What Does Mobile Search Mean for Website Design?

Website Design for Mobile Searches | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's Premier Website Design AgencyBack in the day (like, 7 years ago or so), websites showed on computers and phones were just…phones. With the advent of internet-enabled phones and then smartphones, all of that started to change. Websites didn’t render properly on these smaller devices, so changes had to be made. So what does the rise in mobile searches mean for website design?

The initial reaction by website designers was to create, in essence, two sites – one that would load when a search came from a laptop or desktop computer, one that would load when the search came from a mobile device. This is still a recognized practice, though it’s fallen a bit out of favor. The search engines tend to see the sites as two separate sites, one with duplicate content of the other, and this tends to hurt your organic rankings.

With mobiles searches increasingly on the rise, the search engines – and Google, in particular – are moving toward mobile-first indexing. This means they’re focusing more on how sites load on mobile devices than on computers. To keep up and maintain organic rankings, website designers and webmasters need to shift their focus as well. Moving to responsive web designs is a great place to start. Responsive website designs adjust automatically to fit the screen on which the searcher/visitor is viewing the site. This eliminates the problem of separate sites/duplicate content while creating a better user experience across the board.

Mobile searches are also more likely to include the phrase “near me” in the queries. Website designers and SEO practitioners alike need to make sure elements like a business’ address and/or neighborhood are clearly listed in multiple places on a website to match these queries appropriately.

Website design for mobile searches is important. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Contact Asterisk Creative for website design help today.

Putting Machine Learning to Use for You

Putting Machine Learning to Use for You | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's Premier Marketing AgencyMachine learning is defined on Wikipedia as “a subset of artificial intelligence in the field of computer science that often uses statistical techniques to give computers the ability to “learn” (i.e., progressively improve performance on a specific task) with data, without being explicitly programmed.” Simply put, it’s the technology that allows tasks like Google’s auto-complete function and “near me” searches to work.

At Asterisk Creative, we work behind the scenes to make machine learning work for you. Our SEO team works to optimize websites in a manner that allows our client’s sites to show in the results for appropriate popular search terms Google uses in its auto-complete function. Our SEO and social media teams work together to optimize outlets like Google My Business pages, Facebook about pages, Twitter and Instagram bios, and more to ensure our clients show in the results for appropriate “near me” searches. (As a side note: Google says that mobile searches for “near me” terms have increased more than three times in the past two years, so showing in these results is getting more and more important, particularly for brick and mortar businesses.)

As machine learning grows, not optimizing around this technology stands to leave you and your business in the dust. Let us make machine learning work for you, too. Contact Asterisk Creative today to get started!

 

Is Your Site Secure? Google to Require SSL Certificates

Is You Site Secure? Google to Require SSL Certificates | Asterisk CreativeWith all of the security breaches and data breaches in the news lately, it should come as no surprise that Google is making moves to make the internet a safer place. In one such move, Google is going to require SSL certificates for all sites soon.

First things first. What is an SSL certificate? SSL stands for secure sockets layer. The certificate being on the site creates an encrypted link between the server and the browser so that all data remains private. In effect, this technology protects site visitors from cybercriminals.

After Google implements this SSL requirement, sites without an SSL certificate will be flagged as “not secure”, alerting searchers that visiting that site may put their data at risk. Obviously, this will be a deterrent for potential site visitors, and your website’s traffic will invariably suffer. In addition, sites without SSL certificates will be “dinged” in the organic search results, no matter what other SEO (search engine optimization) work has been done on the site.

This move had been slated to take effect in July, but Google has pushed the deadline back to September for now. This may change again – to be pushed back to later than September or moved up to sooner. Get your site set now. Contact Asterisk Creative for your next steps today!

What is SEO?

What is SEO? | Marketing and Advertising Agency in the Southeast | Asterisk CreativeAs noted on our homepage, Asterisk Creative offers search engine optimization, or SEO. But what is SEO?

When you do an internet search, you probably notice there are some results marked as ads and some aren’t. The ones that aren’t marked as ads are considered organic results, meaning the search engine determined the information on that page as a good match for your search term. It’s important to note here that there are multiple search engines. Google, Yahoo and Bing are the big three, but there are other, smaller engines like DuckDuckGo, Yandex, and Boardreader that still exist.

SEO is the work done in the backend of your website and social profiles that tells the search engines to “see” that page for terms for which you want it to be found. On your website, this involves editing multiple elements of your site based on the criteria the search engines look for when “choosing” websites for their organic results. These elements include each page’s title tags, your on-page content, the alt data for images, and the meta description for each page, among other things.

I’s not enough just to throw your keywords in these areas willy nilly. In fact, depending on your technique for putting you put your keywords in these areas, the search engines could potentially see your efforts as keyword stuffing. Per Google, the definition of keyword stuffing is “the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.” The search engines don’t like keyword stuffing and could potentially not show your site at all if that’s what they determine that you’re doing. There are best practices around how your title tags should be laid out, how often your keywords/search terms should appear in your content, how many characters your title tags and meta descriptions should have, etc. Each search engine has different rules for these elements. A good SEO practitioner will know how to choose which search engine is your priority based on the audience you’re trying to reach, as well as understand how to work with those rules to get you ranked on more than one search engine.

The search engines also consider your linking strategy when they’re deciding whether or not to show your site in their organic results. They look for internal links (links that go to another page within your site) and external links (links that go to another site). They also place a value on your link’s anchor text (words within your copy vs “click here”).

In addition to SEO work needed on the pages of your website, there is off-page work needed. A full-scale SEO strategy involves work such as guest posting on other websites or blogs, a plan for producing inbound links, disavowing poor quality inbound links, online directory listings with keyword-rich descriptions, and more. Adding this layer to your SEO strategy expands your potential for being included in the organic results.

Ready to take your website to the next level? Contact Asterisk Creative for SEO help today.