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Examples of the K-12 Science Education Loan BoxesExamples of the K-12 Science Education Loan BoxesUsing the grant funding, ASNHC faculty curators and staff have compiled K-12 Science Education Loan Boxes that will be available for checkout to local and area teachers for use in their classrooms. The boxes come with suggested lesson plans and contain models and tools that will give students hands-on learning experiences related to plants, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles housed in the ASNHC.

There are six different Science Education Loan Boxes to choose from, including:

  • Metamorphosis (Pre-K)
  • Adaptations to Habitat (Pre-K – 5th Grade)
  • Food Webs & Energy Flow (5th – 8th Grade)
  • Dichotomous Keys (Middle School)
  • Data Collection (Middle School)
  • Sorting & Physical Characteristics (All-Level)

Materials in the boxes include scales, rulers, calipers and hand lenses, flash cards, real-life models of organisms, reproductions of life cycles, skull casts, life casts of primate hands, rubber tracks casts for stamps, track molds for creating plaster animal prints, and more. Certain materials and lesson plans align to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards.

The Loan Boxes may be checked out for up to eight weeks. Educators wanting more information or to check out one of the boxes should contact Dianna Krejsa, ASNHC manager, at [email protected].

The ASNHC contains more than 100,000 specimens of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and plants from the Concho Valley, other regions of Texas, many other states, Mexico, Africa, Asia, Australia and even the Galápagos Islands.

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ASU’s enrollment now sits at 10,568 students for the fall 2019 semester, topping the previous record enrollment of 10,447 set in 2017. A major factor in the record enrollment is an ongoing increase in ASU’s undergraduate student retention rate, which has led to increases in the number of sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled in classes this semester.

Another major factor is the record-high 3,015 students enrolled through ASU’s dual credit program, up from 2,716 last fall. High school students at nearly 50 campuses throughout West and Central Texas are earning both high school and ASU credit for courses taught at their high schools.

ASU’s undergraduate Hispanic enrollment has also reached an all-time high at 41.42% for this fall semester. That number has been increasing annually since ASU first achieved Hispanic Serving Institution status from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010.

First-time freshman enrollment and graduate student enrollment have remained steady, resulting in 6,031 undergraduate students and 1,522 graduate students enrolled for this fall semester.

Dr. Brian J. MayDr. Brian J. MayASU President Brian J. May said, “Over the last several years, we have implemented new strategies to recruit and retain traditional students and to attract more students to our dual credit and online graduate programs. We have also added, and continue to add, new state-of-the-art buildings and facilities. Those combined efforts are proving effective at bringing more students to ASU. The Ram Family is still 10,000 strong, and to have that number keep growing is a great benefit to ASU and the entire region.” 

Dr. Tedd L. MitchellDr. Tedd L. Mitchell“The strategic growth and retention efforts of Angelo State University’s leadership, faculty and staff are commendable,” said Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. “I’m proud of President Brian May’s leadership and the efforts of the entire ASU community for once again achieving a historical milestone with a record student enrollment.”

The academic areas that have seen the most growth in the last year at ASU are the business administration and mechanical engineering undergraduate degree programs and the professional school counseling online graduate program. The most popular undergraduate majors are nursing, management, biology, teacher education and psychology.

Shortly after joining the Texas Tech University System in 2007, ASU set an enrollment goal in its “Vision 2020” strategic plan of 10,000 students by the year 2020. That goal was reached three years early in 2017, and ASU’s enrollment has remained above 10,000 ever since.     

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Nearly 15 years ago, the nofollow attribute was introduced as a means to help fight comment spam. It also quickly became one of Google’s recommended methods for flagging advertising-related or sponsored links. The web has evolved since nofollow was introduced in 2005 and it’s time for nofollow to evolve as well.
Today, we’re announcing two new link attributes that provide webmasters with additional ways to identify to Google Search the nature of particular links. These, along with nofollow, are summarized below:rel=”sponsored”: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.rel=”ugc”: UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user generated content, such as comments and forum posts.

rel=”nofollow”: Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.

When nofollow was introduced, Google would not count any link marked this way as a signal to use within our search algorithms. This has now changed. All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.
Why not completely ignore such links, as had been the case with nofollow? Links contain valuable information that can help us improve search, such as how the words within links describe content they point at. Looking at all the links we encounter can also help us better understand unnatural linking patterns. By shifting to a hint model, we no longer lose this important information, while still allowing site owners to indicate that some links shouldn’t be given the weight of a first-party endorsement.
We know these new attributes will generate questions, so here’s a FAQ that we hope covers most of those.

Do I need to change my existing nofollows?
No. If you use nofollow now as a way to block sponsored links, or to signify that you don’t vouch for a page you link to, that will continue to be supported. There’s absolutely no need to change any nofollow links that you already have.

Can I use more than one rel value on a link?
Yes, you can use more than one rel value on a link. For example, rel=”ugc sponsored” is a perfectly valid attribute which hints that the link came from user-generated content and is sponsored. It’s also valid to use nofollow with the new attributes — such as rel=”nofollow ugc” — if you wish to be backwards-compatible with services that don’t support the new attributes.

If I use nofollow for ads or sponsored links, do I need to change those?
No. You can keep using nofollow as a method for flagging such links to avoid possible link scheme penalties. You don’t need to change any existing markup. If you have systems that append this to new links, they can continue to do so. However, we recommend switching over to rel=”sponsored” if or when it is convenient.

Do I still need to flag ad or sponsored links?
Yes. If you want to avoid a possible link scheme action, use rel=“sponsored” or rel=“nofollow” to flag these links. We prefer the use of “sponsored,” but either is fine and will be treated the same, for this purpose.

What happens if I use the wrong attribute on a link?
There’s no wrong attribute except in the case of sponsored links. If you flag a UGC link or a non-ad link as “sponsored,” we’ll see that hint but the impact — if any at all — would be at most that we might not count the link as a credit for another page. In this regard, it’s no different than the status quo of many UGC and non-ad links already marked as nofollow.
It is an issue going the opposite way. Any link that is clearly an ad or sponsored should use “sponsored” or “nofollow,” as described above. Using “sponsored” is preferred, but “nofollow” is acceptable.

Why should I bother using any of these new attributes?
Using the new attributes allows us to better process links for analysis of the web. That can include your own content, if people who link to you make use of these attributes.

Won’t changing to a “hint” approach encourage link spam in comments and UGC content?
Many sites that allow third-parties to contribute to content already deter link spam in a variety of ways, including moderation tools that can be integrated into many blogging platforms and human review. The link attributes of “ugc” and “nofollow” will continue to be a further deterrent. In most cases, the move to a hint model won’t change the nature of how we treat such links. We’ll generally treat them as we did with nofollow before and not consider them for ranking purposes. We will still continue to carefully assess how to use links within Search, just as we always have and as we’ve had to do for situations where no attributions were provided.

When do these attributes and changes go into effect?
All the link attributes, sponsored, ugc and nofollow, now work today as hints for us to incorporate for ranking purposes. For crawling and indexing purposes, nofollow will become a hint as of March 1, 2020. Those depending on nofollow solely to block a page from being indexed (which was never recommended) should use one of the much more robust mechanisms listed on our Learn how to block URLs from Google help page.

Posted by Danny Sullivan and Gary

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Dr. Karl Havlak, professor of mathematicsDr. Karl Havlak, professor of mathematicsASU is one of only 85 institutions of higher education recognized nationally by The Chronicle and also ranked highly enough to be one of only 42 institutions named to The Chronicle’s 2019 Honor Roll. This marks the fifth straight year ASU has made both the “Great Colleges to Work For” list and the Honor Roll.

Dr. Brian J. MayDr. Brian J. MayASU President Brian J. May said, “We call ourselves the Ram Family, and we work really hard to maintain that atmosphere throughout the ASU community. Our employees are the glue that holds the Ram Family together so we can provide our students with the complete college experience that they want and deserve. Our goal is to produce well-educated graduates who are ready to take on the world. That our employees are invested in that goal and truly enjoy working at ASU is the foundation of the Ram Family.”

Dr. Tedd L. MitchellDr. Tedd L. Mitchell“The campus unity, environment and culture at Angelo State University are second to none, and I feel this recognition is well deserved,” Texas Tech University System Chancellor Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell said. “President May and the ASU administration have done a wonderful job of building leaders throughout the campus community by providing fulfilling career opportunities and empowering faculty and staff to play an important role in making Angelo State a great university to work for.”

The “Great Colleges to Work For” designation is based upon surveys conducted earlier this year of more than 56,000 employees at 236 colleges and universities nationally. Angelo State was one of seven Texas four-year institutions to earn the designation, one of only two Texas state-supported universities to be honored, and the only Texas state-supported university to make the Honor Roll. ASU was previously identified as one of the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” in 2009, 2013 and 2015-18.

The Chronicle’s survey evaluates employee satisfaction in 12 categories in four general areas: leadership, the workplace, careers and compensation. Its two-part assessment process includes an institutional audit of demographics and workplace policies, as well as the survey of faculty, staff and administrators, with employee feedback being the primary factor. ASU is one of only two institutions in the U.S. to be recognized in all 12 categories.

Kurtis NealKurtis NealASU Human Resources Director Kurtis Neal said, “The leadership, commitment and hard work displayed by our employees on a daily basis create an amazing campus experience. I am lucky to be a part of an organization such as this. Our employees are committed to making Angelo State a great university for our students and a great place to work. The ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ designation for the fifth year in a row is a wonderful honor for the Ram Family, and making the Honor Roll for a fifth straight year is definitely something for the campus to brag about.”

Additionally, Neal said the broader national exposure for ASU that comes with The Chronicle’s recognition will enhance the university’s ability to recruit high-quality faculty, staff and administrators. ASU currently has 1,012 employees, including 465 faculty and 547 staff.

The print edition of The Chronicle’s 2019 Academic Workplace special report featuring the complete survey results will be released Sept. 20.

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Romantic Depot operates six, soon to be seven adult stores offering sex toys and lingerie, in the New York City area.  Their flagship stores are in Manhattan and the Bronx.  They’ve been around for sometime and over the years their website aged along with other businesses seeking to help drive local foot traffic.

With the move to mobile devices in full demonstration the old RomanticDepot.com site was not responsive.  This lead the owner of the chain to build a new site that was mobile friendly and it lead to Ultimate SEO‘s involvement overseeing the process of migrating to this new site without hurting the site’s strong local SEO presence.

Romantic Depot does have an impressive keyword positioning presence in the New York City area. Even nationally they are on page 2 of results for “sex shop“.  The goal was to ensure a smooth transition to the mobile site while maintaining the SEO that had been built over the years.

301 Redirects

The new site was largely a 1 to 1 ratio.  The html static page manhattan.html went now to /manhattan/ on the WordPress site.  We placed in any one off redirects, a redirect that took any url that ended in .html and would return it without the html and a redirect for the index.html homepage to come back with the WordPress homepage at /


Backlinks are the life blood of a sit’s ranking and it was important to ensure that those would be maintained with relevant content as well.  Using SEMRush.com we collected all of the backlinks and their existing targets and ensured those had rules as well.  While the site’s backlinks were in the tens of thousands it quick came down to a few hundred target urls that needed to be accounted for to maintain SEO.

Site Speed

Most of the work involved in preparing for the migration was speed performance in nature.  The new site when tested on GTMetrix.com was loading in 12.6 seconds with over 400 http requests. We targeted a 3 second load and through Cloudflare.com we were able to utilize a CDN that brought the site closer to users as well as offered other benefits.  Cloudflare alone brough the site load time to about 7 seconds.

We further limited content that could be on other pages for those other pages such as Google maps to the location homepages. Instituting lazy load ended up being the primary aspect of speeding up the site.  Image optimization was also completed and a move to PHP7.3 from 5.6.  Merging CSS and JS files also worked to reduce the requests.

SIte Speed FOr SEO MIgration

SIte Speed FOr SEO MIgration

With our work to provide a faster site complete the migration was completed and load times on the site are under 3 seconds for mobile users.

Multi Domain Strategy Consolidation

During the migration I also mentioned the value of building one brand.  RomanticDepotSuperStore.com was the site used as the online store for the chain.

The problem that arises from multiple domain strategies is the segmentation of resources and confusion it can cause to Google Analytics.  An easy eample of this is the bounce rate and pageviews metrics are actually hurt on the primary domain.

Consider this… a person searches romantic depot on Google.  The first result is their site, likely the person is going to want to know what items might be at the store.  Once the page loads they find the link to the store, maybe even before the page loads.  Clicking that link they are now taken to a new domain.

That visitors actions would have counted as a bounced visitor.  See when someone goes to your site and immediately leaves for another site that signals to Google that what was on that original site wasn’t what the searcher wanted.  To prevent future searchers from going to a site that people leave directly after going to it they might increase the position of other sites to try and correct for this in the future.  That ultimately means the top spot position for the keyword is being hampered by the site’s structure.

Further Google sees that a person wasn’t even interested enough in the site to look at a second page, they just left.  In realty the second site is part of the same overall topic or brand its just that Google doesn’t necessarily understand that.  An artificially inflated bounce rate and lower page views are all that the first site is getting and the second site is losing out as well as most of the marketing is surrounding the first site’s address…backlinks, social mentions and such.

Lower Bounce Rate

The illustration above shows our page views of the main root domain.  Guess when on the graph the romanticdepotsuperstore.com site was rolled into the main domains … late July.  The thing is, the traffic isn’t any greater its just not split up anymore.  The homepage link to the store is now going to a subfolder of the same domain, its helping by acting as another page view rather than hurting the site as a bounce.

The keywords and authority of this additional site were better utilized under the main domain RomanticDepot.com and this site was migrated to a subfolder /store as a separate WordPress site.

Thats important the site was migrated as a separate site under the original.  This was done for multiple reason and it creates its own set of unique challenges but we’ll discuss that later in a future post.

Consolidated Backlinks

The consolidation of the sites further helps with SEO because after we migrated we put into place redirects from the store’s domain to its new home within the subfolder.  That means all the backlinks now combine to help one site.  Lets consider the following illustration…

Domain A: DA 30 Backlinks: 10,000 Referring Domains: 1,000

Domain B: DA 30 Backlinks: 9,000 Referring Domains: 900

Competitor: DA 35 Backlinks: 13,000 Referring Domains: 1,300

Lets assume everything else is the same…we’d expect then that Competitor will rank higher on Google Search.  But if we combine Domain A ad Domain B.

Domain AB: DA 40 Backlinks: 19,000 Referring Domains: 1,900

Everything else still the same….Domain AB will now rank higher than the Competitor.

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