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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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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

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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

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One of the changing points in my life was twelve years ago when I met my good friend and teacher Matthew Ceeda ‘Takdeem Proceedor’ Andersen. He proceeded to teach me how to play the didgeridoo, or as the Australian indigenous creators of this mystical and spiritual instrument refer to it: the yirdaki. My good friend Ceeda passed away suddenly about two and a half years ago at the tender age of 34 years (the age I am now), but I still play the didgeridoo, and I dedicate the songs to him whenever I play.

If you know anything about didgeridoos in Australia (you probably don’t!), you would have heard the name, Djalu Gurruwiwi. Djalu is known amongst yirdaki makers and players as the true master of the trade. He was also a very renowned player in his younger years, but in old age has lost much of his ability due to a debilitating condition to his vocal chords. Djalu has said the misfortune was the result of his refusal to pay a clansman who then placed a ceremonial malediction upon him.

Here are a couple of interesting articles about this little-known legend living under the noses of an otherwise unaware Australian populace:

‘I got more power, not enough for everybody – the life of Djalu’ Gurruwiwi and yirdaki.’

‘Djalu Gurruwiwi – Abridged Biography’

This is Djalu making a didgeridoo from scratch:

Djau’s son playing one of his father’s creations:

After one minute in this video, you can see and hear the man himself blowing life through the hollow tree:

 

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I’m not joking.

If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you may have come to a realisation that it’s not quite as easy as you might’ve thought to get people to come and read your opinions, facts, and ideas. No matter how great your content is people first have to know about it. With over 50 million blogs and growing on planet Earth, not to mention all the other incredible aspects of the Internet that can take up one’s time, it’s no wonder that people just don’t know you exist. I like writing about the social and human side of blogging, what blogs can do for our evolution as an intelligent species. However, if you want to know about how to get readers or make even money from your blog, one place to go is Problogger. Now a small team of writers, but once a one person affair (Darren Rowse of Australia), Problogger has made quite a name for itself (Rated 69 on Technorati and growing daily) as the place to go for detailed information on how to get your blog out into the community.

With its tagline as ‘Make Money Online with Problogger Blog Tips’ you can see what part of the market this blog is aimed at, and with its current popularity and respectability it’s not hard to see that it’s been right on target in its mission to help people become popular, money-making bloggers. Darren Rowse makes a living from Problogger so he stands as direct evidence that his tips and beliefs about blogging work well. Most people want to make money, and as blogging is a new place/way of achieving some financial success, a lot of people are interested in hearing ways of ‘making it’ in the Blogosphere.

I can be a sceptic at times, and upon my first visit was actually a bit put off by Problogger’s very forward approach to money-making. A lot of people in this day-and-age want to tell us easy ways to ‘get-rich-quick’…we have to be very wary of con-artists and fraudulent gurus. However, refreshingly, Darren Rowse tells it like it is-making money from blogs is not easy. It will take you a lot of time and hard work, so if you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves and get ‘dirty’, don’t even bother trying to make a living from blogging. Of course my focus on blogging has always been more about the awesome new relationships, connections, interaction, and sharing of ideas and information that blogs have got to offer. To be part of this new social process you don’t need to have a focus on money…or do you? It’s a paradox. The only way people will know you exist is if you stand out from the crowd, attracting traffic, links, and comments. Thus, you have to become popular.

You’ve got to be known to interact with the world, and you’ve got to be known to make money from advertising etc. Therefore, you may as well make popularity your goal for all intensive purposes. Problogger has a huge archive of articles, but just on the front page you can find very useful boxes of popular linked posts in the areas of ‘Introduction Key Articles’ and the ‘Tips and Hints Toolbox’. In the introductory section there’s a great list (Mr. Rowse loves making numbered lists!) entitled ‘Lessons I’ve Learnt’, which is a huge fountain of knowledge derived from all of the Problogger’s previous experiences packed into 18 handy lessons. Read it. I’m not joking.

Another couple of cool links were the ones for ‘Top 20 posts at Problogger’ and from the ‘Tips and hints toolbox’, ‘Writing Content Tips’. Have a read and see if any questions jump out at you. Some of the tips he mentions involve going to a lot of different websites/social networking tools and getting set up at each. For some of us technophobes, this can all sound a little daunting at times. Still, one step at a time, and if your content and style are interesting, I can’t see why so many more of us can’t become ‘Pro Bloggers’. Do you think you can make it ‘Pro’?

Flying through the blue skies, this pro skateboarder is taking his skill to the limit. Can you do the same with your blog?

Jesse S. Somer is an amateur blogger (Darren Rowse had 1,500 posts after 1 year and still considered his blog to be a ‘baby’) who would like to connect more with others of similar interests. Anyone interested in the social effects of blogging?

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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I’ve had some problems in the past with being too critical of others and myself, so I’ve been working at being more tolerant and compassionate. However, when it comes to reviewing blogs one has to put on the cap of the critic and tell the story of how you really think it goes. Thus far on Blogspoke I’ve mainly written quite positive reviews, choosing to steer away from negativity as I feel it usually does no good for the world. Today though, I wish to express my mixed feelings about a certain popular blog written by a movie/TV star named Zach Braff. Check out http://www.zachbraff.com/.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Braff is quite a good actor. If you don’t know of his name offhand, he was in the popular film ‘Garden State’ (I liked the scene where his Grandma sews him a shirt out of excess material from her new curtains.), and plays a lead role in the TV series ‘Scrubs’ (My Mum watches it every week). The thing is, Zach Braff’s blog is quite popular, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think its popularity has anything to do with blogging.

When you go to Braff’s blog, right away you’re hit by the professional graphic design of his blog’s front page. Whoever designed it knew what they were doing. It’s even got cool little icons that move when you scroll your mouse over them, like an RSS blimp link that floats around and even has a shadow underneath it. Very inventive…but what are blogs about? I thought they were about content. Let’s look at Zach’s writing (I hope he doesn’t mind me talking about him on a first name basis). Well what have we got? Almost nothing. Yet each time he does splash a few words on the page telling readers how he’s sorry he hasn’t written in so long, or simply selling us on his new TV show or movie, he gets 500-1000 comments on each post. Why?

Braff was originally on the A-list at ‘Blogebrity’, that controversial list from a few years back that said ‘who was who’ in the Blogosphere. He currently ranks 2,720 out of over 55 million blogs on Technorati…Why is it so? He’s only posted 6 times (and a couple of them are 2-liners) since September 2006. I think I might’ve figured it out. I read some of the blog’s multitude of comments.

Unlike the ‘Dilbert Blog‘ whose creator Scott Adams-famous for his cartoon character, tells us what he thinks about the world, funny anecdotal stories, and never even mentions his work on the cartoon that made him famous, Braff’s blog seems to simply be a place for fans to tell him how great he is. He says a few lines about how awesome his new show will be, and literally bucket-loads of teenage sweethearts (I am assuming) tell him how much they like it, and how much they admire him. If you’re looking for interesting content and comments relating to it, this is definitely not the place to go.

So, is there anything wrong with this picture? I guess not. There aren’t any real rules to what a blog has to be like-it’s one of the newest forms of work/media/fun/hobby in the world today. No one said that blogs from famous people have to exhibit their personality. I just think it’s cool when they do. It’s nice to see the human face behind the red carpet façade.

Zach Braff may know how to act like a doctor on TV, but does that mean he can act like a blogger too?

Jesse S. Somer hasn’t got much of a pretty face or a fan base. However, the few comments on his blog have been related to the content.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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