Schema markup has been in existence for years. Yet it’s still one of the least used optimization techniques in SEO. Search engines understand it, but do you? If not, we’re here to explain how incorporating schema into your SEO processes will benefit your website. Marked up pages have shown direct correlations for higher rankings on the search engine results pages. Once you read this article, you will have a basic understanding of what schema is.
Happy New Year from Efferent Media!
Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to focus on your business goals for 2019. One of the first places that you should start is your website. It can be an expensive overhaul, there’s no getting around it, but it’s certainly an investment that will pay for itself many times. Your website is the digital face of your business. Are you on the fence about the necessity of a new website? Let Efferent Media steer you in the proper direction.
With all of the usual madness around the beginning of the holiday season, it’s understandable if you missed the most recent WordPress event. On November 27, WordPress officially unveiled the Gutenberg builder as part of the upcoming WordPress 5.0 core update.
[Read more…] about Gutenberg by WordPress – What You Need to Know
Website Accessibility is an issue that’s on the front lines for persons with disabilities, and it could effect how everyone, including Efferent, does business going forward. Businesses and other organizations around the country are addressing how to make their websites compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. The act covers all areas of public life including access to public areas. In recent months there has been much legal maneuvering, litigation and a noteworthy court decision in California centered around website accessibility for persons with disabilities. Efferent Media employees recently took part in a webinar related to ADA compliance and we want to give you some insights about this issue, how we got here, and what we may see in the future.
What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. According to the US Department of Labor, the ADA “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. The ADA also establishes requirements for telecommunications relay services.”
In addition to the Labor Department, several other federal agencies are charged with enforcing the ADA. Among them are the Federal Communications Commission, which enforces regulations involving telecommunications, and the Department of Justice, which is in charge of regulations governing public accommodations as well as state and local governments. Advocates for people with disabilities have argued for years that “public accommodations” which are covered under Title III of the ADA includes websites, and the courts have agreed. In 2008, a federal district court judge ruled that the public accommodations clause in the ADA does apply to websites in a case involving retail giant, Target.
In 2010, the Justice Department issued notice that it would specifically amend the language of the ADA to ensure accessibility to websites to individuals with disabilities, according to the National Law Review. There have been several delays in issuing guidelines related to website accessibility, most recently delaying it until 2018. That delay was announced in 2016 and as of this article, it was not immediately clear how or if the change in presidential administrations will affect this plan.
Understanding Accessibility Guidelines
In the absence of formal regulations, the justice department has suggested that websites follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). The agency has also issued best practices to state and local governments on handling website accessibility issues. WCAG 2.0 gives four general principles guidelines for web accessibility. The principles state that websites must be:
• Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
• Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable.
• Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
• Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
The principles are followed by guidelines such as providing “text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language,” or making “all functionality available from a keyboard.”
The justice department’s best practices outline common problems and suggest solutions. For example, they suggest posting documents in a text based format and avoid using image based formats like PDF documents that are often not accessible by the screen readers that people who are blind or have low vision often have to use.
The best practices also suggest that web videos include captioning and audio descriptions. Websites should be designed in a way that they can be viewed with the color and font sizes set in the users’ web browsers and operating system so that they can be more easily viewed by people with low vision. This may take away from the web designer’s ability to present what they feel is most aesthetically pleasing, but what may look good might not be viewable to a person with a vision disability.
The Increase in Web Accessibility Litigation
We mentioned above that there has been much legal maneuvering in recent months related to website accessibility and the ADA. According to the Wall Street Journal, litigation has increased since 2014 after the justice department entered into an agreement with income tax preparers H&R Block after they were sued by the National Federation of the Blind. Since then, companies have been receiving demand letters or have been sued over ADA compliance.
Efferent Media Has Been Trained in ADA Compliance
The increased litigation and possibility that new regulations are coming down the pike has many companies taking steps to be in compliance with the ADA. Efferent Media employees have undergone training in this area and we work with a third party contractor as well. If you’re concerned about the ADA and web accessibility, please contact Efferent Media today.
Nowadays, mobile is king. According to Search Engine Land, traffic on mobile devices surpassed desktop in 2015. If your page takes more than a couple seconds to load, chances are the viewer is going to get annoyed and give up, resulting a bad user experience. Google has recently come up with a way to help speed up load times and create a win-win situation, and if you get on board now, you will have a leg-up on the competition. [Read more…] about Amped about AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages
In case you missed it, Facebook quietly announced that they’d be getting rid of the old version of the Like Box plugin. This is the embedded Like Button that allows you to Like a Facebook page directly from a company’s website. Facebook suggests you start using the newer version of the plugin, the Page Plugin. It pretty much does the same thing, but it looks a little cleaner and can be customized a little more. [Read more…] about Goodbye Facebook Like Box, Hello New Page Plugin
Mobile usage has taken over as leader for total web usage. I remember hearing that prediction in 2008 and thinking, “That’s just insane!”. In 2008, Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers said that mobile would surpass desktop usage for online browsing. She couldn’t have been any more accurate in her prediction.
In some verticals we’ve seen usage results closer to 70% for mobile traffic; while others still receive single digits. Whatever the case may be, there are still a staggering amount of websites on the web that are not mobile friendly. [Read more…] about Your Non-mobile Friendly Website and SEO
OK, I know the title should be written: “Should I register my domain name under my name?” The answer is yes. It’s always yes.
Over the past fifteen plus years, I’ve lived horror stories with clients and friends trying to get what’s rightfully theirs back into their ownership. Your domain is your online brand address. It should never be down. You never want to catch yourself in a situation where your old webmaster or someone who claimed to be doing you a favor has control of your domain name. This will almost always end ugly. [Read more…] about Should I Register My Web Address Under My Name?