Category Archives: General

Local SEO

The power of Local SEO

When it come to SEO, there are three main types of work to be done:

  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Local SEO

When most businesses start doing SEO, they start with On-Page SEO.

On-Page is about cleaning up how their web pages are presented to Search Engines so that web crawlers don’t make their own – sometimes weird – bot-type decisions on what their business is about.

With their On-Page SEO “done”, the next step many take is to dive into Off-Page SEO, with content marketing, social media and backlinks to up their profile.  This helps Search Engines identify where they sit in their market, how they are connected and what other people think of them.

However, a surprising number often ignore the power of Local SEO – creating a local online profile that helps Search Engines understand their geography and their relevance to local prospects.

It’s a powerful marketing process for any ‘bricks and mortar’ business that has one or more operational sites – whether you’re a local hairdresser or an industrial equipment supplier.

Local SEO

Why does Local SEO matter?

Once upon a time, to get local exposure for your business you would have a Yellow Pages listing and then advertise in your local paper for local customers.

Today, an important way to reach customers near you is effective, up-to-date Local SEO.

Local SEO is still SEO – it needs keyword research, content, links, and on-page technical SEO. It’s “local” because it has a local focus.

Siri and Alexa (and friends)

Voice-based searches are on the rise, with people asking their home devices to  “Find pizza near me” – so good Local SEO will get you found more.

Mobile usage and Local SEO

The growth of smartphones with limited screen space has boosted the impact of good local SEO.   Mobile users want easier access and are often out actively shopping – so their potential to convert is much higher.

“60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the search results (e.g., “click to call” option).  Think with Google

COVID and Local SEO

COVID has had some “swings and roundabouts” effects on local SEO. During lockdown, suddenly a whole lot of people searching online wanted to know:

  1. “Who’s close to me?”
  2. “When are they open?”

PLUS: For a whole lot of businesses, their whole geography changed – offices closed, phone numbers changed. Not everyone has had the resources to do the Local SEO to make sure they stay found.

Local SEO is still SEO

Even if you don’t have a customer-facing retail business, local SEO can still build your rankings.

One of our clients is Sullair, a Hitachi Group Company. They sell air compressors and parts into manufacturing companies across Australia. So why would they do Local SEO?

Firstly, having all their locations around Australia increases their profile with Google as a real, trustworthy and reliable business.

Plus they get a lot of online traffic through Google maps as visitors and delivery people get directions to their sites.  (Google doesn’t know the difference between a delivery and a customer – so it’s all traffic.  And that’s good for their rankings.)

We recently did Local SEO for Sullair Melbourne, and within the span of three months:

  • Total actions grew by 20.8% (this measures actions such as website visits, phone calls and direction requests)
  • Website visits increased by 52%
  • Phone calls increased by 23.3%
  • There was a 36.7% increase in total search impressions for their Melbourne Google my Business

Those are good results by any measure of SEO – and especially for an industrial business with a specialist client base.

Local SEO

So what does Local SEO actually involve?

Some Local SEO techniques are fairly straight forward. For example:

  • Getting on the map – with entries on Google Maps, Bing and Apple Maps.
  • Establishing a Google My Business account so you can tell Google more about your business overall. This can be everything from other locations to search keywords.
  • Listing on local and national business directories relevant to what you do (For example: buy-australia.com.au)

Others take a bit more technical skill, such as:

  • Using Schema Markup on your web pages – a set of description standards created by Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
  • Including a Google Map on your Contact page

So you can make a start yourself, with help from the wealth of online guides – then work up to the technical bits over time.  (Or maybe you could give us a call at MSD?)

Remember the basics of SEO

Be consistent

Make sure addresses, phone numbers and other contact details are consistent – everywhere.

Does every listing have up-to-date visuals – logos, favicons, colours, etc.?  Is your look and feel consistent across device types?

Stay relevant

List where it’s relevant for you to list – quality will outlast quantity.

Don’t try and game Google

In every generation of search engine changes, there have been “experts” willing to bet their client’s reputation on doing something underhand.  (Once upon a time these were the people who did key-word loading using white text on a white background.  Their clients paid the price down in lost rankings.)

Have you checked your Local SEO?

There are businesses that don’t need Local SEO – authors, online service providers and eCommerce shops.  However, if you have a bricks and mortar business where customers, suppliers and service providers visit you, then it’s an investment worth making.

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.” 

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.

Temperament Insights to Add a Bit of Science to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Once upon a time marketing was an arcane talent – a mystical understanding of human behavior that enabled certain magicians to understand their customers and make sales.  These days, an increasing number of straightforward tools are available to help business people develop the craft of marketing as a skilled practice.    One of these tools is the Myers Briggs temperament model.   Continue reading

Why Is SEO Like Housework?

1. It’s never “finished”

The Internet isn’t “finished” – so SEO can’t be finished. With more and more material on the Internet, changing social media platforms and usage, changing market trends and topics, there’s lots of “dust” settling.

2. A little bit regularly makes a big difference

Like laundry and dishes, doing a bit every day or week means the job doesn’t get too big.  Checking your keyword effectiveness, adding new content and sharing great ideas you find online is best done in small, regular blocks.

3. Having a strategy and a system makes it quick and easy

In SpeedCleaning <<insert link?>>, Shannon Lush describes how to put systems in place to clean your house efficiently when you’re time poor.  Similarly, a a smart system for SEO and digital marketing will make things easier.  Scheduling tools and idea capture techniques will maximise your results.

4. Spring clean every year for best results

As your business and your world changes, so will your SEO and digital marketing.  An annual review of your strategic direction, content and presentation will keep you looking good.

5. You can hire the work out

If your time is too scarce and too valuable to spend on maintenance work, get someone in to do it.  You need to be careful to find a quality service provider, <<link to separate post>> but once you’ve got good help, you can get on with your core business.  (While keeping an eye on the work, of course.  Your SEO provider is great at SEO – and NOT an expert in your business.)

 

4 ways that the right content builds trust

  1. It demonstrates that you’re sincere.  That you mean what you say.
  2. It demonstrates that you’re competent. That you have relevant knowledge, skills and capability to deliver.
  3. It demonstrates that you’re reliable. If you’re keeping up regular, consistent activity, you’ll show up as current and reliable.
  4. It demonstrates that you’re involved. That you see the client’s needs and concerns, not just your service features.

 

Content or Adwords – which is best?

Quality content is a strong long term strategy for Search Engine Optimisation.   But these days it’s only part of the picture.

There are places where paid Internet advertising is a strong option, whether its AdWords or Facebook Ads.  These include:

  1. Special promotions
  2. Product launches
  3. ???

To make sure you’re getting value for money, make sure that you’ve done  your homework, so that your paid ads are:

  • Strategic
  • Well-targetted
  • Tested and measured

A scatter gun approach will cost you money every time a poorly targeted ad gets clicked — and then bounces.

If you don’t know how to measure the effectiveness of your paid advertising campaign, contact us now.

Just What IS Content?

There are 3 main types of content:  core marketing copy; ongoing original content; and other external content you share.    Content is read by humans and also by search engines.  Humans need it to look good, be interesting and solve their problems.  Search engines want content to be consistent, trustworthy and  interesting to humans.

Three levels of content

Types of content

1. Your core marketing copy

Your website is the core of your digital marketing — your overall aim is to bring people who want your solutions to your website.  Once they’re there, your core copy is aimed — like all copy, in explaining your value proposition and building trust.

Even if your main source of business is offline referrals, your offer will often be checked out online — so it needs to be compelling.

2. Your ongoing original content

Once upon a time, a static website was enough.   These days, if you’re looking to get online traffic then you’ll do better if you regularly update your content.  Content here like slide shows and blogs will show that you’re up to date and have real value to offer.  In particular, search engines like ongoing activity.

The more original and engaging your copy, the more people will stay to read it and the more search engines will like your website.

3. Selected external content

You can generate interest and trust by sharing other people’s material online.  Your business character will be judged by what you share. If you make it interesting and relevant to your ideal customers then you’re putting your brand in front of them.

 

What types of content are there?

Content comes in many forms, and can include:

  • written articles
  • videos
  • slideshows
  • audios
  • photos and images
  • infographics

Different people process different modes of information, so a good combination of written material, audio and visual material will meet the needs of your human audience.   Make sure you know your own preferences, so you can avoid overdoing any one channel.

Keep in mind at all times that search engines are word based, so complement images and videos with quality text with strong keywords for better rankings.

 

What Do You Do Before You Do Digital Marketing? Insights from Good to Great

In a world where Internet presence is becoming increasingly important, it can be easy to be convinced to jump into a digital marketing program.  After all, every one is doing it — and being noticed is the first step in finding new customers.

The question is “Are you really ready?”  Have you done the ground work to present well, or are you going into an uninformed process that could result in the curse of the computer age – GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT?

Technology Last  (Good to Great rules!)

In 2001, Jim Collins published his research into the factors that turned good businesses into great businesses, performing well above their industry average over long periods of time. The title of the book is “Good to Great. Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t”.

Collins described a cyclic process of 6 steps that — pursued persistently — significantly increase and sustain outstanding business performance. He called this cycle of steps “the Flywheel”. You’re probably not here for business coaching, but just so you have the picture, the 6 steps are:

  1. Smart leadership first. Businesses with leaders who are smart coaches, not charismatic heroes are the businesses that thrive.
  2. Get your team right to get your business right. The people you need probably aren’t the same as you.  Build the right team and work with them in deciding what to do.
  3. Practice brutal honesty. Acknowledge what’s going on (and have faith you can deal with it). Create permission for the truth to be heard and dealt with.
  4. Know your core value proposition. Deeply understand the heart of the business you’re in – the place your passion, excellence and customer value meet.
  5. Name the rules — explicitly.  Develop a culture of discipline where everybody understands what the rules are for “our game” and what success looks like.
  6. Use relevant technology to accelerate business performance based on sound strategy.

The Core Application to Digital Marketing?

The right technology at the end of the right strategy will pay off big time — if you’ve done your homework.  Then you know what you’re selling and you know you’ve got the right people on your team to deliver:

  • Your message; AND
  • The value you promise.

Without knowing the value that your customer is really buying and being able to deliver on your promise, you risk spending a whole lot of money on the wrong message and (much worse) damaging your reputation because you’ve missed the mark.

Don’t play READY / FIRE / AIM — it’s way too expensive!

Leigh Baker is a writer and sustainable business coach specializing in the skills business owners need to turn innovative business thinking into strategic action.

SEO: EVERYBODY Pays – But Who Gets Value?

Everybody pays for SEO and web traffic, one way or another.  It may be in time writing blog posts.  It may be in favours from family and friends with varying levels of expertise and availability.  It may be in AdWords and Facebook Ads.  It may be the hidden costs of low rankings caused by out-of-date “tricks” that used to work.

Everyone who wants to be found on the Internet pays.

Not everyone gets value

There are a lot of people out there doing SEO.  It’s a new field that’s constantly changing.  There aren’t all that many experts, however.

We find that a lot of people are paying for SEO and getting pretty poor returns.  Aside from the straight-out scam artists, there are a lot of people who THINK they know how to do SEO because they’re smart and they’ve read some articles.

They may be very good at their day job, but if they’re not doing SEO full-time, they can’t possibly be keeping up with algorithm changes, Internet content changes, changing social media platforms and audiences, or the changing demands of new and more varied access devices.

How do you evaluate SEO quality?

First, you’re looking for a SEO provider who’s going to be a long term partner.  Then ask them about:

  • The breadth of their digital marketing expertise — in social media, in design, in core SEO algorithms, in marketing, in coding. (Your developer could be a great developer – and the worst possible choice for a digital marketer.)
  • The depth of their experience:   if you can find someone who’s been around since the Internet began, that’s a good sign in itself.  If they haven’t been working in digital marketing for at least 3 years, then think carefully.
  • Whether they have a team that’s able to deliver ongoing results.  You need to be sure you’re not just dealing with a “superman” professional who’s great – and going to overload and breakdown before he or she delivers (after a series of “too busy” delays).
  • Whether they are independent: do they exercise healthy scepticism about Google’s press releases and do their own research into what works?
  • How they will provide you with evidence of their results. How will they measure the results that they get for you (and how will they explain those measurements to you so you understand).

Are you concerned about whether you’re getting value?

We offer a low cost, no obligation Digital Health Check that will give you an independent audit about what’s working and not working in your digital marketing.  Contact Us to book your Health Check.