Introduction to Basic SEO Concepts for Escorts: Keywords, Content, Google Indexing, and Upload Speed

*This blog post is part of an ongoing series on how to use search engine optimization practices to rank your site better in google search results. It’s also based on the “SEO Crash Course sheet that’s been privately shared.*

Hi there! Chances are you’re here because you googled “SEO for escorts” or “web design for escorts.” You may also be here to learn more about the yayfosta hashtag and it’s implementation. Don’t fret- more posts about that will be on the way.

I’m writing this introduction to SEO for escorts because it’s apparent and clear that in order for the yayfosta hashtag to be used effectively, some education about basic SEO concepts needs to happen. We as escorts are losing advertising platforms, getting banned from platforms, and these platforms are losing functionality and don’t offer the same return on investment. Search engine optimization costs nothing, but does take time, so you your return on time investment might be rough to start with. But for those of us who can’t afford to hire an expert or simply want to DIY it, I’m here to help.

A little something about search engine optimization: it’s really like a black art, and try as they may, search engine optimization experts know quite a bit about how search engines (particularly Google) catalog sites, but the algorithm changes sometimes 2-3x daily. It can be kind of danuting to keep up. 

That being said, the topics outlined below should help you get a head start on getting your keywords, content, and google indexing together, and that stuff is the foundation for any further SEO you’ll do in the future.

Why SEO for Escorts often Fails:

Overall, there are several key issues as to why SEO for escorts can. The most common issues I see when doing website audits are these, and if you are writing your own content, you’re going to want to keep these things in mind:

Lack of SEO strategy

You have to have an SEO strategy. What are you trying to achieve with your SEO? Setbacks to achieving these goals include:

Thin content: Google wants to give users the most pertinent results to their searches. If your content isn’t better than the current first-page results for your chosen set of keywords, then you’ll need to adjust your content in order to get onto that coveted first page.

Image-based content: Search engines aren’t yet ready to understand images. Avoid adding text on your images, Google won’t be able to comprehend or index that content. This is why titles, attributes, and alt attributes for photos are so important on websites for our industry. Our websites are generally very image heavy, and not having your images in order can severely set back your ranking.

Poor on-page optimization:  Folks, markers like “header 1,” “header 2,” aren’t really for aesthetic purposed. Those markers are there to tell Google what part of your website it’s reading and how important that phrase/area is in the overall hierarchy of your website’s content. Using these incorrectly confuses Google. Also, your URL slugs (the part that comes after the main website domain name, ie (blackashconsulting.com/this-is-the-url-slug-area) need to make sense for the content covered on that page. Your slugs should also contain the keywords or keyword phrase you’re utilizing for that page, but more on keywords later.

Lack of keyword research: These are the words people actually type into the search bar when searching for things online, and this one is HUGE. What do you want your content to rank for? Ideally you should find keywords with low competition and decent volumes of traffic to optimize your pages for. The more specific your keywording, the better your ranking will be. But really, you need to THINK LIKE A CLIENT when choosing keywords and keyword phrases. 

People generally search geographically, so you’ll need to keep that in mind when listing keywords for yourself. For example, if you are a blonde in Atlanta, you’ll want to have “blonde Atlanta escort” as a keyword phrase in your SEO section and in the body of your website text. Here’s an in-text example: “if you’re looking for a blonde, stacked escort in Atlanta, you’ve come to the right place!”

To make keywords and SEO work, you have to think like a client. You have to actively go through the motions that a client would take in order to find you, and build your SEO plan around that. You can find the keywords that people are using to find you already as a place to start if you’re unsure of what keywords to use. You can do this by navigating to your google analytics account, clicking on “acquisition” in the left-side menu, clicking on “search console” and then clicking on “queries.” unfortunately, google no longer tells you a large percentage of your search queries, but this is most definitely a start.

Beware of keyword loading. Google does dock you significantly in rankings if you do this. An example of this is listing keywords and keyword phrases in the footer of your website. Google Penguin is an active algorithm that goes through and penalizes websites that break google’s webmaster guidelines. You can learn more about that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Penguin

For help with keywords, check out the following: https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/

Bad competition assessment: How commonly used are your keywords? What’s your niche? Is there a lot of competition in your niche? If so, you’re going to have to spend a lot more on SEO.

Here’s a basic checklist to make sure your SEO is ready to go:

  • Sign up for Google Analytics and Google Search Console, then index and crawl your site: Google is nothing more than a super fancy search program, and if it isn’t told that your website is available to be searched for, Google won’t return it when someone searches for you or keywords pertaining to you. You have to send up a signal to Google so that it pays attention to your website- this is why it’s important to submit your sitemap through google webmaster tools and have google fetch and crawl your site and it’s aliases. When you submit your site index and and tell google to fetch and crawl your site, Google then catalogs your website based on keywords it finds, along with something else called structured data/schema markup (this will be covered in another post). Once someone queries a search that utilizes some or all of your keywords, Google shows your website in the results based on how well your website matches the search.

  • Make sure each page or blog entry on your website targets one primary, and 1-2 secondary keywords or keyword phrases.

  • Include the targeted keywords in your content: both in headings and text

  • Make sure the title tag and the meta-description contain the primary keyword

  • The URL of your page should display the primary keyword (e.g. www.mysite.com/my-keyword). IF YOU CHANGE YOUR URL SLUG YOU HAVE TO DO A PERMANENT 301 REDIRECT. Depending on your website format, there will be different ways to do this. Google your website platform + 301 redirect.

  • When possible, add the keywords in the alt text of your images

  • Make sure one of the images’ filename contains the primary keyword (e.g. my-keyword-image.png)

  • Double check that your pages are set to be indexed by Google.

Website Loading Speed and other Backend Tech

Slow website loading times can absolutely mess with your rankings. Here are ways to improve your uptime speeds:

  • Resize the images to the correct dimensions; you don’t need big images if they will be displayed in small size. Mobile officially outranks desktop/laptop for website access, so you need a mobile-optimized site.

  • Optimize your images for the web, use TinyPng

  • Broken links upset Google, so make sure you don’t have any. Use http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/ to find them.

  • Link between your pages when possible, this will make it easy for search engines to discover new content.

  • Create a sitemap for your website. Submit it to Google Search Console. Wix and Squarespace have this built in. For WordPress, you’ll need a plugin like Yoast or Google sitemaps.

  • Submit your site to be indexed by Google. It’s been estimated that it can take 4 days to 4 weeks for Google to index a site.

SEO Guides for WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace

Ultimately, content is the most important thing when it comes to dealing with SEO, so any website can be optimized.

The following article is specifically for Yoast, the SEO program that’s utilized in WordPress website builds. However, the principles are the same across website platforms.

https://yoast.com/wordpress-seo/

Squarespace has its own SEO section, and filling that out accordingly helps with your placement significantly. These articles are incredibly helpful if you are attempting to update SEO on a Squarespace site:

http://searchtides.com/squarespace-seo/

https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/squarespace-seo

Here are some guides to help you improve your SEO with Wix. You may also want to consider purchasing add-on services and integrating them into your site.

https://www.websitetooltester.com/en/blog/wix-seo/

Other Concepts to Enhance Rankings:

Blogging– while clients may or may not read your blog, Google certainly does, and will increase your rankings for having a regularly updated one. Google favors websites that are frequently updated, and blog posts count as website updates. Not to mention, you can use the in-body text of the blog as well as  tags and categories to sneak in keywords without keyword loading.

Updating your website– The more you update your website, the better. Changing out photos, editing text, changing background colors, whatever. Update your website. Whenever you do major overhauls, you should re-index and re-crawl your website with Google so that it knows your site has been updated. Google will do this on its own, but doing it yourself is faster. Google is known for taking its sweet time with reindexing updated websites.

Linkbacks– Google LOVES linkbacks to other high-quality websites with external links as well. So make sure to link to your friends, any sites that link to you (like Eros, Slixa, Twitter, basically any site that has your web address on it) and make sure your friends link back to you as well. Lots of folks accomplish this through the use of a “friends” page, or through banners for ad sites.

Photo Descriptions: Adding descriptions to your photos,both in headers and in galleries (or anywhere on your site) will give Google additional information to crawl and also help with your site rankings.

That concludes the basics! Next I’ll be discussing structured data/schema markup and how you can use this to rank better.

Happy optimizing!

Erin

Internet Safety and Privacy in the age of FOSTA

A lot of folks have been reaching out, looking for guidance for what they can do to prepare themselves for the implications of FOSTA. I’ve decided to write out a plan of action that can help mitigate risk, keep your website online, and keep your social media profiles active. Please note that none of this is a guarantee, as most platforms haven’t announced what they’re going to do in light of FOSTA

This plan of action is broken up into sections, starting with your own personal electronic equipment and broadening to other areas of online safety.

How to protect your home computer, phone, and internet browsing:

  1. First and foremost, start using a VPN if you aren’t already. VPNs mask the static, unique IP address that’s assigned to all things that connect to the internet. VPNs mask your location, making it harder (but not entirely impossible) to find out where your internet connection originates. I personally use TunnelBear. The Interface is easy to use, and you can use it on up to 3 devices on their largest plan. It’s also affordable, and they run sales quite frequently. Use this on your computer and your phone. Separate your work phone from your regular phone. If you can only use the VPN on one of your phones, use it on your work phone. 

  2. It should be noted that some streaming services like Netflix and Hulu won’t allow you to stream while using a VPN. If you’re streaming from the same device that you work from, make sure to close out all your browser windows, turn off your VPN, then restart your browser before connecting. If you’re SUPER concerned, clear your browsing history as well. When you’re finished with Netflix binging, just close out the browser, turn on your VPN, and resume other activities. 

  3. TOR browser will not save you, for lots of reasons. The first one being that TOR browser is reliant on you connecting to a vast, private network through ways and means that are beyond the capability and means of lots of us. TOR browser is used with the TOR network. If you’re not using the two hand-in-hand, it’s like relying on the airbag in your car to protect you in a car accident and not wearing your seatbelt. I can’t possibly get into TOR here, and it’s also not my area of specialty, but connecting to the TOR network is intense, complicated, and not just downloading a browser and going from there. If you want to use the TOR browser to say “fuck you” to Google and other companies, then by all means, please do. You can learn more about TOR here and here.

Websites, overseas hosting, domain names, and website migration

Website Content

(THIS IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND I’M DOING MY BEST TO KEEP UP, FYI)

Unless your website is currently hosted overseas on a server overseas that’s owned by a non-American company, you’ll need to change your website content in order to claim plausible deniability. You can do this in one of 3 ways, from how I understand FOSTA:

  1. Congratulations, you are now a model. You’ll need to change your website copy in order to reflect your new job as a model. 

  2. Congratulations, you’re now a porn star. Hindsight being 50/50, this may be why all the workers on Rent Men are listed as ‘porn stars.’ I’d slap a 2257 disclosure on your website as well, just to be safe. Also keep in mind your current web host’s TOS. They may not allow explicit adult material to be hosted on their platform as it is, so check out your TOS before making a ton of changes that will result in your site getting deleted anyway. (This might not be accurate either.)

  3. Consider re-writing your website in the language you’d use for an online dating profile. Innocuous, kind of fluffy. Don’t specify acts. You may want to take your rates offline momentarily and only specify them privately on inquiry. 

  4. Other work like camming, phone sex operation, and fetish modeling aren’t regulated in the same way either (this is changing, so please be aware that this is not definitive). I do have to note, however, that social media platforms have been silencing our work for a long time, and have the right to delete profiles whenever they see fit. They may delete your profile for being connected to an explicit website.

The above are purely suggestions, and not guarantees. 

(It should also be noted that if your website is hosted overseas, you have much more leeway with your ad copy.) This may no longer be the case; please see information regarding The CLOUD Act. I suggest reading things by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to attempt to see just how the CLOUD Act works. I am not a legal expert. 

Website hosting

The most common website hosting platforms that most folks use (Squarespace and Wix), are US-owned and operated companies (Wix is Israeli-owned) that house their servers in the US and EU. They are compelled to follow FOSTA once it’s enacted, and may begin cleaning house long before the law goes into effect. 

I do not suggest deleting your websites. Alter your copy. Get that in line first. I do recommend exporting and downloading a backup of your site. Note that these exports will be HTML files, and they won’t translate from platform to platform. You cannot simply just import a Wix or Squarespace website to a WordPress-based web hosting service located overseas. Squarespace and WordPress speak two different languages, and the website has to be rebuilt in WordPress from scratch. If you need a visual copy of your site so you can redesign it elsewhere, simply navigate to your website, and in the browser’s file menu, select “print.” You’ll be able to save the page as a PDF file for reference later.

So to those who are wondering if I can just take your current website and plop it into WordPress on my server or another overseas venue? Nope. That’s not something that can happen. What I can do is redesign your site in WordPress due to the translation issues noted in the above paragraph. 

 Your options are not limited to me, however. You can either set up a WordPress (or other web builder environment like joomla or weebly) on an overseas server through an overseas hosting service, procure your own VPS (virtual private server) that’s owned and operated by an overseas company, or you can purchase space on a physical server that’s owned and operated by an overseas company and housed overseas. (I can only safely recommend overseas companies that are NOT a part of the EU. Iceland and Switzerland come to mind. Panama also comes to mind as well, but again, I am not an expert in this area.) The two latter, procuring either a VPS or space on a physical server, take specific knowledge and a certain level of expertise in running and setting up a server. I do not recommend either of these unless you have ample time and energy, and the self-control to not throw your computer out the window when things go wrong or won’t work properly. You could also hire someone to do this for you.

I fully recommend Swiss-based or Panamanian-based companies when looking for overseas hosting. The laws in these two particular countries are loose, to say the least. (“loose” was the wrong choice of words; both of these countries are very privacy-minded.) You’ll want your server housed in Switzerland for sure, as Switzerland is not part of the EU and is a neutral party in matters of banking and business. 

I personally work with a company called Private Layer. They offer both VPS and physical server space, but do not offer hosting services. Anonymously.io offers hosting, one-click installation for WordPress, and VPS options, and only accepts payment through Bitcoin. They are located in The Netherlands. I don’t have personal experience with this particular company. Ungleich.ch is a hosting service that is Swiss-based, and you’ll definitely need to have some back-end tech knowledge to make a site on that platform. I also offer WordPress-based hosting, and you can read about the options I offer here.

Domain names

FOSTA is so broad in its language that it could even effect domain names and ICANN, the body that regulates them within the US. Top-level domain names that are regulated by ICANN include .com, .net, and .org. Lots of the domain registrar services that we use in the US are US-based (godaddy, dreamhost, namecheap, etc), and may be compelled by FOSTA to disconnect your domain from your website. 

(You can purchase other top-level domains from overseas domain registrars. You can have your current domain name redirect to the new one, and your SEO should only be minimally affected.) 

BE AWARE OF DOMAIN REDIRECTING. 

It is a complicated process that involves backend server access. To be frank, due to the rolling over of lots of ad sites, I’m not recommending folks change their domains right now UNLESS they are sure that they can handle 301 redirects to a new domain name. Transferring the same domain to a new server/website management system is far less complicated and may only affect your SEO minimally. Quite frankly, I’m just learning about successfully redirecting sites while maintaining Google rankings, and have not redirected any of my own sites.

Overseas domain registrars do exist, but it must be noted that Whois protection is not available for all domains. You can, however, use altered information when registering the domain name. Alpnames.com is located overseas and allows you to pay with Bitcoin. There are other overseas domain registrars; a google search will reveal them. If your desired domain name isn’t available overseas, you can purchase it from a US-based company and transfer it to an overseas one. 

Secure overseas email servers and encrypted calendar services

Y’all have heard of Protonmail. It’s a great service for security, and they also offer you the ability to use your own domain name for your email address. Make sure to register .ch with them- you can always change to your own domain name later. 

There are other all-in-one encrypted replacements for GSuite, mainly being FastMail. Theyre an Australian company, and aren’t compelled to answer US court orders. However, their servers are based in the US, and that gives me a lot of pause as to using their service. As an encrypted all-in-one replacement for GSuite, it is enticing though. 

Encrypted calendar and data services located overseas are tough to come by. Fruux is a calendar, contact, and task-encryption service that’s German-owned. Germany has pretty legit digital privacy laws, but they’re definitely no Switzerland. I can’t vouch for Fruux, as I haven’t used it myself, but being that it has mobile capability and is compatible with all sorts of operating systems, it’s worth a look/try.  SecureSwissData.com is not up and running yet, but when they finally are, I’ll probably give them all my money. 

Really though. Remember to stay calm. FOSTA won’t be fully enacted until January 2019, and it’s already having an incredibly chilling effect. We are strong and we will make it through this.

#NayFOSTA, a Grassroots SEO Project

Escort Website Marketing and Design

FOSTA, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, may have originally began with it’s heart in the right place. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that we, as non-trafficked individuals, find it appalling and abhorrent that anyone would coerce anyone else into selling services they don’t want to sell. #nayfosta

We can all agree that people who are working in this industry against their own wills should be helped. They should be aided. And perhaps in conversations prior to the actual legislation finalization, this is what those lawmakers intended. #nayfosta

However, due to the vague language of FOSTA, there are very real and very dangerous impacts that those of us working of our own volition are dealing with. Those of us who rely and depend on this work to feed ourselves, house our families, pay our bills, and live life as best we can under capitalism. For those of us who make a willing living via sex work, FOSTA has been devastating. It’s made access to advertising platforms a nightmare, sent people who were safely working indoors back to the streets, and forced sex workers to make decisions that shouldn’t have to be made. 

Sex work is real work. Sex work is a profession. Sex work can even, for some, be a calling. 

What I’m asking here is no small feat. It will require work and effort on a part of the entire sex work community, both clients and providers alike. It will take work, but if we do this correctly, we have the potential to change the way we engage with one another online forever. This is not a catch-all solution; no solution is. But what this solution provides is the democratization of tech knowledge and search engine optimization theories that are accessible to other businesses and folks with know-how, and even accessible to us via social media. 

You hashtag Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Now it’s time to hashtag your website.

#NayFOSTA is a unique hashtag that no one has used yet. It’s not cataloged by any search engine, but it could be. Search engines catalog hashtags and return results on them for search queries.

We need to implement this system as a way to be seen. We can show that we support sex work as real work, as a real choice. FOSTA states that there’s no difference between someone working in the sex trade of their own volition, and one who’s trafficked. We know better.  People need to work, and this work would be made easier if we could facilitate easy connections between clients and providers. 

I’m asking you all to start hashtagging your websites with #NayFOSTA, preferably within a blog post. There will be other methodologies to do this too, mainly through website code and metadata, the systems of which I’ll explain as time goes on. By hashtagging your websites with #NayFOSTA, what you’re doing is including your website to be cataloged, by Google, for that hashtag.

If every escort in the world with a free or paid website did this, Google would become the biggest escort directory in the world. It would bypass advertising platforms. It would bypass any kind of advertising middle-man, and any website, be it free or paid, could utilize this hashtag.

Incorporating #NayFOSTA with other descriptor hashtags like #Chicago, #BBW, #Blonde, etcetera, would allow clients to further refine their searches and more easily find what they’re looking for.

This little bit of backend work, which I’m going to lead you through, will solve the main issue of what could have been a solid piece of legislation. #NayFOSTA will simultaneously support the anti-trafficking sentiments of the legislation, identify us as non-trafficked workers engaging in the market of our own volition, and make it so our clients can do the same.

I hope that you’ll join me in creating the movement for undertaking.