20
Sep 13

What Exactly Is SEO

I am writing this post as there often seems to be confusion regarding what exactly SEO is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. What it means simply is optimising your website’s structure, content and appeal for the search engines. The process is targeted to specific search queries (the words people type into Google) that are relevant to your website (and by extension your products, business and industry).

A well run SEO program will see you website listed on the top half of page 1 on Google for the most important search queries people use, when looking for your products and queries. On top of this, a well run SEO campaign will ensure your website provides search engine users with the information they are looking for, when they use Google. IE. Your website content answers their search questions, so the person on Google does not have to keep looking for what they need.

These results can be observed by a Google search and typically by an increase in website visitors. Once this result has been achieved, your SEO partner should be shown gratitude for a job well done. If you would like some help with your SEO, please leave your details at the Ocean Feather website, we’d love to help.

What SEO is not though is an increase in conversions. Sure, an increase in visitors to your website should naturally lead to an increase in enquiry, it does not always happen that way. If you have a really bad website, it just might not convert visitors into enquiries. A well run SEO campaign will really highlight this to you, but it won’t help with conversions. If this is the case, its time to look at your website. Does it present professionally? Are your contact details obvious? Can people find the information they need easily? Does it work well on smart phones? Do you have a clear offer and call to action? There are many other things that can impact conversions on a website.

As a business owner, you should be reviewing all these questions regularly as part of your ongoing marketing, but if your website is not converting despite successful SEO, don’t beat up your SEO guy, he has done a good job for you. Work with him instead and see if he has any website conversion advice, or knows someone who does.

SEO isn’t a fix for a bad business either. IE. If your website is making sales, but your sales are not profitable, all SEO will do is send you broke faster. In this case, you should probably stop SEO immediately and rather spend your money on business coaching.

So thats it for Friday afternoon. A quick lesson on what exactly SEO is. You can go and enjoy your weekend now.


12
Sep 13

Redirecting Domain Names and SEO

A question I am commonly asked is whether there is any value in Google marketing, in registering a keyword rich domain name and then redirecting that domain name to your website. So to paint a picture with an example, lets say the I wanted to focus on the search phrase “digital marketing workshops” for an upcoming series of seminars I had. Should I go and register the URL www.digitalmarketingworkshops.com.au, not put a website on it but rather, redirect it straight to the home page of the Ocean Feather website.

To answer this question specifically, there is absolutely no strategic or SEO benefit in doing this. The Ocean Feather website will not benefit, nor will the new domain. The only thing that will happen is if someone types in the entire domain into the URL section of their browser, they will redirect to the Ocean Feather website. The occasion of this happening is pretty remote.

The reason for this is there is no website on the URL. There is no content. There is no traffic or visitors. Google knows this. They are not going to list a URL in their results, that has no information on it. The guys at Google are pretty clever. They can work out the domain is empty. So if you intend on registering a domain, devise a proper strategy on how you will use that domain, devise a plan for the website you will build on it.

As a general comment, if this type of strategy crosses your mind, instead of trying to find tricky things to help your performance in Google, shortcuts to get you there faster, why not add value to your website. Write a blog post you are proud to share with your colleagues. Try and improve the features on your site so your bounce rate decreases. Do something that will add lasting value to your website and your web visitors and see how that improves your performance in Google.

I am sure you will find the result much more satisfying and long term.


31
Jul 13

Content, Backlinks and SEO

I went to a marketing workshop last week which was put on by a person who was a marketing expert, but someone who clearly does not have much expertise in the Google equation of digital. Overall, I was quite impressed with the content of the workshop, it was well run and informative. But I was disappointed with the information presented on the Google side of things, particularly SEO and AdWords. So I thought I’d write this post (and the next post on her AdWords “advice”) incase you’ve received similar information.

Her premise was that the Google penguin changes basically broke the need for building backlinks in optimising your website for search marketing. Her proof was that after blogging for 5 years, after the Penguin 2.0 changes, she now ranked on page 1 for a couple of search phrases. Wow – I can imagine pitching that to a client. “You want to get to page 1 of Google – no problem. Lets blog for 5 years then we should be there for a handful of phrases”.

This is insane. SEO really is a results driven strategy. Its scientific. You follow the science and you get solid page 1 Google positions in a reasonably timely fashion. There is no reason a professional marketing consultant could not rank their business page 1 for 20 – 30 keywords in 3 – 6 months, if following the science.

So what is the science? Well, today, without getting too technical, there are three broad parts to SEO. These are:

  • Amazing content – all SEO work must start (but not finish) with amazing content that is presented optimally on your website, with all meta information done well. 
  • A naturally developed backlink profile consistent with Google’s quality guidelines
  • Obtaining social proof

Google’s Penguin and Panda changes did not remove the need for any of these items, rather they were and are aimed at cleaning up the junk being published (both with website content and link building techniques) and encouraging people to focus on quality every time. You need quality information on your website. You need quality content updates through your blog. You need to share this information through your social networks, who hopefully will be full of quality people AND you need to build your backlink profile on quality sites, within quality information and in line with Google’s quality guidelines.

Without a quality link building strategy, you still just will not rank.


05
Jul 13

How To Figure Out If SEO Will Work For Your Business

In the digital marketing world, one thing we have an over-abundance of is information and statistics. You can get almost any amount of information and data you need to make super-informed decisions about marketing. This is really important to know when it comes to making decisions about search marketing, about SEO and SEM initiatives. Once you know decision making data is available to you, you can get this data and use it to help you make decisions. This blog post will summarise some of the data you can turn to if you are thinking about making an investment in SEO.

Page 1 Google

The first thing you can get an awareness of are the human behavioral studies undertaken on how people navigate search results. You can get an understanding of how many people on average click through positions 1 – 10 on page 1 of Google. There are many studies out there with this information – I am not going to replicate the info here, other than to say the information is quite interesting. The drop in traffic per position on Google is important to understand.

Keyword Traffic Volumes

The second thing to understand is how many people are searching for your products and services on a monthly average basis. You can do this by using Google’s free AdWords Keyword Tool. Search for this tool on Google, its really easy to find. Then enter your main keyword and set your search location. Google will then spit out data on many variations of your industry keywords, each with competition metrics, plus monthly global and local search volumes – on every keyword people are using that is related to the root keyword you entered.

Website Traffic Estimate

Once you see how many people are searching on your keywords and also how many people on average click through the various positions on Google, you can calculate roughly how many additional people will visit your website, when it is listed on each position on page 1 Google, for each keyword. So you can look at SEO and calculate an average improvement in website traffic, for each better Google position you achieve, for every keyword variation you achieve this for. Writing that is a bit of a mouthful – it simply means you can predict the extra visitors SEO is likely to send to your website.

Understanding Your Website

Unless you have a brand new website, you should have a good understanding of how effectively your website converts visitors into enquiries. If you don’t understand this, have a look at your statistics over the last 3 months. How many unique people visited your website? How many enquiries did this generate? How many sales did these enquiries result in? What was the profit on those sales?

Understanding this information is not perfect, as some keywords will convert to sales better than others. However is does give you good indicative information when thinking about increases in traffic.

Putting It All Together

So from the above, you can get an understanding of:

  1. The percentage of traffic that goes through each of the top 10 positions of Google
  2. The number of searches the keywords in your industry generate
  3. So you can work out how much additional traffic successful SEO will send to your website
  4. You know how many enquiries traffic on average generates for your business
  5. You know how these enquiries turn into sales and profit
  6. So you can work out how much money a successful SEO campaign is likely to make you
  7. Keep in mind that SEO positions don’t shift very fast once achieved and therefore you are likely to get the benefits of the additional traffic for the long term
  8. You can work out how much profit over the SEO investment you are likely to make, before you make a decision on whether or not to do SEO

We actually provide this information to all our clients before we bring them on to do SEO with us. If you would like to understand this type of information about your website and business as you are considering SEO, ask for one of our free SEO audits at www.oceanfeather.com.au and we will take you through it all, in a relevant and specific to your business manner.


27
Jun 13

Don’t Publish Duplicated Content

One of the challenges I have found with building websites and running SEO campaigns for clients has always been getting quality, original information from clients, for their websites and blogs. I get it. Writing is time consuming and requires a level of creativity and skill. It’s a real challenge.

The problem is though, particularly with Google’s penguin and panda algorithm upgrades, producing original AND quality information for your website and updating your blog is a now a mandatory requirement if you want to market your website on Google.

If you are considering copying someone else’s information or rehashing what is on another website, you are really going to struggle to ever market your offering on Google.

I have written a more in depth article on the subject of Google and duplicate content on the Ocean Feather blog. You can read the article here: