Palo Alto-Based SEO Company
A. Blum Localization Services
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About Our Palo Alto SEO Company
A. Blum Localization Services is a Palo Alto SEO company founded in 2016. Our business model combines organic ranking services with client workshops.
We provide clients with a full overhaul of their web content to improve it in every way possible. This is followed by training aimed at allowing, in three months full self-management and an end to outsourcing SEO work.
– In Palo Alto, California: Our office is at 345 Forest Avenue, just east of Stanford University. We are approximately 8 blocks from the landmark Hewlett-Packard Garage (known as the first Tech startup of Silicon Valley).
About Organic Ranking and How We View SEO
On most search engines, content ranks for one of two reasons:
One reaches the first or second page in search engine results for a given keyword or keyword phrase with paid results. These 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.
Said differently: Organic SEO is defined as non-paid, natural results on a search engine page. When done well, the best natural / organic results are authority content appearing in search results without payment to the search engine but doing the search engine a commercial favor - as people will use a search engine that can parse data and define high quality niche authority sites.
It is our contention that 60% of Google's ranking factor comes from standing out as an authority.
Said differently: Top 5 placement of your web content in natural or organic ranking results takes time and lots devotion. Along with great content, on-page techniques and off-page optimization are both key components to getting high ranking results.
See 'What creators should know about Google’s helpful content update' and Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines (opens in PDF).
Get SEO Training And End Outsourcing Work!
Our in-house and online training focuses on hands-on group participation. Each technique learnt is applied to a copy of the client's website which is maintained offline.
Our CEO Ardan Michael Blum teaches all workshops. He believes that students must be engaged in real-time achievements.
Motivation for learning is achieved by the 'learning by doing' approach. This student-centered learning enhances group discussions, and problem solving to learn and then self-manage
Rate: We charge 185 dollars per hour subject to standard contractual terms which include a two-way NDA, and a retainer at 50% of total cost. Our general timeline is 10 hours for SEO services and 30 hours for training. On request we can provide smaller packages, and our detailed terms. Send us a message and/or call 650 427-9358 to book a Zoom meeting for a free of charge demo.
Prerequisites to Learning SEO
Being able to read and edit source code is the prerequisite to the study of Search Engine Optimization.
Here are some areas to explore, to get going:
— 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: Structuring the web with HTML, and HTML markup basics and/or Review HTML).
- 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). Related see: 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).
— 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).
Web Accessibility Rules Can Improve Organic SEO
Making a website barrier-free or accessible is not only a responsible act, but it can also have a positive impact on search engine optimization. Search engines like Google favor websites that provide a good user experience and have well-structured and organized content. By making a website accessible, including using proper semantic markup and providing alternative text for images, it can improve the website's content structure and organization, which can help to boost its search engine ranking. Furthermore, accessible websites can be used by a wider range of users, including those with disabilities who may rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers.
Examples of where SEO and Accessibility Work Hand-In-Hand:
Making good image descriptions is essential. The rule of thumb is that when you place a link on an image your Alt tag should have both the information about the content of the connecting page as well as the description of the image used. This is delicate and requires fine tuning. You may wish to limit links on images.
- There are other aspects to think about:
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. They are NOT the same and the text used should be slightly different. It may be said that Alt text is used to describe visual elements to users who can't see the image and may be using a screen reader. Keep both to the description, copyright, date or place information. Read 'Image SEO: How to optimize your alt text and title text'.
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.
The alternative text of an image should accurately describe the image and its content. Using it solely for keyword placement is considered spammy and can harm the ranking of a website.
Alternative text should be concise but still describe the image's content and purpose. A lengthy alt text (more than 100 characters) often suggests that irrelevant information is being presented.
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.
Descriptions on websites may be legally required, just like buildings should have wheelchair access. Buttons or other navigation functions should be described.
Opt for manual captions / or validating the automatic captioning process of videos. See: “How to adjust your caption settings on YouTube“.
At times a sign language video can be provided for media that contains audio or an editing-in of someone signing the text on the lower right or left corner of a video may be effective accessibility support. Though this does not directly (to our knowledge) impact on the ranking of a video, it may provide grounds for users with hearing accessibility issues to spend more time visiting your web content which by the length of extended visits to those video files may improve your ranking as search engines may base their trust in content on average visitor dwell time.
Add breadcrumb navigation to a large website. In other words, define the hierarchical structure of your pages and assign appropriate names 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.
Example of the code:
<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>
Try to avoid "read more" text links.
Do not underline text that is not a link.
Use a page-specific navigation which jumps to main sections.
There is a well made infographic for designers about accessibility.
About Web Accessibility Barriers
This section is adapted and expanded from content found at www.ada.gov.
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. (Related: 'Avoid reliance on color').
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).
Tip: When you highlight content - as is done here in yellow background - it may get the attention of some readers but can possible be harder to read for others!
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. People with hearing disabilities may not be able to understand information communicated in a video if the video does not have captions.
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.
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.
Section508.gov - A website published by the US General Services Administration with tools and training on implementing website accessibility requirements under Section 508.'
Please note: Our site [organic-ranking.com] is not a replacement for seeking an expert in Internet Accessibility rules.
Sampling On/Off-Page SEO With Tips & Tweaks
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. Tip: Your outbound links should be relevant to the sentence or paragraph from which you place them.
Content creation is not something random. You need to have a timeline of how many posts, Tweets, and new website pages you will create each month.
Keyword research should be constant and not one time when the site page is made! You will want to update your header tags and possible (not more than one time per year) change your title and description meta tag based on new terms or variations in search patterns based on your geographic area and language.
Use ‘Microsoft Clarity’! It is free and provides heatmaps, color coded scroll map (which shows the depth of scrolling by a user) and more.
There is no such thing as a one-size fits all checklist. This you have to keep reminding yourself and customize for every project a timeline for new keyword addition and the on-page/off-page SEO techniques which you may wish to use. Generally speaking: "Less is more' for the techniques while the MORE has to be the content of quality.
Primer [https://yourprimer.com/about.html] is beautiful gift from Google. Improve your business and marketing skills with five-minute lessons.
Avoid idioms as you risk losing the cultural or language-dependent meaning when a translation tool crawls your content.
Advanced level tip: URL rewriting by CDNs can sometimes change the file names of images, which can negatively affect your website's SEO. To avoid this, keep the original file name structure intact, with keywords and locations included in the file name, so that search engines can easily recognize the images and their relevance to your website's content.
Scan your pages with Lighthouse. "Lighthouse" is a first rate open-source analysis tool which provides multiple insights.
Add social media sharing buttons to internal core pages not to every page of your website.
For page clarity avoid embedding Twitter feed or Facebook/other social media content within the body of your home page.
Never allow comments on your site's core pages or your home page or any page which gets your ranked in as a sitelink (Sitelinks are links from the same domain that are clustered together under a web result). Not clear why? Ask us! Call our Palo Alto SEO agency and get to speak with Ardan Michael Blum on 650 427 9358.
Here is a non-SEO related tip: Ensure that floating items do not overlap on mobile or tablet devices by adjusting the CSS styles for each item to position them correctly. You can also use media queries to apply different styles for different screen sizes. Additionally, using responsive design principles can help ensure that your page layout and content adjust to different screen sizes.
PDF Optimization Tips and Tweaks
Tip: Increase your website's knowledge sharing beyond your core pages. This can be done by creating in-depth content with clear additional value for your audience. (This can help establish your website as a credible source of information on the topic, which can increase its authority status). A PDF is perfect for this additional content.
Learn to edit PDF metadata. (Add keywords and a description)
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'.
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).
In the PDF with section header (H1, H2, H3, etc.) tags. Along with the mentioned header tags, you may wish to create a table of content for your PDF. Note: Header tags will appear, when the box on the left side top of a PDF is clicked, on-page navigation. This is NOT the best way to manage navigation as people may not be aware of this clicking process. Instead it is wise to place a table of on-page content or Index at the start of the page (on the page itself).
Make the 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.
Using a PDF for media content that is hard to resize on a responsive website can be a good solution. PDFs can display content in a clear and organized manner on any device, and they offer greater control over formatting and layout compared to image formats like PNG or JPG. However, it's important to consider that PDFs may take longer to load than the image on its own or the image placed on a website. It's essential to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before deciding to use this approach.
Avoid irrelevant or generic names like "document-1.pdf".
Avoid capitalization in your file name.
Check out this podcast: “Non-HTML files on the web” by Google Search Central.
You can also embed hyperlinks within the text of the PDF to relevant pages on your website, as well as add a call-to-action at the end of the PDF encouraging readers to visit your website for more information. Additionally, including your website URL in the header or footer of each page can drive traffic back to your site. Important: Only make such links if there is a large amount of content in your PDF file. 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.
Translation of a PDF can be a good idea. You can create a link to each version in the footer.
Non-SEO related: Make sure you have printed out your own PDF. Check this print out for errors or resizing issues.
Large PDF files can take longer to load and may negatively impact the user experience. Try to keep the file size as small as possible.
Many people see the creation of a PFD as a one time "make, post and forget about process". They do not imagine making updates or re-reading the document for edits. This is a mistake. You may wish to add new links to a PDF and make it longer. Suggestion: A PDF that is edited should have the mention in its footer with, for example, "Last updated on 1/31/2023'.
Keep an eye on the traffic going to the PDF file (using analytics tools).
From your website the link to your PDF content should never be made with your focus keyword in the link text. This can help avoid the PDF ranking above the core page for certain searches.
"Surfaced On Google" ~ Paid, Organic and AI Content
The expression "surfaced on Google" refers to information appearing on any of Google's platforms, including YouTube, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and naturally web search results.
The term "surfaced" implies that the information has come to the attention of the public or is readily available for discovery.
This phrase makes me think of terraforming a Google-planet, island, and/or satellite where you may find the following:
The plastic tree with a tag on it. The tree is an ad or sponsored thing. This is simply pushed into the surface.
Human generated non-paid content. Here roots in the Human driving force for excellence still work to see a stable structure grow.
AI-generated responses in variterations.
What The Future May Bring
Ads: AI-generated ads may appear and speed up the ad creation process and help advertisers reach their target audience more effectively. The ability to change ad copy in real-time based on emerging trends and popular keywords can help advertisers stay fresh and relevant. However, it is important to note that AI-generated ads still require human monitoring and review to ensure they adhere to ethical and legal standards.
User search intent understanding: AI algorithms are already being used to understand and analyze user behavior and preferences, and the application of these techniques to clarify user search intent is a logical next step. Yet, this is a highly challenging task that requires significant progress in technology and processing using next generation computers may help greatly.
- Ardan Michael Blum
Extra: Area Tech History | 1937-2000 ~ Overview
Stanford Is The Birthplace Of Silicon Valley
Terman suggested to his students that they stay in the Palo Alto area to establish their own firms.
From their garage on Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, their firm would grow to become one of the world's largest technology companies, offering a range of products including personal computers, printers, and scientific instruments.
According to Britannica: in 1951 ""Terman spearheaded the creation of the Stanford Industrial (now Research) Park, which granted long-term leases on university land exclusively to high-technology firms"".
We read: “(…) Engineers at local firms like Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel invented processes for miniaturizing and combining thousands of transistors onto integrated circuits embedded in silicon wafers. The wide availability of these “chips” spurred the development of personal computers. (…)” — Source (The Smithsonian Institution).
According to Britannica: "(...) In 1956 William Shockley, Nobel Prize-winning coinventor of the transistor, established his new Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in the park. Within a year a group of dissatisfied engineers resigned en masse to join with Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation to establish Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation in nearby Santa Clara. (...) This was the first of many corporate fractures that shaped the American semiconductor landscape. Of 31 semiconductor manufacturers established in the United States during the 1960s, only 5 existed outside the Valley; the remainder were the result of different engineers leaving Fairchild. (...)".
Intel Corporation was founded in 1968 by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, both former employees of Fairchild Semiconductor. Noyce and Moore's departure from Fairchild to start Intel marked a turning point in the history of Silicon Valley, as Intel's success in producing the first commercially available microchip helped establish the region as a center for innovation and technology.
Intel's microchips became the cornerstone of the computer and electronics industries, and the company remains one of the largest and most influential technology companies in the world today.
Backstory To The Internet
Ideas for the World Wide Web date back to 1946 when William F. Jenkins (1896-1975) wrote under the pen-name Murray Leinster the short story "A Logic Named Joe' (opens an MP3 recording of the story) .
This is a tale of a world in which computers (referred to as "Logics") are connected to a central device and are capable of providing information to anyone with access.
In 'A Logic Named Joe' the search functions were carefully designed to not reveal harmful or potentially dangerous knowledge, such as information on making poison arrows. It serves as a cautionary tale about the responsible use of information technology.
How Things Got Going
The ARPA Network, also known as ARPANET, was a pioneer in the development of computer networking and the Internet.
It was developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense (ARPA) in the late 1960s as a way to connect computers at research institutions across the United States.
This early computer network laid the foundation for the Internet, which has since grown into a global network of interconnected computers. The ARPANET used the Interface Message Processor (IMP) to connect computers, and was instrumental in the development of electronic mail, mailing lists, newsgroups, and other early Internet technologies.
The development of these tools and the standardization of computer networking laid the foundation for the modern Internet as we know it today.
In New Mexico Microsoft was founded in 1975.
In 1976, in Los Altos, Apple Computers, Inc. followed.
Hundreds of other Tech firms appeared.
In 1982 Sun Microsystems, Inc. was established. (...) This association sold computers and computer based hardware and software products. Information technology services were also provided by the crew. The institution is most popularly known for the development of JAVA language. It also created the Solaris Operating System and the File System for Networks. Sun remarkably contributed in the development of various technologies including RISC, UNIX, client and virtualized computing. (...)" Source (Website: Javatpoint.com)
Tim Berners-Lee, was working in 1989 in Geneva at the CERN, where he wrote a proposal called "Information Management: A Proposal". This paper describes the World-Wide Web (W3) global information system initiative, its protocols and data formats, and how it is used in practice. Tim had written the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s Web:
HyperText Markup Language (HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, color, graphic, and hyperlink effects on World Wide Web pages).
Uniform Resource Identifier (A Uniform Resource Identifier or URI is a string of characters used to identify a name or a web resource on the Internet).
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a protocol used to transmit data over the World Wide Web. It provides a standard for transmitting web pages and other information over the Internet. HTTP requests are sent from a client to a server, and the server sends back a response. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web).
It is sometimes possible to enhance an existing storage system by coding hypertext information in, if one knows that a server will be generating a hypertext representation. In 'news' articles, for example, one could use (in the text) a standard format for a reference to another article. This would be picked out by the hypertext gateway and used to generate a link to that note. This sort of enhancement will allow greater integration between old and new systems. There will always be a large number of information management systems - we get a lot of added usefulness from being able to crosslink them. However, we will lose out if we try to constrain them, as we will exclude systems and hamper the evolution of hypertext in general.
Home Computers Going Online
NCSA Mosaic was an early browser which led to the creation (in December of 1994) of Netscape Navigator/Communicator.
Mosaic browser transformed the Internet from an academic tool to become more than just a document exchange tool. It was not the first browser, but it was the first to include bookmarks and easy to use navigation with icons.
From an article found on techspot.com: "(...) Back in the early days, the internet was a much different creature than it is today. To most, it would be unrecognizable, primarily consisting of bulletin board systems with no multimedia aside from a few low-res inline images. These systems were disparate and had to be dialed into separately. The internet changed drastically with the advent of the World Wide Web. (...)".
Key Events In The 1990s
Two significant events that took place in the 1990s. In 1994, Yahoo! Inc. was established and quickly became one of the most popular early internet companies, offering a directory of websites and a range of other online services. However, the rapid growth of the internet and the increasing number of companies entering the market led to the Dot-com bubble, which was a period of speculation and overvaluation of internet-based companies in the late 1990s.
Many companies were not able to sustain their growth and eventually went bankrupt, leading to a market crash and significant losses for investors.
Despite this, the internet continued to grow and mature, and many of the innovations and technologies developed during the Dot-com era have become integral parts of the modern internet and online services.
In 1996, Sergey Brin  and Larry Page  were PhD students at Stanford University and were working on a research project that would eventually become Google. Their initial search engine, called BackRub , used the PageRank algorithm to rank web pages based on their relevance to search terms, taking into account factors such as the number of other pages linking to a particular page and the relevance of those pages.
This innovative approach to search helped Google quickly become one of the most popular search engines, and it remains one of the largest and most influential technology companies in the world today.
The PageRank algorithm is widely considered to be one of the key innovations that helped to shape the modern internet and has had a significant impact on the way people access and find information online.
We read: “(…) The key was to leverage Web users’ own ranking abilities by tracking each Web site’s ‘backing links’ — that is, the number of other pages linked to them. Most search engines simply returned a list of Web sites ranked by how often a search phrase appeared (…)”. — Source (Britannica online).
We read: "(...) Because much disk space was needed to test PageRank on actual World Wide Web data, Sergey and Larry assembled 10 of the largest drives available (4 gigabytes each) into this low-cost cabinet, whimsically decorated with Lego bricks. Their software could then index 24 million pages a week (…)”. — Source (Stanford).
In 1998, Larry and Sergey moved Google's early operations to 4 rooms connected to a garage in Menlo Park. Today, visitors can take a virtual stroll through the Google Garage using Google Street View and view videos that give a glimpse into the early days of the company. You will find lots of related links and still shots from within the garage on a custom map made by our CEO Ardan Michael Blum.
The Term 'Silicon Valley"
The use of the term "Silicon Valley" can be traced back to the early 1970s, when journalist Donald C. Hoefler (October 3, 1922 – April 15, 1986) used the term in a series of articles for the trade newspaper Electronic News.
Hoefler's friend Ralph Vaerst is credited with suggesting the name "Silicon Valley," which referred to the semiconductor industry that was rapidly growing in the area at the time.
The term has since come to encompass the broader high-tech industry and has become synonymous with the southern region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The area has been a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship for many decades and continues to be a major player in the global technology industry.
Our Overview From 1937 to 2000 Ends
As our overview of Palo Alto area Tech history closes, we leave to Wikipedia the recounting of the recent past.
Golden.com about Google.