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.


SEO chart - Fisse Design rankings


Local South Coast search engine optimisation wins

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

Not another search engine optimisation article!

Oh yes – the internet is absolutely littered with search engine optimisation articles; there’s how-to-guides, theories and debates about hidden meanings in every word Matt Cutts from Google utters. There’s articles about doing it the right way (White Hat search optimisation) and the fraternity that goes to the dark side (Black Hat) who go to extensive lengths to trick the system for good rankings. All of us web designers and digital agencies keep up to date with all of the latest news in this field and we’re constantly tasked to evaluate new things to stay ahead of the pack. There is no doubt that all of my web designer colleagues on the South Coast will agree with this!

Truth is though, the best way to know how it works is to be there for the long haul, have a long established sense of how it has worked over time and have an understanding of the impact of some of the more recent changes (most obviously, the Google Penguin update a few years ago). It’s most certainly not, but for me search optimisation almost becomes a feeling – it flows through in your copywriting style, with a good sense of keyword density, the code optimising you do and the new things you try outside of what you’ll find already written for you on Google.

While I am not the Obi Wan Kenobi of SEO with some kind of search optimisation mind-trick wizardry, we’ve got an excellent understanding of what actually works and doesn’t, what can be done in a practical sense and what can be done if you’ve got a higher budget. Good optimisation is not trying to follow some magic formula, because if there were an optimum one it’d change too frequently… not only that, it can be a vastly different exercise on a case to case basis.

My first foray into search engine optimisation was when Altavista was still around and it was the very early days of Google. Working with my colleague Rob Joyner, our small multimedia firm – Lime Multimedia – ranked #1 for the term “Sydney Multimedia” and sat around position 3 or 4 for “Sydney Web Design”. We were very young, early 20s – if only we knew the true potential of what we were sitting on! For these kinds of terms these days, it can be a massive undertaking to rank well and really it’s the realm of multi-million dollar business. This is why, for smaller businesses with a lower marketing budget, localised search terms are a winner. These are normally words that convey your industry or service combined with suburb names or town names. This is where you can have some great wins and truly start to see increased traffic to your website.

We’ll follow up on this article next week with some practical search engine ranking optimisation methods that can be accomplished from home, or through the help of a web developer.

Our search engine ranking wins – South Coast region

We’re confident in our ability to improve your search engine rankings. The proof’s in the pudding though… so here’s some keywords we’ve measured over various sites (results accurate as of 20/09/2016). These are just a few sites we’ve built, maintained and improved upon.

Batemans Bay Web Design - Batemans Bay Cycles

Batemans Bay Cycles |

Overview – we rebuilt an outdated, unoptimised site and included our basic search optimisation service

An improvement over 2 weeks, with everything singing within 1 month. This site ranks #1 for over 5 key terms, and within the top 4 for most other bike/cycling related terms for the Batemans Bay locality.

  • #1 Batemans Bay Bike Shop
  • #1 Batemans Bay Bikes
  • #1 Bike Shop Batemans Bay
  • #1 Batemans Bay Bike Hire
  • #1 Batemans Bay Bike Service / Batemans Bay Bike Servicing
  • #3 Bike Trail Batemans Bay
  • #4 Bike Riding Batemans Bay
  • #4 Cycling Batemans Bay

Narooma Building Services - Trades & Building websites

Narooma Building Services |

Overview – new site build with a new domain name and absolutely no search engine presence.

Within 4 weeks it started to rank, and around 2 months page one results.  This site is over 2 years old and it’s rankings are starting to slip, however it still ranks on the front page for most of the original terms:

  • #1 Narooma Construction
  • #2 Narooma Builders
  • #3 Narooma Renovations
  • #7 Narooma Commercial Builder

Island Charters Narooma Website Design

Island Charters Narooma |

Overview – low budget search optimisation.

Starting point was most terms being found at the bottom of page 1, or on page 2 and 3. We rebuilt the site and gave some practical tips to keep the rankings up. Now we have over 20 keyword phrases at #1, #2 and #3, including:

  • #1 Narooma Diving / Diving Narooma
  • #1 Scuba Diving Narooma
  • #2 Narooma Snorkeling / Snorkeling Narooma
  • #2 Narooma Charter Tours / Narooma Charters
  • #3 Whale Watching Narooma / Whale Watching Narooma
  • #3 Fishing Narooma
  • #3 Montague Island Tours

South Coast - Tilba Web Design

Tilba Online |

Overview – over 40 keyword phrases at #1, including:

  • #1 Tilba
  • #1 Tilba Accommodation
  • #1 Book Tilba Accommodation
  • #1 Tilba Holiday Accommodation
  • #1 Tilba Farm Stay
  • #1 Tilba Holiday
  • #1 Tilba Stays
  • #1 Things to do in Tilba
  • #1 Tilba Tilba
  • #1 Central Tilba
  • #1 Find Tilba
  • #1 Tilba Map
  • #1 Tilba Wine

And there’s more…

We’ve plenty more sites that have performed well that we’d be happy to show you in person. So if you’d like to discuss your digital marketing options please feel free to call us on 1300 799 688 and make an appointment.

Retail Training Australia – website launch

By | Graphic Design, Narooma and South Coast, Search Engine Optimisation, Web Design

New site for Retail Training Australia, Batemans Bay.

At Adrian Fisse Design we’re pleased to announce the launch of the new Retail Training Australia website. Check it out at

After an initial brief, we provided a functional specification and followed up with some wireframe sketches. With some minor adjustments to the wireframe to ensure we were all on the same page, we went ahead with a new design that was in keeping with the old branding and general feel.

Below are the wireframe we provided RTA, before designing anything. Refining a rough layout document like this is our way of spending the maximum time & budget on the formal design and reducing revisions to basic layout work.

Freshened up design aside, the main thing, for Retail Training Australia, was they had the ability to easily update the site on their content management system – giving them the ability to add new training courses in and update pricing and details concerning changes in government legislation.

Using our new design, we built the website theme using the design that was tailored to their requirements. The website adapts and resizes for large desktops, notebooks, tablets and mobile, using an up to date look and feel that looks excellent whoever is looking at it. It’s RSS feed for new content will be used to automate Facebook and Twitter posts as part of RTA’s significant social media effort.

After a very quick training session on the CMS, we left these guys on their way – Geoff and the team in Batemans Bay have been great to work with, and we wish them the very best with their new site.

Adult Education’s new website – Batemans Bay & Bega

By | Narooma and South Coast, Responsive and Mobile, Search Engine Optimisation, Web Design

Adrian Fisse Design is proud to announce the recent release of a new website for EAEC (Eurobodalla Adult Education Centre). Well known in this region, the Centre is huge and provides courses and training for all locals from their main centres in Batemans Bay and Bega. See the design here – EAEC website.

After receiving a detailed list of requirements and a good general brief, I discussed the project at length with Mark Brantingham, the centre’s operations manager. We went through a few iterations of my website wireframes and I was delighted to engage with this client – they had some great points of view and we were able to flesh out key structural changes on the site before the actual design work started. This is one of the keys to the successful design of any website project.

The website design is based on their existing brand, including their trademark vibrant green and purple. Based on the wireframes we did some iterations of the design before starting any development work, including a specific design layout for smartphone presentation.

Adult Ed use a large spreadsheet to manage courses, which is the basis for many functions internally and with other suppliers. These include a website portal for online course registration (soon to be integrated with the main site), brochure printers and more. Mark expressed their desire to somehow import the courses from spreadsheet, into a new website. In turn, we provided a solution that is completely manageable by Adult Ed staff, and does the following:

  • Creates new course pages for any new item in the spreadsheet
  • Edits or deletes courses that are changed or removed
  • Is able to assign an image from the spreadsheet to display on the course
  • Creates a window to register online, and complete the course on a 3rd party course portal they use
  • Maps key course details to specific areas in the website design developed – including course location, cost, trainer / tutor, requirements and times and dates
  • And many other conditional features to suit the requirements of their business.

After the website was developed, I visited the centre in Batemans Bay to train a small group of 5 staff, each with varying levels of experience. In the training session, we covered website editing basics – creating hyperlinks, new pages, adding images and video, as well as managing the course import feed. It was also a great session to demonstrate the site in full, and cover off on any questions about it.

In all, a good project and I really wish the lovely team at Adult Ed the best. I’ve found it immensely satisfying to help produce a site that will hopefully have a positive impact on our community for years to come.

Retail Training Australia website – coming soon

By | Batemans Bay, Graphic Design, Responsive and Mobile, Search Engine Optimisation, South Coast, Web Design

Working with Geoff Hatton of Retail Training Australia in Batemans Bay, Adrian Fisse Design is producing a revamped website for Eurobodalla’s leading, national education provider in the Retail Sector.

Retail Training Australia provide online training packages to help businesses improve the performance of their staff members. With various e-learning strategies and customised courses that are tailored for individual needs, RTA has access to Government Subsidies to ensure their professional services are not a costly burden.

To date, we have scoped out the requirements of the project, including integration of online forms for grant eligibility and easily editable course descriptions. We’ve sketched out the website wireframes and what is to be presented on mobile devices. Search Engine Optimisation concerns have been covered as well as usability on all devices with an emphasis on calls to action. Design and development starts in January – stay tuned!

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!


Reap the rewards with search engine basics

By | Narooma and South Coast, Search Engine Optimisation, South Coast, Web Design

As a Narooma resident, I recently made the decision to start optimising this website to be found by visitors in this locale. With the sheer number of websites competing for certain keywords and phrases, throwing in a location as an additional search term is a tried and tested route to success.

However the tricks and traps around search engine optimisation are constantly changing and evolving. It’s fairer now, meaning businesses can’t simply barge in the rankings queue – they effectively need to work for it and contribute to the online community. The key things businesses needs to review (and commit to) for great search engine rankings are the following:

  • Evolving content. Continual updates, new products and news items are highly beneficial.
  • Activity on Social Media – publish customer reviews, success stories and general articles surrounding your field on Google+ and Facebook.  Engage and interact with your clients online.
  • Have a well built, standards compliant website.
  • Having good headings & page titles.
  • Utilise (but don’t go overboard) a good keyword strategy throughout your site content.
  • Have a clean, navigable site with good internal link structure to all of your pages.
  • Have a reliable, high speed hosting provider and a site that downloads quickly even on bad connections.

There’s more. So much more – but the above are the basics and you’ll never succeed unless these are covered. So how have I gone? Well, in 1 week of performing some changes and tweaking aspects of my site, I’ve gone from not ranking at all with my search terms of choice to #2 in Google. Powerful stuff!

Do you want to be found? I can perform an SEO audit on your site, apply basic changes, or even completely re-design your site to help you get the most out of your web presence – all at rates you’d be surprised with. I’d love to hear from you – I’m available to meet in person in Moruya, Narooma, Dalmeny, Tilba & Mystery Bay over a cuppa, and discuss obligation free search engine strategies with you.

Revisiting older projects – SEO

By | Search Engine Optimisation, Sydney and Melbourne, Web Design

It’s cool to sift through the archives and look at older projects to assess them for their flaws and merits. I do this occasionally and have a giggle at what we were all doing in the nineties.

One bunch of cheap websites I did for a neighbour 18 months ago though are doing the job quite nicely. While far from ground breaking in terms of design or features – the sites serve their purpose, display all the content neatly and effectively and are doing their job (especially as far as search engine ranking go) very well.

It goes to show that simple can be great. My brief was to get their products online, but mainly to get them on the first page of google so people could email or call. The sites are and

With only a few standard techniques of optimising browser Page Titles, well-structured content and a few other tricks the sites are both #1 or #2 under most relevant search phrases to their businesses on Google.

In cases where competition is a little tougher, I’d employ a more thorough SEO service and encourage more frequent content submission via the website and social media.

Anyway, I’ve just sent her an email to see how business is going – very keen to find out!