Category Archives: SEO

Why 2022 was another big year in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

What would make the highlights reel for 2022?

The big issues have stayed top of the list and should be top of mind.

1: Trust and Authority still rule the day. Google is still in love with Links and Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).

When you have people loving you so much they link to you, then everyone is in on that lovefest and Google is definitely one of them.

How do you achieve that?

It’s actually a nice by-product of following number 2 on this list and by creating the best in content.

As Google continues to devour information and yet increase its appetite for more – cue for the dangers of overdoing Xmas dinner – we come to the point of E-A-T (or expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness).

This is where accuracy of information is crucial, especially in industries where it can directly impact people’s lives such as health and medicine. (Remember the point about overindulging at Xmas).

There are methods to helping keep what you say engaging, instructive and precise. In every river of information, trust flow is vital. It rewards you as well as the user.

2: Relevant and Consistent Content

Google rewards businesses who educate their customers. It’s one thing to be producing regular blogs, video, and imagery. It’s important to ensure they are of the highest possible quality. If you haven’t joined the content game, you don’t want to miss your turn. Do you have a content plan in place for 2023?

3: Experience

With the launch of Google’s Core Web Vitals – the user experience and speed are clearly on the radar of search engines. It’s a bit techie and we haven’t seen Google punish anyone as yet, but it’s definitely a warning shot for all businesses with the troubles of a site performance that’s slowwwwww.

4: Popularity

What does your marketing mix look like and when was the last time you checked?

You may already have a handle on this but it’s still true, ‘the marketing mix matters’.

A great blend of marketing activities and a steady flow of traffic to your site pays big dividends. Google rankings are part optimisation, part popularity contest. There’s a number of ways to move the needle on your rankings but nothing beats getting the mix right. This includes getting social and sharing your content across platforms.

If you want to discuss how you can get more juice out of the fruits of your SEO endeavours, it’s always good to share some thoughts. It’s especially important that you talk to someone who wants to understand you and your business, not tell you how things should be.

Unfortunately, that’s still a problem with too many SEO and digital marketing agencies, they will jump into what they can do and what you should be doing without listening to what your business is about and what you want.

That’s why we often get calls from businesses that have been burned by the ‘cowboys’ who have ridden off with a truckload of money without ever hitting targets or bringing real results.

Speak with the Mad Scientist team and see how we can help improve your online performance. It all starts with a chat, so contact us.

What better way to start 2023 than discovering the potential for doing better?

Staying Up to Date Online

SEO agency Melbourne

We’ve all done it. We’re fairly sure that everything on our website is up to date and we’re putting out the right information.

Well… not quite and we know!

Mad Scientist has just embarked on a revamped branding exercise for our fresh and exciting new website. Then we found a couple of things on the current site that weren’t right and out of date.

Going over the website is a bit like going through your pantry. There’s always something that’s past its expiry and you find things that you didn’t know you had and shouldn’t have. Mustard & Passionfruit essence anyone?

Sometimes we see websites that have more than a problem with their ‘pantry’. They literally have soap in the fridge and cheese stinking out the laundry.

This is when a visitor to their site gets pointed in all the wrong directions or they come up with a dreaded 404 – which sounds like a gun but it’s the classic Page Not Found. Either way, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Everything in its right place makes the customer journey a smooth and enjoyable one. It also helps them become the return customer and we all love those.

Your time starts…now!

It doesn’t really matter what time of year it is, there’s always a chance that your website and your SEO practices could do with a spring clean.

Have you got the best foundations and are you making it easy for visitors to your site to find what they want and click the right button? 

Sometimes it takes a different set of eyes to look over things to really see what’s going on and if something got missed. We did that ourselves and realised that yes, we’re very good at the bigger picture as well as the finer details, but none of us is infallible. (Is that spelled right? Yes, said the team).

It doesn’t matter if it’s On Page SEO or making sure that your site’s trust score is as high as it could be, there’s always some improvements that can be made. Even minor tweaks to specific areas can make a huge difference to your results.

Things you may have missed

It’s often easy to overlook certain things, especially when you’re busy trying to run your business. 

Maybe it’s the old street address that’s still showing on your website. Perhaps your new logo is missing from your email. It might be you have a Landing Page for a service you no longer offer.

This is why it pays to get a health check done on your website. It will show you all the things of concern. Even small issues can add up to a bigger problem especially if they amount to you losing a potential customer.

There are specific ways to improve your organic rankings that you may not realise, unless you are mad about the different ways of optimising your website. That’s where Mad Scientist can help.

Having your website show its very best to all the programs and bots that crawl through it brings great rewards. Search engines like Google are hungry for quality content and you can give them something delicious that feeds their appetite for more. That ‘more’ you feed them means a better and better score.

Why specialists matter

As a digital marketing agency with real life SEO specialists, we know that finding something special about a business is the key to standing out.

It’s hard for some businesses to show the world (and more specifically their target audience) what makes them special. Oh, and it’s not customer service. Everyone thinks their customer service is the best, but you can join a lonnng queue who believe that too.

Asking a few key questions can unlock the potential a business has to showcase why they are the best choice for a potential customer. It’s not just what is different about you, it’s more about why that difference matters to your customers.

Are you industry experts who offer a strategy session where you explain what you can do and how you do it? 

Are you the only supplier of a specialised range of equipment or do you have a unique method that’s new to Australia?

Whatever it is, make it the focus of what you say. 

Surprisingly, almost every business has a special ingredient, but they don’t always realise what it is. More often than not, there is a gold nugget or two that just needs to be polished and put on display. Sadly, that gold could be hidden when it could be shining bright on your website.

You want your target audience to find you and find out what’s special about you. That’s why staying up to date with what you are telling potential customers is crucial.

That’s where specialists can help. 

Ahem, that’s Mad Scientist Digital in case you missed it.

While you’re making sure everything is up to date with your website, here’s a Special Last Minute Reminder that the deadline for registering your domain name is the 20th of Sept 2022. If you haven’t done it yet, the Federal Government recommends you reserve your .au domain name by visiting an auDA accredited registrar.


search engine results page serp spelled out in letters

How to optimise for Google’s featured snippets in 2021

search engine results page serp spelled out in letters

What’s a featured snippet anyway?

Featured Snippets are short pieces of text that Google pulls from a relevant website to provide a quick answer or summary for searchers. A featured snippet is the best possible Google ranking – because it comes BEFORE organic search results. It’s often called “position zero” – it appears first, and Google chooses what to put there. You can’t buy a featured snippet.

paragraph featured snippet indoor plants

What Google tells us

Google: “When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results”.

(Featured snippets usually come from content that’s already ranked on page 1 for the query.)

For some searches, Google provides a quick answer or summary with a content snippet from a relevant website. These featured snippets are most likely to show up when your search is in the form of a question.

Featured snippets include:

  • Information quoted from a third-party website
  • A link to the page
  • The page title
  • The URL of the page”

Why does a featured snippet matter? Because a featured snippet gives a significant boost to your organic click through rate – even if you’re close to the top for your chosen keywords.

The data scientists behind the Semrush online marketing platform have also found that Search Engines give Featured Snippets a significant amount of screen real estate – particularly on mobile devices.

“And we found that on average on a modern phone, if you earn a featured snippet, it takes over 50% of the screen on a mobile device. So you’re getting a lot of attention, a lot of bang for your buck.”

mobile featured snippet

How do featured snippets work?

Featured snippets try to provide fast answers – so they’re a whole lot more likely to appear as answers to questions.

For example: “why did my souffle collapse?” or “what are featured snippets?” or “how do i choose a good accountant?”

Featured snippets are extracts of content that Google chooses as being a relevant answer to the search question.

A well-crafted featured snippet can bring your website more organic traffic – so it’s worth investing in quality content with the goal of solving a searcher’s problem and winning a featured snippet.

Your goal is also to demonstrate that you are an authority in the area where your ideal customers are looking for solutions. When you do, a link to your content is put right under the searcher’s nose. 

Plus there’s potentially an extra trust boost because Google has evaluated your content and decided to put you in “Position 0”. (If you saw our post on the Psychology of Influencing and Trust, you might remember that your perceived authority is a key element of trust.) 

Featured snippets are useful answers to quite specific questions. The more useful, helpful, supportive content you have on your website about the specific issues your ideal customers are trying to solve, the better.

For example, our client Vortex Basketball earned a featured snippet for their blog post ‘World’s Top 10 Most Amazing Basketball Courts’. Over the last year, this post has been one of the top performing pages organically on the website, receiving 38.6% of all website clicks. 

vortex basketball featured snippet

What content increases your snippet potential?

Think about how to address your visitor’s needs – especially helping them to understand more clearly what their needs actually are. A lot of people searching online are beginning a journey – so it can be useful to help them understand “what they don’t know they don’t know.”

Good marketing strategy today is all around “making your customer the hero” – after all they’re the one on a quest to solve a problem. Good positioning is generally about demonstrating your ability to be their guide or mentor – so THEY win.

For example, someone who wants to make the perfect French macaron probably wants to DO the baking. Otherwise they would be asking “where do I buy the best macaron?”  So think about your visitor’s goals in their terms, not your expertise.

Snippets are most typically informational. They can be paragraphs, lists, tables, or videos.

semrush featured snippet format comparison


Fundamentally, they’re responses to questions – solutions to problems that people are facing – whether it’s making the perfect French macaron, getting an investment loan or moving house without having a nervous breakdown.

So think about the questions that your ideal customer would be asking as they search online:

Why do my macarons go sticky?

How can I afford my first investment property?

How do I protect my staff from COVID?

Then build rich, helpful content around answering those questions. You’re after a click-through, so make sure there’s more to click through to. For example:

Twenty tips for perfect French macarons.

How to buy your first investment property.

Snippets are extracts from your content – so rich, helpful supportive content will encourage searchers to click through to your website to read more.

Invest the time to create a high-quality explanation. For sequential information, do a well-designed table, list or video – something that Google can use as an effective featured snippet.

But think at least as much about really helping your visitors as about “what Google wants”. At the end of the day, people do business with people. So the best content is always about helping your customer. That’s what Google wants too. However much they play around with their algorithms, they want their users to find interesting, useful and entertaining content.

Is your content detailed and well-structured?

Create a broad range of content so that you can answer more specific users queries. Remember that their needs are likely to be more complex than their initial query may indicate.

Depending on what you do and the variety of solution spaces you work in, it may be worth revisiting the way you structure the helpful content on your website – so that it’s organised around subject areas.

How do I work out what questions people are asking?

cut out paper question marks

If you’re a Mad Scientist Digital client, then your targeted keywords are the foundation of your Featured Snippet experiments. There are also a range of tools related to developing keyword lists.

The Semrush platform (whose video inspired this post) offers a number of fantastic tools to analyse keywords and find opportunities. Check out their Keyword Magic tool to find question-based keywords relating to your targeted keywords. 

Another helpful tool is Also Asked – put in a keyword and it will aggregate Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ data to give you insights into what users are searching for. 

For the purposes of building content that could become Featured Snippets, we suggest that you hunt down fully formed questions. That’s because the full question helps you best understand the search intent – what the user is TRYING to search for. 

And it’s worth going beyond the research – a 10 minute chat with your best existing customers could also be a good way to explore the questions and concerns that brought them to you – or that they’re currently exploring.

What content will help me win a featured snippet?

Semrush found these patterns on the source content of snippets:

  • 98% were on secure servers (HTTPs).
  • They are mostly longer five minute reads – at least 1100 words.
  • They’re well-structured long-form content:

    • they use subheadings for scan-readers
    • they embed questions in the content to help Google extract answers
    • they use imagery and associated alt tags
  • They use structured data like lists and tables, which works extremely well (if it’s WELL-structured). Lists are great for any ‘How-to’ content whilst tables work well for anything that is comparative such as prices, rates and data. 
  • A longer-tail search with ‘Why’ in it triggers a featured snippet 70-80% of the time. Other question keywords such as ‘Can’, ‘Do’, ‘Are’ and ‘How’ also trigger featured snippets 65-72% of the time.

why do cats knead featured snippet

Is it worth the investment?

Supportive, strategic content focused on your customers and their needs is always a good long-term SEO investment.

So even if you don’t win a featured snippet to start with, it’s still worth investing in quality, well-structured content.

What we found is almost every single time we went and applied the principles of structuring the data, refreshing the content to optimise for featured snippets, our organic traffic increased every single time.

We didn’t always get the featured snippet, but the principles that are guiding it are important, because it’s forcing you to understand the user’s search intent, and to better the user experience, to answer their queries better and more succinctly and more purposefully.

You do that, and you’re going to win long term, the algorithm should chase you, not the other way around, at that point.” – Semrush

So get out your target keyword list and start turning it into questions – and create content that answers those questions. And if you don’t have a keyword list yet, or still feel unsure about how to find snippet opportunities, let us do the work for you and get in touch with us today. 

Google Adwords versus Organic SEO

Organic SEO vs Google Adwords. The big debate goes on.

There are many arguments for the pros and cons of both methods. In this short video, we try to condense the reasoning behind why we thing that organic SEO is a better option to take for your website than the short life span of Adwords or any other type of PPC (pay per click) advertising for that matter.

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss the age old battle of which is better, organic SEO or Adwords?