SEO

Responsive Website Santa Rosa

How Important Is A Responsive Website Today?

Hey. Good morning, internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. It is Thursday, therefore, today, we are talking about SEO. And as always, I have Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center down in Petaluma. Good morning, Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Good morning, Ryan. How are you today?

RP: I am doing wonderful, looking forward to Memorial weekend, kinda yes, kinda no, or Labor Day weekend, I should say. Moving into new offices, need more space. So, moving into a larger space this weekend. Looking forward to that, just not looking forward to the moving part.

VD: How lovely. I’ll be camping. Thank you.

RP: Yes. Well, have fun. I hear you’re up in Tahoe.

VD: Yes. We’re very lucky in Sonoma County. We’re very close to many cool locations like Tahoe, San Francisco, and so forth.

RP: Yeah, that’ll be fun. Tahoe’s one of my favorite places to visit. Today, though, we are going to talk about the importance of going mobile for your website and more specifically, making sure that your website is responsive. For those people that don’t understand what “responsive” is, can you kind of give us a brief synopsis?

VD: Responsive is exactly what it means, it responds to the size of your screen, so your website should know if you’re on a smartphone, on a tablet, on a regular PC, is it a 24-inch screen? Is it an 18-inch screen? So, that’s what responsiveness does. It’s not just shrinking everything, it’s just resizing it and moving things into different place, based on the screen size you are currently using.

RP: Okay. Now, a lot of people, and I actually don’t, just talked to a client yesterday of mine, who’s got an old HTML straight site, and she’s really fighting the fact that she needs to spend money, and I think, ultimately, that’s what it is. It’s a financial decision, spending money and upgrading, and going into WordPress platform or responsive platform. Right now, she doesn’t even have a mobile-friendly device. And so that, I think, on our end, we understand that that’s creating issues. I’ve been reading some reports that basically, Google is starting to penalize websites that are not mobile-friendly, and so I don’t know if it’s right to say that they’re prioritizing smartphones over standard computers these days. But Google’s definitely seen the shift in viewers and what they’re using, and so many people are on their smartphone 24/7 hours a day, that it really makes sense as a business owner to have a website that is compatible on a website, just for the simple fact, to make it easy for people to find you and actually see the information on your website on a smartphone.

VD: Well, Google is actually a very loud about the fact that they do penalize website that are not responsive and don’t have a different sites on mobile devices. So they actually put it on their… There’s a place called developers.google.com, and you can find a lot of information. That comes directly from Google to webmasters like ourselves, and it tells you what it likes and what it doesn’t like. It doesn’t tell you everything. They keep a few things secret. But when it comes to responsive design and making a website work well on a smartphone or a tablet, they’re very pro-this. So, they will penalize you if your website is not responsive. That’s the bottom line, and they actually say so on their own website. Now there are two ways to be responsive, you can have responsive design, which is the way to go, and we can discuss the pros and cons between the two methods. The second method is having a mobile site. It’s actually a secondary website that only works on mobile devices.

RP: Right. Now, just so that people understand, ’cause one of the other questions I was gonna ask you is that, okay, well, maybe I’m a business owner, and a couple years ago, I had a mobile site built, so if I grab my smartphone now, and I type in my web address, it’s automatically being redirected to a mobile. Are those people being penalized also? And then the second question would be, what are the pros and cons of having a truly responsive site versus having a website for a computer versus a mobile website?

VD: The way to word it is the people with a mobile site, and not a responsive designed website, are not necessarily penalized than less favored. So, having both is… I mean, having one or the other is better than not having it, because not having it, you are penalized. But if you have a responsive designed site, you will be more favored in the eyes of Google and other search engines. They do prioritize your site. So, in a way, it’s not penalty, but you’re not as high on the ranking because of it. It is a matter of years before mobile device or mobile websites, which we used to code a few years back, are just going to stop working or really go away, just like it happens in the industry. Every few years, some things no longer work. I mean you heard about Flash going away as well. So, that’s going to happen. It’s also expensive to have a mobile website. They cost more money to maintain. When your website is organically responsive, it doesn’t require additional maintenance. It’s done through the code.

RP: Right, and I think the important thing from a business owner’s point of view is that if you currently have a mobile website, it’s literally a second website. So, if you change an address, a phone number. If you change content, my understanding is you have to change it on your main website, but you also have to change it on the mobile site versus a responsive website, it’s one website, it’s one database, therefore, if you make a change, it affects everything. Is that correct?

VD: Yes. That’s one of the greatest advantage of responsive design, is it gives us that ability to make one change and propagate to everywhere. What we found out with clients, especially larger companies that didn’t make the investment in the mobile website a few years back, is they didn’t have a content management system for the mobile site. They may have one for their regular PC website, and most of the time, they made a lot of changes on their regular website, which people will see on the PC. But if you look at their mobile website, it’s very outdated sometimes by several years, and the reason is, is they had to call their webmaster each time, and sometimes the same people that build the sites are no longer in the industry. So, it looks bad for business. Also, you have to have two domain names. I don’t know if people know about…

VD: If you do have a mobile website, you will need a secondary domain name. You could use the subdomain, so if you are abc.com, you could have mobile.abc.com. So, that would be a subdomain, so that’s another possibility. In terms of SEO, it’s better to have all the traffic into one domain name instead of diluted it into two, because if you have two sites, Google is only seeing 50% of traffic here, 50% of traffic. It’s not as good as having one site, and all of the traffic, regardless of the device is being taken into consideration by Google. And that’s the reason why it’s good for SEO to have one unique website and is fully responsive.

RP: Right. And I think from a business owners’ point of view, typically we’re always worried about visibility. How do we get top ranking and having not diluting, like you said, I think is very, very important, and the fact that… One of the things that Google looks at as far as determining your ranking is how many people actually visit your website. So, like you said, if you have 50% going to one and 50% going to the other, just think of what could happen if you combine those two in a responsive site. The other thing that I really like about responsive site, you brought up the CMS, or I hope I got the right terminology there, as far as having a website with a database that as a business owner now, you’re not tied into a web developer to change a phone number or to add a picture to a website or to add a blog to a website.

RP: When you go to a database-driven website such as WordPress, and you have custom sites that you built for clients, is that if you need to make those on the fly changes, you can do them now. They’re instant and if you go with the responsive website, which as far I am concerned, that’s the only way to build a website these days, your mobile devices are updated, your iPad devices will be updated. They’ll see the updated content along with the computer user.

VD: Yes. Again, one of the greatest advantage of it. Another thing, it’s more like on my Geek site is the technology behind the responsive design code is far greater than the code we used to use for mobile websites. So, the code we use for having a site being mobile on its own is becoming archaic, if that makes any sense. So, moving forward as the browsers evolve and they update to new versions, you’re going to continue having greater issues with the mobile website as you would on a singular website that has responsive design already coded into it. So, the truth of the matter is, the way to move forward is responsive design, period. If you already have your mobile device, you have to move away from it somehow, and sometime, you will.

RP: Right. And I think the other thing that you brought up before we started the broadcast that’s really important is, how many people go, “Ah! I’m on a computer all day.” Of course, everybody uses a computer. Not that many people are using a mobile device, and one of the easiest ways, if you’re one of those business owners that’s still really unsure, “Do I need to make the investment, upgrade my website, go to responsive?”, is check your Google Analytics, assuming you have it installed. If you don’t, do it now. It’s very important to have Google Analytics installed. It’s free. It’s very simple if you have a WordPress type of website, you just plug the code in, and it automatically goes out to all the pages. But one of the things that Google Analytics does is it’ll tell you what browser people are using. Are they using a smartphone? Is it an Apple? Is it an Android?

RP: If they are using a computer, what browser? Are they using Safari? Not only will it tell you what people are using, how many people are using smartphones to view your device, or an iPad as an example, but it also gives you a little bit of insights in the type of people who are visiting your website. If you find that 80% of your smartphone users are using an Apple or an iPhone, then that kind of gives you a clear understanding of who your audience is that’s visiting your website. So, that’s any easy way to figure out how important transitioning is. And you brought up some stats. I forget… You posted them in the chat, but I found one that… I had read this years ago, probably a couple of years ago, so, it’s probably higher now, and I’m trying to see. This study was done back in, or this article was posted in April of 2013 that said, “79% of people 18-44, have their smartphones with them 22 hours a day.”

VD: Oh, gosh. That is scary.

RP: Yeah. There was another study that, literally, the phone is not without… Farther than hand’s reach, pretty much 24 hours a day. That’s just the reality of society these days. And even if you go into your Google Analytics, and you only find that maybe 30% of your users are on smartphone, just a couple of years ago, that number was maybe a couple of percents.

VD: Yes, well, as of January of this year, it’s 55% of people browsing the internet are using a mobile device. So, that’s the industry statistics. That’s January, so we’re talking, what, almost nine months ago. So, that number, it can only go bigger. So, again, there are more people using mobile devices to reach the internet as they are using computers. So, it’s staying. It’s not going anywhere.

RP: And the other thing as a business owner that you have to think about, especially if you’re a local business owner is that if you’re out and about and you need something, you’re gonna go to that smartphone right away, and that smartphone’s got GPS, it knows where you’re at, and it’s gonna find local businesses around you. And if you’re not favored by Google because you don’t have a responsive website, think about how much business you could be losing by not making this one simple change.

VD: Oh, yes, especially for local businesses. I mean, if you’re doing a national search, you’re looking for a big ticket item, maybe you are sitting in front of your computer, or at the very least, your tablet. But if you’re looking for a donut shop, or a restaurant or something, a tire repair shop, because you just have that nail in your tire, you’re going to Google it on your phone. You’re actually going to even talk to your phone nowadays. You don’t even type it in. You would say, “Siri, find me the closest tire repair shop.” It will know where you are, and either as a business owner, you’re either there or you’re not there, in a way.

RP: Right.

VD: And if you’re there, your website is most likely responsive. If it’s not responsive, the user is not going to play with it, trying to figure out, “Where is the address? I don’t quite see it. It’s too small.” They’ll go to the next link on the Google search page, and you will miss your opportunity for a sale.

RP: As business owners, the other thing I always try and explain to people is that, especially if you’re an attorney, a dentist, auto repair, where there’s plenty of competition, is that the reality is, especially on mobile device, your real estate is very, very small, which means, a couple of people are gonna show up. If you’re not one of those three or four people that show up at the top of the page, you don’t exist at all. So, you need to give yourself every opportunity to succeed, and responsive is the way to go. I think we beat this up enough. Hopefully, people understand that if you’re a business owner and you don’t have a responsive website, now is the time to do it, not just because as web developers, we’re saying you need to do that, and as SEO experts, we’re saying you need to do that to improve SEO ranking, but because Google themselves is saying, “Look, we’ve matured to a point where so many people are using smartphones. If you want representation, you need to follow the crowd, and you need to be responsive, so that your website is seen on all the different platforms that are out there.”

VD: Very well said, Ryan.

RP: Alright. Well, on that bombshell of a note, I am going to thank you very much for your time, and I hope you have a wonderful vacation with your family this weekend.

VD: Well, you too. Happy Labor Day to everybody.

RP: Alright, take care.

About Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry has taken his 10+ years of business ownership and hands-on marketing skills and focused them on online marketing. In April of 2009, he started Simple Biz Support with an emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ryan is propelling local business websites to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing resulting in increased market exposure and revenue for his clients using a variety of internet marketing tools including blogs, article submissions and video. Additionally, Ryan speaks and vlogs (video blogs) about internet marketing, educating business owners how to effectively use various SEO tools and techniques to promote their business on the internet. Ryan currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA. Connect with Ryan on Google+

How To Optimize Photos To Boost SEO Ranking

Good morning Internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. It is Thursday therefore I have Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center down in Petaluma. Good morning Virgine.

Virginie: Well good morning Ryan. How are you?

RP: I’m doing wonderful. Thank you. You wanted to talk about pictures and how to acquire pictures, how to resize images so they display nicely on your website and I think more importantly so they upload quickly ’cause it is one of the things Google’s looking for especially from a mobile point of view. We’re trying to minimize our bandwidth as much as possible. We’re going to talk a little bit about alt text which hopefully most people are very familiar with but know if everybody uses it. From a web design let’s talk about design first before we get into the SEO value. How important do you feel pictures are in conveying a message on a clients website?

VD: Well, extremely important because people go to the web, they only see the visual. Very rarely will there be any sound. There’s no handshake, there’s nothing physical beside what they see. Having a visually impactful images is very important. One thing to start with is the legal aspect and copyright infringement making can sure you are not stealing web images that don’t belong to you. So of course we’re not here to get any legal advice. We don’t have that capacity or expertise but it’s very important whenever you find an image on the internet that you want to use, you make sure then the copyright is free. That’s why, personally, I like to even buy the images or suggest them the clients buy the images.

You and I, not long ago, were talking about where to you get images of quality, high resolution. My favorite is iStock.com or Shutterstock.com and what I would typically recommend is first and foremost, look for a coupon. So search coupon for iStock.com and most likely there’s going to be a 25% off floating around with a promo codes use that, and always sign up for a month. They have some great monthly package when you can just do for one month. And typically, like iStock, for instance, would do $199 if you don’t have a coupon and you can download up to 750 images in 30 days. So what you want to do is download all of them. Even the craziest one that you can use for later use, and build yourself a library of copyright free images that you have purchased, so that protects you legally.

RP: Okay, very good. And then from the actual design side, we were talking earlier about, depending on the type of business you are that stock photography is great especially corporate, national. I think we expect stock photography. It’s very professional. You can tell they’re actors, or not actors but models, I guess and that’s that versus, say, a local business, a local attorney, a local auto-body shop where maybe instead of actually buying dry stock, you actually hire a photographer and get local pictures taken simply because the message that those pictures will convey when people land on the website. You mentioned it earlier. Was it three seconds, people make a decision within three seconds?

VD: Yeah. If that, it’s getting… Our attention spans get smaller and smaller. You only have a moment to make a judgment call on the quality of the services based on what you see on the website. For instance, if you go to a Chinese food restaurant website, if the images don’t look appetizing right right away you’re just going to assume the quality of the food is not good. So it’s very important to grab the visual interest of customer’s first time. And yes indeed iStock for those is not for everybody and maybe I screen share one of the local manufacturers we have here.

RP: Okay.

VD: Alright, that’s… Are you seeing that screen. Yes?

RP: Yes I am. Sorry.

VD: I could not hear you so. This is architectural plastic. They do custom plastic containers. They do things for Apple Computer. So if you go to an Apple store at the mall and they have little plastic displays to put the iPads on, so this is a manufacture for those type of items. For them it was very important to use their own images to show the type of products they do. You wouldn’t want to show their competitors’ images. So very highly visual. Everything you see on their website is their product.

VD: My Internet is very slow here in Petaluma but if you scroll down you can see all those images are provided by them. An excellent package, showcased the quality of their product. Another reason it’s important to use your own photos is when you want to relate to people on more personal basis. Especially if you have a big team of employees and you want your visitors to be able to connect to them and know what Suzie looks like when they call Suzie at the help desk. So this is a website we’re about to release in a couple of days. You have a principle at the top but you can see below it’s some of their team members and they didn’t even hire professional photographer for that. Someone just bought a good quality camera, came to work and took a picture of everybody smiling at their workstations. So when someone calls Andrea here they get to see what Andrea looks like. So this is very powerful. People love that, people in the action of doing something… Painting, the before and after.

RP: Right, and I wanna get back to the pictures that you’re on right now with the people, and that… One of the big questions I get a lot of times is “Can I just use my iPhone or do I need to hire a photographer?” For me it really boils down, what the message is that you’re trying to convey, and who your audience is. So I think it’s really important as business owners, if you’re ever going through this, if you’re building your own website on WordPress, or if you’re thinking about outsourcing it, hiring somebody, is that you should always, always, always be thinking from the end user’s point of view. In Sonoma County, when we get a new client in Sonoma County, for me if they’re small local business, then having pictures is… They don’t have to be top-notch, professional photography. However if it’s an attorney in San Francisco, big city, completely different audience, completely different expectations when you land on the website, then it’s like “Yes,” I would totally spend the money on a quality photographer that’s going to Photoshop the pictures and make sure that they are very polished. I like the pictures of the staff there that you had, that they used a nice camera but it wasn’t necessarily professional, and I think the important think that people should understand is that when you do that with these staff members, is that it makes them look real.

VD: Yes.

RP: We’re not paid models, we’re real people. And I think the way you take pictures is part of that. How you display that across. I’m losing my words here but I think you know what I mean.

VD: Oh, absolutely. I agree with you, it’s very import to sometimes, not… Like you said, like if you want to be more approachable and more “mom and pop” and local flavor, having it in the local settings, not so high-end, people relate to it. They believe it’s more real that way. I’m not sure if you see my screen here, but this is something that all the clients have done. My computer’s freezing up again. Oh, there’s only two here. As you can see they just took a photo outside, and if you know her stores you know it has that green background. It’s a huge retail shop, and it’s surrounded by that green wood. As you can see it’s very close up, very cool, very trendy for her industry, and sometimes… So this is another example, this is actually a local organization. It’s all about networking with other powerhouses of our county. They were taken professionally during one of the meetings. And it’s kind of nice to know to only showcased the members here, so give them some importance. But also show visitors who might be interested in joining was like “Hey I want to be one of the smiley people as well, they all look very professional.” So again, having real people that are not iStock people, is very valuable.

RP: Alright, so because we have about four minutes left, let’s talk about once you actually do get your pictures. Let’s talk a little bit about SEO. What are some of the important things, as far as, do I need a 300 dpi photo that’s 3600 pixels by 3600 pixels, if I’m only going to be “this big” on the web? And why do you want to optimize pictures before uploading ‘em to your website?

VD: Alright, so there are four things people should consider when they are handling an image for their website. Number one, having it sized the way you want it to show. So for instance, if you wanted to have a square image 500 pixel by 500 pixel on your website, make sure you don’t upload something that is 10,000 by 10,000 and have your code reduce it. That’s what sometimes, you can see images coming very slowly, they have a hard time displaying, it’s because you’re forcing the browser to resize it for you. So it should be down to proper size, so you have to know what it should look like on your website. Resize it with Photoshop or any kind of editing software and upload it that way. The second thing, the tags. There are things called “Alt tags.” And this stands for “Alternative tags.” Alt tags used to be done back in the old dial up days, when you’d “Doo doo doo doo,” you were connecting to the internet, everybody had slow speed, and what happened was before the image would show up, there would be little text telling you what the image was going to be about.

Once in a while, if people have a really bad internet connection, you would get the text instead of the big white box. Now a days the alt tag, or alternative tag is being used for ADA compliancy. So what it means is people who are visually impaired have some special software installed in their computer, and if they have a hard time seeing what the image is about, they can, I think they mouse over, and the alt tag will actually read itself to them, and it would say “This is Virginie and Ryan talking about something.” So it’s important to use them, it’s also great for SEO because search engines do read those invisible alt tag all the time. So you want to make sure you put some good keyword or good keyword sentences there. The third item is the title tag. The title tag is also known as the mouse over tag, and it’s not appropriate for every image, but as much as you can use them, use them. So if you mouse over the image, once in a while you’ll see a little bit of text, and usually it explains what the image is about. If it was taken in February or if this is Ryan talking about SEO. So these are also good for SEO. Truth of the matter is visitors don’t read the little text, it’s mainly for the search engines.

VD: So we talked about the sizing, the alt tags, title tags. Another thing is naming the images appropriately. You don’t want to call all your images bullet 1, bullet 2, bullet 3, bullet 4, unless you sell guns, and you’re selling bullets. You want to call it, if you are in the show industry, shoe.jpg, shoes.jpg, red shoes, brown shoes, small shoes, high heels. That way brings SEO value to the search engines bots when they call your website. So if you can do all this, the sizing, the alt, the title and the naming that will bring you great advantages for your ranking.

RP: Right and I think one of the key things for resizing an image is also the fact that web speed is very very important. Its probably been about two years ago that Google said “hey, there’s too much information out there plus mobile’s becoming more of a dominant use for web. And therefore, we want your web size, data-wise, to be as small as possible so that we can index it or not index it but still we can download it as quickly as possible.” And Google does give preference especially on mobile devices for websites that load faster. And so by having your images properly sized in the first place, can help you from an SEO point of view.

VD: Very true, very true.

RP: Well, tell you what Virginie, it is 10:00 AM so our time is up, as always I appreciate your time and thank you for your insights on pictures today.

VD: Okay well thank you, anytime. If you have any questions feel free to call me directly at 707 794 9999.

RP: Sounds good and we will talk to you next week. We’re gonna be talking about responsive design next week. So if you’re a business owner out there and you’re considering responsive design or you don’t understand why somebody’s telling you why responsive design is so important, that’s going to be our broadcast for next week. Until then Virginie I hope you have a great week.

VD: You too, bye bye.

RP: Bye.

About Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry has taken his 10+ years of business ownership and hands-on marketing skills and focused them on online marketing. In April of 2009, he started Simple Biz Support with an emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ryan is propelling local business websites to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing resulting in increased market exposure and revenue for his clients using a variety of internet marketing tools including blogs, article submissions and video. Additionally, Ryan speaks and vlogs (video blogs) about internet marketing, educating business owners how to effectively use various SEO tools and techniques to promote their business on the internet. Ryan currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA. Connect with Ryan on Google+