All posts by Mad Scientist Digital

site optimisation

How to Optimise your Website with Supportive & Substantial Content for SEO

hands typing on a keyboard

SEO is about optimising your website and improving its organic rankings, done by the programs and bots that crawl your website and analyse its individual pages.

The most effective and strategic way to do this over the long term is with supportive, substantial content and copy.

The core goal of your content is to have more visitors engaged on your website pages for longer. When you create consistent, original, useful content you are investing in better SEO results.

It’s not just that Google counts the words and ranks you on that word count – it’s because good quality longer form content keeps people on that page longer – which boosts your ranking.

What is supportive content?

We talk about the need for supportive content with clients all the time. It’s fundamental to SEO because once we have identified the keywords that you want to rank for – the questions and queries that your ideal clients would type into a search engine – then we need content about them to optimise.

So the more content you put on your website about the things your customers will be searching for and the problems they are trying to solve, the better.

When we start working with a new client and research their keywords, we have a good look at what’s on page 1 for those keywords – and what we find consistently is that the pages that rank best are the ones with lots of copy about their customers’ problems and their solutions.

And when our clients create that supportive content and we optimise it, we see immense improvements in their keyword rankings.

It makes them much more competitive online – because their competitors are often doing it. Better yet, if they’re not doing it then you’re already one step ahead. 

Where do you put supportive content?

(Everywhere you can 🙂 )

Supportive content can be anything, really – it includes blog posts, services pages, landing pages. The key is to have good quality, helpful, readable content and copy that uses your keywords naturally and appropriately. The major search engines are way too smart today – you can’t just repeat the same words and phrases over and over. (That will get you a “Google slap” pretty quickly.)

For example, one of our clients Outcome.Life is an internship provider, helping international students into internship placements for work experience. They wrote a blog post that is a really informative, step-by-step guide on how to fill out your internship logbook – including examples of bad entries and how to improve them. 

That one post was so good that it won them a Featured Snippet with Google – which is even better than a #1 ranking because it gets displayed right at the top of Google’s search results. featured snippet in google for internship logbook keyword

There are some pages that we regularly find that people have overlooked.

Category and product pages on eCommerce websites are a good example – it’s quite common for us to find that a new client has an awesome product range – but the category page is virtually a copy-free zone. Make your category and collection pages helpful, information-rich explanations of your products and the problems that they solve for the people who buy them.

asos womens jeans landing page supportive content


Make sure that any product pages have lots of supportive copy in their “description” and “additional information” tabs. Too often, we see product pages with just one sentence in the description – and that’s a waste of valuable online real estate.

A helpful, well-written category or product page with relevant, optimised meta tags means that when Google crawls the page it’s clear what it’s about and it can see that the content is consistent with the headings and the meta tags. This is how to get Google to reward you with higher organic visibility. 

Supportive content is helpful to your visitors

Write with your end users in mind – think about who they are, their demographic, their needs and what they are wanting to achieve, such as international interns who want to get work in Australia.

Supportive copy helps you build influence and trust, which is fundamental to increasing your online success. It helps you to demonstrate your authority and lets visitors get to know you, like you and understand the benefits of what you offer.

Supportive copy isn’t all about what you do or the features of your products. Supportive copy is about the results that your customers are seeking and how you help them achieve those results.

Be substantial as well as supportive

Make your content long enough to be really useful to your website visitors for best results. This can feel challenging, but it’s worth the time investment. Both Google and your visitors will reward you for it.

Some people will tell you “don’t write too much” – but that advice is well out of date.

Information-rich copy doesn’t have to be overpowering – as long as it’s written to be easy to read. There are a range of readability tools available to help you check your content.

But how do you create it in the first place?

Tips for writing substantial, supportive content and copy

The idea of writing a long article can seem a bit confronting when you’re staring at a blank computer screen. So here are some suggestions to help you develop good long-form content:

  1. Write with your end user in mind.
    Think about your customers – their age, their gender, their work, their values, their goals, the language they use.
  2. Write helpful content.
    Think about a challenge that your end users are dealing with – and write content that can help them with that challenge. (HINT: read through your customer testimonials for what they value)
  3. Once you’ve picked a topic, get specific.
    A useful tool we’ve written about before is 4MAT learning – where you answer these four questions in this order – Why? What? How? What Else? (HINT: open a doc and put in those headings about your topic)
  4. Talk your content out first.
    Separate out your thinking from the mechanics of writing and talk your content first. Find a listener and talk to them about the topic, recording what you say. It’s easier than ever before with conferencing tools like Zoom, PLUS low-cost transcription tools such as that can turn the audio into text quickly and easily.
  5. Use quotes and excerpts (with attribution)
    If someone else has a good idea, share it. Quote them and then explain why it’s a good idea for your end users to consider based on your experience or expertise. Make sure you attribute the idea, of course!
  6. Include case studies and examples
    Telling a story is engaging and entertaining, as well as explaining your idea and creating extra content. When you’re giving examples, it can be useful to create a contrast between “what to do” and “what NOT to do”.

SEO is extra powerful when you have substantial supportive content

Well-written, substantial supportive content – especially when it’s well-optimised – is the ultimate way to really rank for the keywords you are targeting. It’s a win/win – because Google likes it AND because it’s an excellent way to make a good impression with your website visitors.

So make it something you invest in regularly – whether you write it yourself or engage a professional to do it for you.

ms institute

The Mad Scientist Institute – COMING SOON

The Mad Scientist Institute logo

SEO gets better when we do it together.  

The best results happen when our clients and partners understand the hands on process of SEO, especially the On-page side.

So to make our collaboration with your business a whole lot easier, we’ve been building the Mad Scientist Institute. That way we can teach you the science of On-page SEO and empower you with the knowledge to take care of things on your website.

Discover what Google ISN’T looking for

You’ll come away with a whole new understanding of getting found online. Because we’ll teach you what Google is REALLY looking for…  without boring you to smithereens…

We do training the Mad Scientist way – with humour, experimentation, science and real partnership.

Our SEO courses will introduce you to the fundamentals of On-page SEO, with a big focus on optimising your own content. Here’s a sneak peek into just some of the areas we cover:

  • How to write meta tags
  • How to optimise images
  • Basic technical checks and fixes on your website
  • How to measure your results 

Get to know the OTHER Mad Scientist…

The Institute is the “baby” of our backroom brainiac Andrew Radics, who comes out of the shadows to teach you what we’ve learned over decades of experimentation and stubborn independence.

“forget everything you’ve ever heard or read about SEO and just bare with me…”

What’s in it for you? 

When you understand On-page SEO, then your digital marketing process becomes smarter as well as faster (as well as a bit less expensive).

It’s a win/win, because when you become better at basic SEO, that frees us up to collaborate and do the seriously geeky stuff.

sangria and some drag queens

Virtual drinks with drag queens

laptop screen with drag queen sangria class on zoom

As a Melbourne-based business, Mad Scientist Digital is in Stage 4 Lockdown. So we’ve all been working from home and meeting online.

So at the start of September – when the Victorian Premier announced we were in for another 4 weeks of iso (aarrghh!!)– we decided that we needed to organise our team a bit of virtual R&R to lighten our hearts and bring us together as a team.

We needed to do some active bonding, and to be reminded that there’s a whole world out there outside our individual iso-bubbles.

So the Friday drinks we used to do face-to-face, we did online. But with a twist (or two, or three, or ten).

We’re in the business of online business, and one of the trends we’ve been watching is the wealth of creative business pivots.

As part of the AirBNB ultimate pivot from physical to virtual, there’s a whole smorgasbord of online experiences that their providers invent new offerings. You can wander Pompeii with an archaeologist, go on safari in Africa, or meditate with a buddhist monk.

We went with “Sangria and Secrets” – and frocked up for the occasion ourselves. It took us WAY out of Melbourne’s dodgy spring weather and our various home offices. A wonderful combination of performance, conversation and kitchen creativity.

It was massive fun AND it created a unique and unforgettable memory that we will all take with us going forward as a team – of shared laughter and relaxation.

drag queens online cocktail class

SANGRIA AND SECRETS: Fabulous Drag Queens will teach you how to make the most authentic, fresh, and delicious Portuguese sangria, ALL from scratch, step by step! We will not only share this traditional secret recipe, but we’ll also be serving up our unique live performances on stage! It’ll be a cabaret-style digital cocktail class you’ll never forget.” 

changing social media

The changing face of SEO, influence & trust

SEO gets people to your website – trust keeps them there

A key element of trust is authority – it’s one of the 7 fundamental principles of influencing that will keep your visitors on your website. Not only will demonstrating your authority keep your initial visitors, it will BRING THEM BACK because they trust you.

We were reminded of that recently, when POD Services – one of our long-term SEO clients – told us the story of their COVID pivot and the award-winning range of “sneeze screens” they’re selling.

It’s an excellent example of how you can use what’s happening in your business to improve your “findability”.

Influencing and trust building

If you’ve been working with us for any time, you know that influencing, trust and authority can be built by supportive content.

“Trust” means different things to different people. And – like health and fitness – there’s a whole lot of “everybody knows” thinking about trust building digital marketing that “just ain’t so” anymore.

In the early days of SEO, if you used lots of your top keywords in your content that you’d get found. (But then a whole lot of people did ridiculous amounts of keyword stacking and now that can earn you a Google-slap.)

Today we need to work a whole lot smarter to build a trusted online presence. One way to do this is to apply the latest know-how on how trust and influencing REALLY work.

The psychology of influence and trust

In recent years, influencing has been broken down into its component elements and studied in detail. It has become a process that you can use to engineer user engagement – engagement that leads to sales.

Robert Cialdini is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He’s written two bestselling books on how influencing works (INFLUENCE and PRE-SUASION).

His 7 Principles of Influencing are a powerful toolset for smart online marketers.

The real game of online business is about connecting with an audience of your ideal prospects, and engaging them – explaining why you and your solutions are the best way to meet their needs.

These principles are a great lense to evaluate everything from your website design to your SEO investment.

A quick tour of the principles of persuasion

  1. Reciprocation
    When people are given something, they have a built in urge to give back. So helpful, supportive content is an important way to give to your prospects.
  2. Authority
    Who’s in the know has mattered ever since we worked out how to chip flint into spear heads. Demonstrate your authority and your expertise – including with content that proves you know your stuff.
  3. Consistency
    “Something’s changed” was hard-wired into anxiety way back when a rustle in the long grass might be a sabre-tooth tiger. Present yourself and your offer consistently in order to build trust. And yes – be consistent about publishing that content over time.
  4. Liking
    People do business with people they like. You can’t be liked if you can’t be seen. No business operates without humans. Showing up as real and authentic people online is SEO gold – as well as conversion gold.
  5. Scarcity / Uniqueness
    No one wants to miss out. And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s prestige in having what others don’t. Appropriate, strategic scarcity can be an advantage. You can’t sell to the whole world – so make yourself awesomely attractive to your best prospects.
  6. Social Proof
    Most of the human race, most of the time (around 85%, according to Innovation Theory) make their decisions based on the opinions of those around them – NOT logic. Social proof from people like your visitors and from people they respect will win you customers. So build social proof into your content strategy.
  7. Unity
    Belonging to a community matters – being part of a tribe kept us alive. Treat your customer base – past and present – as a tribe of like-minded collaborators.

Be in the Pre-susasion game, not the sales game

Perhaps one of Cialdini’s biggest contributions was to explain framing.

What’s most important online is what you do BEFORE you go for the sale. How you frame your business and your offer will contribute enormously to GETTING you the sale EASILY.

POD Services, authority and trust

So when fine arts services provider POD – who have been investing in SEO for over 7 years – told us of their pivot and their award-winning new product, we knew it was a prime opportunity for them to turn that story into content.

Over the years, we’ve been able to give them page 1 / number 1 results for their selection of niche, targeted keywords and phrases. This year their investment paid off for them in unexpected ways when COVID hit.

POD are designers and innovators, working in a specialist niche with museums and art galleries. They design and build products to display, store and package fine art items.

They’re seriously smart, creative and entrepreneurial. So when COVID-19 hit, they did a fast pivot. They moved into designing, producing, and installing high-quality sneeze guards and point of sale protection – a bit of a change from museum installations.

Their products look – and are – top-notch because these guys are designers who know how to make things look good without distracting from what they protect.

They decided to give their very different product range its own website – called Counteract. (Which we did a great digital strategy for.)

Building authority online

Recently, POD won an award from The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre for their high-quality CounterAct screens.

So we’re working with them on strategies to use that award to build their authority.

  • Firstly, they can display their award above-the-fold on their new website.
  • They can also write content for that website about the award, explaining the features and benefits of their protective screens.
  • They can even blog about it on their existing niche website, sharing how their design skills and materials know-how helped them deliver a superior product.

What’s been surprising for them is how many sales that their existing client base has brought them. The ultimate pivot became a helpful value add.

Is your content supporting your authority?

The right supportive content builds authority and trust.

Supportive content (and copy) is most powerful when it pre-suades your visitors about your authority and your authenticity.

So take every opportunity to demonstrate your authority and authenticity in your content.

If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch and let us help you with the right supportive content strategy for your needs.

How to Avoid Digital Marketing and SEO Rip-Offs

As a business owner, digital marketing (and SEO) is maybe something you are very confused about. However, you may have found yourself to be a victim of some fast talking sales person’s pitch or an email which promised you ‘guaranteed number 1 rankings’ on Google  in a very short period of time. Needless to say, more than likely it never happened. All that did happen was that your bank account was a little less full.

In an attempt to clean up the industry which is full of con artists and snake oil merchants, we have put together a small series of Google Hangouts with a list of what to watch out for BEFORE you sign ANY contract with an SEO company.

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss how to avoid being ripped off when you engage the services of a digital marketing company.

expert seo services

Geek out on Google!

  Mad Scientist Digital Algorithm Banner

We’re mad enough to enjoy the constant challenge of keeping up with Google and the other search engines – it’s the core of what we do. We listen to what Google tells us they’ve done – and then we test it to find out what else is happening.
We’ve been known to pick up Google algorithm changes way before they’re announced, giving our clients early responder advantages.

Here are the most recent Google algorithm updates.

1 Feb 7, 2017 Google Algorithm Update on Feb 7th
Although less than a week has passed since the previous shift in rankings, it appears that Google is
rolling out another ranking algorithm update. Many webmasters and tracking tools, including
SEMrush Sensor, have reported significant rankings changes in Google search results.

Feb 1, 2017 Google Algo Update Seems to Target PBNs
Webmasters and the BlackHatWorld forum have reported that there seems to be a Google update
penalizing PBNs (Private Blog Networks), a black hat SEO technique. Although these claims are
supported by data from different tracking tools, including SEMrush Sensor, Google has not officially
confirmed this update.

2 Jan 10, 2017 Intrusive Interstitials Mobile Penalty
Google has announced that starting January 10th it will be penalizing mobile pages with interstitials
that impede user access to content. Here are the examples of techniques that could be penalized: –
Pop-ups that cover the main content – Standalone interstitial that needs to be dismissed to access
the main content – Hiding the main content below the fold

3 Dec 7, 2016 Desktop Search UI Update
Google has updated the UI of its desktop search, bringing it closer to mobile

Information thanks to SEMRush.

Mad Scientist TV

Hosted by Ian Hopkinson & Andrew Radics, Mad Scientist TV is a daily digital focused program for businesses (and in some cases ‘tech-heads’) hoping to quickly navigate the slippery slope of online promotion. We cover a vast array of interesting topics and there’s a lot to learn while having a laugh – as is Ian and Andrew’s enigmatic style. With 60+ recent episodes to view there’s something there for everyone.


SEO Myths Debunked – it’s the Wild Wild West now, not the World Wide Web. Every so-called expert or god-forsaken guru has an opinion. Who do you trust? SEO Myths Debunked is an ongoing quick fire bust up of these misconceived notions.


Google Bashing – yes we have all criticised Google for something at one time or another, but some ‘crazies’ are out to get Google, it’s an all out attack. Find out why and who and throw in your opinion too.


Google Authorship – this is for the writers of content and techies, Google has some functionality for bloggers that helps them be heard and found. Recently there’s been some big updates to how this is displayed in search results.

The Streisand Effect – this is when you attempt to have something taken down from the internet and the publicity from trying to do it in facts increases the popularity and newsworthiness of the particular video, image, text, or reference you are trying to have deleted or surpressed.


“SEO Companies Robbed Me Blind…”

Ian Hopkinson - SEO Companies Robbed Me Blind

I’ve heard this a lot recently and it’s a frustrating start to any real conversation about SEO’s place in the marketing mix. It’s easy to blame the SEO company and a new and unruly industry where constant change is a given.  Yes, there are players who will take advantage of the complicated nature of the service they deliver. But it’s also about being an informed purchaser of one of today’s essential marketing services, so…

What do you need to know to buy SEO that works?

You need to know:

  1. What SEO is – and what it ISN’T
  2. How to choose a good SEO agency.

You don’t need to know the detailed technical side of SEO, any more than you need to understand how a clutch works to drive a car.  You do need to know enough to check the tyres, put petrol in the tank and get the vehicle you trust your life to serviced regularly.  You do need to know the environment you’re operating in – the road rules and what traffic signals mean.

What is SEO?

Search Engines such as Google are like the index of a cookbook.  They help you get found online under a particular set of categories.  Search Engine Optimisation is setting up your online presence to be found by Search Engine users as effectively as possible.

Unlike a fixed book index, the “index” or ranking a Search Engine gives a web page or a site changes all the time.  It changes owing to:

  • To try to add value, providers like Google continuously improve their indexing and evaluation processes.
  • Search Engines don’t just index, they also attempt to evaluate sites and pages for interest, quality, reliability, trust and expertise.
  • Millions of businesses are going on line, more every day.  The ones that are already there are constantly adding and changing their content.

The process of optimising your site for Search Engines is a process of making it as attractive as possible to:

  1. Search Engines; and
  2. The people that Search Engines bring to your site



SEO is not a one-time or annual purchase.  The days of buying an annual Yellow Pages Ad are pretty much over.  With more content online every day and Search Engine criteria changing every day, SEO is like housework – it’s never “done”.

SEO is not a global process – it requires clarity and focus on who you want to find you and what you want to be found for.

SEO is like gardening – it requires time and a good gardener to deliver results.  Focussed SEO and quality content input will grow a better return on your investment.

Choosing your SEO supplier

To get the most out of your SEO dollar, you need to do the legwork to find a quality service provider.  Key questions to ask include:

  •       Is SEO your core business?

(If they’re a graphic designer, a developer or a hardware supplier, they’d have to be very good to be doing their day job AND keeping up with Google.)

  •       How long have you been doing SEO?

(Lots of people TRY and do SEO – not many are good enough to keep delivering value that their customers can measure)

  •       How do you keep up with SEO developments?

The other set of questions to consider is the questions that your SEO supplier is asking you – (or not asking).   SEO is one element of a targeted marketing strategy, so they should be asking:

  •       What is the value you deliver to your customers?
  •       What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
  •       What is your marketing strategy?
  •       Who is your ideal customer?
  •       What social media channels are you using to communicate your value?

If they’re not making SEO just one component of a full digital marketing strategy, the value you get will be limited.  If they just want to apply their toolkit, you’re at risk.

It’s a jungle out there

The Internet hasn’t been around all that long, and there are lots of risks in this new market place.  There are good digital marketing agencies out there – there are also lots of ill-informed amateurs and the usual sprinkling of crooks.  Choose your SEO supplier the way you choose your dentist – carefully.


Ian Hopkinson is the original “mad scientist” – a digital creative who is passionate about the online market place and its potential to enable businesses to compete on a global stage. He is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Mad Scientist Digital.