calculates a contrast ratio range when both colors include translucency (alpha channel). Color values are in the page address bar, so they’re easy to bookmark and share.
- Source Info: Some of the tools suggested are from a list of links found on the first rate site accessibility.huit.harvard.edu/.
The Web Accessibility Initiative - The 'WAI' is the effort of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which develops specifications, guidelines, software, and tools to lead the Web to its full potential.
Digital.gov - This site, which is part of the Technology Transformation Services at the GSA, has resources on design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities.
ADA Information Line: 800-514-0301 | 1-833-610-1264 (TTY).
Section508.gov - A website published by the US General Services Administration with tools and training on implementing website accessibility requirements under Section 508.'
Note: An automated tool cannot tell you if your site is fully compatible for Accessibility needs. Human testing is always necessary because accessibility is linked to the human experience.
Looking At Meta Tags
Introduction to meta tags: We will be looking at content which is added in the "head' of a webpage. This is seen when you switch to source code view. The selection of which tags and their purpose is very much a personal matter to the habits of a webmaster and their SEO colleagues.
Some of the tags have been historically 'abused' by spammers to the point that in 2009, the then head of Webspam at Google (Matt Cutts) was to make a statement that Google would no longer view the keyword meta tag as a ranking factor.
Backstory: Then people would have paragraph sized keyword meta tags which included even typographical errors and singular and plural versions of a term. In addition, the use of tags were generally not city-related and presented a word's synonyms and associated concepts.
Naturally, this was just Google's decision and not a global statement from Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
These chosen words should be page-related not site related and exactly relevant to the terms you have chosen for a given page's ranking. Note: Generally a webpage should stand out in a unique way for at most two keyword phrases.
We suggest to clients to aim for a location and brand / product / theme / topic and or project keyword phrase and a second phrase with a topic and subtopic. Once you have chosen per page two keyword phrases your task is to become devoted to content production which which makes your site an authority on these chosen phrases. Then, and only then we suggest using these focus terms and possible a third related term in a keyword meta tag.
Said differently, the ranking factor given to on-page elements may differ between search engines and items such as a short keyword meta tag can not harm your ranking.
Here is an example:
<meta name='"keywords'" content='"seo agency palo alto, palo alto seo company, organic ranking"'>
Technically speaking: The most important tags are the Canonical meta tag, the description tag, the "viewport" (A viewport allows for browsers to adapt the page's dimensions and scaling in various ways - say between seeing the page on a phone and a desktop), the title tag and the UTF (language) meta tag.
The Canonical tag avoids the duplicate content issues that may arise across blogs and sites.
Tip: Google reads everything but some aspects of the on-page SEO work are not counted as part of Google's ranking factors. The reason such tags can be of use is that other search engines companies may find them helpful.
Let us look at each meta tag, starting with the description tag. Here, we suggest the use of two clear sentences. You do not want to use your keyword phrases more than one time. That means one sentence for each phrase. We suggest using less than 155 characters which contain relevant information about the page's content - not just keyword focus.
<meta name="'description'" content='"We are a Palo Alto SEO company founded in 2016. Our business model combines organic ranking services and client training."'>
Note: There are variations to the tags presented based on which version of HTML your page is made in as well as your webmaster's mode of designing a page (some pages are static and will not resize well).
Let's look at some optional tags. We start with the author meta tag:
<meta name="'author'" content="'Ardan Michael Blum'" />
<link href='"https://ardanmichaelblum.com'" rel="'me'" type="'text/html'">
<meta name="'original-source'" content='"https://organic-ranking.com'"/>
The home page:
<link rel="'home'" title="'Home'" href='"https://seo-company.organic-ranking.com'"/>
Phone and email:
<meta content="'email=no'' name="'format-detection"'>
<meta content="'telephone=yes'" name="'format-detection'">
<meta name=''geo.region'' content=''US-CA'' />
<meta name=''geo.placename" content='''Palo Alto'' />
<meta name=''geo.position'' content=''37.444993;-122.1589'' />
Resource: You may want to find your longitude and latitude with this tool: geo-tag.de
/-/ Visitor note: This meta tag section needs to be improved and will be worked on for a finished version by the 18th of April. //
Message By Ardan Michael Blum - Agency CEO
Our Palo Alto-based team works for no more than 3 clients at any given time. We provide clients with total dedication!
Today, I suggest: Move from reading about SEO and book a 15-minute discussion to speak of your ranking on search engines!
Accessibility support is provided and we return calls globally. You can send us a message and/or phone +1 650 427-9358.