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In the online realm, we as businesses want to know if people are reading our website text and articles. A lot of us are using tools like Google Analytics to see how many visitors we have, how long they are staying on the website, and what pages they are reading. However, I’ve always wondered if this is a truly accurate way of knowing how much of your articles are being read. Are people reading the first few lines and then speed-reading through the remaining paragraphs? Or, are they reading the first line and then skipping all the way to the conclusion?

Today I read an article (from start to finish – I don’t like to cut corners) at the Huffington Post entitled, ‘Scoopinion Tracks What You Read, Not What You Click (Yes, This Is A Test)’. It’s about a new Finnish start-up company that is attempting to create heat maps based on which content is being read on a website page. As a writer, this is a very interesting concept. There is now a chance we may be able to ascertain which parts of our writing are most effective; is it the quote at the end of the piece, the witty caption on the included image, or the controversial statement written to incite a reaction?

Man Reading MiContent Surrey Hills Content Writer

Human beings can become very engrossed in what they are reading. What kind of writing will attract the ‘right’ people to your website?

Admittedly, when I’m scanning the internet’s many blogs and News sources, there are a number of article types I don’t read through properly. But when it comes to our own businesses, we want to know what content is connecting with people on an intellectual or emotional level. If we can figure out the styles of writing our website visitors read most, we can then evolve our content further in order to maximise interaction and relevance.

Did you read through this entire post, or did you only read a few lines?

By Jesse S. Somer

Copyright MiContent.com.au

Thanks to applejan for the image!

Having a blogroll on your business blog is very important for a number of reasons. A blogroll is a list of blogs that you read, are in a similar industry to, or are associated with, E.G. clients, distributors, colleagues, B2B (Business to business) connections etc. Blogrolls act as a signpost for site visitors, letting them know what internet content you think is worthwhile, as well as which online communities you partake in.

Blogrolls create links:

In terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), blogrolls link outwards to other sites, so they can be very useful for obtaining valuable incoming links, obtained when other blogs link to your website on their own. This can be done as a form of reciprocity, or the other party may actually be interested in what you have to say because of your common interests. Incoming links are seen as ‘gold’ by Google and the other search engines, because they infer yours is a blog that people are interested in, or whose content people value.

Creating your blogroll from scratch:

You’ve created your blog, but you aren’t linked to anyone, except possibly to other blog articles within your own blog posts. If you’ve ever quoted someone else in the same industry, or linked to his or her business blog because it was relevant to your article, this is the best place to start your blogroll.

Click on the ‘links’ category in your blog’s dashboard and add the URL address of said website. Then put in the title of the blog, as this is what people will actually see on your site. You have the option of writing a short description of the blog, so when people roll their mouse’s cursor over the blog’s name, your summary will be shown and they’ll know what to expect even before clicking.

Don't misspell 'blogroll', or you may find yourself looking through a 'bog roll'.

Don’t misspell ‘blogroll’, or you may find yourself looking through a ‘bog roll’.

Sourcing more blogs to link to:

You may now have a few blogs on your list, but you can be sure there are some great writers out there sharing their wisdom in your business sphere of which you are unaware. Find them and link to them. Use Google and search for very popular words in your field of work.

For example, if you are an optometrist, you would search for terms like ‘near sightedness’, ‘contact lenses’, or of course ‘optometry’. The links with the highest page ranking related to these terms are usually those sites that are most prolific in the field. They write about the topic on a regular basis, and the quality of their content is high. These are blogs you want to link to, and to read, as the more informed you are, the better your own blog articles will be.

Note: Emulating these successful blogs and websites is the key to achieving a high search engine page ranking. It’s no secret good content posted on a regular basis leads to more eyes on your website’s pages.

Use social media networks to find related blog sites

You’ve done your Google searches, you’ve listed businesses you are associated with, now it’s time to use social media to find more quality blogs to read and list in your blogroll. If you join Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, and if your blog is using WordPress or Blogspot, you’ve got an array of portals into the blogging world.

All of these social networking platforms (and more) have search functions just like Google that analyse the content of all its associated websites. Search for your industry’s most used phrases and you’ll definitely come across more sources of quality information and opinion.

Creating more business opportunities:

The more depth and variation your blogroll has, the greater chance you have of becoming part of an online community, having a voice in each social network, raising awareness of your brand, and communicating with others leading to business opportunities.

Direct business relationships occur when a potential client or customer communicates after finding you, while indirect business opportunities arise when your blog and its associated articles achieve high page rankings in search engines. If you have a lot of good content, your article links will be those chosen by random people searching for someone in your chosen market.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

When you are adding a photo, video, diagram, cartoon etc. to your business website or company blog, you need to add text to the file. The main reason for this is simple: this text lets search engine algorithms assess what the image is, so you can use the photo to help increase your page ranking for specific search terms.

Also, some computing devices may have images disabled, and this text gives the user an idea of what the photo they cannot see is of. Lastly, a caption can make the image more interesting or fun, or even explain the meaning if it’s not easily identifiable within the article’s context.

Meta Title:

This is simply a name you give to the image as a whole. Meta titles for website pages come up at the top of the browser, but meta titles for images just let the search engine ‘spiders’ know exactly what the photo or video is about. You should use SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) keywords here if you can, but make sure you stick to explaining only what the image is.

Alternative Text:

People who for whatever reason have images disabled on their computer will still be able to see this text. People often disable specific types of media in order to keep their computer running as quickly as possible, or when they are on a notoriously slow broadband internet connection speed. Some very old computers also have trouble ‘seeing’ certain files.

Having ‘Alt Text’ ensures these users know what type of visual information they are missing out on. This is another chance to sew valuable SEO keywords into the back-end of your website, but again make sure you don’t stray from the truth when explaining the image.

Meta Keywords:

Here’s your first opportunity to list as many SEO keywords related to the image as you can. In this instance, it’s perfectly fine to go on tangents and add terms you know people are searching for in relation to your business, as well as the exact words describing the media file.

For example, you may have a photo of a small ladybeetle sitting on a green bush, but the reason you have chosen the photo is to express the importance of creating an identity that stands out online. Someone else may use a similar image to describe his or her gardening business. You would list keywords like ‘brand identity’ and ‘unique online presence’, and not just ‘ladybeetle’.

This little ladybeetle is showing the importance of standing out and making an impression online.

No matter how small your business is, you can stand out and make an impression online.

Caption:

This is usually the most enjoyable text to write for an uploaded image or video file. You can be creative, as often the meaning you wish to convey from the image is totally different from the normal context of the content. You are welcome to use keywords here too (as people can actually see this text), but the main idea is to make the caption interesting.

Meta Description:

Another form of text that readers cannot visually see, these terms and phrases are a great opportunity to use a wide range of related SEO keywords for the algorithms to crawl through. Write about what the image file is, what it means, how it relates to your business, and what your business does. Be very descriptive!

Remember, slapping an awesome photo or video onto your website or blog can excite viewers, but if there’s no text attached, the image will not affect your search engine page ranking at all. A picture speaks a thousand words…but not in terms of quantitative SEO keyword value.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

I spent the last two days at the SMX Search Engine Marketing Expo in Melbourne, Australia, which also incorporated the Online Marketer Conference and Expo, the Mobile Marketing Workshop, Online Marketer Boot Camp, Marketing Optimisation Summit and the Social Marketer Workshop.

Now, first and foremost I am a writer, but I’ve been writing online for a long time, and in the process have picked up a lot of knowledge about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). I have never studied Marketing or Information Technology, so I thought it might round out my knowledge base if I went and gleaned a few titbits from the masters. However, being surrounded by hardcore marketers was quite a new experience for me, and more than a little bit strange.

As I’m starting my own online content writing business (MiContent), I figured it would be in my best interest to study up on the more in-depth technical elements related to helping businesses with their internet identities and web traffic. I am confident in my article writing and story writing, but I wanted to make sure I knew everything I could about keywords, social media, hyperlinking and page rank. It may have been expensive, but in the end the SMX Expo fulfilled my needs.

There were presentations and clinics all day long, each one focusing on a different aspect of online marketing and search. Everything one learned was ultimately about the simple task of how to get the right people to find your website, then contact you, or purchase your product or service. I’d have to say at the end of taking extensive notes each day my brain felt like it was a waterlogged sponge unable to think about anything except the optimisation of business websites.

I’m not going to tell you about everything I learned, as it’s still soaking in, but I will say the experts from Bald SEO, DejanSEO, First Rate, No Drama Media, The Online Circle, aimClear, Weber Shandwick, Fang Digital Marketing, Mindshare, Experian, Datalicious, Internet Marketing Ninjas, First Click Consulting, FatCowBusiness and Steak Digital all had a lot of relevant information to share, and those were only the talks I was able to see. Each time I was being ‘schooled’ there were at least two other presentations happening simultaneously, but I made sure to focus on the elements that would help me understand what creates the best internet writing.

So, what did I learn? I learnt that the whole web content issue is not as difficult as you might imagine. A lot of it is basic logic: You need to have written content that is interesting, and which expresses your knowledge and enthusiasm about your industry.

Make your online articles beautiful to read. Writing is an art, but start by writing from your heart.

I also learned there is a massive number of tools out there of which can help you figure out the aspects of your website and web content that are working well to attract visitors.

Last but not least, I studied what kind of content the search engines like Google rate as being of high quality. Content needs to be original, come from a trustworthy source, written by an enthusiast or expert (authors are now being ranked for authority), have no spelling or grammar errors, be written out of genuine interest – not solely for search engines, and be posted on a regular basis. If you have news that is fresh and you’re the first one to publish it, you’ll add a whole extra level of relevance to your site.

I’m definitely keen to try out some of these new content optimisation tools. However, the secret of good web content is quite easy: Write from your heart, from your unique mind, and share what you know with interested people. The questions remain: can you write well, and do you have the time?

Copyright MiContent.com.au

6. Articles do not disappear. Written content accumulates:  

Paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies like Google Adwords are great for getting web traffic/customers right away. However, as soon as you stop paying CPC (Cost Per Click), your marketing campaign has literally disappeared overnight.

Adding invisible links and tags for search keywords in the back-end of your website pages is an excellent form of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but as soon as your competitors do the same, what will differentiate your website from theirs?

Web article content has a double-edged attacking sword, on the one hand giving you the chance to express yourself in a genuine and unique manner, but also in the sense that whatever articles you add to the front end (the pages of your website people can openly see), this content will stay there for posterity.

Each and every article you add to the website or attached business blog accumulates until it itself becomes a ‘source of information’. This has a number of connotations, the least not being that when SEM funds have run low, or basic SEO campaigns start to fail achieving top page rankings, your content is still visible and packed with SEO keywords.

A stockpile of article content enhances your depth of brand identity, permanently stores an extensive cache of associated search keywords, and is a long-term approach to achieving a steady flow of free organic web traffic. It’s also much more fun expressing yourself on your website where people can read your ideas, as opposed to having someone linking keywords to places where no one except search engine algorithms can see them.

7. Each article is a link to another page people can come across while searching online:

The more articles you add to your website, the more content you have that people can access online, which will then lead them to your products or services. Written article content is jammed full of search phrases and terms people are searching for in relation to your industry. Some search words are more general or generic in their scope, while others are ‘long tail’, or very specific in terms of its intended target. Article content encompasses both types of these search terms.

Each and every time your articles use a word people are searching for, a link to the article will come up on Google or one of the other search engines the potential client is using. The more links to terms and phrases in article content you have, the more places on the internet people can find you. To put it simply, each valid sentence you write can become a signpost pointing towards your website.

8. Adding written content regularly shows people and search engines you are for real:

Another very important element to consider is how often content is being added to your website. This factor is pertinent when it comes to both search engines and human beings alike when analysing your site. If you add SEO keywords early on in the piece, but then fail to consistently add more content to the site, search engines downgrade your significance.

The same goes for article content. It is much better to add articles on a regular basis than it is to stick twenty articles up at once and then leave the site alone for a lengthy period of time. Having these articles is absolutely worthwhile, but as time passes, both people and search engines see that you aren’t a recurring contributor, thus decreasing your levels of perceived value and interest.

Having relevant written content added to your website on a regular basis shows the world you are authentically fervent about your product or service. People who like your subject matter or writing style will return regularly to see what News you have added, as well as interacting with you via comments. Search engine ‘spiders’ scanning your website will see fresh, new and interesting stories, resulting in higher page rankings.

What footprint does your website make on the internet? Does its content create a unique impression?

9. Having a business blog shows customers you are enthusiastic:

It’s important to have a great product, to have an attractive website, and to have good static written text content on your web pages. However, the best businesses these days have come to realise the need for a business blog attached to their website.

Blog posts are articles and stories showing the unique perspective and zeal you have about your work. They also give daily or weekly insights and updates into what is currently happening in your industry. If every time someone comes to your website’s blog there is new content to read, it creates an ever-changing portal, which is never boring or static.

A business blog shows you live on the front lines of the field you work in, and that you are excited about this niche ‘world’ you live for. It also creates more opportunities for interaction between you and your clientele. Most importantly, it becomes a medium where people can learn about the prominent and pressing issues in your field of interest, and you are the source.

10. What better way is there to use multiple SEO keywords on a single website page?

This point is very simple, yet isn’t it always the case the simple things in life are overlooked whilst we traverse through nebulous clouds of human created complexity? Yes, basic SEO companies will be able to improve your page ranking by inserting links to related search keywords on your website. However, they will never be able to add as many phrases and terms as are inherent in a written article.

When you have a 500-word article on a web page, a large number of relevant terms are used (if the person writing the content is cognisant of which SEO phrases interested parties are looking for). Multiply this by the number of articles you have on your website and associated blog, and there is no better way to incorporate keywords for an internet business presence hoping to increase web traffic.

Note: Remember, the quality of your website content needs to be well researched, engaging, easy to read, current, well formatted, have hyperlinks (both internal and external), be authoritative, be the right length (not too long or too short), and have good titles and subheadings. Images with captions and video round out the equation. You will be ranked down for having poorly written content, plagiarised or copied text, participating in link stuffing, or engaging in link Spam.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

In this digital information era we now live in, you’ve probably come to realise how important it is to have a website presence on the internet. Some businesses only trade on the web, which means their website’s image and integrity can have extreme consequences. This is especially the case when customers are comparing your website to competitors in the same industry.

You have your website, and it may have cost a lot to build, but you found out not too many people were visiting. This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and marketing (SEM) come into play, and they are two rapidly growing industries. However, if other businesses in the same field as your own have also thought about or used SEO keywords to increase their page rankings on Google, what can you do to differentiate yourself from the mass of websites using the same keyword methods?

The answer is article content. Here are the ‘Top Ten Reasons Businesses Need Articles on Their Websites’: (Part 1)

1. Article content creates a unique brand image:

No matter the industry or market you work in, there is always competition. How do you show potential customers and clients you are the best company for the job at hand? The key is to differentiate your business with unique written content, so site visitors can feel the experience, knowledge and passion you have about your chosen field of work.

No two people in the world are exactly the same. You need to have articles showing your unique human perspective on the service or product you provide. If you are very good at one element of the work, and you believe others are less proficient, you need to express this in words. The result is a collection of stories creating a more holistic and genuine brand image for your business.

2. Articles are full of text that can be scanned by search engines:

When it comes to having a business online, one of the most important factors to consider is how to get more traffic to your website. Put in lay person’s terms, it equates to how you get people who are interested in your product to find your website, not to mention how to keep them there long enough to make a real connection.

Website content articles are essentially packed full of written text of which automated search engines can analyse for keyword phrases people are searching for. What better way is there to use multiple SEO keywords on a single website page? Normal SEO companies can help you with basic meta links, meta tags, meta names and meta descriptions attached to your web pages, but article content has these keywords naturally embedded in the writing.

A good website content writer will integrate SEO keyword phrases and terms fluidly into an article without affecting the integrity or authenticity of the writing. You would not believe how many search phrases can be utilised in a single 500-word blog post.

This pink fighting rooster means business. Does your website content fight to be unique?

3. You become a source of information, not just someone selling a product:

Once you’ve accumulated a stockpile of website articles, the internet community interested in your topic will come to see your website as a place to source information, not simply a retail site pushing a product. The more valid and valuable the knowledge and experience you can provide, the more customers will see you as an expert or genuinely passionate proponent of the industry.

If your competition only has basic static text on their website stating price and product information, a collection of article content automatically separates you as being the seeds compared to the chaff. When you then post new articles regularly, keeping clients up to date about what is happening in the field, it exemplifies your keenness about the work you do.

4. Your blog becomes a place of interaction and communication:

It’s good to put your most important articles on your website’s static web pages, but if you want to be considered a genuine contributor of content, you also need to have a business blog. Posting regular articles to your blog gives site visitors a chance to interact with you, as well as other visitors with like-minded ideas and interests.

When people comment on your blog posts and you reply, sometimes going back to their website to comment on their articles, you are creating a network. The more incoming and external links you can make with others, the better search engines like Google will rate you as being a knowledgeable source, and part of an inter-related community.

However, this is not the only advantage of having people comment on your blog posts. Besides creating a relationship with your clients, you can also learn from them and use the information gained to write more related content. If two or more external parties converse on topic on your website, it shows how your business has become a portal of communication, thus adding an entire new dimension to your online identity.

5. Articles are the best form of social media:

These days your business also needs a social media presence, as becoming part of networking communities like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious and Reddit is an excellent means of spreading your name around, and advertising your service.

If every time you post a new article on your blog or website you simultaneously post hyperlinks to that story via social media networks, the chance of curious people checking out your business dramatically increases. Posting a link to an entire article is much more powerful than simply stating a short idea in text, or putting up a link to a basic web page. People see you as sharing ideas. This builds up trust for your brand, as well as increases in website traffic.

Click here to read, Top Ten Reasons Businesses Need Quality Content on Their Websites (Part 2)’.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

(For one of the multitude of restaurant reviewing sites out there. E.G. Restaurantica, Eatability Food and Drink Guide, or Restaurant Rants)

Some would say the USA doesn’t have any good healthy food. I’m not going to argue that point. I’m sure there is some out there, but in the meantime here in Melbourne, Australia, I was interested in finding some ‘greasy spoon’ fare (as we like to call it back in Atlanta, Georgia, USA where my biological father still lives.)  After visiting several establishments around town, where either the burgers were too small or too expensive, I found and enjoyed the Soda Rock.

greasy spoon

A typical 'Greasy Spoon' diner in the good ol' USA.

(Thanks to Omar Omar’s Photostream for use of this image via Creative Commons.)

Now let it be known this reviewer has been diagnosed with fatty liver disease, and the fact I lived my first ten tender years in the States may have something to do with it. However, on occasion I get a hankering for some junk food, and on this particular day my desires were happily satiated.

The Soda Rock is a typical American style diner, complete with plastic-covered booths and mini-jukeboxes at each table. It costs a dollar for two songs and the music is all 1950’s pop, soul, rock and country. A life-sized Elvis Presley stands watching over you as you attempt to digest chilli dogs, Sloppy Joe’s, onion rings, BLTs and chilli fries. Don’t try and dance right after eating this kind of food! Speaking of dancing, every once in a while a specified song will get played from a jukebox resulting in the entire kitchen crew taking to the floor to trounce about singing well known lyrics like Aretha Franklin’s, ‘R, E, S, P, E, C, T, Respect yourself!’

I ordered a Hubcap Burger combo with a side of French fries and Dr. Pepper drink. The burger tasted like a burger should, unlike most hamburgers served around Australia, or the rest of the world for that matter. I’m not saying I haven’t had awesome burgers elsewhere. In fact, the best burgers I’ve ever eaten were in Japan and Bali! But this kind of burger has a certain greasy taste melded with a squishy bun and American mustard, raw onions and ketchup, which is just plain unique.

Burger

This is a BURGER, a real hamburger, American style.

(Thanks to the Pointnshoot’s Photostream for use of this image via Creative Commons.)

The fries were good too, so I decided to order a chilli dog. Most Aussies won’t know what American chilli is, and if it’s made well, it’s a delicious treat. I can’t tell you how great this one was, because I was already too stuffed and should have stopped eating earlier. This is the curse of ‘greasy spoon’ cooking. You often can’t stop eating until you’re full. After a big night of drinking and liver destruction, this type of food binds all the crud in your guts so you can live another day. Hopefully, it’s more than just one day.

You can eat a Big Bopper, a grilled cheese and ham sandwich, American pancakes, cheese fries, tater tots, a chocolate malted, a blue heaven cookie shake, a raspberry float, a banana split or a rocky road sundae. If you don’t know what any of these things are, go check it out, but beware, there’s a reason Americans are the most obese people in the world!

obese

If I ate a Hubcap burger everyday...

(Thanks to Tobyotter’s Photostream for use of this image via Creative Commons.)