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Archive for the ‘Shared SEO information and experience’ Category

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!

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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

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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

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If your blogging experience is anything like mine has been, you might also be saying to yourself, ‘How do I really get to meet other bloggers of like-mind who have similar interests? I have found it to be pretty hard searching for blog topics using keywords at Google. The answer to this challenge may come down to an age-old process practiced for millennia: networking. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is what my parents always said when it came to business or finding employment. Now I’m learning that it’s the same in the Blogosphere.

I have come across many well-written blogs in my travels. However, quite a large percentage of them remain relatively hidden under the radar, unknown to most of humanity. When blogging, it’s such a great feeling to know that people are reading your thoughts and ideas. It’s even better when they leave comments hoping to start a dialogue. After participating in these ‘relationships’ it can be quite disheartening to have to go through ‘quiet’ periods with little (if any) interaction. So, how do we find people who write about similar topics? From my recent experiences I’d have to say that this desired networking is being done at blogging communities or blogrings, of which I’ve written about previously: ‘Xanga Blogrings: An attempt to find others like you.

Though I wrote about these communities a while back, I thought I’d still try and make it on my own. I’ve spent a lot of timing searching for bloggers to relate with, not to mention commenting at other blogs to try and start ‘blog friendships’. It’s been hard. Just like real life, you can’t make someone want to know you. There has to be a point of connection; a reason why you feel like sharing each other’s space. You have to feel like you’re on the same ‘wavelength’. Recently I had a chat with a friend who said that he’d recently joined a blogging community of sorts called Zaadz. I checked out his new site and then did some research on how these communities work. It’s pretty cool and I really think that this has to be one of the main ways in which bloggers are ‘meeting’ each other on the Internet.

At Zaadz, you have to create a profile of yourself. There are several categories including Interests, Heroes, Teachers, Books, Music, and Movies in which you fill out. Your answers automatically become hyper-links. Let’s say that I put one of my interests as being ‘meditation’. After the word ‘meditation’ has become a hyperlink, when I click on it, it will take me to a page of ‘Zaadsters’ photographs who all listed ‘meditation’ as an interest. There you go: It’s an automatic connection. You already know that you have at least one common interest with a whole group of people. Cool. There’s also an awesome photo facility on Zaadz. Check it out, and check out the Zaadz philosophy on their Home page as well as the ‘thinkarete.themanifesto’ written by the site’s CEO, both of which contain inspiring ideas that make this community look worthy.

Recently I was sent an email from someone asking me to join the blogging community at Blogmemes. A while back I joined a website called Mybloglog, but I’d completely forgotten about it. It seems (I assume) that this blogger found my profile there (which has a cool little picture of MiContent on it) when searching for keywords relating to their interests. All I had to do was click on the link in my email and I was part of the community. Unbeknownst to me, Mybloglog has thousands of blogging communities within its one site.

Today I went to my Mybloglog profile after doing a little searching around yesterday of bloggers that I was told had visited my blog, one of which had called themselves an ‘admirer’. Interesting. Today it seems that one of the bloggers I visited called BlogBloke has added me to his community at Techbloke. I don’t think I joined of my own volition. This could be a problem…shouldn’t I be the one to choose who I want to relate to? There’s also a means to ask others to be friends or contacts. If someone whose writing you like also likes your writing/content, they’ll agree to make a connection. I like this reciprocal approach.

This all seems pretty great but I have noticed that some people are part of hundreds of communities, let alone being friends with thousands of individual bloggers. This causes some suspicion on my behalf. What are the intentions of these ‘ultra-networkers’? It’s hard enough having a handful of friends in reality. I seriously doubt that anyone has time to consistently read thousands of blogs. Could this be a case of blog gold-digging or social-climbing? I’d like to communicate with a lot of people about subjects that interest me, but I don’t think I can relate to that many people. Then again, I can talk to just about any type of person when I ride the train.

Jesse S. Somer is going to go deeper into the Blogosphere by joining in blogging communities. Human beings are social creatures. Why did I ever think that my writing alone would create relationships?

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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I’m usually quite an optimistic writer when it comes to the Internet, blogging, and information technologies. I’ve written over 180 articles on these subjects and it’s a rare occasion that I ever focus on the negative side of things. I guess I need to be an optimist; I really have faith that these new forms of human communication and collaboration are going to help our species evolve its collective social consciousness to a level where we are much more in tune with each other and the world around us. However, I guess because of the nature of the Universe, it being composed of equal parts positive and negative forces (as represented in the Chinese symbol ‘Yin Yang’), there had to be a time where my perspective shifted towards the other end of the spectrum. That time is now. I still love what I do and all that humanity has achieved, but lately I can’t help but focus on the many ways in which we have failed to reach a functioning level in terms of simplicity of design with these new technologies. Technology is meant to be simple and easy so that the masses can partake in its wonder and utilise its power. Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost our bearings. Let me tell you about my day today.

My last post was entitled, ‘I can’t find the kinds of blogs that I’d like to read. Help me!’ and it typifies how my interaction with computers and the Internet has been lately. In that post I talk about the terrible experience I had when I decided to search for blogs written about Kung Fu. That is only the beginning of the tale. This TED Talk by David Pogue that I just listened to about the simplicity (or lack thereof) of design in modern technology exemplifies my current mental state. He particularly likes to focus on the stupidity of many Microsoft creations like Windows and Word, but I’m going to take a much broader approach with my criticisms. For me, things don’t really relate to only one company or technology, although admittedly I do use a Mac (which if you have one, you will know that it can be hard to be a Mac user in a world full of Microsoft and Linux users) so it seems I unwittingly chose a hard road for myself. My issues stretch in all directions and are not prejudiced against anyone in particular. What I am feeling is a deep questioning in terms of the integrity and fallibility of human designers who are behind a lot of what has been produced for our society. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve got the brains – but are we using them?

Yesterday I went to my girlfriend’s university to use the Internet, as my office at home was extremely hot and I needed some cool air conditioning to get my brain functioning. The students in the computer labs wouldn’t shut up, but that’s another story completely. My thumb drive that I store much of my work on no longer works on nearly all of the computers in the library – only one row of very old ones, in an area that is quite noisy. My thumb drive does work in the computer labs however … Why is it so?

I just got a new RSS Reader for my Mac; I downloaded it free online. See my previous post ‘RSS Readers: Why don’t you have one? Are you crazy?’ Well, for some reason I keep trying to add blogs to this ‘Shrook’ Reader and it just won’t take them. The blog sites say that they have RSS feeds available and yet they either simply don’t work, or I get a message saying that it can’t read the XML.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a program called Workrave that tells you automatically when you should take a break from your computer so that you don’t get Repetitive Strain Injury in your wrists. He owns an Optometry Clinic with his wife (she’s the optometrist) and uses this program, but in the context of relieving strain on the eyes. Of course it won’t work on a Mac, only Windows and Linux. I tried getting a few Mac equivalents like ‘Type-Break-Mode’, but couldn’t easily find where I could download it. You know when you hit on a Google link with your desired key words and you get a page of html computer code? That happened repeatedly. Repeatedly …

My brother gave me a program called Irip, which is supposed to let you download your songs off of your Ipod onto your Itunes program in your computer (when Apple made the Ipod they only wanted songs to be able to travel one way, computer to MP3 player). It’s supposed to be easy. I must be an idiot because I can’t get it to work! Are you getting my drift here?

Then there’s the issue of content on the Internet. I found a list of blogs about blogging that supposedly originated from Technorati CEO David Sifry at a blog called ‘I’m Blogging This’. Most of these blogs only touch on blogging, and some of them have nothing to do with it at all. I looked up literary blogs (I like reading books and want to get a list of other bloggers with similar interests) to see if I’d have any more luck than with my Kung Fu blog search debacle. I found this really cool web page that lists heaps of literary blogs: ‘The Complete Review’s Links to Literary Weblogs‘. The funny thing is that my search engine didn’t provide this list. No way. The only reason that a comprehensive list like this one even exists is because some individual human beings put the effort in to compile it themselves. The search engine spiders don’t have one up on simple human endeavours. Prove me wrong people!

I love technology. It needs to be simple to use. The people who make it are thinking too much. It’s all too complex, varied, random, and disassociated from meaning. KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Jesse S. Somer is not the brightest kid on the block. He needs the processes of ‘future’ technologies to be created with simpletons like him in mind.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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Supposedly there are over 55 million blogs in the world, and this number is growing exponentially everyday. One would assume that with this massive amount of online journals that just about every topic known to humanity would have someone writing about it. This does not seem to be the case, and there could be many reasons for it. Here are a few of my theories on the matter: Firstly, blogging might still be so young that there’s no way all topics could have been covered thus far. Secondly, it seems the bulk of bloggers out there are writing about the same things, namely politics. Thirdly, and most importantly (I believe), if there are blogs on the subjects I’m interested in, Google doesn’t seem to be able to give them to me.

Let me give you an example. I’m interested in kung fu. I’ve been studying Tai Chi and Kung Fu for over 12 years. As I’ve been writing about blogs I like and don’t like, I thought I’d take the next obvious step and start searching for blogs that relate to all of my specific personal interests. So, I typed ‘Kung fu blogs’ into my Google search engine expecting to see a comprehensive list of martial arts bloggers come up. If you’ve tried similar searches you will know the result of my experience: almost nothing showed up. Google said that it had found 1,780,000 links with the words ‘kung fu blogs’ used on the World Wide Web. However, I was lucky to find a couple of actual blogs – and they were nothing to write home about – very average indeed.

With so many links out there, why did I end up feeling so discouraged and unfulfilled? The answer is quite simple – at least it seems to be. People say the words ‘kung fu’ and ‘blog’ all the time on the Internet … but hardly ever together; and hardly in the context that I’m looking for. People call themselves the ‘Kung Fu Monkey’ and then have no actual affiliation with martial arts whatsoever. Others love kung fu movies and so they make websites filled with long lists of the films they’ve seen and loved.

The result for me is a quagmire of disassociated terms. It’s like I’m sitting next to a black hole in space and all the verbal conversations of the Universe are flying space garbage going past my ears, quickly being sucked into nothingness (as ‘nothingness’ is actually about how relevant any of their meanings are to me). Oh of course there are some terms that I know, but they are so jumbled up and arbitrary in their expression that they may as well be gibberish spoken in a foreign tongue.

There’s something wrong with Google (and I assume other search engines). It gives you the text words that you’ve searched for, but it often doesn’t find you the MEANING that you desire. There has to be a better way for me to get the exact content that I need right at the top of my search query lists. I mean if you go even further, who’s to say that if there actually was a long list of kung fu blogs to read through that I’d even find the types of writing I can relate to and enjoy/learn from?

If I’m a mature-aged academic looking to read about the health benefits of kung fu, I’m not going to feel grateful if I have to search through pages and pages of teenagers talking about how cool it is to be able to do a flying side kick. Conversely, if I’m a woman looking to learn self-defence, I’m not going to be too enthused by reading blogs from guys talking about how great they were at the last form competition or belt-ranking ceremony.

We need to be able to easily find the exact content and writing style relating to the context of the terms that we’re searching for. In this instance, I would like to have read blogs from intelligent kung fu practitioners about different ways to improve one’s skills and training. If I could read blogs from masters or teachers that’d be even better. Are people not writing about this one tiny topic (I’m guessing kung fu is quite insignificant in terms of popularity when compared to video games, information technologies, and politics), or am I simply unable to find these bloggers with the current technologies available to me? Either way, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I spend my valuable time searching for knowledge, only to end up feeling lost, when at the start of my Internet blogging quest I was curious, confident, and filled with excited anticipation.

Here’s an interesting thought. If you type ‘Kung Fu Blogs’ into Google after I make this post, there’s a good chance it will come up on the list of links (I did write the words ‘Kung Fu’ many times throughout this piece). If you were someone like me looking for ideas from teachers or masters, would you be satisfied with this link?

Jesse S. Somer is but a grasshopper in the world of kung fu. However, when it comes to his blogging experience, he knows exactly what he wants from the Blogosphere.

When searching for blogs I like, I often feel I’m only chasing after shadows of the ideas I hoped to find … and in the end, my hands come up empty.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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Yesterday I had quite a new experience as a blogger and I’m wondering how I feel about it. Friends of mine wanted me to try out some new software on my blog, and they’d said it would be simple and easy. It wasn’t. You see, I may have a blog, but that doesn’t mean I know too much about technology – in particular computer programming, code, etc. I have a blog so I can write about my thoughts; I don’t want to have to spend too much time figuring out how things work – I just want to be able to spend my time (which I believe is quite valuable no matter who you are) doing the things I enjoy. My friends are computer programmer – types who just can’t seem to understand this distinction. They think that ‘serious bloggers’ should all have web-developing skills and that all it takes is a bit of curiosity to figure things out like pasting some Java code into your blog. Sorry. I disagree.

Bloggers want to write. They are passionate about what they write and because in modern society we often have busy lives, they like to blog any chance they can get – that is of course assuming they’ve got something new they feel they want to share with the world. I don’t know about other bloggers, but from my research and reading of hundreds or even thousands of blog posts since I started the MiContent Blog, I’ve made one simple discovery – or at least a hypothesis. Bloggers are normal people. Bloggers are mothers and fathers, business people, hobbyists, sports lovers, political enthusiasts; you name it, when it comes to bloggers, there’s room for every kind of person on the globe – and that is how it has evolved. A recent comment on this blog mentioned that no two bloggers are alike. How true, how true this is.

I think sometimes the people (the very small fraction of the one billion people currently on the Internet, or 55 million bloggers) who create information technologies often have a little trouble seeing outside the technological box that has become their place of existence. They use html and Java code so regularly that it has become a language for them, just like learning Japanese has been for me. However, I don’t make the assumption that anyone else wants to learn Japanese, and rightly so, for when I mention that I’ve been learning the language people are often greatly surprised or impressed. They know or imagine learning a second language as being extremely difficult. Science has even dictated that one needs to develop a certain part of the brain for language in order to speak in multiple tongues.

So why do software developers presume that the average everyday blogger wants anything to do with writing, copying, or pasting computer language code? For them it may seem simple and easy; they speak the language fluently. All it takes is a bit of ‘curiosity’ and reading/research/tweaking with things…but for me, and I presume for most bloggers who simply want to write – they don’t want to have anything to do with the codes behind the technology. What do you think? Do you think all people on the Internet should know how to use computer languages? I think it is definitely near-sighted and presumptuous to believe so. If we want to know this stuff, we’ll go study it at school. For now, we want to blog – and we want it to be a simple and easy process.

I’ve seen blogging grandmas out there. Do these tech-people really think Granny wants to have to learn anything even slightly complex or new just to write, put photos up, and communicate with the world? No way, and guess what? I don’t really want to either. Leave that to the tech-heads…us normal humans need things to be simple and easy. We’ve got enough on our plates in this modern, contemporary life as it is. Web developing and blogging are two totally different games. Hey, honestly I’m a little proud I even attempted to work with code…in the past whenever I saw the stuff I got itchy and nervous.

Jesse S. Somer says leave computer code for the developers. Bloggers just want to blog.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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