Alternate Text:

Alternate Text: What it is and How it helps your SEO

The Marketing department’s most often asked question is “What is this alternate text on my bill? What are you folks doing? Is this really necessary for my Website?”

  1. Yes, it really is necessary for your Website’s Marketing to work.
  2. There will be times you will see this because we are not receiving any information from our clients regarding: Testimonials, New Projects, Before and After pictures or just plain content.
  3. What is Alternate Text? Well I just went over to 3 of the largest training sites and pulled down their information regarding Alternate Text and I will share it with you here so that you can understand what it is and why we use Alternate Text.

We use Alternate Text to improve your Search Engine Optimization.  This practice has been shown, especially now, to help bring people to your site and to increase your ranking with Google.

As you will find out below, Images are more important now than ever. In addition to finding your website, it also works with the ADA in helping you to communicate with people who are visually impaired or completely blind.  Your ADA plug in can read the alternate text to them allowing them to “see” the pictures and understand their place in the site and their significance.

I ask that you read below and find out exactly what Alternate Text is so that your understanding of our work will be better. Also, if you have any questions, you can always contact us and we will be more than happy to explain to you. Just to let you know even if we are sent new pictures and testimonials, we will still be using Alternate Text.

The following is from Moz:

“Why is Alt Text Important?

  1. Accessibility

Alt text is a tenet of accessible web design. Its original (and still primary) purpose is to describe images to visitors who are unable to see them. This includes screen readers and browsers that block images, but it also includes users who are sight-impaired or otherwise unable to visually identify an image. Including alt text with your images ensures all users, regardless of visual ability, can appreciate the content on your site.

  1. Image SEO

Using alt text on your images can make for a better user experience, but it may also help earn you both explicit and implicit SEO benefits. Along with implementing image title and file naming best practices, including alt text may also contribute to image SEO.

While search engine image recognition technology has vastly improved over the years, search crawlers still can’t “see” the images on a website page like we can, so it’s not wise to leave the interpretation solely in their hands. If they don’t understand, or get it wrong, it’s possible you could either rank for unintended keywords or miss out on ranking altogether.”

Meanwhile HubSpot’s take on this is just as important: “See Image Below

 

Today, Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) deliver just as many image results as they do text-based results. The screenshot above is the first SERP Google produces for the search term, “email newsletter design.” Notice how, in addition to the “Images” tab at the top, Google pulls in a substantial pack of clickable images to the beginning of the main results page — before any organic text results are even visible.
Despite your best SEO efforts, you could still be missing out on another source of organic traffic: your website’s images. How do you get in on this traffic source? Image alt text.”

Yoast is also a great resource that we use on everyone’s WordPress Website. Their SEO product helps us move in the right direction, especially regarding readability and SEO. They are amazing and innovative, working and adapting to make certain they work in sync with Google so that the sites using their product can show up as well as they can. The following information is from an article from Yoast:

Image SEO alt tag and title tag optimization

Adding images to your articles encourages people to read them, and well-chosen images can also back up your message and get you a good ranking in image search results. But you should always remember to give your images good alt attributes: alt text strengthens the message of your articles with search engine spiders and improves the accessibility of your website. This article explains all about alt and title attributes and why you should optimize them.

Alt Text and SEO

Google’s article about images has a heading “Use descriptive alt text”. This is no coincidence because Google places a relatively high value on alt text to determine not only what is on the image but also how it relates to the surrounding text. This is why, in our Yoast SEO content analysis, we have a feature that specifically checks that you have at least one image with an alt tag that contains your focus key phrase.

Image Alt Attributes Assessment

Yoast SEO checks for images and their alt text in your posts: We’re definitely not saying you should spam your focus key phrase into every alt tag. You need good, high quality, related images for your posts, where it makes sense to have the focus keyword in the alt text. Here’s Google’s advice on choosing a good alt text:

When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in context of the content of the page. Avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.

If your image is of a specific product, include both the full product name and the product ID in the alt tag so that it can be more easily found. In general: if a key phrase could be useful for finding something that is on the image, include it in the alt tag if you can. Also, don’t forget to change the image file name to be something actually describing what’s on it.”

Where We are Using Alt Text

Much of this will be done in your Media Library, we can update the Alternate Text on the pictures and by doing so, it updates the picture wherever it may show up, whether in a blog or on a page itself. You will not see the work being done, but even by changing your Alternate Text monthly makes the Google Bot or Spider believe that there is always new content on your site, as opposed to changing the pictures and writing new content.

If you have new content, or things that you want us to point out as a special, please send it to us. When we work in Alternate Text, we will be doing it in in your Website Medial Library as well as the Google My Business that we have set up for your business.

In fact, we just did a Google Seminar, pushed by Google itself for SCORE regarding the importance of the Google My Business Profile.
You may not see us, but we are there and are working hard to make your site as visible as possible.

COVID-19: And the Importance of Your Web Site

COVID-19: And the Importance of Your Web Site

NetCetra’s clients own their websites, either personally or through their businesses. This fact is extremely important now with the shutdown of many institutions and the “work from home” policies that are spreading as the virus does. This makes your web site much more important to your customers and prospective customers. Make sure that any alerts, messages and instructions are plainly situated on the home page. Be sure that your hours of operation, phone number, address and directions are accurate. This holds true for both your web site and Google My Business.

E Commerce is going to increase as people stay at home more. So be sure everything is accurate in your cart. Make sure your shipping options are accurate. Be ready for an increase in phone questions as well as your contact us form. Make sure it is working correctly. A lot of forms are constantly upgrading their programming to ensure that they are secure. Sometimes it can cause the contact form to work incorrectly, check it.

Netcetra has made contingency plans for the office and data center. There will not be any interruption in these services.

Some clients may be allowing their employees to work from home. Check to see if you can have access to your email from your vendor’s email server. This will eliminate the need to have your employee set up a mail program on their home computer. NetCetra offers this to all their clients that use us for their email. Just put: mail.yourdomain in any browser. Once you do this, you will see: a Zimbra box. Add your full email address and password. This will allow you to work from our mail server. When you go back to the office you can download all your email.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Jim Mahlmann

Google Ads (Adwords) Are Changing

Google Adwords started as text ads in 2000. They were always effective but never really easy to set up. They have actually gotten more complex to set up as Google continues to modify how they are viewed. The trick with Google Ads is knowing how to set them up to be most effective for “best bang for your buck”. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars every month. Businesses that want visibility in the local and national Google search market like and use this program to get noticed.

One of the issues that have developed over the years is the number of ads that appear on the final search page. Google use to have 3 or 4 ads at the top of the page. Now, if a topic is extremely competitive, you will find ads on the top, bottom and sides. Businesses that offer a product must also compete with Google “product display” ads with images at the top of the page.

Google is now pushing video ads. There are several types. All ads originate through a company You Tube channel. The most popular video ad and the most cost effective is the “instream ad”. It literally costs pennies on the dollar compared to other types of Google ads and can get plenty of exposure when set up correctly. This is not to say that I would replace the conventional ad campaign with Google but it is a supplement worth testing.

Jim Mahlmann

Managing Partner with NetCetra LLCJim has been handling Google Ads for over15 years. He is a certified Google Ads partner

You Need a Backup Email Address

The same thing always happens, as I can attest as someone who runs a hosting company with email servers. I get a support request to check their email address because they are not getting any mail. Sometimes, it can be fixed without asking questions and sometimes it can’t. Then, since we are unable to communicate with that person, the support request goes unanswered until they reach out to us in a different way. The best way to avoid this situation is to always have a back up email address. Google’s G Mail is a perfect program for this. It’s free and reliable. I do not recommend it for a main business address. Your business email address should be associated with your web site address. First, it’s more professional and secondly it can be construed that you are not a genuine business.

A backup email program will allow you to communicate even when your main email address has a problem or worse, when it gets hacked. I also prefer to use it when I’m not sure if I want the other party finding out who I am right away. Sometimes giving your business email address can get you swamped with spam. Let G Mail catch it all. Also, get rid of your AOL address. It has a bad reputation in the business world and not very professional.

Jim Mahlmann

COO

Email Marketing, Killing the Golden Goose

How easy! How cheap! Send out 3000 emails for the cost of the ESP (email service provider) monthly fee. Most of the time it is a great deal cost wise and the templates help you set up the email so it looks professional. The problem is how often do you send a broadcast out? Once a month, twice a month? Every time you have a special or news? That is where the problem occurs. It is better to have a news letter that comes out monthly and contains a few different topics. Something for everyone in your customer’s demographics. Here is an example of a newsletter based on a template to cover varied news and images.

Header – Company logo

Main Body – Introduction for the month

Featured product, service, employee or event

Spotlight on customers using your product or service (testimonial)

Or possibly a Case Study of a recent project or event

Remember to link back to your web site for “additional information”. This accomplishes two things. First, it allows you to keep the information in the newsletter brief and secondly, Google likes to see links going to your site. It helps with visibility.

Keeping to this time table will keep customers from opting out of your newsletter and if you really have something very important to say then they will notice it and you will have a better chance of them reading it.

Some businesses do not have the time or expertise to handle this project, NetCetra does it for many clients. Let us know and we can review the best layout to help you stay in front of your customers.

What Do You Know About Your Domain Name?

A company’s domain name remains one of the major unseen issues facing a lot of businesses on line. I am still amazed how many businesses are not truly in control of their domain names. They think that they are because their web site comes up and that they see the domain they picked a few years ago. But who actually owns the domain name and who gets emailed when it is time to be renewed? This is such a big problem that it has actually developed into a cottage industry. The most common issue happens when the web designer is given permission to register the domain name. Most businesses do not understand it, don’t want to understand it and just let the designer handle it. Most of the time, they get it right but not all the time. The more inexperienced designers put their own information in the registration and figure they will change it after they finish designing the site or do not even know how to do it correctly. So, the site is completed and it is up and running. A few years later it goes down because the email address associated with the site is not businesses and but the designer, who either is not in business anymore, changed their email address or does not respond to that email address. It happens all the time.
The owner of a domain name should have:
• The name of the registrant company it was registered with
• A user and password to get into the control panel of that company
The minimum a business should have is a current breakout of the “Whois” information. This information shows:
• The Registering Company
• When it was purchased
• When it expires
• The Registrant (owner of the domain)
• The Administrative Contact (controller of the domain name, 1st. level)
• The Technical Contact (controller of the domain name, 2nd. Level)
• Domain Name Servers Addresses (Where the site is hosted)
The contact information should have current addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Most registrations companies send out “review info” notices every two years. This is where the problem generally occurs. When it is wrong, that is when email notifications, for review and 45 days before domain name expirations, are sent out. If they are not responded to in a timely manner they are then picked up by companies that will sell it back to you at very high rates. Generally this happens when the site goes down and the business cannot figure out who has control of the domain name. Again, this is a common problem.
The best way to avoid this situation is to be involved in the sign up of your domain name. If you already have a domain name then go to internic.com and go to their link, “whois” and look up your domain name. It will give you the name of the registering company. Go to registering company and go to their web site “whois”. At that point, if you do not agreed results, call that company’s support phone number. They will walk you through the procedure to reclaim your domain name. Do not wait till your site goes down. Also, make sure to privatize your domain name in the “whois” so you are not overwhelmed with sales calls and emails.
NetCetra is a little different than most web design, hosting and marketing companies. We handle domain registration through Open SRS. So, we control the entire process. Our clients can contact us to fix any issue with their domain name.
All this information is very helpful when companies receive fake notices that their domain name is expiring and they include an invoice which is a total fraud.
Know Your Domain Name
Jim Mahlmann
COO
NetCetra LLC

The Current State of Web Sites

Interestingly enough, in the 24 years that I have been designing web sites as well as marketing and hosting them, they have gone through many changes. The one aspect that has not really changed in all this time is the complexity in designing a web site. We see the ads for ways to  build a site in less than one hour. Yes, you can do this but the problem is twofold. Let’s say that you want to leave your hosting company that you created it on, good luck moving it. These sites are created using WYSIWYG, “What You See Is What You Get”. This is not clean programming. It is literally thrown together by a software program with the only logic being that everything will end up where you want it when you first create it. This makes it very difficult to make major changes or transfer it to another server. Also, if you want to add internet marketing to the site for visibility on searches, it is extremely difficult. A professional programmer knows how to set up a web site so a marketing person can develop a marketing campaign with site changes and modifications on a regular basis. Automated site development can not accomplish this.

This leads to another issue that is occurring quite a bit with web design. Years ago, one person could create a web site and add it to a server for hosting and register a domain name. It is no longer that easy to do. Web sites that represent a brand new business web site, domain name and hosting can accomplish this fairly easy. But, the problem with this process occurs when the business owner tries to expand the web site with professional email addresses, a data base or wants better customer support. You are now limited if you do not have a team of professionals behind you.

One of the biggest problems that we face at NetCetra is the client that uses an inexperienced web designer, who is trying to do everything himself. Saves the client money up front but then pays for it with the additional outside support and time it requires to get the project completed. Our favorite is the designer who is creating a new site for one of our hosting clients and convinces them to move the site to the hosting company they are working with. Our support team generally gets an email asking us to change where the domain name is pointing to from our servers to the new hosting company. The problem with this is, the owner of the domain name has control over that. Our support team tells them that and they don’t understand why we cannot do it. Then, the support team asks them where they are putting the email address information. Again, lots of confusion and eventually they generally say that there is no problem. They are going to start all over again. That’s fine if the client is not storing messages and contacts on our mail server.

The bottom line regarding web site design, hosting and marketing is if you want it done correctly, you will really need a team of professionals to do correctly the first time. Web sites are constantly expanding for even the smallest client. Google adds requirements all the time i.e.; responsive web sites and secure web sites. You must comply with these rules if you want Google to keep you visible to prospective customers.

You Tube Is It for Your Business

I get this question asked quite a bit. The answer to this question has changed over the years. I use to say that it depended on the type of business. Now I cannot think of any business that would not prosper from using a You Tube channel to increase their visibility. You Tube, which is owned by Google, is the second most active search engine after Google’s search. People like the stickiness of videos. Now that mobile is taking over the internet presence of most users, videos make perfect sense. A lot folks would rather view something then read it.

So what does the average business have to offer in a video? Meeting the owner is a good start. Testimonials are always great. One of my client, Joel Braun Construction, used his smart phone to show the before and after of a bathroom reconstruction and then interviewed the owner. He captured all the important aspects in three minutes. Added the video to Facebook as well as his You Tube channel and web site. We made sure to add some descriptive keywords to You Tube’s description.

Another client of ours, Lang Smoker Cookers, has been very successful using video. I was at his farm in Georgia when I mentioned to him that we had several request regarding starting a fire in the Lang Smoker Cooker. Ben Lang added wood to a smoker; I pulled out my smartphone and videotaped him starting a fire. I added it to his new You Tube channel and imbedded it in his site and newsletter. Within 3 months we had over 60,000 views. We realized that we had hit on a great way to stay in front of both prospective and current clients. We then added channels for user testimonials, tips and cooking school. In the three years, that we have been using these channels, we have had over 1.5 million views.

The point is that anyone can do the same thing using a smart phone or doing something a little more professional with a videotographer. Think about your clients or someone you would like to have as a client. Talk to them on the video as if they were there

The last point I will add is, if you have a business that can offer tips on how to fix or install something, these are great.  I used this type of video to fix my storm door to learning how to add a chart to Excel.

Very Powerful Suff.

Big Data

Here it comes and you don’t even know what it is or what it is doing to you and your internet habits. Big Data is the culmination of all your movements on the internet. Congress gave companies permission to track and sell this information to any customer that can afford it both in price and volume. It allowed UPS to figure out the best route to take with their trucks to reach your house or office. It lets Dell Computers decide what you, the consumer, wants.

One of the programs that came out of this is called Programmatic Buying. It allows brands to use audience insights and technology to tailor messages to the right person, at the right moment, in the right context. It helps brands respond to real-time signals on an impression-by-impression basis across screens and across channels. For example, if a mom’s online shopping gets interrupted with errands, programmatic buying can help the retailer she was visiting reach the mom on her smartphone as she shifts to shopping on-the-go. That’s just one of an unlimited number of scenarios brands can use to engage audiences with programmatic buying. Does this sound familiar? It is sometimes called “remarketing”. You may have looked on an ecommerce site at a product and all of a sudden after you left, it seems to be following you on ever commercial site you visit.

It is now being formulated for the smaller merchant. Companies like Double Click, owned by Google, will be leading the technology. They feel today’s consumer is connected, interested and engaged. Think about all the people that sit there and stare at their smart phone. That is the market.

Example: Nike’s Phenomenal Shot pushed the boundaries of real-time advertising to capture the energy and excitement of the World Cup. Within seconds of a memorable match, or shot, Nike delivered immersive 3D display ads across sites and apps in 15 countries. Fans were then able to interact with these moments, making them their own, and share them on social networks. Real-time buying made it possible for Nike to deliver a beautiful, mobile-rich media experience with over 2 million engagements.

Like it or not, if you are a businessman who sells a product or service and wants to engage the younger generations, you better start studying or get someone that can guide you through it.

Jim Mahlmann

COO

NetCetra LLC

Your Secured Web Site Will Be a Google Rule

Generally when you shop on line, you will notice that the web address uses a SSL certificate. You will see a lock before the address that shows something like https://www.shoponline.com. What does this actually do for you and the web site? It protects where you go and what you do on that web site. The main reason for it on eCommerce sites is to protect your credit card and billing information.

Recently, congress has decided to allow vendors to sell your surfing patterns and demographics. This is called “big data” and it is very important information for larger companies. Big data allows business to figure out what you do online and how to sell you products and services and other things by tracking you on the internet. Google has responded to this ruling by making a ruling of their own. As we all know, once Google determined that the majority of people viewing the internet were using smart phones, they then required web sites to be responsive to all size screens in order to be found in their search. Now they have announced that in the next several months that they are going to require web site owners to use a SSL to secure their site to protect their visitors. They said that when the policy goes into effect, if a web site is not secure, they will not show up in the Google search.

This means that when you have the SSL or https added to your web site, the person going to your web site cannot be tracked at all and all cookies are blocked in your site.

This is a major rule change by Google like the responsive web site to make your internet surfing a better and safer experience. The bottom line is, if you own a web site and need to be found in the Google search engine, which represents 75% of all searches, then you going to need a SSL certificate. They can be purchased yearly or up to three years from your hosting company. They vary in price BUT do not settle for a free one. These are not valid. If you have a C name domain, i.e.: shop.mydomain.com as well as a regular site with that domain name then purchase a wild card certificate. It will cover all web sites that use your main domain name.

JIm Mahlmann

COO

NetCetra LLC