Category Archives: Expert SEO

“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 because:

  • 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

 

What SEO ISN’T!

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.

Great Expectations: Have you been sold Digital Bullshit?

Ian Hopkinson - Great Expectations Have you been sold Digital Bullshit

A lot of so-called internet “experts” are spruiking digital bullshit that’s creating a whopping pile of impossible expectations.

Picture this: the business owner or marketing manager is sitting in front of a digital strategist/marketing guru and listening to a barrage of technical information that is based on very little expertise or experience. It’s one thing knowing the technical side of things, it’s another  thing to have the deep understanding of marketing strategy along with the years of experience necessary to make the technical stuff deliver real business results.

Here’s the deal though (in my humble opinion) – if you don’t know how to give the client proper context and paint the right picture as to what they can realistically expect – you will have a room of people drinking the Kool-aid, handing over suitcases of cash, and loving the buzz of the journey they think they are about to embark on.

Later though, they end up hating you for smashing their dreams by selling them a bunch of high falootin’ digital bullshit.

Dicken’s novel Great Expectations is a long story but  a classic read. Even though it’s been over 20 years since I read it – I do remember how haunting it was when the main character Pip – after coming from great poverty and being supported by a mysterious benefactor into the life of a city gentleman  – found out that this secret investor was a criminal he stole food for from his crazy neighbours house when he was 6 years old.

His life changed for the better and he certainly found a new way of looking at the world – but when he found out it was all backed by a man of questionable ethics Pip felt like he’d been living a lie.

I’ve arrived at meetings with many businesses who are feeling like Pip did. Their original great expectations have been betrayed, and the reality in the end was cold. They’ve invested substantial time, energy and money – and they don’t have the results they were promised.  For example:

  • They paid a lot for “SEO” but their rankings haven’t increased.
  • Their website is getting more visits – but those visits aren’t converting into sales.
  • They’re paying a fortune for Adwords or Facebook Ads without getting sales.

The right person with the right expertise and education at the right time is of a high value. Finding a digital consultant that can be real with you and not under the pump to sell you the world may be difficult to find – but they do exist.

Here’s a few tips on what to look for:

  1. A technical person who can still explain things in plain english – and in terms of marketing strategy rather than programming
  2. A consultant who is not attached to a single product solution or service deliverable.  They will not just want to sell you on that marketing channel and apply their solution (but make sure they have a background with hands on experience in technical delivery and service)
  3. The right personality to fit your business – ready to collaborate with you and recommend and vet service providers that fit your needs

Jim Rohn said “We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.”

The right consultant will enable  you to move forward with good explanations and a clearly defined path. They’ll deliver tangible results and make sure you understand what will and won’t be possible. Hitting the right strategic marks in marketing your business can return exciting rewards.

Shopping for the right service provider can be frustrating – particularly if you’re starting from a desperate position.  But if you fall into making knee jerk decisions based on unrealistic promises, you may ultimately end up wandering longer in the dark while falling further and further behind.

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.

Your name is not Chris! (An email from an exotic land)

Ian Hopkinson - Your name is not Chris (An email from an exotic land)

Just to set the scene a little. We have all got spam emails from random SEO companies in our time.

Have you?

In fact, with all of our clients starting an SEO campaign with us, part of our process is to warn them that getting these emails is a sign of greater visibility and that the work that we are doing is already working. Once you get to Page 3 or Page 2 for your keywords or sign up to local directory listings, many of these spammy companies (who are monitoring the search results with automated software) drop you into their database and start emailing you. Here’s one of those emails I got recently from Chris Morris (an Indian gentleman?). I have put my thoughts in bold and in [brackets].

N.B – Please also know that this post is not meant to offend anyone, what I am laying out here is exactly what happens everyday.

Hi

I am, Chris Morris, SEO Consultant.

[Your name is not Chris]

Advertising in the online world is one of the most inexpensive and highly effective methods of promoting a business.

[Advertising online can be much more expensive then many digital mediums, but I thought you were emailing me about SEO – that is not advertising]

I was surfing through your website and analyze that despite having a great design;

[Our website is being redesigned at the moment, it’s launching in a few weeks because I think the design is outdated]

It was not ranking on any of the search engines (Google Yahoo and Bing) for most of the keywords relating to your business.

[Our website is ranking very well, after all we’re an SEO company, in fact we just got a phone call from a prospect who searched for a keyword and found us on page 1]

I am affiliated with an SEO company based in India that has helped over 200 businesses rank on the 1st Page of Google for even the most competitive Industries.

[Are you are actually telling me that you are based in India? Is your name really Chris Morris?]

We assure you that our SEO prices will give you good amount of margin in your pocket. Also, Your Company and your customer information will be confidential.

[How can you tell me what it will be, you have clearly not looked at my site or done an audit, you also haven’t told me your real name so how can I trust you]

Let me know if you are interested and I will send you our company details or create a proposal so you can see exactly where you rank compared to your Competitors.

[Up until now you haven’t told me who you work for!! Just that your name might be Chris? Also how desperate are you for business if you are emailing random people you don’t know lying to them and hiding behind a pseudonym]

I look forward to your mail.

[I look forward to your response too, as I will be publishing my journey through this process with all of my Linked-in followers]

Warm Regards

Chris

[I would like to conclude that my new friend Chris Morris emailed me from a gmail address and does not have a website].

 

Local SEO – Introduction to SEO for Business

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.

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss what Local SEO is all about and how it can affect your local business.

 

What Is Content FOR, Anyway?

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

Purpose of online contentTwo Purposes

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>>

 

search marketing services

How Google Works – SEO

Have you been wondering how the whole world of Google actually works? We all know that it is the number one global search engine, but many don’t know just how Google finds your webpage.

Don’t stress, Ian and Andrew discuss what it is that makes Google the powerhouse it is, and how we can help improve your site ranking.

Discussed in this video are:

1. Google Bots / Web Crawlers

Crawling the World Wide Web and bringing all of the information back to Google.

2. Google Indexing

Result of the Google Bots crawling information on World Wide Web

3. Google Signals

Google’s relevancy program

4. Robot TXT Files

Files that prohibit Google crawling your website

5. On-Page SEO

Using SEO tools and knowledge to improve your page ranking

We have covered this in many other videos before so be sure to give some of our other videos a watch after viewing this one.

 

 

3 Tips For SEO & Web Dev’s – Let’s All Get Along

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.

 

 

 

Expert SEO

Episodes in this playlist:

Will the real expert SEO guy please stand up?

It’s so hard to tell who knows what they are talking about with SEO because it’s such a highly specialized area of Digital Marketing. Digital Marketing companies establish relationships of trust with clients yes that’s fine, but do they deliver results? and how do you go about finding one in the first place?

There is an expert SEO company out therefore you, don’t give up.

The search for an expert SEO company can be daunting for most people especially if they have been burned by an SEO company before. In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson share some useful tips on what to look for in an SEO company.

Questions you should be asking your expert SEO company

Before you hire a so-called Expert SEO Company, you should be asking some fundamental questions. In this short episode, we will recommend some basic questions you should be asking to see if the company is worth their weight in gold!

Expert SEO

Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson share some raw statistics and insights into why taking shortcuts or quick fixes with your SEO strategy just doesn’t work and is not worthwhile. Think long term, think smart.

The Quiet Achievers-Real Expert SEOs

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:

  • you are not ranking for “competitive keywords
  • 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.

 

Outsourcing and SEO Rip-offs

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.

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss ways in which a lot of SEO companies rip people off.