Category Archives for "Blog"

June 25, 2018

Google Speed Algorithm. Update in Effect in July 2018

page speed flickr

Google intends on better serving mobile users by punishing websites that load slowly through their new algorithm that goes into effect in July 2018.

PageSpeed module for Nginx Web Server

Google announced on January 17th, 2018 that they were releasing a new algorithm for website ranking that is designed, specifically, for mobile search. It was identified – at that time – as the “Speed Update”.

While the update is designed to impact a relatively small amount of search queries, Google expressed that website pages that provide users with the slowest of experiences will be detrimentally impacted by this new update.

In order to ensure that your website is “up to speed” and will not be negatively impacted – in terms of ranking – you may use the PageSpeed Insights page provided by Google and/or specially-designed tools like Lighthouse.

These will measure the overall speed of your pages and help you in making improvements to your website that will optimize speeds for visitors that are accessing your website with a mobile device.

In 2010, Google did express the fact that page speed was a factor in ranking websites; however, at that time, it placed an emphasis on searches conducted utilizing desktop computers. Technological advancements in the mobile industry has resulted in more mobile users than users of standard computers.

As a result, that has now changed. Mobile search is taking off. If you want to rank highly, it is imperative that your pages are loading quickly for the mobile traffic to your website.

The pages on your website are graded as “fast”, “slow”, and “average”. Fast grades mean that your pages are the in the top third of the fastest in page loads. Slow means the pages are in the slowest third in terms of page loads. Average grades mean that it is in the middle third of all of the page loads.

Grades are determined by analyzing the median between two distinct values. Those are referred to as “DOM Content Loaded” or “DCL” and “First Contentful Paint” or “FCP”.

Google has stated that there will be pages that cannot be reviewed in PageSpeed Insights because there will not be enough information available to determine page speed.

If this occurs with your website, it is advised that you utilize Lighthouse for evaluation.

There is a bit of good news in all of this. If, by chance, your page loads slowly for mobile users, it may not drop your ranking in a significant manner. If your content is relevant and high in quality, your website may still rank high. Speed is just one ranking signal that is utilized by Google.

It is not the be all, end all.

The purpose and intent of this new algorithm is to improve the user experience for those that use mobile devices to access their internet searches.

We here at Brick Road Media have the capability of helping with relevant, high-quality content and increasing the speed of your pages. For more information,

Contact Us today



February 26, 2018

2018 SEO and Google Trends

Google Analytics

The two most complex sciences in current existence are that of search engine optimization and the search engine giant, Google; however, research, analysis, and studies have confirmed a few of the most popular trends in both areas for the year 2018.

Google Search Engine

Search engines are consistently striving to improve the overall quality of the results that their software renders to internet users.

It is a known fact that ranking factors are constantly changing; some simply become non-existent while others seem to develop seemingly overnight.

Currently, the algorithm utilized by Google consists of more than 200 individual factors. This is why it is more important – than ever before – for businesses and website owners to become familiar with SEO trends and Google trends.

The best place to hide…is page two of Google….” - WPCookHouse

Google Trends Chart

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strengthening in Power

In terms of search, artificial intelligence is gaining in power.

To provide an example of this, let’s consider RankBrain. Just a little over two years was when this initiated. It is a specially-designed learning artificial intelligence system that was presented by Google.

At its start, it processed approximately 15% of all of the queries in search engines by internet users. Today, it handles 100% of those internet search queries. Based on products and services integrated by Google, we can see that AI is going to be a heavy trend and incorporated into all search engine optimization.

In the past, it has been said to optimize for humans. This will hold even more truth as AI takes hold.

Google Voice Search

Voice Search Increases in Popularity

According to the latest figures, approximately one out of every five searches on mobile devices originate from a voice search.

As more voice-based devices emerge on the market, this is expected to increase quickly. Voice searchers utilize snippets that are located above traditional search results and answer their questions.

These are called “position 0” rankings.

By placing snippets within the SERPS of web pages, website owners are sure to see a drastic increase in their click-through rate. If you want to stay in the trend when it comes to Google and SEO, snippets are creating content for voice search inquiries is a necessity.

content for mobile users


The next big trend for 2018 in terms of both search engine optimization and Google is the indexing of mobile content first.

Just over three years ago, the searches on mobile devices exceeded that of desktop devices. Now that mobile use and searches has increased dramatically, Google is now engaging in the act of indexing mobile versions of content first and desktop only content last.

In short, it is quite possible that mobile searches will create the only SEO signals that search engines utilize to rank websites. If a site is not designed to be utilized on a mobile device, it will become completely out-of-date.

Get Ready NOW!

Change is coming, in terms of SEO and with Google. While many other changes apart from those mentioned in this guide can be expected, these are the most relevant to online businesses and websites. You should start preparing now. Failure to do so could result in the failure of your online presence.


February 12, 2018

Instagram Transforms the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

Instagram on phone

Want to transform an ordinary business to an extraordinary success story? Instagram can help!

Instagram on phoneRecent studies confirm that social media usage is ever-expanding and increasing across all the demographics.

As a result, utilizing social media for marketing is an exceptionally valuable technique for businesses.

While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have proven to be worthy of business use, many are now turning to Instagram and its user base of more than 300 million users.

Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships….”David Alston

Visual Marketing at Its Best

In essence, Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media platform. While most other social media sites place a focus on sharing content and links, Instagram exclusively focuses on images and videos.

The benefit to this is that visual-based content is considered highly more engaging than text-based content. The visual imagery will aid in crafting and sharing messages that are more compelling.

Additionally, visual content allows you to highlight products, services, and show your business in action.

High Engagement Rate

In additional to visual marketing benefits, Instagram posts have a very high engagement rate.

According to studies done by Forrester, Instagram posts receive 58x the engagement for each follower than that of Facebook.

Additionally, Instagram posts are 120x more engaging than the posts listed on Twitter.

The main reason for this is, every post you share reaches each and every single one of your followers, whereas the organic reach on other social media platforms only reach 2% to 3% of your followers.

Social media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing….”Chris Brogan

Brand Building Opportunities Galore

Instagram is not a social media platform that directs followers to your site with every post. In fact, it is just the opposite.

You do not have the capability of posting links on the platform; however, you may post a link in the “Bio” section.

How is this beneficial?

Your followers and the users on the platform know that you are not making an attempt to sell to them.

You may highlight your company, the culture of your business, post videos and images of your products, or simply share content generated by other users in a way that allows your business to cultivate genuine relationships with your potential and current customers.

Get a Taste of Success

Instagram has the unique ability to increase the traffic to your website by up to 95%. You may see an increase in conversion rates of 50% or more. Additionally, you may decrease your site’s bounce rate by 60% or more – all in a very short time. We can help you make the most of Instagram for your business.

We will help you drive awareness of your brand, your products, and/or your services. We can help to reinforce or completely shift the perceptions surrounding your brand.

We can even help you create unique associations with professionals, partners, and other individuals within your industry.

By connecting with us today, we can help you leverage the immense power of Instagram for your business as quickly as tomorrow! Contact us today to discover how:


January 24, 2018

The Power of Social Media for Business

Social Media

In today’s world, businesses are no longer inquiring as to “if” they should be utilizing social media, they are researching strategies on “how” to incorporate social media into their business.

Social MediaThe extremely rapid adoption and integration of social media for businesses is becoming increasingly apparent among businesses and how we all do business. The term “social media” is a relatively broad description of the various online technology-based tools that allow individuals to communicate with a high level of ease and through the means of internet sharing and state-of-the-art resources.

You are what you share….” – Charles W. Leadbeater

The various methods that may be utilized by today’s businesses through social media include posting relevant content on forums and blogs, sharing business-related photographs and other types of images, posting audio-based clips, sharing videos, sharing and exchanging links, and creating brand-building profiles on networking websites that permit for the regular posting of updates. All of these are typically done with an integrated mechanism for feedback.

There are various outlets in terms of social media. Despite their similarities and abilities, the platforms that encourage social interaction and exchanges for businesses have landscapes that are ever-evolving. The following outline some of the most popular types of activities that may be pursued by a business and the platforms on which those activities are pursued:

  • Social Bookmarking – The most popular websites for social bookmarking include Digg, Pinterest, and Reddit.
  • Blogging – WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad rank as most popular for blogging endeavors with a social overtone.
  • Business Pages – To get social with a business, you want to opt for Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, and Google+.
  • Video Sharing – Does your business create and share videos of products and services? If you answered “yes”, you will want to opt for YouTube, Vimeo, and even Daily Motion.
  • Social Network Endeavors – For social networking, your best bet are sites like Facebook, Ning, and MySpace.
  • Micro Blogging -Twitter, Friend Feed, and Tumblr are excellent resources for businesses that wish to engage in the act of micro blogging.
  • Photo Sharing – Have a desire to share photos for your business? Go for My Shutterbox, Flickr, and Wallspace.
  • Reviews and Ratings – If you want user reviews and/or ratings for your business, go with Google, Yelp, and Yahoo.

Numerous benefits surround the use of social media; especially when it comes to your business. The main advantages of utilizing social media include the following:

  • You have the capability of reaching and extending those that you have a desire to market to in a quick and affordable fashion.
  • You may increase the overall awareness of your brand on the World Wide Web.
  • Traffic will instantly be driven directly to your website.
  • You may create “buzz” and excitement about your products, your services, and any events that your business will be hosting.
  • You will be able to educate and provide information to your customers on the launches of products and services associated with your company.
  • You may personalize your level of customer service and develop solid relationships with your customers.

If you are ready to learn more about social media and its impact on your business or want to start reaping the rewards of a social media marketing regimen, contact us today:


January 8, 2018

Making Websites Accessible to Everyone Part III

man looking through tablet screen

man looking through tablet screen

Website accessibility is more than hoopla. Businesses all over are starting to figure it out. A few grocery chains have discovered ADA actions speak louder than words.

In 2013, Safeway prepared and released the details of its negotiated commitment to make its on-line grocery portal accessible to disabled customers.

In 2014, the US DOJ settled a web accessibility complaint with Peapod, self-proclaimed as America’s leading Internet grocer.

Accessibility practices accepted by the company included a posted Accessibility Information Page, a designated web accessibility coordinator, and the use of WCAG 2.0 AA. Both actions received a great deal of attention and the results provided compliance guidance to help other private businesses begin or analyze their website status.

The result of another action on June 13, 2017 showed that compliance was indeed expected.  Winn-Dixie lost the first trial regarding the ADA and a private company’s website accessibility.

Winn Dixie Millidgeville, GA (7967696910)

A blind shopper filed a lawsuit because he could not access certain portions of the company’s website, such as online coupons. The chain’s loss demonstrated the Court’s concern about the relationship between technology in the digital age, civil rights, and accessible digital content.

The decision was a reminder that certain business practices must be followed, whether by choice or a harsh directive provided by law.

There is a sensible way to achieve current and pending WRA Section 508 compliance. It starts by developing an accessibility strategy. Following that is locating business communications that need changed and doing it. Next, widen the search to address all forms of communications and accessibility. Change the required areas to fit federal, state, and local guidelines.

Thousands upon thousands of small and large companies have questions about how Section 508 affects their operations and how to avoid legal action. Guidelines are available to indicate ways websites meet the accessibility standards for people with disabilities regarding:

  • Information and communication technology.
  • Products and service.

Other well-known laws supporting Section508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA include the:

  • 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. It addresses advanced communications products and services.
  • Communications Act, Section 255 addresses telecommunications products and services.

Accessibility Checklist Excerpts

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services created a free accessibility checklist for web-based intranet and internet information and applications. Helpful hints you’ll find include how to:

  1. Put in audio descriptions.
  2. Give alternate links to Image Maps.
  3. Create text transcript.
  4. Make an alt tag for every plug-in, video, audio file, etc.

Upbeat Attitudes Make Compliance Simpler

When you address compliance challenges with a can-do attitude and take it step by step, it's easier to get the job done. Increase accessibility as you transform company culture and processes while changing documents. A company website that can be used despite disabilities like hearing loss, photosensitivity, and limited movement encourages more traffic and discourages complaints. Invite user feedback and run a test yourself using the accessibility checklist. Confirm HTML tags deliver the right information and graphics do not overcrowd the page. Keep a running documentation of results, recommendations, and changes that reflect your goal of making the website accessible to everyone.



Accessibility checklist, 1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications

Web Accessibility for Grocers,

December 26, 2017

Making Websites Accessible to Everyone – Part II

Person writing on computer keyboard.

How does your business stack up against the Section 508 Standards regarding ADA compliance for telecommunication equipment and products? Compliance in website accessibility is a must now.

Person writing on computer keyboard.It’s hard to believe that the year’s grace given by the Access Board ends on January 18, 2018. Website owners are already getting calls threatening lawsuits for noncompliance when they haven’t even explored actions that address mandatory compliance.

This is not a case where the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigates each business and site before adverse action is taken. A complaint about the lack of proper accessibility for individuals covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act can only be disregarded when exceptions are disregarded.

Site owners must stand ready to: (a) show proof of compliance, or (b) document why they are not subject to the requirements of that section.

Discrimination Comes in Many Forms

Why does the Federal Government create so many laws and mandates forbidding discrimination against disabled individuals?

The short answer is lack of awareness.

Some disabilities, such as visual difficulties, are not immediately noticeable.

In addition to Section 508, three primary laws prohibit discriminating in communication. ADA is one. Access by people with disabilities to advanced communications products and services is required by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.The Communications Act, Section 255, requires telecommunications services and products be made accessible.

Companies doing business with federal agencies must also take steps to comply with these directives. Healthcare, financial institutions, and private contractors are examples. Digital communications like software, apps, and emails must be 508 compliant, Since PDFs aren’t accessible by screen readers, they require 508 remediation.

New York and California Reinforce Reasons to Understand and Comply

Changing PDFs and Word documents to the most recent standards is challenging, yet essential. Short training classes are planned in New York for the review of ADA Titles II and III web regulations. Recent Department of Education and Department of Justice enforcement activities are reviewed along with state policy about web accessibility and Section 508’s impact. Attendees will benefit from discussions about the revised section, websites and electronic document design.

The State of California already has measures in place. California Government Code §11135(d), for example, requires fully accessible electronic and information technology if it is used or created by the state. Physical disabilities affecting user interaction on the web include:

  • hearing or vision loss.
  • cognitive disabilities.
  • limited manual dexterity.

State Universities support compliance with the use of software that evaluates website accessibility. State school students with disabilities can access online videos, files and documents thanks to Community Colleges resources.

State Government Code §11546.7 requires all state agencies and entities to have website compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA or a subsequent version, as well as Section 508, by July 1, 2019. A certification of compliance is required on each agency’s or entity’s home page.

Steps to Compliance

There’s a natural drive in many of us to do it all. The number of actions required to detect discrepancies and achieve complete 508 compliance is too much for one person. Why risk fines, penalties and the possible closure of your business because a step was missed? Reviewing communications and documents is a start to updating and corrections. Steps must be taken to be sure contractors are compliant, as well. Online assessment tools and an accessibility strategy are the basic steps to determining how to demonstrate the willingness to be compliant while the process is achieved.


December 11, 2017

Making Websites Accessible to Everyone – Part 1

internet accessability

internet accessabilityThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been changing the way business is done in the US since 1990. President George H.W. Bush signed the law that continues to expand in a manner that provides equal opportunities for all citizens. The overall goal is to prohibit discrimination.

The Act oversees compliance so anyone with a disability can participate in mainstream American life and benefit from the same opportunities available to citizens without disabilities.

Your website falls under this Act.

There’s a misconception that the ADA only applies to government agencies.  However, Title III of the ADA and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act add details that infer responsibility for compliance is widespread. It’s overseen by the U.S. General Services Administration, also known as the GSA.  Specific duties include verifying that disabled individuals can access information and electronic technologies as well or better than Section 508 requirements. Unless there is an undue burden to achieve that goal, it requires access and use of data and information comparable to that afforded the general public.

What is Section 508 and who is affected by it?

The Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was updated in 1998 by the inclusion of Section 508. The most significant steps required Federal agencies to make EIT (electronic and information technology) accessible to people with disabilities. The latest update in January 2017 clarified federal sector information and communication technology (ICT) guidelines, such as the addition of telecommunications guidelines. Reorganized Section 508 and Communications Act Section 255 guidelines were aligned to reflect up-to-date innovations in communication technology. The changes apply to federal agencies as well as their contractors, vendors, and partners of those agencies, whether they operate in the US or abroad.

Section 508 compliance differs from that of ADA. The ADA’s Title III states nonprofit service providers and businesses with fifteen or more employees make accessibility accommodations so the disabled public has access to the same services, including websites and electronic media, as non-disabled clients. If your business is smaller, it is beneficial to pursue an ADA-compliant website because it:

  • Limits liability.
  • Meets the requirements of additional clients.

Confirm that any web developer you use includes compliant features in the original site and application plans. Businesses that do work for a government contractor or agency may be subjected to the same scrutiny used to measure their compliance. Standards under Section 508 apply to EIT obtained by the federal government, such as phone systems, computer software and hardware, and websites. Requirements fall under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Section 508 Standards which cover access for individuals with sensory, cognitive, or physical disabilities.

The Access Board published a final rule on January 18, 2017 regarding accessibility guidelines and Section 508 Standards for telecommunication equipment and products. Compliance requirements are extended to January 18, 2018. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicated complaints regarding website ADA-compliance by businesses will be taken on a case-by-case basis. There is an interest in whether disabled Americans have equal access to online services and goods. Businesses and their websites are under scrutiny with little time remaining to determine their status regarding compliance. What resources are available to demonstrate the willingness to comply?

November 20, 2017

How Does SEO Get Me More Customers?

seo for traffic

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a unique practice that involves developing content for websites that can be discovered easily by search engines, such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. Adding content – such as blogs, images, and guides – can enhance the SEO of your site through the careful utilization of keywords and keyword phrases that your target audience would use when searching on the World Wide Web for the products and/or services that you offer.

seo for trafficSearch engine optimization provides content to your audience that is considered to be both “relevant” and extremely “valuable”. As you add relevant, helpful content on your website, internet users are able to discover that content by conducting a search on a search engine, then, the user is able to discover your website, explore your website, and interact with it; therefore, increasing your customer base. In this brief guide, you will learn exactly how SEO helps in getting you more customers.

Customer Queries

The first method that attracts more customers through SEO is online customer queries. If your website contains highly relevant information, the search engines will be more likely to display various links to your website in response to online customer questions. The website that you own and operate for your business is basically designed as a service to your target audience, not to your business. If a search engine locates relevant information on your site, and considers your site to be unbiased and trusted, the customers will be provided with links to it.

blogging for seoRegular Blogging Enhances Search Engine Visibility

By utilizing and regularly adding certain keywords and keyword phrases into your website, it is easier for internet users to discover your business online. According to research, the first page in search engine results account for the highest level of clicks from internet users. In order to reach this page, you must regularly add content that includes industry-specific keywords and keyword phrases to your website. Blogging is the easiest and most effective way to succeed in this endeavor because regular blogging enhances search engine visibility and helps customers discover your website.

 Valuable Content Renders Respect

SEO is a highly productive means of providing valuable, educational, and helpful content to your readers. This type of content shows potential and current customers that you are highly knowledgeable and possess expert knowledge in your industry. In turn, this renders respect. Once an internet user discovers you to be knowledgeable, they are more likely to subscribe to your blog, take the time to follow you on social media platforms, and do business with you. Your brand will be considered trustworthy and you will be considered an “authority” in your industry.

There are several unique ways that SEO will help you get more customers. We here at Brick Road Media are currently offering absolutely FREE SEO audits. If you have an interest in seeing where your website stands and attracting more customers, visit us today by clicking on the following link:


November 6, 2017

What Does SEO Mean?

google search engine optimization - what does seo mean

If you are interested in starting an online business or taking your traditional brick and mortar business online, it is imperative to know the answer to the question, “What does SEO mean?”

google search engine optimization - what does seo mean

If you are reading this, it is quite likely that you have already asked this question, or “What does SEO stand for?” You are not alone. There are many terms that pertain to online marketing endeavors, online businesses, and websites that you must become familiar with.

The lingo is not always easy to understand, but, understanding it is highly imperative to your overall success. To answer the question, “What does SEO mean?” takes a bit of explaining. So, we will start with the question, “What does SEO stand for?” In short, it stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. To learn more, continue reading.

The Main Functions of Search Engines

In order to truly understand what SEO means, you must first understand the main functions of search engines. That is to “crawl” and to construct an “index”. This aids in providing internet users with a list of websites which are ranked by their relevancy. Now, in order to explain in the simplest terms, we will compare the internet to a city.

The World Wide Web provides search results, which we will compare to big city bus stops. Each of the “stops” online are webpages, documents, and similar types of files. In order for the search engine (such as Google) to move through our “city” (the internet) and discover all of the “stops”, it must use keywords, keyword phrases, and links. A “keyword” or a “keyword phrase” is the word or group of words that an internet user searches for in order to discover a “stop” that is relevant to that which they seek, or the virtual “place” they want to go. The virtual “place” is your website and/or blog. The better your search engine optimization, the better your discoverability.

What Does SEO Mean?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “what does SEO stand for”, and you know the main functions of the internet, it is time to learn the answer to the question, “what does SEO mean?” This is really quite simple. Search engine optimization is the unique and popular process of obtaining traffic (internet users) from the search results from the online search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. SEO is also the basic practice of increasing the amount of high quality traffic through to your website. If you have a website, SEO is a critical component of your overall success.

SEO allows people to discover your content and makes your content popular. If you want to achieve success with the World Wide Web and your business endeavors, you have to achieve success with SEO. Here at Brick Road Media, we specialize in ensuring that you rank high in search engines and achieve the success that you desire with your website and/or online business. For more information, simply click on the following link now:


October 23, 2017

How to Rank Higher on Google Maps

google maps

Many businesses mistakenly believe that simply getting their business listed through Google is enough to be successful. Unfortunately, this is only one small component of the process. To truly reap the rewards of Google Maps, a business must be ranked high in the local map stack.

Google Maps

google mapsEssentially, this means that your business must appear near the top of the search results pages in Google Maps. While it is not possible for all businesses to take that top spot at the top of the page, those that want to achieve massive success must strive to make it – at least – on the first page of search results. In this quick post, we will provide you with a few steps that may be taken in order to ensure your ranking on Google Maps.

  1. Verify and ensure the accuracy of the business information that is shared with Google. You should make certain that your website information, contact information, and business hours are listed.
  2. Focus on appropriately categorizing your business. In most instances, you will list a keyword or a keyword phrase that is related to your industry or represents your industry. This should be followed by local classifications that pertain to your business. For example, if you own a restaurant, you may also place keywords pertaining to the type of food you offer, the beverages offered, the area where the restaurant is, and the theme associated with the restaurant.
  3. Once you have your listing in place, make certain that you place a Google Map directly on your website. This should be embedded on your contact page.
  4. When creating the description for your listing, ensure that you utilize keywords that pertain to your industry, as well as local keywords. For example, if you have a restaurant that is situated on the St. Johns River in Florida, you should include “St. Johns River” in your listing. Also, always make sure that you utilize local telephone numbers and avoid the popular “800” numbers.
  5. Finally, get reviews from Google. These will help in optimizing your business on Google Maps and will increase the reputation of your business. While it is true that you have no way of knowing what people will say on your reviews, it never hurts to ask those that have dealt with your business and are happy with it to leave a positive review. This will provide an instant boost.

If you would like assistance in ranking high on Google Maps, contact us today for more information: