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

 

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 | batemansbaycycles.com.au

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 | naroomabuildingservices.com.au

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 | islandchartersnarooma.com.au

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 | tilba.com.au

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.

Introducing the Narooma-Mobile

By | Narooma, Narooma and South Coast, Rally Car, South Coast

The Narooma Mobile – a purpose built car for charity

The Narooma Mobile is a modified 1995 Ford Falcon that is currently being built at Fisse Design R&D headquarters (Narooma Taxi base). Complete with a functioning rooftop lighthouse and miniature Montague Island on its roof, this car is set to turn heads. The bonnet and sides will feature a whale graphic, while the rest of the car will be available for further artistic touches in a Narooma theme – and of course logo placement for our various sponsors.

The aim of this vehicle is to raise funds for various causes supported by rallies and variety bashes. It will also promote Narooma (on the South Coast of NSW) and its local businesses – an area that we’re proud to live in and be part of.

We’d like to thank John Byers of Narooma Taxis for helping us source a suitable vehicle, and providing us with a hoist and endless source of parts from old taxis. We’d also like to thank Mick from the Farnboro Motel in Narooma who’ll be help us prepare the vehicle for its maiden voyage at the Riverina Redneck Rally in March 2017. You guys are awesome – cheers.

You can read more about the car, fundraising, and keep track of updates here.

While you’re at it, if you feel strongly about the cause and think you have a few dollars to spare, it’d be lovely if you made a donation.

fisse-design-narooma-rally

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!

Bermagui Four Winds Festival Website

By | Bermagui, South Coast, Web Design, Wordpress

What a hive of activity it is in this region! Lately, I’ve made few trips south, 40 min or so (from Narooma to Bermagui) to discuss various website enhancements with the Four Winds Festival team.

Coming around mid November, I’m assisting them with a basic design revamp for their site and new content including the new programme for 2014, the participating artists and a great new look and feel that helps standardise the artwork for the festival across all mediums.

We’ve got bigger plans for the new year, with a brand new website on the cards… for now though, it really is lovely to work with these wonderful & talented people. I tell you what, I’m pretty happy with my current line of work – when a meeting involves driving to such a beautiful part of the world and enjoying lunch in the sun with the family, what’s not to like?

Those who don’t know much about Four Winds, I recommend taking a look at their current website and checking it out. It showcases talent from the South Coast and all kinds of music – all within a spectacular natural auditorium with tiered seating on the grassy banks. I for one will be there with bells on, enjoying a hamper and a hearty red!

In other news… the new Narooma Chamber of Commerce and Tourism site is coming along very nicely… and I’m polishing off the new Oyster festival website too. I’ll publish some more detail on those soon.

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.

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.

New Narooma Website Design for the Chamber of Commerce

Narooma tourism website re-development

By | Graphic Design, Narooma, Responsive and Mobile, South Coast, Web Design

I’m excited to announce that the Narooma Chamber of Commerce have selected my proposal to redevelop their tourism website www.narooma.org.au.

It’s a big site, loaded with information and fantastic photos, and it gets an impressive amount of traffic – over 7 million hits a year. While it’s served the Chamber of Commerce well, there is a new goal to update the site with subtle design changes, improve navigation and make it responsive to mobiles and tablet devices. I’ll also be bringing it over to a content management system so that it can be easily managed by their staff.

While we’ve already started nutting out some new design ideas, I officially start next week – kicking off with revisiting the structure of content and navigation.

Following this, I’ll be working through my standard process of getting design wireframes prepared (for desktops, mobiles and tablets) before embarking on finalised graphic designs. Really looking forward to this one, the team I’m working with are very enthusiastic and it represents a great opportunity to me being a South Coast local. Watch this space!