A. Blum Localization Services
Since June of 2016, A. Blum Localization Services is situated in downtown Palo Alto. We specialize in on-site/in-house corporate SEO training with coverage across Northern, Central and Southern California.
Our aim is to give staff total confidence in their new ability to rank their world and work online with free (organic) traffic from search engines.
Our SEO training is offered to small and large firms. All Search Engine Optimization training classes are given by Ardan Michael Blum, CEO of A. Blum Localization Services. Our workshop (both online and in-house) goes from A-Z in SEO with slides for each topic.
COVID-19 INFORMATION: During these difficult days we are providing online SEO training only.
SEO Training | Overview
60% of success in ranking high on Google comes by sharing ORIGINAL, EXPANDING, and AUTHORITY content. This is vital to understand. Your creation of high-value authority content will over-ride almost all the other factors in ranking.
The remaining 20% of success in SEO comes from link building "done right" - techniques that we share in our classes.
Our online and in-house SEO training is customized to your needs!
CEOs, Office Managers, AND Project Managers:
We do the work of optimization and explain what, why and how these real-time tweaks (updates and improvements to your content) are important. Most of all while we improve your ranking we give you the power to keep on going on your own! From the start, you are sitting next to our two large screens (or a projector for larger groups) where you will see our Ardan Michael Blum (a total geek with an absolute passion for Search Engine Optimization) working on your source code, your social media, boosting your online reputation, and starting to do high quality link building!
What you will be seeing is HOW you can manage the work and stop paying the month by month charges of having your SEO outsourced. Speaking of outside firms few if any will tell you that SEO ranking does NOT depend on coding or backlinks but actually (as I have pointed out above) about 60% of success comes from the effort (in content expansion) you place in becoming an authority for the keywords you are focused on.
Marketing Team Members, Developers, AND Designers:
We focus on allowing ALL staff to have a good understanding of how to manage online reputation management, focus on creating an office-wide list of tasks in a checklist format. Our objective is to give wings to staff; no more "the SEO person will do the last edits"! Our success in this area comes from our total passion for the work. This is felt by staff. People who would not get particularly emotional about the firm's ranking on google.com search will turn on their computers and first thing in the day check the rankings! There is a moment where, after about 20 hours of SEO training you can feel in the workshop the start of "LOVE" for the work! The self-managed power of being able to change the volume of traffic on a page is highly exciting stuff!
Phone 650 427 9358 and/or use this contact form: Get a free 15-minute online demo
There are several myths regarding ranking high in search results. These are often shared by the “expert” who (after reading 3 books and viewing 10 videos on the topic of SEO) will suggest that there is a need to increase your link building to at least 500 inbound links by posting blog comments and that work is needed to place near-white text with keywords on your white page in the footer of all your site pages, as he exclaims: “I am trained to do both!”
Worse: He or she may even open a Search Engine Optimization agency and charm clients into hourly billed talks about how "complex" ranking has become. Making the naive and trusting client think that without this expert nothing is possible.
Often, this type of “expert” will make people believe that the “one size fits all” Search Engine Optimization process they are proposing is a sure bet! This, of course, is pure highway robbery! Yet, people fall for this. And the prospective client will even, at times, be asked to come over for a coffee to plan new meeting dates – all billed!
Then, when finally some results appear it is time for “maintenance contracts” – by which is meant doing virtually nothing or deceptive analysis such as “Your ranking dropped because your competition seems to have copied what we did for you and they added more pages to their site”. Off you go again! Time for more coffee meetings to plan the future!
Even when the SEO agency is an honest enterprise, they generally are working with one-size-fits-all techniques.
Further: Some SEO firms will get clients into a state of maintenance and bill you monthly for “updates”, so that the client is often hooked over years – akin to the low price of a printer and the high price of the ink.
They may make their work appear to be something ever so complicated which you may never fully understand and which, without their expertise, you will simply vanish! Only … What they are not saying, is that what matters above and beyond anything else is content expansion, not link building or on-page tweaks.
Search Engine Optimization Q&A
Is SEO something complex?
Why does outsourcing SEO cost so much?
Short Answer: Generally firms doing optimization work want to get you into a month-to-month contract and will spend a lot of their time making all sorts of "reports and white papers" to make you feel good. The money invested should be for traffic that you can see in your stats and top 5 ranking for middle-to-high value keyword phrases, not for "reports about which page needs more updates".
What are the best keyword phrases to optimize a site for?
Short Answer: Always start with your "widget/brand/project" and a location! You will be focused on TWO FOCUS KEYWORD PHRASES PER PAGE.
Where does one get keyword suggestions?
Short Answer: The best are those that will provide you with sales - These are ACTION terms.
How many weeks does it take to rank in the top ten on Google.com?
Short Answer: If your site goes online ONCE IT IS FINISHED (not in the "under construction" mode) and you share your XML sitemap within the Google Search Console chances are high that your site will appear (not ranking at its best) in a few minutes. Then you will need to keep adding content and do good link building for the site hosted on a brand new domain to gain trust. This trust appears (for a new site) within 2 to 5 weeks generally. (We are speaking here about the placement for a term, concept, thing and/or brand PLUS a town or location as a top ten keyword phrase result).
Is link building an important, very important, or totally essential factor for success in SEO?
Short Answer: Of little importance! What matters is to get your content to be so good that people of high value online link to you as an authority! These links will boost your ranking. Work for them!
How many years of training will it take to self-manage SEO?
Short Answer: I generally say 7 months on your own with books or 25 hours of our workshop/classes.
Note: This is a non-customized checklist. As we teach at our SEO training workshops there is no such thing as a "template" for SEO. Use bits and pieces from this sampling of tweaks ...
- A good place to start is learning the basics is a Search Engine Optimization starter guide by Google
- Learn how to rank in local data centers (in different languages - Example: Google(.)ch in French, Italian or German).
- Rework your web pages constantly. Do not let a niche topic page climb the mountain to the authority peak and sit there without feeding it.
- Evaluate your current backlinks and your traffic monthly (or more often) to update and block IP ranges and disavow links (with care). See how to submit to Google Search Console bad links in a plain text file.
- Set up tracking tools to analyze your search performance and user behavior. See: Search Console tools. You should use these stats (in part) to improve the content on pages that have rapid average visit times.
- See Yoast.com for a great article about XML sitemaps. Make your sitemap available to bots by adding it to your robots.txt file (how to do this).
- Adapt your image ALT attribute and image TITLE to ADA / Americans with Disabilities Act rules.
- Use the Color Contrast Analyser for WCAG 2.1 compliance (See article: Text elements must have sufficient color contrast against the background). Note: A large number of accessibility tweaks will boost your ranking online.
- Use the amazing "LIGHTHOUSE" chrome plugin or directly in any browser.
- Use tools from Powermapper (very helpful for cross-browser issues).
- Check your site for file errors. And then check your SQL for errors (use the native checker provided usually by your hosting firm).
- Validate markup with the outstanding htmlvalidator.com and/or free tools from the W3C Markup Validation Service.
- Set Alerts: Monitor your keywords and/or theme.
- Check browser compatibility.
- Watch for changes in search patterns and start monitoring data obtained by Google Trends. Example: Here is search interest over time for “search engine optimization training” vs “SEO training” – from 2004 till the present with results set to worldwide, all categories, and all operating systems. And then there are several other functions worth looking at via “Search tips for Trends“.
- Geo-target international content.
- Check your file errors, redirects, and permalinks.
- Monitor your site worldwide with uptrends.com.
- See: Bing Webmaster Guidelines
- Enable search result features | HTML Microdata – Microformats: RDFa | Schema.org | Add structured data
- Use outbound link authority to quality docs to validate what you are saying on your site. In more detail: #SEOTraining: This short presentation is about seeking high value OUTBOUND links which will be continuations/confirmations/expansions of your content. (We speak of - per example - Google Scholar sourced PDF docs from an authority who specializes in your niche area). Linking OUTBOUND from your site (without the usual rel=”sponsored” / rel=”nofollow” / rel=”ugc” or rel=”nofollow”) to these docs is a way to tell both robots and humans that you care enough about your content to have found an authority who confirms what you are saying. Naturally this "confirmation" works even better when the link goes the other way! But life is not always perfect and it is more and more difficult to get inbound high quality links (for many niche areas). So, the process of selecting (about 2 per page) extremely detailed and EXTREMELY RELATED outbound sources is worth the effort.
- Ensure a connection between the words in the URL and the META description tag and META title tag.
- Examine which pages (if any) are appearing as sitelinks.
- Re-check your title tags. See: Create good titles and snippets.
- Provide a publication date.
- Serve images in next-gen formats (such as WebP).
- Serve static assets with an efficient cache policy.
- First impressions count for robots! Do not put online pages that are "under construction".
- Speed up your page loading time by replacing Youtube videos with thumbnails!
- Reduce server response times: TTFB (time to first byte).
- See: How to Reduce TTFB to Improve WordPress Page Load Times and Network Analysis on for Chrome.
- Check the DNS Speed Comparison, tools.pingdom.com/, webpagetest.org/, and gtmetrix.com.
- Great tips are offered in the truly well made Primer App.
- Run a link checker tool such as drlinkcheck.com/ from time to check for no longer valid links.
- Do not assume that Yoast is the only good plugin for WP. RankMath is amazing.
- Use similar words in the URL and your H1-H5 tags.
- Match the anchor tags with header tags.
- Take a few hours every few weeks to think about how you rank – off Google – on smaller search engines. [Good ranking, per example, on DuckDuckGo can give you lots of traffic].
- I would suggest following on Twitter: @JohnMu | @searchliaison | @rustybrick and @googlewmc.
Important: There is no one-size-fits-all model in Search Engine Optimization.
The Work Plan:
|Morning||Take down notes with the ideas for the day. Start with a check of ranking results. Update plugins. Look at security issues in the CMS. Clear the system cache on all the sites.|
|Afternoon||Real work starts now! The objective is to put horse blinders on and zoom in to a single task. The way this goes is ROTATION: 15 to 30 minutes over 4 hours allotted to different things.|
|Evening||Start with testing new plugins for your CMS or learning markup. Then go back to a rotation of projects.|
Make a plan (a timeline) for the following items:
Day to make a full backup of your SQL and FTP files to an external drive (suggest weekly).
Set time monthly to run a link checker (for broken links)! Do not forget that high value OUTBOUND links are extensions of your content and are a way to validate what you say! I would suggest also that you check once in a while (by visiting your outbound links) that content remains the same. There are some optional ways to manage this task: 1) You could make the link go to an archive.org version of the page in question. This archived URL (the version of the page as found on archive.org) would be okay for a nofollow link but NOT, in my view, for those prime quality/authority-validating-Google-Scholar-sourced PDF docs (or similar links of quality) which you WANT both users and robots to visit! 2) Another way to manage this content checking is to use a tool that crawls for word changes within pages.
Time to add new content to your home page (I suggest that you do this every single day).
Take time to work on cross-linking to deep pages on your site. Do this with great care (make links useful to visitors - such as taking them to more information).
Take time (monthly for at least 5 hours) to visit what people are doing in your niche market area. Search pages in various parts of the world.
Make a time to look at plugins for your content management system. Hopefully, for you, the choice was made to use WordPress - which (backup your SQL and database first) has some fun and totally cool plugins. Note that a lot of these if placed at the footer of your site and given the instruction to load after your site's main content has loaded (Hummingbird does this sort of thing well) will generally not slow down the loading.
As with any type of work at the computer ... Always take a break for 5 minutes every hour (at least) to walk about and stretch. This is good for the mind as it is essential for the body. (I need an egg timer to be reminded)!
EXTRA | SOME MORE BASIC SEO TIPS!
- You should never purchase a link from anyone.
- Avoid any "deals" where you link to someone's page and they link back.
- Get the press interested in your website. Spend time researching and reading articles by journalists in your niche market. Then CALL the journalist. (Forget about getting someone interested in your desire for them to write about your for-profit firm - so tweak whatever it is your widget does to a social project).
- To manage well your off-page Search Engine Optimization focus on the "marketing" aspect. You want traffic as well as links. Find ways to get people to visit your pages! The average visitor time for first 100 daily visitors is a key metric to watch. You will want these visits to be at least 40 seconds per page and 5 minutes for your site as a whole.
- Be aware that your best tools for link building, marketing, and traffic generation will be connected to ranking your content on google.com. You need to start with what I term "the Google mothership" and then allow local data centers (like google.fr, google.ch, google.co.uk to update at a different rate of speed the dot com results). When you have gotten a good amount of social media content and traffic then you will need (if you are aiming for regional ranking) for localization purposes to start all over with the tasks listed above. This time instead of looking for a journalist or blogger of repute who handles your niche theme/topic (and writes in English), you will want to have a local - to your target market - language article linking to your translated site version or translated page.