Over the last couple of years, Local SEO has grown considerably, especially provided the growing popularity of smartphones and much better connectivity while being out and about. Nevertheless, it has a lot in common with organic Search Engine Optimization, but its ultimately very different.
The objective of Local SEO is to offer outcomes that are as relevant as possible to the searcher based upon their location. If you searched ‘best restaurant’ on your computer right now, Google would supply you with results that are near to you. However, if you made the exact same search on your smartphone, it would provide you with results depending on where you are at the time.
There’s a lot of buzz about content in digital marketing. Once you understand what content IS, the next thing to understand about content is:
WHAT IT’S FOR…
The Twin Purposes of Content
1. Content is there to increase understanding of the value you deliver
The better people understand what you deliver, the better your results will be. Good content increases understanding when it talks clearly and consistently about what your purpose is, the problems you solve and the results you deliver.
2. Content is there to build trust from your visitors
The world has a trust deficit at the moment, particularly online. Your content needs to let your visitors know they can trust you and your ability to deliver on your promises. Good content demonstrates that you are real, and that the solutions you deliver are valuable.
For Two Audiences
Content serves two quite separate and distinct audiences with different needs. BOTH these audiences need to understand the value you offer AND trust you are genuine:
1. The human visitors to your site
Your content needs to meet human needs for information, value and enjoyment. It needs to be useful, it needs to be tuned to the different ways that people process information (images, words, audio, movies). It will be extra valuable if it’s tuned to different learning styles and different forms of trust-measuring. It needs to engage people and encourage them to action.
2. The search engines that bring traffic to your site
Search engines are looking for engaging, good quality information from genuine providers. They measure quality in all sorts of ways — from the quality of your code to the consistency and originality of your text content. <<Link to separate post when released>>.
Quality content is consistent, original and well-labelled. It particularly requires effective words (search engines can’t process images and videos – yet).
Is Your Content Delivering?
Tools like Google Analytics can give a good indication of how well your content is delivering. If your visitors “bounce” off as soon as they arrive, you have a problem — could be with your look and feel, your content or your keywords. If your rankings are low and your traffic is low, you may have a trust problem with Google, or you may be out of touch with how your potential customers are searching for you.
Don’t know — and don’t know where to start? Our Digital Health check is a low-cost way to get an independent assessment of how your website and your content are delivering for you. Contact Us today to get started. <<Link to contacts page>>
After 274 days of absence, we are back. After successfully taking on another nine months of interesting corporate clients, we have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience that we are dying to share with you.
There are always departments in every business who butt heads with differing views occasionally, but it is how you deal with these instances to reach that common goal that is so important. In the last nine months, we have experienced occasions like this with a number of our clients where they believed they knew how to perform SEO because they knew the backend of the website.
However, this can have detrimental results, as there is a very distinct difference between someone ‘thinking’ they know how to conduct SEO, compared to agencies such as us, Mad Scientists, with years of experience and R&D under our belts who can really make a difference to your brand.
In this hangout Ian and Andrew share with you their 3 tips of how SEO and web developers can work better together. We will be discussing:
Park the ego
Listen and learn from each other to work towards the same common goal for the business
We ‘Mad Scientists’ are specialists
We have always been big on constant research and development and with many years of doing so along with our experience – we like to consider ourselves as very knowledgeable in what we do.
Explain to the client:
Why what we do is different to other digital agencies and why we get the results.
Everyday, all of us at work receive many telemarketing calls from companies trying to push their services. If its not phone calls, then its emails. We have a big problem with that. We understand these people have a job to do but the problem lies in their ‘cookie cutter’ approach and their regimented marketing script. They tell you that:
they can get you to the top of Google in 3 months or less
they can get you more business/leads
All of which sounds great! But, when they tell you this, they have not done any research on your website or your industry. It’s just a generic script they have to read. For this reason, SEO companies that are really good at what they do, do not need to use telemarketing companies or email list companies to get their business. Its all based on referrals from happy and satisfied clients who are happy to recommend them to other businesses.
The SEO companies that have to rely on cold calling methods really do not know SEO at all. If they did, then their own websites and other forms of digital marketing should be generating all of their leads. After all, isn’t that what they do? Think about that the next time you answer a call from a telemarketer or read an email from someone representing a local SEO company.
In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss why SEO companies should not rely on telemarketing or spammy emails to generate business.
Turnover isn’t a measure of SEO expertise, nor are awards. Many digital marketing companies outsource their SEO.
Beware SEO Outsourcing.
Find out how they do their work — do they outsource to other countries? The vast majority of outsourced work goes to “SEO chop shops” in countries with huge populations and low wages. SEO work outsourced to “chop shops” go from a model of “one solution fits all” where they pursue simplistic strategies that can be executed by subsistence-wage, minimum capability office workers working 50-60 hours per week.
What is delivered will probably match what’s promised — in terms of directory submissions, backlinks, etc. — but do the arithmetic and you can work out that they will end up doing 5 hours/week for you. That amount of time WON’T buy you quality.
Worse, the techniques they’re applying are out-of-date. They won’t get you better Google results – they’re a waste of time and — even worse — could end up earning you LESS trust with Google, not more.
You don’t need to be able to DO Search Engine Optimisation in order to understand how to determine its quality, but you do need to be a savvy purchaser. If your SEO provider outsources your work – dig a bit deeper and make sure you’re getting a service worth paying for.
Each year, Google alters its search algorithm around 500 times. While the majority of these changes are small, Google sometimes rolls out a “significant” algorithmic upgrade (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in a huge way.
Ian: SEO myths debunked! Google Algorithm updates don’t happen very often Andrew do they?
Andrew: Heck no! Course not…
Ian: There’s only about 500 or 600 a year. Well there’s the main updates and then there’s the minor updates.
Andrew: Absolutely, this sort of conversation I can imagine about all these algorithm updates is all the SEO geeks having a chat around the water cooler.
Ian: Is that why that’s there?
Andrew: That’s why that’s there? Not to mention I’m freezing, but yes!
Ian: Well I’ve got a water cooler of my own. It’s a lot more portable. It’s called ice. Well there you go that’s my water cooler.
Andrew: You know what the use for ice is? There we go.
Ian: There you go. What have we got today?
Andrew: I don’t think this is ice.
Ian: Oh dear!
Andrew: I don’t know what these guys in the lab are doing to us.
Ian: They’re experimenting on us constantly that’s the whole point.
Andrew: They’re melting… Anyway.
Ian: So, updates, there’s major updates.
Andrew: Yeah, alright so far this year believe it or not there’s been about 4 major updates.
Ian: This year? We’re only half way.
Andrew: We’re more than halfway through already.. And just for those people who were wondering what they were, the most recent one is called Panda 4.0, the one before that was Payday Loan 2.0. The next one was Unnamed Update and the first one for this year was Page Layout #3.
Ian: Unnamed Update is my favourite one, that’s very creative Google.
Andrew: I think they ran out of animals to name these updates after. Well all those updates obviously target something whether it be spam or blog networks, all these sorts of things.
Ian: That’s right. It’s the cat and mouse game.
Andrew: Pretty much, a nice frightening statistic there is like you mentioned before, last year alone there were between 500 and 600 updates, well that’s close to two a day.
Ian: Yes that’s right. And these are sort of the little tinkering updates. I’d love to know whether Google plans these updates out ahead or time or whether they just have a whole lab of propeller heads just sitting there doing what they see needs to be addressed on that particular week or day.
Andrew: I’d say for the major ones they have them plans whereas the minor ones, they’re just that they’re constantly trying to improve and test etc. You always know when an update has happened by the chatter on Twitter, SEO blogs, SEO forums, digital marketing forums and all these sort of things. People just go crazy saying: “Oh my sites been hit I’m losing traffic! Bloody Google has screwed me up again!” And all that sort of nonsense! As I’ve always said, if you do the right thing in Google’s eyes, whether or not you agree with it is irrelevant, you should be fine. Your website should not be hit. If it does, it will be a minor thing, you may go down just a few spots but then eventually you’ll get back up there.
Ian: You’ll ride through the changes if you’re doing the right things.
Andrew: Yeah, all these people who moan and groan about it all are the ones that are doing the stupid things anyway.
Ian: Yeah and as we’ve spoken about in the past, when these changes do happen there is sometimes a little bit of panic. There’s a readjustment period, the Google dance, is that part of that terminology? So yeah, don’t panic if this does happen to you don’t worry, after a day or two it will readjust.
Andrew: But the myth of Google doesn’t update very often is debunked basically.
Ian: Totally debunked!
Andrew: There’s only quite a few major ones but then there are a lot of minor ones.
Ian: Yeah that’s right. It makes you wonder, who says this kind of stuff? But a lot of people do, I don’t know if there’s many excuses to be ignorant these days with just all this information a search away. I suppose it’s really about finding trusted sources of information.
Andrew: Absolutely! Just on this, I was looking up to see how many updates there were last year, there was one blog that said ‘Google does 200 a day’. 200 a day?! And another one said “Oh, they did a few hundred last year!” and I thought: oh my god, there are so many people chiming in on this, whether its 500, 600 or even 10 000, who the hell cares! It’s the way it is! It’s just Google in their great wisdom trying to make things better for users with their searches, and that’s all it is.
Ian: Alright, debunked! Thanks for joining us.
Ian: We’ve just got to say thank you very much to the water cooler for providing us with pleasant conversation. It’s a matter of a opinion really, depending on which chair you’re sitting in.
Andrew: Criticisms and complaints are also welcome! Address them to Ian.
Ian: All of those things: If you don’t like what Andrew is wearing, or if you like what he’s wearing, if you’ve got some reactions to some of the Google authorship comments that we’ve made in yesterday’s video.
Andrew: We got a few comments about that didn’t we.
Ian: You should go and watch that if you haven’t seen it because it basically fell into nothingness. It fell into disarray because we were laughing so much we didn’t really get to finish what we wanted to.
Andrew: Didn’t somebody say that we should put the recipes up for the drinks on the website?
Ian: They did. I don’t know whether that’s a good idea it’s a bit of a ‘don’t try this at home’. Speak soon! Thanks for that.
This is an old phrase “You don’t know what you don’t know” some say it comes from Socrates but it’s just so relevant to SEO. People don’t understand this highly specialised area of digital marketing so they switch off and are in many cases, not willing to learn about it, even when they see it in action, it gets dismissed as hocus pocus. I just came from a networking event and this is a real phenomena, if there’s anything that short-circuits peoples’ synapses, SEO is it.
Andrew: I think someone’s turned the heating down.
Ian: Oh I know who that is.
Andrew: Yeah I bet.
Ian: It’s probably the barman, he didn’t sound very happy today.
Andrew: Speaking of the barman – where are our drinks? Hang on a sec…
Ian: He’s probably on strike. Well while Andrew is doing that, today’s topic as you can see there is “you don’t know what you don’t know especially with SEO”. Now originally this phrase you don’t know what you don’t know, we’ve all heard this and it sounds like satiric rubbish, but it’s not. It really is kind of a truism, and the only way that you can find out and learn about things is to actually have a curious mind and be willing to listen and be open minded… What? This is no, what is that?
Andrew: This is what he gave me. I’m thinking they’re just glasses of milk.
Ian: I think we might have to tone down our commentary about how bad the last couple of drinks have been. It looks like skim milk.
Andrew: Probably is, it’s very white though.
Ian: Great, I think we might need to…
Ian: I was going to say we might need to apologise!
Andrew: Hell no! We’ll just sack him!
Ian: Oh dear, anyway I was just explaining that you don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to SEO and we should have more of an open mind and be willing to learn.
Ian: I was just at a networking event, which was where I won this little guy here.
Andrew: When you brought it back I thought you were going to start promoting a casino or something.
Ian: Oh right, yeah. Well, it’s more of this tactic of making things feel a bit warmer, you know? Some animals, some scenery and drinks.
Andrew: It’s very pretty.
Ian: I’m pretty happy with it actually. So, this is a bit of a pep talk because we want people to be interested and curious as to what SEO is. Not just to be dismissive and just to say that’s a bunch of hocus pocus. It gets a bit tiring to hear people doubting that it actually works; because it does work, and we show that time and time again. This is a real thing, SEO actually makes people money.
Andrew: I had a conversation not even an hour ago, you had one last night; people asking us what do you do? We explain what we do and they go, “what the hell are you talking about?”
Ian: Yeah, the brain short circuits and they just can’t fathom…
Andrew: The term SEO or search engine optimisation, they just think what is that? You try to explain it and they still don’t get it. But then when you say, okay we’re the guys who try to get your website to the top of Google. “Oh… How do you do that?” They just don’t seem to understand, but just because you don’t understand something it doesn’t mean to say that it doesn’t work, it does work!
Ian: I think like we’ve done with some of the seminars we’ve had in here is we’ve brought up some statistics and we’re actually said, these devices when you’re out and about and searching, how do you think these listings come up? They don’t just magically appear, people actually have to work to get them placed there, whether that’s setting up a Google Places page, or putting them in directories, or working on their website to have it optimised. It just doesn’t magically happen. I suppose in a practical sense we have to make people aware that it does work. And it just seems to be the terminology, there’s a lot of confusing terminology, and because it is changing quite a lot and it is one of the most confusing areas of digital marketing it’s too much for them to take in. These aren’t people who are lacking in intelligence or understanding of just about anything, I mean these are smart people. You’ve got to be passionate about it I guess, and you’ve really got to be open minded and willing to learn. This is a pep talk; be open minded. There is a lot of rubbish that’s been written about SEO out there, and there is a lot of dodgy tactics and other companies that have tarnished the image, so that causes a bit of jadedness there too.
Ian: Is jadedness a word?
Ian: So that’s what we’re up against, but when you start to show people practical examples of it then they start to get a bit more curious about it.
Andrew: So I think the bottom line is that just because you don’t understand how it works, just know that it actually does work if it’s done right. That’s the key.
Ian: That is the key. I think just in finishing, we can’t stress the importance of how SEO is really, it should be the focus of your energies in digital marketing at the moment. Any other promotions or platforms that you’re using in the case of social media, or your website, or articles, press releases or things like that, anything like that, these are all very complimentary. (Phone rings) Oh here’s someone calling me right now
Andrew: Probably complaining?
Ian: Mad Scientist Digital, can I help you? Ha no. I didn’t plan that by the way, that wasn’t set up.
Andrew: Yeah okay, fair enough.
Ian: It’s probably these guys from the conference this morning ringing to ask for their flamingo back.
Andrew: Yeah, they awarded it to the wrong person.
Ian: Anyway the point is, SEO – don’t be afraid of it, don’t switch off, please be open minded and learn about it. There are a lot of tools that are confusing, but they do work and they will show a return for the money that you’re putting into it.
Ian: We have a lot of content on our website and in our Google Hangouts and on our social media about SEO, so please feel free to go and read anything that’s there and come back with any questions.
Ian: Andrew, thank you very much.
Andrew: You’re welcome.
Ian: Can we turn the heating up next time, or do I have to wear a suit?
Andrew: You should, the things you wear at the snow…What do you call it?
Ian: Like a bear suit or something like what the mascots wear?
Ian: Because they’re always overheating.
Andrew: This barman got to get the sack.
Ian: I think we should sack him and maybe he should go and get a job as a mascot?
Why do people hate or dislike SEO? Mainly because they don’t really know what it is. SEO is a very specialised aspect of digital marketing and in our opinion commands more respect. Take the time to do your research before you make ignorant statements about it online.
Ian: Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson, “It’s 1 o’clock good afternoon.” You’re on the air.
Andrew: I thought we were just goofing around a bit.
Ian: No we’re on the air. We’re going to talk to you today about reasons why I dislike or I hate SEO.
Andrew: You can say the word hate.
Ian: It’s not I or I, or as in we, there’s just a lot of stuff online about people who hate or dislike SEO. Tell us about these people?
Andrew: The thing is since we did that video last night, or yesterday, about why people hate SEO we’ve had quite a big response so I thought okay well let’s see what else is out there because at the moment SEO bashing seems to be the in thing.
Andrew: Just did a bit of a search and some of the titles that came up, for example, one article was titled “Your SEO sucks and you need some friends part 1”. Another one is “SEO sucks and here is why!”. This one was rather odd: “Why females suck at SEO writing”, “Why SEO sucks and adwords can save your business”, “12 signs your SEO guru sucks”, “21 warning signs your SEO sucks”. Well that’s ridiculous you only really need one warning sign, not 21. And 6 sure fire signs your SEO company sucks. Wonderful!
Ian: I know.
Andrew: It sort of made me think well why is there so much negativity surrounding SEO and really about the only thing I can think of is the fact that people are very very ignorant about what SEO is and what SEO is not.
Ian: Yeah that’s the point isn’t it.
Andrew: It is, like one article here I found I won’t actually mention where it’s from.
Ian: Is this the one written by the guy who’s actually working at the company?
Andrew: He’s actually working at the company.
Ian: And he’s saying that…?
Andrew: Well the title is, you can look it up, “I hate the f***ing SEO service industry”. I thought god okay I’ve got the read this one. Well basically what he’s saying is that his company does web development and they do SEO as well which is good. However, he seems to constantly be getting into arguments with the SEO guys saying okay we need keywords here, we need key words there, we need keyword keyword keyword keyword. Forgetting that content all that sort of stuff. Everything with this particular SEO person or section or division or whatever it is, they’re always on about keywords. And of course web developers are always on about how the site looks and functions. SEO people have the sites looked upon by the search engines. So the two just seem to be, at odds with each other.
Ian: Yeah and they don’t need to be.
Andrew: Of course they don’t need to be.
Ian: It’s a lack of knowledge, by the sounds of it.
Andrew: It’s a very big lack of knowledge either on the part of the SEO people of this particular company and by the web developers as well.You know because web developers don’t need to know SEO. They need to understand a website has to be found by the search engines. So there are a lot of things that web developers can do to actually screw that up. You know not intentionally of course because that’s not their thing.
Ian: Yeah, it’s a specialized thing.
Andrew: It is.
Ian: And we don’t expect web developers to know a whole lot about SEO but it sounds like in this case there needs to be a bit more respect.
Ian: For the science of SEO.
Ian: Sure its not an exact science. Sure we could admit that because nobody knows the rules.Yeah what can you do Google is the only one that knows.
Ian: But it needs to be more respected and more understood rather than dismissed.
Andrew: Absolutely and look SEO is not about spamming the search engines, it is not about automated software. SEO simply is all the other methods that are used, that Google and the other search engines approve of, so that people can find your website online. That is the whole purpose of SEO. It is not about focusing all your attention on keywords, it’s not about focusing all your attention on just content, keyword rich titles and all that sort of stuff. I mean that’s all part of it but it’s not the main focus of SEO.
Ian: No it’s not. That’s why it’s called “Search Engine Optimisation” not “Search Engine Manipulation”. SEO not SEM. Although that could be confused by “Search Engine Marketing”.
Andrew: Well I can mention this one, a guy named Dan O’Sullivan from marketingland.com, he actually makes some good points, you know going on about why people hate SEO and people who really hate SEO don’t know the difference between what SEO really is, what search engine spam is and what SEO, what we call snake oil promises.
Andrew: There’s a big difference between the three.
Ian: Yes, there is.
Andrew: Absolutely and of course it’s no wonder, generally people hate SEO and there’s all these sales people saying “i’ll get you to be number one within 48 hours and we can do this we can do that for you” and all these well promises. All these emails people get, we even get.
Ian: And love.
Andrew: You know there’s one that he mentions here that he recently got, just to paraphrase it a bit “my SEO company sent me this, we’ve saved the best promotion for the end of the year only $50 hurry up, take a trial for $50 and we get you linked with one hundred employed websites having PageRank up to 5.” Well you know PagePank up to 5 is lovely but generally you find when they talk about one hundred links with page rank up to 5, one of them will be 5 the rest of the will be crap.
Ian: Right. But regardless of that they have to be quality and relevant links as well. You know it’s not just about the amount you have.
Ian: And so for someone to say one hundred… I mean it doesn’t work that way anymore. You don’t just say one hundred links and bam. You know 1 + 1 = 2. No, it doesn’t work that way.
Andrew: 100 links from those type of sites is not going to get you anywhere. For a budget of $50 what is that going to buy you. Someone will be sitting there for two minutes putting all this stuff into an automated system that will just spam a search engine with those hundred links and it’ll mean bupkis, it means nothing, it just won’t work. So with a budget of 50 bucks what are you getting?
Ian: Sweet F A.
Andrew: Even as a trial you know. They charge you $50 for a trial, how much do they charge you for an ongoing campaign? $200? Even for $200 what the hell are you going to get. Nothing.
Ian: Are you wound up about this Andrew?
Andrew: I am. I’m sick of reading stuff like this and all this stuff comes from people who don’t know what the hell SEO is. They’re ignorant and then they push this stuff out onto the net and have stupid titles like this, there’s thousands of them.
Ian: Yes and I suppose the scary thing about some of these titles is that it’s not even people that are writing sensational titles to get more traffic or get more ranking, this is just pure ignorance.
Ian: This is just people who don’t understand it, they’re frustrated because of that and they go to the internet for some sort of feedback or somebody to console them or more to agree with them and what do they get? Us.
Andrew: This stuff just goes around and around in a giant loop, people want to educate themselves about SEO, what’s the first thing they find? They find crap like that.
Andrew: It goes round and around and around and instead of going to authoritative sources, without blowing anyone else’s trumpet, you know Search Engine Land, one of the best ones out there you’ve got Moz which is also a fairly big optimisation website that gives you factual things about what SEO is and what to do and what not to do or simply go to Google guidelines, Google webmaster guidelines, that’ll tell you everything even though it might be a little biased towards Google if you like, but still it will tell you how it is and what it is and what to do and what not to do, what works and what doesn’t work. Unlike this crap you know this is just rubbish, it is ignorant people educating ignorant people.
Ian: Yeah well it’s been ongoing. Like if people aren’t already jaded enough about those three letters S E O then people go and push this sort of propaganda if you like.
Andrew: And yes people have had bad experiences with these so called “SEO companies” yes of course. Educate yourself, move on to a bigger firm who hopefully knows what they are doing and don’t go for price. Whatever you do don’t go for price. If somebodys charging you $50 you’re going to get crap.
Ian: You’re going to get absolutely nothing.
Andrew: Then again none of the guys who charge you $20,000 either.
Ian: You can get a decent bottle of scotch for $50. I’d rather do that.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Anyway that’s my rant.
Andrew: Education is the key for this sort of crap and hopefully one day… and by the way SEO is not dead, it will never die. That’s another thing, that’s a new title.
Ian: That’s another one yeah “Google SEO is dead”
Andrew: Or “Google has killed SEO”
Ian: Can we do a hangout on that one because that’s entertaining some of those ones. Alright obviously a little wound up about this one. There is a lot and we’ve been saying this until we’re blue in the face and I‘ve been saying I’m blue in the face till I’m blue in the face but we know there’s a lot of ignorance out there, these are obviously just written by people out there who don’t understand SEO. Now SEO is a specialised area and it deserves 100% attention it’s a full time job. It’s ever changing and you need an SEO company as well that’s going to explain to you in plain english what they are actually doing for you. You don’t have to know all the ins and outs of it because quite frankly you probably don’t want to but you have to have some idea of what you’re actually getting and they have to create some sort of value in your mind. If they’re not doing that then they’re not worth while and they’re unprofessional and that’s my rant on this subject.
Thanks very much for watching once again we can give Andrew a little clap because he was really wound up. All these effects by the way are on your right hand side on the Google hangout on your panel. Here’s another one…I’m not sure about that one.
Andrew: It’s supposed to be a cash register.
Ian: I like this one… Andrew Radics! Alright enough of that we’ll see you very soon.
Web Designers and Web Developers are specialists in 1 or 2 things. It’s very rare they will have a full understanding of SEO, there’s just too much to keep up with — you have to be doing this full time and be a fanatic in this one area to be an ‘expert’.
In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss some of the reasons why it is important as a web designer to keep SEO in mind when building a site. Not only that, but if you are having a site built, ask your web designer if they work in conjunction with an SEO expert.
Ian: Looking very green today isn’t it?
Andrew: It is.
Ian: What is that?
Andrew: It’s metho for the whiteboard.
Ian: Oh that’s for our serious whiteboard, oh and its leaking!
Andrew: Ah, anyway.
Ian: Excellent. Anyway, we’re on the air. Signs your web designer knows nothing about SEO. Now web designer could mean web developer as well
Andrew: Same thing.
Ian: They’re not the same thing.
Andrew: Shows you how much I know about web designing then.
Ian: Yes. The point of this hangout is that neither Andrew nor I are web designers or web developers. Our experience is in project managing, well my experience from a web point of you is in project managing web design, but I am not a skilled photoshop person or a skilled web design person. However, I understand brand and I understand the creative components that need to go together for a campaign, I understand some PHP/ HTML code but I do not claim to be a web developer. However I do understand functionality and I can go into great detail with clients about that but I am not a guy that sits behind a computer and writes code. Why I’m saying all this is because I know what I’m good at, I know where the bleeding edge is of my skills and my limitations and thats why I partner with people that are more skilled in that area, people who write code, people who actually have a great command of photoshop and indesign, these programs that we use and I know that I have to partner with those people, beside those people and in some cases subcontract although that’s a whole other story. It shouldn’t be any different for SEO for how either web designers or web developers treat SEO and in fact in the case of SEO, it is more important now than ever for you to have an SEO person working in partnership with you, beside you, in contact with the client because it is such a confusing area. We could go into lots of stories as to how doing SEo in a subcontracting sense for an agency, various different digital agencies or branding agencies, we could go into lots of examples of why and how that doesn’t work. This is because it is a lot about client expectations, it’s a complicated area and it’s one that needs to be very carefully managed from before a contract starts, through that sort of planning process, right through to doing the setup of the website or whatever the particular goals of the campaign are. But essentially, it needs to be very carefully managed.
Andrew: So. What you’re trying to say is?
Ian: So what I am trying to get at, what I’d like to think is that the shoe needs to be also on the other foot. That’s probably the wrong analogy. But what I’m trying to say is that if you’re a web designer or web developer, for god’s sake don’t pretend to be an SEO person if you’re not. If you know what a metatag or a meta title and description is that doesn’t mean you’re an SEO expert. If you know what an alt tag is or any of these other SEO components thats okay, but that doesn’t make you an SEO person. SEO is a specialised area a lot like a lot of these other areas in IT or online or web. The industry had matured to the point where your SEO person is the equivalent of like your brain surgeon. Now, you don’t get a brain surgeon to work on your heart and you don’t get a heart surgeon to work on your brain, I mean, the human body is a complex instrument and the knowledge of the human body has developed to the point where people have to be specialists in the various different parts of the body, the IT and web industry has got to the point where these area are getting so specialised that you do have to have an expert. I don’t know whether I can make it any clearer.
Andrew: So yeah, if you’re having your website built or if you’re building a website for someone else, keep the SEO side of it in mind and if you don’t understand the SEO side of it work with someone who does because it’s easier while you’re building your website to set it up for proper SEO rather than doing it after the fact because it’s not just about tags, it’s also about URL structure. I know for a fact that web designers or web developers, whatever the difference is I still don’t know, who just make up a string of numbers and stuff and that’s the actual URL for a certain page, well from an SEO perspective, that is absolute rubbish, that doesn’t mean anything. It should have whatever keywords that are being targeted for what the site is about, I mean not overly, just so it’s a clearly structured URL. You cannot go back and fix it after because if you’ve linked all your pages together, well then if we come in later and change the URL structure of a certain page, well that means that any links you’ve made will be dead links, so then we’ve got to go through the whole thing and figure out where these links are that you’ve actually created. So it’s easier just to do it while you’re building the website.
Ian: It is, and there’s so many different circumstances where you need the expert advice of an SEO person. If you’re starting the website from scratch, if you’re starting the brand from scratch, you definitely need an SEO person. If you’ve got an old website and you want to relaunch a new site, even more importantly you need an SEO person. There’s multiplications on how your old site is indexed by google and how new site is going to be indexed, multiple implications, and these sorts of things you shouldn’t pretend to know how these things work. I would suggest yes, learn the basics and learn enough to be able to explain it to a client but I would make it very clear to them that this is not your area and that you will be working beside, or you’ll have an SEO company working beside you on this. We’re actually so adamant about this that we’ve now built on-page optimisation, or on-site some people call it, built that into a web development package. So you say to a client up front in the proposal process, SEO is really important and here is the offering as part of your website development package. Because otherwise there’s no point building a website in the first place if they can’t be found by Google. Don’t build a website, there is no more built it and they will come, in fact I don’t think there ever was, there might have been in the nineties when there were hardly any websites. This has got to integrated part of launching or relaunching a website.
Andrew: What you hear a lot of times, people who have just built a website come to us through whatever channel that might be and they say that the web designer/developer told us that SEO is not important or I’ve already done SEO on your website. We go through it and say well here’s all the problems with your site and here’s the client thinking that was all taken care of because that’s what they were told. Now whether or not the actual web developer was ignorant or if they were just plain lying to the client to get the business we don’t know.
Ian: And then we’re put in a very difficult position, and we have been a few times. We’ve learnt to delicately manage that, we don’t want to get the web designer and web developer in the poo so we have to actually say to the client well look, this is a specialised area, maybe they did say that that was under control but sorry it’s not being done the way it should’ve been done. We have to sort of be sensitive about it because we don’t want to get the web designer or the web developer into trouble. It much easier for you to just be upfront about that with the client if you’re in web development, be transparent, and we’ll help you with that if you’re a web developer and you’re watching this this, we’ll help you. Call us or email us and say I’m doing this project it’s launching at this time, I haven’t explained this to the client yet, how do I approach it. One thing that we do and have a lot of experience with is that sort of strategic approach to things whether that’s the rolling out of an actual project or that is how do I approach a client and how do I canvas this with them in a way that they understand the importance.
Andrew: Or on the other hand, if you’re someone who is having a website build by a web person make sure you ask them all the right questions, make sure you ask them ‘what about SEO?’, ‘do you part with somebody that knows what they’re talking about and knows what they’re doing?’ or ‘do I have to start all this again once my website is built?’ If they say no, no, no we’ll take care of it, well then get them to qualify, get them to show somehow that they actually know what they’re talking about and SEO is more than just metatags. It’s simple. If they say we’ll fill in all the tags, well that’s good but what are they going to put in there? It’s not just a matter of putting any words in there that they possibly want.
Ian: Well like you’ve said in the past, there’s a reason why it’s called Search Engine Optimisation it’s not search engine fill in the blanks – you’re not truly optimising unless you’re doing the right things with the words that you have.
Andrew: So possibly, the best thing to do is to ask them to get their SEO person or department to call you and tell you what they’re going to do as far as the SEO side of things go.
Ian: Yep, and you can smell a rat. You can ask them a few qualifying questions and see if they know what they’re talking about. Now again, this is where it comes back to web developers being put in an uncomfortable situation, if we’re advising clients to ask these kinds of questions and you know that you’re going to be asked these and you don’t know the answer, then just be honest upfront and say I’m not an SEO person. It’s actually better to say ‘I’m not sure’, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ll find out’. It’s better to say that then to say a bunch of rubbish that you can’t follow through with and a lot of information is available online, I’d like to think that clients will go away and actually do a bit of research and go through an education process and qualify you in return. It’s only fair. Do you have an example of things you might ask them?
Andrew: Just very quickly yeah.
Ian: We’ve looked up quite a few articles on this and this is actually a quite amusing one.
Andrew: It’s from LunaMetrics I can tell you that much. Hang on, here. Christina Keffer, this is a few years ago but the points are still relevant.
Ian: It’s very amusing Christina.
Ian: And their grammar isn’t too good either.
Andrew: Their grammar is very bad. Just another quick one which I mentioned before ‘what will my URLs look like?’ and if they reply ‘Well it depends on how the user got to the page (I don’t even get that and how that changes), they’re dynamically generated and the search engines won’t care because lots of sites have dynamically generated URLs (that’s not a good thing) and look at this cool session (I don’t know what that means)’. But yeah, that’s some of their replies.
Ian: I like the equivalent of ‘hey look, there’s a squirrel!’ in order to distract the client and hope they forget this conversation happened.
Andrew: Well that’s the whole idea and another very quick funny one, ‘what’s the difference between a 301 redirect and a 302 redirect?’ If they answer you ‘nothing’ or if they ask you ‘is this some sort of crappy SEO CPR?’ or ‘ever heard of meta refresh redirect? duh! everyone’s using them now,’ ‘I am seeing no need to worry about redirecting, we’ll take care of it.’ Well any of those answers, consider yourself educated now, should make you think twice about using that web developer because he’s obviously has no knowledge of SEo or is not working with anybody in conjunction with doing SEo on your site while your site is being built.
Ian: I do sympathise with the client point of view and I do get part of the reason why, look, if you’re a web developer or a web designer just be honest and upfront and say you’re not an SEO person. Don’t even try and come up with any of those rubbish answers because clients aren’t really going to necessarily realise that you’re full of crap but they see enough signs of it and hopefully if they’re educated enough they’ll smell a rat. It almost doesn’t matter what the rubbish answers are even though they’re using examples, just don’t say you know when you don’t. It’s pretty easy. Pretty basic.
Ian: So, having said all that, if you’re a client and you’re wanting SEO done on your website just realise that it’s a specialised thing and you do need to educate yourself as to the kinds of questions that you need to be asking. If you’re a web designer or a web developer then hey, we’re surrendering, we’re staying. I’m not a coder, I’m not a designer, and yet I’ve been heavily involved in website projects for many, many years. I still say to clients upfront that I’m not the one that’s actually doing it, we’re working with partners. So people know that this is the way the world works and it’s a bit of straightforward honesty.
Andrew: It’s like that old expression, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades, you want to be a master of one. So if you’re a web developer, be a good web developer and don’t worry so much about SEO unless you’ve got an SEO vision in your company, or if you don’t, find one.
Ian: We’ll work with you. When we say work with you it won’t be in a way that we will demean you in front of the client, we want you to be successful and we want the client to be successful. So we’ll work beside you in a way that we’ll make sure the outcomes are strong and the results are positive. That’s what partnerships are about. Anyway thank you very much for watching, thank you Andrew once again.
Andrew: No worries.
Ian: Andrew Radics as always.
Andrew: As always.
Ian: For lustrous and stimulating commentary.
Andrew: Yeah I need to shave so I’ll do that.
Ian: You need to shave? Well I probably need to shave as well. I had a haircut yesterday so I lost a bit of hair. What’s wrong?
Andrew: Nothing, it’s just kind of sticking up Looks like you’ve just gotten out of bed that’s all. Ah well, it must be the style.
Ian: Must be the stylist. There you go, I’m not a hairdresser either, not a hair designer either – just another thing I’m not. All good, won’t be wearing as much green next time.
Andrew: I dunno why we did green. It must be our green drinks, cheers! Not that we’re gonna drink this but yeah. OMG you drank it? you drank the prop?!