ALT attributes for images

Google’s Matt Cutts explains ALT attributes for images

Google’s Matt Cutts recently posted a video about how to use ALT attributes for images

The ALT attribute provides alternative or substitute text, for use when the image cannot be seen by a visually impaired person or by a search engine.

In both cases they can’t see the image so you have to describe it in a way that tells them what the image shows. For example if it’s a photo of a Siamese cat than you might use:

<img src=”cat.jpg” alt=”siamese cat”>

This is great for the visually impaired person and also for SEO purposes because the search engine engine has a label to attach to that photo for use in their Image search.

For more information, I’ll handover to Matt’s video (3min 10sec):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NbuDpB_BTc&rel=1&border=0]

Google

How to start a search engine marketing campaign

Why start a search engine marketing campaign?
Buying traffic for the sake of buying traffic will send you broke. The reason is because it isn’t targeted, so you will only get people coming to your website that just leave. Buying just any traffic is like putting up a T.V. ad, you are shooting millions of arrows out to try and hit a prospect. The answer to not wasting your money is to target specific users and prequalify your traffic.

Target specific users – Market to people who are interested in your product. Michael Kiely taught me to “Fish where the fish are”. I took out of that advertise where people are looking for your products. Search engine marketing targets the people who are interested in your products because the visitor types in what they are searching for. The user makes their intentions clear that they are searching for “a way to save my marriage”, keyword typed in = “Save Marriage Book”. Before the user goes to your website they tell you what products they want to see. If your product matches what they want to see you can easily market your product to them.

Prequalify your audience – Buying advertising on a performance basis is a great start but you still don’t want to be paying for traffic that is not sent to your website for the right reason. Getting a user to do something like typing in a query makes the traffic more qualified. Users actually have to search for your ads.

I recommend buying search engine marketing traffic as the first thing to do. The reason is that you can keep your budgets low, ($100 per month) and you can keep the campaign small and manageable to determine what results you get.

How to start your search engine marketing campaign to get instant traffic

Step 1 – Choose your search engine: I recommend starting with Google because it accounts for around 70% of the Australian search engine market traffic. Yahoo and Ninemsn each account for around 12% each and the minor other search engines account for the remainder.
Below is a snapshot from one of my clients websites that shows you the % of traffic they get from each of the search engines.

You can see from the above results that Google is the big Gorilla in the Australian search space so I always recommend you optimise first for it and buy Adwords first. After that consider Yahoo and Ninemsn.

Step 2 – Setup your campaign on Google
I have put a guide together to help you in 7 steps get your site live on google. Just go to www.StartSearchMarketing.com.au and follow the steps.
To begin you will need the following:

  1. A website – You need somewhere to send the traffic you will get from the search engine.
  2. A credit card – This is to pay for your ads.
www.StartSearchMarketing.com.au
Start your search marketing campaign now
Google

How to avoid search engines telling customers things you…

This morning I typed in Colorado into the search engine hoping to browse their lovely website and catalogue. I was absolutely shocked when I saw the second listing in Google:

“webstore is closing” – this was followed by a website which was an email folder which lead to a broken link.

google search for colorado

The website itself at present has no content, and you can’t browse to that folder. Google has slipped through the cracks of the website and has found some content that it feels is important. If I were Colorado I would be concerned as to what links are lurking in the rest of their website!


3 ways to search engine optimise your website so that spiders don’t find your skeletons

  1. Add the pages and folders you don’t want visible in search engines to your robots.txt file eg:
    Disallow: /admin-access/
    Disallow: /cms-login/
  2. Make sure that pages like CMS login, administrator access etc that should only be accessible to the webmaster are not linked to from anywhere on your site.
  3. Use your Google Webmaster tools account to submit a URL removal request
Google

Warning, Are you ignoring Your Desperate Customers Searching for…

During the evening my stomach hurt, but when I woke in the morning..

At 1:02am on Monday my stomach hurt so much that I felt like crying, I had no idea what was wrong. My father is an anaesthetist and I called him because he helps me out when I am really unwell. I told him my symptoms and he quickly diagnosed that it was my appendix that was in trouble. I live in Sydney and know of all the private hospitals, although I was in Melbourne for business and had no idea where or what the private hospitals were called. So I did like everyone else would and asked a mate for a recommendation, he said the Alfred Hospital was good in St Kilda so I went there.

At the same time as this I asked my dad to go on Google and find a private hospital in Melbourne, “Private Hospital Melbourne” was the keyword I muttered underneath my pain. Now, my dad couldn’t work out a private from a public hospital in the search engine as they had the worst search engine marketing in the world. I wasn’t exactly in a position to be reading a review as my pain was excruciating. I personally was desperate for care, I would have accepted an Indian backyard shop with a pocket knife if he was going to remove my appendix. The Price was not even a consideration. I would have re-mortgaged my apartment just to get under the knife.

I quickly got into a cab and hurled down the streets to the hospital only to find out it was a public hospital. I have had 2 operations in my life and this one has definitely been up there in the pain stakes. Its amazing how much you use your stomach muscles. I must say that the service speed has not been super at times but the nurses have been great. The food is hospital food and with some creative ordering you can get some nice stuff (I would recommend the spaghetti Bolognaise).

After my operation I heard a diagnosis from my surgeon who said apparently my appendix had actually burst and had created an abscise. My stomach had created a wall around it to stop it from infecting my entire stomach but was not in a good way. The extreme requirement of this situation was drastic although I could not find a single place on the internet for somewhere to fix it. It seems that the hospitals have turned a blind eye to people searching for a hospital to fix their condition in an emergency.

4 things I would immediately do if I were search engine marketing hospitals
  1. Buy Relevant keywords – Start buying up keywords for every single emergency condition and send them to a landing page with address details and a good guide on how to get there.
  2. Optimise the basics on your website – Display a clear title tag for each page. Especially information as to whether you are a private or public hospital.
  3. Put your details on Google Maps – Update your Google map details immediately so that people can quickly and easily find your premises.
  4. Search Optimise your website for emergency terms – Start optimising your website for all of your main services and the conditions they fix. Make sure you create pages optimised for human speak and not just doctor speak. “Appendix out” vs. “Appendectomy”. Emergency terms although it makes me a bit squeamish to say this are good money customers searching for services for hospitals, they need your service as a matter of life or death!

During my stay I have thought of a lot of ideas in terms of hospital marketing. Here are my initial 3 ideas. I am sure some of you entrepreneurs out there could build businesses out of these.

3 Killer ideas for web businesses that would make money in the hospital niche that are currently wide open
  1. Hospital Review website – The website reviews and takes in feedback from people who have used a hospital and makes recommendations. It also provides information and service provisions for the different hospitals.
  2. A directory of hospitals in every major city – A simple directory could bring in a lot of traffic from the travellers and I am sure could be a good audience to market to.
  3. A hospital survival Blog – There must be people out there who have mastered the art of going to hospital and having a superb time. There are so many little nuances and things you pick up over time. Like why doesn’t the tea lady bring me strawberry milk but they do bring the other patients exotic drinks. How do I upgrade my drinks?

Update: I have been discharged this Friday Morning at 10:24am from hospital and am now recovering in a hotel room. After 5 days in hospital I have had a whirlwind experience and look forward to catching up with you for some of my new online marketing strategies I came up with in my hospital bed! Ask me about my new landing page strategy.

Free stuff

Look over my shoulder as I search engine optimise…

Free Search Engine Optimisation Webinar Recording

Last week I did a webinar with SmartCompany and search engine optimised a few websites including:

Key elements we went through:

  1. Overall search engine optimisation performance of a website
  2. Keyword research and selecting profitable words
  3. Structuring your website for keywords
  4. Code optimisation
  5. Inbound Links

Bonus Questions answered
I also answered some very specific questions about search marketing that you can learn a lot from at the later 3rd of the webinar.

You can view the search engine optimisation webinar now.

News:

Freestyle Media adds Goodman Fielder to its speciality FMCG online marketing divison

Google

How To Handle Rapid Google Indexing

Last week I was reading Matt Cutts Blog and saw his report that:

The Google crawl/indexing team has continued working hard, and several people have noticed Google’s index getting fresher and fresher. Now some documents can show up in minutes instead of hours or days.

The day after that I published a product review on one of my blogs before lunch. After eating I Googled for the product name and was completely blown away to find that my new page was in the top 5 results with the words updated 36 min ago next to it.

Most people are used to waiting several days if not weeks for new pages on their website to appear in search engines and this can lead to complacency about checking spelling, grammar and broken links before publishing a new page.

With Google now indexing some sites literally within minutes the key message to take away is Quality Control. Get someone to read your page text and click through all the links before publishing

Google

How will the new changes in Google effect you?

What are the new Google changes (5th of July) and how do You Maintain and Improve Your Rankings?

1. Older domain name means better rankings? – Yes if your domain is older than 1 year it will more likely put you in stand for better rankings. This is a tough gig for any domain that is younger than 1 year and has great content. Best to get those landing pages up quickly and submissions to Google even while you are building the website.

2. More links pointing to your site means better rankings – Before if you had high quality links pointing to your website you would get better rankings. Google has slightly modified this and has given lots of links with little relevance more importance. I would suggest you increase your inbound links regardless of what changes in Google although start thinking about volume now too!

More changes will occur over the weekend and you will see your results move around quite a bit.

Make your opinion count!
Let me know how this has effected you?

Google

How to use Google to brainstorm your popular keywords…

Keyword Discovery with Google’s Free Tool

Mervat is starting a new website called “Viva La Frock” and is struggling to brainstorm her website keywords. She wrote me an email below:

“Hi Fred

I attended the seminar on Tuesday about Online Marketing which you did a great job of presenting!

I wanted to ask you, I am currently in the process of setting up my website and would like to start brainstorming my keywords for search engine optimization, and you were talking about some stats Google provides regarding most popular search words?? Did I hear this correctly? Or were you actually suggesting we jump on and search each of our own keywords to see what result it yields?”

Quick step guide to brainstorming your keywords

Here is a step by step guide to help you out:

  1. Yellow Pages Technique – To begin open up Microsoft excel and write down in the cells all the keywords you can possibily think of that might be relevant to your business. An easy way to do this is to imagine all of the categories your business might fall into in the Yellow Pages. They are normally pretty relevant keywords.
  2. Use some tools – Mervat when I said to use Google’s free tool what I was suggesting was that you use their free keyword suggestion tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) . It basically provides you with suggestions on what keywords are related to a keyword you enter and what keywords other people are typing in to search for with that keyword. If you use the keywords you brainstormed above and type them into the tool you will get a huge number of ideas.
    Google’s keyword suggestion tool https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
  3. Related keywords – Use a thesaurus or a lexical dictionary to figure out words that your target market might be interested in that you might want to also target. Like if you were selling “golf clubs” you might want to put “golf ball reviews”. Anyone who buys golf balls will need a golf club to hit them with!

I hope that clears some things up and points you in the right direction?

Resources
Another Keyword Discovery Tool
WordTracker is a more professional tool for keyword discovery although you need to pay for it. I would highly recommend it.