More South Coast SEO wins (and SEO fails!)

By | Batemans Bay, Bega, Bermagui, Canberra, Narooma, Narooma and South Coast, Search Engine Optimisation, South Coast, Web Design, Wordpress

Winning at Search Engine Optimisation

Commit to content and a long haul

I’d like to showcase two case studies of customers on our search term monitoring software. We built both websites, and optimised them for a range of website keywords.

Both sites were:

  • Built using similar on-page optimisation methods
  • Optimised for similar locality keywords (e.g South Coast, Batemans Bay, Narooma)
  • Hosted on the same high speed servers, on the same I.P address range
  • Enhanced with the same performance tweaks – caching, image optimisation, etc
  • Filled with great, well structured content, headings, page titles etc

A good start right? 

A very good start. In fact, we find in general, using the above points and a good content creation program that over time a website will be ranking on page one for not only for competitive keyword phrases, but a broad spectrum of “long tail” phrases within months (and sometimes weeks). Depending on the competition, if you adhere to a strategy where you deliver great content to a schedule, over 6-12 months you’re starting to look at #1 and #2 positions for these keywords. It’s not guaranteed, but the premise is pretty basic; it’s a long haul where provided your website is built well, content is king.

So without further ado, let’s look at some real results…

Customer #1

SEO WIN - South Coast search optimisation results chart

Good content, no quick fixes

The above image shows our clients rankings. Some key pointers – look at the column 2nd from the right, “Initial Rank”. This is the first value recorded for these search words before we began optimising the new site. Compare those to the “Current Rank” to see what the work has done. Loads right? Page 1 city!

Search term rankings are always in a state of flux, which is why we have “Current Rank” and “Highest Rank” to keep track of where we’re at. You can see here, the positioning for most terms is relatively stable, and mainly in the top 1-4 positions on Google.

 

Customer #2

SEO Failure - chart of rankings by competitor

Don’t try quick fixes…

The above image shows our other client’s rankings. Uh-oh.

This site was new, and had a new domain name – which admittedly gave it a tougher start. However, it was well on it’s way to ranking on page 1 – needing an estimated 2-3 months work to do so.  Unfortunately, the client was lured in by an email claiming to boost search rankings, and the client paid the down payment.

In this case, look at the “Highest Rank”. We’d placed the site on page 2 (some other, less common terms were on page 1) within weeks, for a brand new site and new domain (older sites with history rank with less effort). Now, in the last few weeks – after months of “optimisation” by an offshore SEO team, take a look at the Current Rank. They now have 90{7cc85a26184ee315c5bd7accd1f336d9c65e0bf9730b6541f835ca07ee6d1945} of the keyword terms sitting at page 9, 10 or beyond. That is what I would call a massive failure and waste of money. I don’t need to, but I’m tracking this so that I can provide my customer some evidence of this failure so that they can hopefully recoup some money one day.

Many of these search optimisation ‘experts’ have similar traits and do similar things:

  • They spam your email box
  • They cold call you
  • They are offshore
  • They offer zero accountability
  • They have aggressive sales tactics and techno-babble consumers
  • They spam the internet with dodgy content to boost your rankings – Google is not fooled
  • Their backlinks come from obscure sites and offer little value
  • and worse still, they might
    • register a new web address (because.. reasons, uh huh)  and redirect to it
    • build a new “optimised” site… unnecessarily
    • put you on some hosting plan, and trap you in
    • be mysteriously unavailable when you try to bail out

Sounds great! Where do I sign!

The crazy thing is, looking at the new, new site prepared for my client, I can see they removed all of the great built in optimisation we already provided, and the client had already paid for. To quote Gwen Stefani, this sh*t is bananas.

Moral of the story? Stick to a local provider who appears to know what they’re doing for your local keywords. And one that is actually accountable for their actions.

Ahem!

SEO chart - Fisse Design rankings

 

Eurobodalla Council – Moruya website workshop seminars

By | Batemans Bay, Bega, Bermagui, Canberra, Graphic Design, Narooma, Narooma and South Coast, Responsive and Mobile, Search Engine Optimisation, South Coast, Sydney and Melbourne, Web Design, Wordpress

Update – presentation materials from the Moruya Workshop – read more here, or download here:

I’m excited about the website workshop for small business in Moruya this Tuesday 17th of September. Entitled “Make your website work for you!” – Eurobodalla Council has introduced this initiative for local towns including, potentially Batemans Bay, Narooma and towns further south.

I must say I’m impressed by the Council’s efforts for educating enabling small businesses. Having operated small businesses on and off for over a decade, I’ve never seen these kind of programmes driven by councils in capital cities.

I’ve been contracted to run these seminars and looking very much forward to it.

Keeping discussion open and working through various activities, I’ll be taking attendees through these key topics:

  • Your Website’s Potential – some illustrated examples summarising the how’s and why’s of making money online.
  • Website Strategy – Fundamentals for website beginners, planning what a website is actually going to do, why and how.
  • Driving Traffic to your Site – SEO, Pay Per Click advertising, Social Media and Offline Marketing
  • Maximising Conversions – Examples of good and bad sites, user experience essentials and tips for max conversions.
  • Measuring Success – Analytics and the importance of benchmarks, goals and measuring what works.
  • Maintenance and Performance Optimisation – The importance of content, keeping sites up to date and goal orientated changes.

Of course, throughout I’ll be providing interesting statistics and some humorous examples. :) If you’re local and reading this, look forward to meeting you there!

Cheers,
Adrian

Top 5 considerations to self-check your e-commerce startup

By | Canberra, e-Commerce, Responsive and Mobile, South Coast, Sydney and Melbourne, Web Design

Many people come to me and say “we should just open up an online store, and…”

Even though I’ve been immersed in online shops for over a decade, it’s now, everyone I talk to, they want a piece of the action. And with easy, automated recurring business and online payments, why not?

Well, it’s easy for me to assist and the cost barriers to opening up a good looking, functional e-commerce site are well and truly broken. The thing is though, I want my clients to be successful and not be deflated with any hidden surprises down the track.

So for anyone out there reading, here’s some things you really need to consider before employing any kind of web designer:

1. Who else is doing exactly the same thing?

Google it, you may be surprised.

It’s not the end of the world, competition is healthy…. however you do need to consider how exactly it is you’ll out-do them at their game. Is it customer service? Competitions? Tempting loyalty programs? Amazing viral social media campaigns? A convenient app to penetrate the younger market? A better product? A cheaper product?

Some niche markets and products are obviously going to be easier. But really, if you have an idea like “we need to setup some kind of online computer parts store” – you need to can that thought, pronto! You’ll have an easier life and more returns working at a supermarket.

2. Warehousing concerns

Are you holding stock? Or entering into a drop-ship programme?

You need to think about this. Especially if your market is highly competitive, there are so many costs and issues around stock, warehousing and delivery. First of all, are you required to hold stock? Do the models change frequently or does the product go off – in other words do you have to worry about stock rotation. If so, are you across the costs and time in managing this? How much product do you think you’ll need to hold, and if you’ve borrowed money for stock, are you able to remain competitive while ensuring your products have enough return to keep up with that interest?

Many successful online stores use drop-ship programmes, where giant distribution warehouses offering popular products handle all of the delivery and warehousing concerns – you just need to sell their product for them online. This is a great way to go, but once again, you need to do your research on the numerous suppliers available and go back to my first point – how will you differentiate yourself from hundreds of other stores?

3. Product selection and marketing

So you’ve selected a product or product range. Is it the type product that sells itself through a redeeming feature, such as its uniqueness, quality or price point? If you’ve nailed one or two of those, you could be on a winner. Have you examined how other people are doing it online? Are there cheap nasty equivalents for sale on eBay at tempting prices? Are the websites selling similar products a bit dodgy? Make sure there’s an opening there for you, where consumers can easily recognise you have a point of difference.

4. How are you reaching your market?

Is it the web alone (ie good search rankings and an effective store) that will do it, or have you considered other avenues for your marketing mix? Who is your market and are they web savvy? Do they prefer to use mobile phones, apps and social media, or are they the Baby Boomers sitting at a desk?

These questions will determine your best approach to your marketing and what service you present online – you may opt to go for a traditional e-commerce site with good search rankings, or mobile optimised site getting traffic from Facebook and Google+.

5. How are you handling payments?

Payment Gateways and Merchant Bank Accounts

If you’re expecting large volume sales and frequent, high value transactions I would  definitely suggest going for a dedicated payment gateway solution through a merchant account at your preferred bank. St George Bank and Westpac use decent services such as eWay and PayWay which have excellent APIs for Australian website developers. It is a solution that is larger scale and has additional security concerns. Transacting in this way requires PCI compliance to avoid being banned or restricted by any of the leading credit card suppliers (Visa, Mastercard et al) and being subject to fines.

On the other hand, those transacting less than say, 100K a year online, simple PayPal solutions are available. They are easier and quicker to setup, and while the transactional costs are high, the setup cost is much lower. Since eBay has adopted it as a payment method for a decade or more, consumers are familiar with how it works and trust it.