Marketing

5 questions as a website owner you shouldn’t answer with “I Don’t know”

One of the things i enjoy most about running a digital marketing agency is the opportunity to speak regularly with fellow business owners and make a tangible difference to the success of their business. Often in my conversations or meetings with clients and prospects discussion will turn towards general business chit chat – the cost of this going up, or how the proposed new tax rates effect things or how one should deal with under performing staff etc. I like to see myself as a very knowledgeable business owner who makes it his business, excuse the pun, to know every inner and outer workings that make, effect and change my business on a daily basis. So whenever someone asks me a question about my business, it’s a rare occasion i am left without an answer.

Thus it concerns me that this knowledge of ones business is not often shared with my conversation partner. Sure asking about something like profit margins and the precise answer comes quickly but when the questions turn digital more often than not i am greeted with puzzled looks, shoulder shrugs or simply “I don’t know…”

So if you cannot answer the following 5 questions about your business then you should be a bit alarmed and seek to rectify that.

“Do you own your domain name?”

Might seem like a silly question to some but you you would be surprised how often i have spoken with a business owner who wasn’t even sure or could recall if they even owned their businesses domain name. And upon a whois look up, it was often found that they in fact didn’t own their domain. They had a more tech savvy family member register, or some internet marketing “guru” convinced them long ago to abandon their old domain and registered a new one on their behalf.

You should always ensure that you or a friend or family member that you trust deeply purchases the domain and never allow a third party to register it on your behalf as that is giving to much of power over your intellectual property to a relationship that could break down over something small in the future. If you are not sure if you own your domain name you can visit who.is which is a website that shows the registered details of a domain as long as privacy wasn’t attached during registration. If you find you don’t own your domain you should seek to have ownership transferred into your name as soon as possible.

“What hosting are you using?”

I spoke with a business owner last week who wanted to change his hosting provider and when i queried why, his reply was “because i don’t know who my current host is”. So not only did this poor guy have no clue who was hosting his website, he had no idea how much he was paying and his solution was to just change host without realising that would be impossible without knowing the details of his current hosting.

Using a website called who is hosting this, i was quickly able to discover the identity of his current host company and arrange him to call their customer service. Turns out he was paying $89 a year for the last 6 years for what was really just poor quality shared hosting worth about $12 a year with today’s options. I was able to switch his hosting across to a higher quality host with a data centre in his home city for $18 a year which not only cut his costs, but improved the load speed of his website and enabled him to be able to login to his website and update it for the first time in years. The motto here is if you don’t know who is even hosting your website then i question why you even have one.

“Do you have these logins handy?”

Owning a website requires one to have logins to multiple platforms, admin panels and software namely CMS (Content management system) logins like WordPress or Magento. FTP logins for database, PHP etc maintenance. Hosting logins for general domain maintenance and Gmail logins for webmaster and analytic access. I would say that about 90% of business owners I’ve dealt with didn’t know all these logins for their business and at least 25% didn’t know the logins for any of them.

“you’ll have to speak with Derek, he’s the guy who built the site”, “my tech guy set that all up, you can email him and he should forward that to you”, “I really don’t know, the people who built the website would have all that I’d imagine”. These are pretty common answers and they shouldn’t be. Whilst it’s perfectly fine to delegate the maintenance and updating of your web properties to in-house or outsourced staff, there should always be some level of ownership in regards to these important logins. A simple excel sheet kept in your laptop, email or phone would suffice. Any respectable SEO company or web designer would always ensure the client is made aware of their logins and sent full details including how to set unique ones upon the end of their working relationship.

“Are you active on Social Media?”

Despite it’s enormous growth over the last 10 years there are still some business owners who have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into agreeing to setup social media for their business. Either that or it was just some perk added to a package they signed up for with that internet marketing company a few years back. Hence it’s not uncommon to find dust-bowl Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Google local listings these days.  Most often these dead pages will have a flurry of 2-3 months of activity somewhere in their timeline and that was just either the business owner or some marketing company having no motivation or obligation to continue the businesses efforts on social media. Forgoing a 5 star social media reputation, if you actively seek it you can achieve it or at least be close to it. Sadly a standard answer to the previous question is “I think i have a Facebook setup somewhere” or “i can’t remember the logins”. What is really concerning about that is on a lot of these neglected social media accounts either positive or negative reviews have been received leading to either business destroying bad reputation or lost PR opportunities. Pretty much every business is ‘active’ on social media by default by having at the very least a dormant Facebook profile, but to neglect the power of social media in today’s digital world is bad business.

“What work were they doing for you?”

This is a real head shaker. “You were spending $24000 a year on their marketing packages but you literally have no idea what exactly they were doing for you? Building backlinks? What kind of backlinks? You don’t know? Were they not giving you in-depth SEO consultation and reporting?”

I’ll be honest, it actually makes me angry because after reviewing the history of SEO work done on someones website after having a conversation like the one above I’ll find out it looks the offending company was literally taking the business owners money and doing diddly squat with it. 100% pure, scammed profit for them. Words can make someone sound busy, but actions prove they are busy and when someone who has spent $20000+ on SEO over the last 12-24 months doesn’t even have a H1 on their homepage, well that’s like buying a new car and realising 2 years later it doesn’t have a fuel gauge. And the high quality backlinks they were building for thousands of dollars a year? Dozens of free directory and forum sites that took about 2 hours a month ($100 in wages) to manually list each month.

The point here being, you should always have a great understanding of exactly what your digital marketing budget is been allocated to. Don’t settle for words and jargon, ask for consultation that explains exactly what your budget is buying and how that is expect to help your business and then seek third party advice to verify all of that is of value to your business for the price you are paying.

Why our clients can answer these 5 questions

It should be due diligence and common decency for any digital marketer or SEO agency to ensure that their is full transparency and in-depth consultation with their clients on every aspect of their campaigns and marketing investments with them. This starts with letting them know the importance of having a hands on role in their businesses digital marketing efforts even if they outsourced it due to time or knowledge restraints. Every bit of consultation helps and a structured client management system will ensure that real time news, data and happenings are delivered to the client whether by email, phone or handshake. Content’s Me always keeps full admin control of every login remains with the client and every web property is registered in either the business or business owners name. Detailed work reporting and consultation ensures our clients always know exactly where their budget is being allocated and why that is important.

We have rescued many businesses from the grasp of deceitful internet marketers and if you don’t know the answer to the 5 questions raised in this blog we would be glad to help you have the answers within a week – simply get in touch preferably by phone and one of our consultants will start you on the path to recovery and ownership of your intellectual properties.

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Marketing

How To Redirect index.html To The Root Domain

Having a duplicate homepage is a major issue, you should redirect any duplicate home pages so you only have one. The reasons for this are to consolidate link juice and also stop the duplication of the content on the homepage. You need to redirect www. urls to the root or vis versa, this is simple to do on a WordPress theme or in your c/panel or ftp. Now when you have a url with yoursite.com/index.html it becomes a a whole different kettle of fish. If you simply 301 redirect yoursite/index.html to the root you will cause a continual loop. Here is how to redirect yoursite.com/index.html to your root domain without causing a constant loop for search engines.

So here is how to redirect index.html to the root

In your .htaccess folder insert the following code

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

# redirect html pages to the root domain
RewriteRule ^index\.html$ / [NC,R,L]

You can use the following code below to redirect all the index.html urls to their roots.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^index\.html$ / [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/index\.html$ /$1/ [R=301,L]

I hope you found this useful, if you need further SEO consultation please do get in touch with a member of our team. You can do this on our contact form here or feel free to call on 02 8011 4466

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Marketing

Why investing in SEO should always be backed up with a 5 star reputation

It’s pretty common knowledge that reputation is one of the major buying factors for consumers. Yet one of the major things a large majority of SEO companies neglect is helping clients achieve a 5 star rating. It’s one thing to rank a client at the top of the Serps, it’s another to maximize the benefits of that exposure by ensuring the clients brand has a 5 star review score integrated in with their search listings.By integrating a 5 star rating you will not only increase click through and conversion rates, but also improve the chance of referrals. One might argue a 5 star rated business in position 2 has greater visibility and click through potential than the business listed in position 1 with no star rating displayed. So the big question is how to acquire a 5 star rating with your Google listings. Google integrates the rating upon the receipt of a 5th review and if you follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to doing so.

• Actively seek to acquire Google reviews from your customers and/or clients. It never hurts to ask a person you have good relations with who is happy with your service if they’d be willing to review your service via their Gmail account. A lot of people will have a Gmail and be more then willing to provide you a positive review whilst others might not have a Gmail account. However setting up a Gmail takes only 2 minutes so you can incentive people to give a review perhaps through gift cards, vouchers or a discount. Don’t go overboard to the extent of trying to garner a review off every client, but for a select few clients who are happy with your service definitely try and translate that happiness into a positive review.

• Don’t get friends or family to review your business nor ever pay for fake reviews. Whilst it’s true that if done in moderation you can probably get away with doing this questionable tactic, its still a risky move which could lead to Google simply removing the reviews or even deleting your Google+ page. Also, consumers are pretty savvy and if your reviews are made up of generic reviews with no substance like “abcxyz are the best at what they do” or “Gary grew my business by 1000%, i highly recommend him” there is a good chance someone might feel they aren’t genuine consumer reviews. Reviews should have some descriptive reference to the product or service they were happy with and not be too far over the top in it’s praise.

• Double up on your Facebook reviews. Just because of it’s sheer popularity you are probably much more likely to receive reviews via your Facebook business page. But there is nothing to stop you acting on your positive Facebook reviews and getting the person to also add their happy sentiments via a Google review too.

If you follow these steps sometime soon after receiving your 5th Google review Google will implement a star rating next your brand when displayed in search results. Obviously you need to be aware negative or mild reviews will lower your star rating. Google also has a review algorithm that checks the web for reviews your business has received on other platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Eatibility, Yellow Pages etc and considers those when applying a score to your business. Anything above a 4 star rating means your business is fairly reputable but your long term goal should be to obtain a 4.7+ star rating as this is the kind of score where consumer trust is achieved if your reviews appear genuine.

To finish we’ll show you an example of one of our clients who reaps the benefit of a business with fantastic reviews integrated with his brand.

When you search his branding Bethanies Jumping Castles

bethanies-1-e1439190961142

And when you search his main keyword (2900 monthly searches) Jumping Castle Hire Sydney

bethanies-e1439191084554

If you are currently paying for SEO but have not obtained a 5 star rating you may not be maximizing the additional exposure your business is receiving via organic search. Why not get in touch with one of our SEO consultants who can put together a campaign where obtaining a 5 star rating is just one of the many things we incorporate into our strategies.

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Marketing

Thin content vs content of value

The digital marketing game is forever changing though one thing will always stay the same: the necessity for producing top quality content that is rich with detail and relevance to your industry as part of a content marketing strategy. Tweaks and tricks will most certainly come and go, though the supply and demand for quality writing will always be there.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HIGH QUALITY CONTENT IN RELATION TO SEO AND DIGITAL MARKETING.

The trouble is that there are far too many people out there that are trying to bend the rules and cut corners and like it or not: Google is becoming incredibly well versed in separating the wheat from the chaff, especially when it comes to the content produced in order to boost search rankings.

Of course one of the most common practices and indeed, biggest mistakes made is for people to simply copy and paste content from one website and try to pass it off as their own (Scraping) While this seems like a great idea; Google are masters at picking up on duplicate content. Not only will this not work at all for you, but it can also be detrimental to your progression and could well lead to some form of penalisation. It is black-hat, it is lazy and it is ineffective.

Another rather common practice is to produce ‘thin content’. Thin content, in a nut shell is an article or a piece of writing that is packed full of keywords that are relevant to the industry and search phrase, though has very little if no information at all within the text. It is a very lazy technique that involves spilling a load of drivel onto a page with the sole purpose of improving ones rankings without actually providing anything of value to the reader.

This is something that Google has cracked down on an awful lot since the Panda update. While there are trillions of pages in Googles index and that it would be impossible to check through by hand, there are some impressive techniques that the Search Giant utilises to stay on top of these black-hat techniques.

For example there is one particular technique that Google uses to algorithmically judge the value of a website’s content: ‘time to long click’. Basically this measures the time between user clicking on search result and staying on the page before returning once again to the original search page.

As I am sure you can imagine if a user logs onto a website and leaves within a minute, the content was irrelevant and useless. Whereas if a user logs onto a website and stays there then they must have found a rather useful source of information…that or they had to rush off to the toilet or answer the door. The system is not entirely fool proof of course, though for the most part Google are very effective at keeping on top of this so do yourselves a favour and save the trouble; invest in rich, relevant and informative content for your website.

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Marketing

Why WordPress is our platform of choice for SEO and Web Design

There is a terrible common misconception that WordPress is a poor man’s website platform, when in actual fact it is quite the contrary. Due to its immense popularity, WordPress boasts unparalleled third party support, an SEO friendly structure and premium customizable themes.

Reasons why WordPress is not just the easy way out when it comes to web design

The technology is so simple and as a result the time that you would need to invest on formatting is significantly reduced. Adding blogs, new pages and images regularly is elementary and upbeat. You can even access the website management from any computer as WordPress is a browser-based format.

Unfortunately people always associate cost with functionality, so the more expensive and complicated a web build becomes the better it must be. WordPress completely blows this notion out of the water given that they are incredibly cost effective and rather straight forward to set up too.

The code written behind WordPress is very smooth and simplistic which as a result makes it easier for search engines to process and index the content on the website. These websites are vastly viable in relation to search engine optimisation too, as each and every image, page and post can have its very own Meta tag, keywords, title and descriptions. All of these features are relatively straight forward and easy to use so that even the most inexperienced user should be able to pick it up after a little practice too.

It is important that you don’t fall into the same nonsensical ramblings of the neigh Sayers that are constantly trying to put business’s off WordPress websites. Just look at the results! Some of the most effective websites and business models are built on a WordPress platform. Of course there will be pros and cons for using any website Platform, though in terms of usability, affordability and functionality WordPress is undoubtedly up at the top. Just because you’re saving a bit of cash with your web build, you would be unwise to assume that you’re going to end up with a rough deal, a crap website and poor rankings in the future. It is quite the opposite.

The real beauty of WordPress is the immense and varying customisation that can be carried out with the platform. There are a wealth of different plugins that can be used for multiple ends such as video galleries, Twitter feeds, Facebook fan boxes and so many more. All of which are easy to plug in and switch on. On top of this the websites are 100% customisable allowing you to keep your brand as fresh and up to date as possible.

You don’t have to over complicate the process at all. This is the thing, most people assume that web building is some impossible, complicated process that requires months and months of fine tuning and coding and construction with further maintenance and investment when the truth is…it really doesn’t have to be that difficult at all. Yes there is always room for future investment regarding the SEO side of things, and regular maintenance is a must – the only difference is that the entire process is much easier and user friendly.

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Marketing

How to avoid being ripped off by Australian SEO scam artists

Sadly the digital marketing industry has become plagued by sales orientated companies with no real digital marketing expertise offering packaged and promotional services in the name of a quick cash grab leading to thousands of Australian companies been burnt by the inevitable  poor results and service provided by these SEO sales companies.

They use aggressive sales tactics and lie through the skin of their teeth to convince vulnerable Aussie businesses to commit to long term, lock in contracts where once signed you will be lucky to receive 10% of the contracted work which is black-hat, outsourced work anyway.

Every week any given Australian business will receive dozens of calls and emails from people offering them some form of digital marketing for their business and/or website. There are two kinds of people who makes these calls and send those emails.

  • Salesmen working for a sales orientated company who’s products are cookie cutter digital marketing services generally outsourced dirt cheap to the third world
  • Genuine digital marketers utilizing some of their time to prospect for new business connections to help their boutique agency grow

This article will explain in-depth how you can easily distinguish between the two and using a bit of simple research avoid been taken for a very expensive ride costing your business thousands of dollars in blown marketing and lost revenue. Digital marketing is well worth your time no matter your businesses current situations, needs and limitations but you need to know which companies are well deserving of a swift kick out the door and those that are a relatable fellow Aussie business trying to provide an honest, valuable service to clients. If you are thinking of paying for SEO or are in an under performing SEO contact then please use the following to steps to help you research your decision properly.

Does their online reputation check out?

Every SEO company loves to display great testimonials on their website but that is controlled content where the company would of course place favorable reviews. Most of the time those reviews are genuine and from clients that did get results, but what about the bigger picture and the clients who didn’t get results. This is where the freedom of speech of the internet can be your biggest ally and revealing the true identity of the nice sounding SEO salesman’s company, the companies culture and attitude to clients once signed up.

Simply go to google.com.au and search for their company reviews using such keywords as…

<insert seo company name> reviews

<insert seo company name> scam

<insert seo company name> ripoff

<insert seo company name> negative

<insert seo company name> waste

And also search for some feedback on them on some popular Aussie business forums.Whirlpool is business and tech forum where a lot of the scam tactics of these large SEO companies are revealed by former and current clients. So search <insert SEO company name> whirlpool to see if their is a bad reputation for the business out there.

You should also search for now defunct google business profiles as well as reviews for their individual offices. A lot of SEO companies will setup virtual offices around Australia and the world which will have it’s own google plus business page. Don’t just assume because the branch of the company you are talking to has decent reviews that this is the company wide standard of service. Search for <insert seo company name> sydney / perth / melbourne / uk / singapore etc. Looking on their website will often reveal what locations they provide seo for and help you do more in-depth research on their reputation.

A lot of SEO companies will re-brand themselves when the negative reputation becomes too much for their sales team to overcome so be on the look out for that by searching for those old company operations too and doing due-diligence on their reputation as well. Find out the who the owners of the company are and search for their names on google to reveal what other companies they operated.

Any reputable SEO company should practice what they preach and be providing a quality service to ensure they have a 5 star rating. Look out for bogus fake reviews though. If it’s a generic sounding review with no reference to an actual person within the company, no description of why the reviewer is happy, no link to a legitimate social media profile or website of the reviewer or the review is without a verifiable business name then it’s probably a fake review either bought or scripted by the company themselves. Do your research, some companies stoop so low to cover their negative reputation as to buy fake reviews and people have blown the lid on those companies doing so. If they are prepared to break Australian consumer law by obtaining fake reviews then there is obviously no limit to their deceitful nature.

Tone of the conversation

Is the person you are speaking with talking about themselves or asking a lot about you. ‘We are and we will do this and that and we promise and guarantee you this and that.’ vs ‘How do you currently market your business and has it worked well for you?’ The tone of the conversation can easily reveal whether you are talking with someone reading from a script or someone who has helped businesses before. Every digital marketing campaign needs to be of a bespoke nature, tailored to each individual businesses circumstances. Asking questions is the best way for a digital marketing agency to understand the approach required for any given campaign and to be able to set realistic goals for a business. Any one saying what they will do for you before they even know detailed information about you, your business and it’s history is treating you and your business with contempt and would try and sell ice to you if you were an eskimo.

How do they respond to questions?

Fire a few questions back at the person you are speaking with and gauge their response – did they sound genuinely appreciative of your questions or disrupted by them? I know for me personally questions from a business owner help me to better understand them and whether my company may be able to help them so i am always appreciative of such questions eg ‘I’ve never done anything with the website, how exactly will you market my website?‘ to which an example response would be ‘basically what we do is write new, unique content about your products and services that is highly engaging and informative and publish that across multiple channels such as social media platforms so in turn your website receives direct targeted traffic and acquires natural links which in time will aid your rankings‘ By answering in clear detail both parties can be one step closer to knowing if we could work for them.

However the sales guy reading from a script might try and work around your question by asking a questions back or by repeating a previous line he used. If he does give a direct answer it will be something blunt and uninformative like ‘we will optimize your website for your keywords and build links for you‘ Basically he is sticking to his sales training which taught him to stick to the script – which again is we do, we will, we are. They don’t care about your business, it’s not in their interest to. It’s their job to get you to buy into the bells and whistles of their script. A quick tip – if you do know a thing or two about web design, SEO or Social Media flick them some more technical or method based questions and quickly watch the sales guy crumble and mumble their way out of a sale. They will prove to know nothing beyond the we, we ,we script.

The truth behind those bells and whistles

So you like the sound of money back guarantees, pay on results or a large percentage off? A poisoned chalice if i ever saw one. Something that seems oh so good but is in real truth going to prove very harmful to you. Whilst these kind of offers may sound reassuring they are merely used to give a false sense of security in the pursuit of a signed contract. Most of the companies that offer such gimmicks have structured their campaigns so the T&C’s of the contract are easily achievable and result in them been able to lock a business into a lucrative long term contract without actually doing much if anything at all. Let’s look in depth at the immoral methods used by some companies…

Money Back Guarantee’s and Pay on Results campaigns generally have a keyword clause that states there must be a certain amount of page one keyword results achieved within a stated amount of time otherwise the client is entitled to a full refund of the campaigns cost and/or the client is required to pay no money so to achieve the terms they do the following…

  • Include low competitive keywords in the contract to greatly increase the chances of the clause been met
  • Quickly spam your site with low quality, paid for links which boost rankings dramatically for a short period, thus achieving the guarantee or on result clause.
  • Google catches onto your recent link buying and penalizes your site into ranking oblivion whilst you now find yourself tied into a long term contract with the company responsible. Poisoned chalice indeed.

Discounts on services are possible for an agency here or there, but for those agencies with consumer friendly pricing who complete all their work in house with native English speaking professionals then the service they offer should be self explanatory about it’s quality and effectiveness and not require the need to discount. Beware of someone who suddenly offers x% off to sweeten a deal as they most probably work for a company that outsources their work  somewhere like India or the Philippines. Hence…

  • They make a 500%+ mark up profit on everything they sell full price, eg a website they sell for $2000 costs them $300 to outsource
  • This leaves them with scope to offer 20% discounts as sweeteners because a 300-400% markup is still great profit
  • Either way you end up paying for what you are lead to be believed is the highest quality web design that actually gets built by someone you could have gone to directly for a fraction of the price

Whilst there may be a select few companies who offer these kind of clauses with legit methods behind them the bottom line is that there is no guarantees in digital marketing or SEO. Google is a third party  in these campaigns and they can and do change their rules without notice. So any company offering guarantees are taking a well planned and calculated ‘risk’. The legit companies won’t be offering you such gimmicks, but rather be able to explain to you and help you appreciate the importance of diversity, patience and integrity required in a digital marketing strategy to achieve long term, natural results for your business.

Do you want your business to be a sales figure or a valued client?

Ultimately the biggest difference between your business becoming a successful cash grab for a sales guy or a testimonial for a reputable SEO company is ensuring you understand the philosophy ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ very much applies in Digital Marketing. To make a website a truly successful one takes time and a variety of methods, not 1-2 months of one single method. Spending thousands on some month, bells and whistles campaign is probably going to prove an immense waste and leave you feeling conned. A well structured 6-12 month+, no contract campaign that fits within your businesses marketing budget will prove fruitful as the methods applied steadily build your websites reputation and traffic.

Also if you are going to outlay $500+ a month for SEO surely your campaign should have attention from a director or company owner. In Australia most businesses work ethically with one another and key staff between companies regularly communicate and collaborate on projects. Be wary of the SEO company who places the management of your campaign with the fresh faced sales kid who has to keep you buying whilst not knowing anything about your actual campaign or what SEO really entails. At Content’s Me our 3 most senior staff and directors are in regular contact with every client and are very hands on in the management of campaigns – after all that is how good and ethical business is done.

Are Content’s Me any different?

To summarise, Thousands of Aussies businesses could have saved themselves a lot of money and heartache by reading an article like this one and learning how to do the proper research to reveal the true nature of the SEO companies selling them. Not every SEO company are unethical and are trying too provide a service of real value and benefit among the minefield of their dodgy seo peers.

We at Content’s Me won’t claim to be the perfect company immune to anything negative – any fellow business owner reading this can nod their head in agreement that if you do business for long enough you will always have at least a couple of unhappy clients or buyers whether warranted or not. But what you can do is operate your business in an ethical manner to severely reduce the chance anyone should ever feel let down by your service and should an unhappy customer arise approach the situation with a calm, sympathetic nature and understand that all businesses and people have constantly changing needs and situations.

I can honestly say as the owner of Content’s Me our company has only ever one unhappy client in 2 years of operation. There was a couple of issues with this particular adelaide businesses campaign. One, there was a misunderstanding relating to the expectations set and two, one of our SEO techs placed a meta description too long to be considered optimal which some other SEO company had noticed and called him about, using that to, i can only assume, try to sell him away from our agreement. He was in month 1 of a 3 month agreement but as he was pretty set on his dissatisfaction with us i instructed my accounts team to void the contract and the remaining two months of owed payments thus allowing this client to leave without much fuss and genuine good will towards his business.

Try and walk out on an agreement with one of the larger SEO companies and see how much legal and T&C stick you get from the companies bottom of the chain salesman, let alone the owners of the company. And that’s why we are different – we treat fellow business owners with respect and understanding and the one unhappy client we have had we dealt with it in a professional manner so although he may have been unhappy with our service, he can’t ultimately feel like we ever were unfair or unethical towards his business.

Google is not there to be gamed, it has a very smart algorithm that only gets smarter and knows how to detect a website trying to manipulate it. So next time the sales guy calls you, you know how to quickly suss him out and why you should promptly hang up. However you also know how to spot the genuine digital marketer who is interested in growing you business. No matter how convincing the sales guy might seem vs the calm, clear nature of the guy setting more realistic expectations always do in-depth research and seek alternative options. And if you’re been taken for a ride their are avenues you can take to recover damages.

I’d rather Content’s Me remain a small scale SEO firm that performs for clients using genuine marketing skill then ever become a SEO giant that has a reputation for scamming thousands and thousands of dollars out of vulnerable Australian business owners. We’ve serviced the SEO campaigns of 181 clients since our launch and we’ve had one unhappy client which we’ve been upfront about – that person has never left a negative review of any kind but the fact that we brought that incident up should say enough about our honesty and transparency as a company.

If you are fair dinkum about doing SEO then do it with people who will actually give a shit about your business and not just your credit card.

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Marketing

What is a 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which sends traffic that lands on an existing page to a newly created one. Not only does a 301 redirect send visitors to a new URL, but it also passes on 90-99 percent of the link juice/rankings and thus it is typically the most search engine friendly way to redirect visitors to a new page.

301 Redirects Explained

301 refers to the HTTP status code for this type of redirect, and can be performed by adding several lines of code to the .htaccess file on your server and in most cases, is the best way of implementing redirects on your website.

(301’s can also be performed at the root level of the Apache installation via the httpd.conf file, however, editing the .htaccess file is usually the most preferred method)
301_redirects

301 Redirects VS 302 Redirects

Unlike 302 redirects, which are often used for temporary purposes, 301 redirects are used when a page is permanently moved. 302 redirects still send users to a new URL destination but they do not transfer the SEO rankings.

For this reason, 301 redirects become a highly important SEO factor when creating a new page in place of an old one.

There are several reason you may wish to perform 301 redirects.

1. You have changed the domain of your website and wish to send all traffic to new URLs.
2. You’re merging two websites and want to make sure dead links are redirected to the correct page.
3. You have multiple URLs for your home page e.g. http://www.example.com, http://www.example.com/home and/or http://www.home.example.com. In this instance it’s best to redirect all home page links to one ‘canonical’ destination/URL.

How to Perform a 301 Redirect Apache Server

To perform a 301 redirect on Apache servers you will need to edit the .htaccess file on your server – To implement a 301 redirect on any other server, such as ISS or NGINX, you will need to contact your hosting provider.

In addition, the server must have the apache module ‘mod_rewrite’ installed, a feature which is usually installed by default.

The .htaccess file is a hidden file (represented by a ‘.’ at the beginning of the file name). To edit the file, you must remove the ‘.’ before the file can be opened with a text editor.

Before editing this file, be sure to save a copy in case anything goes wrong. Simply create a duplicate file and rename it, then you’ll always have a backup file to revert to should you run into any problems.

When editing the file be sure to use only a text-based editor such as Notepad as any formatting will cause errors in the code.

How to Enable mod_rewrite and the ReWriteEngine in Apache Servers

To enable the ReWriteEngine, add the following lines of code to the .htaccess file.

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on

These lines of code are only required once. You will then be ready to add your custom 301 redirects for any pages you wish.

How to Perform 301 Redirects

Redirect a single page to another:
Redirect 301 /retiredpage.html http://www.example.com/newpage.html

Redirect a whole directory to a new one:
RedirectMatch 301 ^/oldname/ http://www.example.com/newname/

Redirect a domain name URL to another:
RedirectMatch 301 ^(.*)$ http://www.xyz.com

Redirect several URLs to one canonical URL:
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^xyz\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /([^/]+/)*(default|index)\.(html|php|htm)\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(([^/]+/)*)(default|main|index)\.(html|php|htm)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [L,R=301]

The above example uses the first two lines to redirect non-www. to www.

The second two lines of code redirect any URLs containing references to html/php/htm or default/main/index to the canonical home page URL without such references e.g. www.example.com/html, www.example.com/default will be redirected to www.example.com.

By performing this type of 301 redirect, you can consolidate several URLs into one page that receives all of the other pages’ rankings.

Once executed, the search engine will take some time to rediscover the redirect, recognize it and then pass on the link juice from the previous page.

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Marketing

Benefits of an Effective Social Media Campaign

No matter what type of business you run, implementing an effective social media campaign can provide much needed benefits for your company. By increasing your online presence you stand to gain more traffic, more conversions and build the reputation of your brand.

Statistics would also agree. Reports from sites such as Hubspot noted that 92% of marketers claimed that social media was an important part of their advertising campaigns and over 80% said that their efforts directly increased traffic to their websites.

So if you have yet to jump on the social media bandwagon, then you’re missing out on valuable hits.

If you don’t understand exactly what Social Media Optimisation can do for your business, then check out some of the many benefits an effective SMO can provide:

benefits-of-social-media-optimisation-smo

Benefits of Social Media Optimisation SMO

Increased Brand Awareness
Using social media to post updates about your products or services, as well as any related news, lets users share this information with others within their online network. By allowing your content to be syndicated, you’ll reach a much wider audience and in turn, will greatly increase brand awareness.

Improved Brand Loyalty
Social media profiles provide a way to share content with your followers and engage with them in one of several methods. By liking, sharing and commenting on posts, you’ll improve customer experience and make your followers feel more valued, which will lead to an improved brand loyalty.

Increased Inbound traffic
By posting interesting content and engaging with your followers, you can encourage your target audience to click call to action buttons and links that will drive more traffic to your site.

Increase Conversions
By targeting your specific audience with cleverly created content, the traffic you direct to your site will be more likely to purchase your products and services. Simply increasing traffic from any demographic will have little effect on your conversion rate, but by choosing the right things to post, at the right time, you can attract the right type of visitors and in return, increase your conversion rate.

Decreased Marketing Costs
Social media marketing typically costs a fraction of standard print and broadcast advertising and in many cases, you’ll stand to reach a greater percentage of your target audience at a much lower cost.

Improved Search Engine Rankings
Social media presence also directly relates to your search engine rankings. By increasing inbound traffic, improving conversions rates and encouraging users to share your website links through their online networks, you’ll get better results from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Improved Customer Insights and Analytics
Social media campaigns also provide hard data for you to analyse. This allows you to assess which pieces of content worked best and where they were most effective. Collecting this data and adjusting your campaigns accordingly will help you continually increase your social media presence, as well as your traffic and most importantly, your website’s conversion rates.

With social media at the forefront of the most successful companies’ marketing strategies, it’s more important then ever to ensure that your brand maintains an effective social media campaign to stay competitive.

If you’d like to find out more about how SMO can help your business, feel free to contact us today for a free consultation.

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SEO Misconceptions
Marketing

10 Misconceptions About SEO You Need to Know

Written by Content’s MeJune 26, 2019
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is one of the most valuable and effective forms of marketing today. That’s a fact. It’s an ever-complicated beast which is always evolving. That’s another fact. But, are there misconceptions which might be holding you back? Is everything that SEO agencies tell you entirely correct?

In this post, we’re going to explore 10 misconceptions about SEO that you need to know. In addition to that, we’re going to look at why you might have been told otherwise. Read on and learn the truth!

Seo factors

1 – Keyword density is a huge factor in PR and search rankings

Keywords are important, there’s no denying that, but are they the be all and end all? Well, if it means spamming a page with an unnatural amount of keyword usage, then no, it most certainly is not.

The idea that you should be including a “minimum” number of keywords in the content on a page can be harmful. This often leads to unnatural content which can not only damage your reputation with your readers, but Google might rank you down for it as well.

Google uses something called TF-IDF (term frequency-inverse document frequency). With this they are essentially comparing the “term frequency” in your content, in comparison with what is considered to be normal throughout the rest of the web.

  • Are keywords important?
  • Should they be squeezed into the detriment of the entire piece?

Keyword density

2 – Links are not an important factor

Something which has been circulating a fair among throughout the SEO industry of late is the idea that links no longer matter. This is simply not the case. Of course, there are other very important factors which must be considered for links to work. But to say that they’re no longer a ranking factor is incorrect. Just like anything in life, link building is about quality over quantity.

So, building hundreds of cheap, irrelevant links for the sake of it is a waste of time and money. However, placing relevant and shareworthy content on trusted websites is, and always will be valuable. That and if you focus heavily on the quality and authenticity of the content that you create, then more natural links are bound to occur as people share and reference your articles.

  • Is link building important?
  • Should you buy 10,000 links for $10? Absolutely not.

    Why have I been told otherwise?

    Well, it could be for one of two reasons:

  • The SEO company that you’re dealing with is not as knowledgeable as they claim to be.
  • They don’t have access to strong link resources and are trying to steer you towards other areas in which they are more comfortable (it’s much easier to sell someone a tonne of links than it is to strategise a well-optimised content marketing campaign).
link building
Social media post with comments in a browser window, a user is pressing the like button: social networks and community concept, collage and paper cut composition

3 – Content is dead

Wrong! Content marketing is very much alive and well. You must remember who you’re trying to reach through SEO: real live people. This means that everything you create should be for the benefit of your target audience. You have to guide your page visitors to a positive conclusion, and what better a way of doing this then with quality, authentic and “share-worthy” content?

Why have I been told otherwise?

There are many “hustlers” in SEO who are looking to make a quick buck. So, the talentless & inequitable will try to make out that SEO is far simpler than it is in order to sign you up to a large link order with very little focus on the quality of their content. When you don’t get the desired results, they will keep you on board by insisting that you need another round of links. This will be rinsed and repeated until you eventually give up all together.

An SEO specialist worth their weight in gold will tell you that results have to be earned, by showcasing why you’re the best, through sharing unique, expertly crafted, industry-related content.

Content marketing for seo

4 – Social signals affect your rankings

This is not to say that social signals aren’t incredibly important, but they do not affect your rankings in a Google SERP. Social signals can, however, have a positive impact on your links. And of course, having a strong presence on social media can only be of benefit to your brand and business.

  • Should you stop working hard on your social media?
  • Should you replace other SEO methods with a social media marketing campaign and expect to rank well in Google? Absolutely not.

You should use social media to build relationships with your existing customers and to attract more to your cause. It won’t directly affect your rankings, but the benefits of working on both your SEO and social media together are not to be snuffed at.

Find out more about the benefits of an effective social media campaign here.

Social signals

5 – All SEO software is completely accurate

This is a tricky one, as there are certain SEO software’s which can be incredibly useful. However, if an SEO company is approaching you with “facts & figures” insisting that you’re getting zero to very little traffic, then we’d advise that you err on the side of caution. Much of the software is actually designed to frighten you into signing up to an SEO campaign.

Reputable companies on the other hand, who know what they’re doing will openly tell you what is working for you. They might even share a software audit with you and tell you that it’s not as bad as it looks, offering a clear plan on how to move forward.

Just be mindful of companies that give you the impression that the world might end tomorrow unless you sign up with them. The real specialists let their results and existing clientele speak for itself.

SEO software

6 – SEO is a one-off activity

This is a dangerous misconception that many people want to believe because it can “save them money”. Obtaining the results that you set out to achieve and then thanking your SEO company and bidding them farewell is not the best move. The fact is, SEO is a competitive practise which is best treated as an on-going affair. Achieving page-one results is one thing; keeping them is another!

Yes, there are certain things which you might only need to do the once. For example: the onsite optimisation of your website. That said: the businesses which achieve and maintain the best results are those who frequently revisit their content in order to keep it fresh and relative. So, you may have some incredible product and service descriptions working well for you now. But, who’s to say that a slight revision in the future won’t benefit you? Stay on your toes, keep moving and evolve.

Why have I been told otherwise?

Again, there are certain individuals and businesses out there who aren’t interested in building long-lasting relationships. Instead they’re more focused on earning quick money with little effort. So, they charge a lumpsum for the SEO work and then leave you to it. Next thing you know, you’re not much better off than you were to begin with, and you’re being told that “there are no guarantees in SEO.”

Any reputable and reliable digital marketing agency will insist that it takes time to build up a natural profile. Results do not come over night, you’ve got to earn them.

seo results

7 – Position #1 on Google is the only profitable position

Yes, ranking at position one yields the highest “clickthrough” rates, but does that mean a position two or three ranking is useless to you? No, it does not. Here’s why…

You have to think about the way that you browse the internet. Do you search for a product or service and visit only the one website? Do you click on position one and make your purchase without even a glance at anything else?

In most cases, you’ll open and compare several tabs. This is why it’s so incredibly important to invest in quality content writing for your website. It’s all about creating the best possible user-experience with useful and in-depth descriptions. This care and consideration can only benefit you with higher “clicks to conversion” rates.

search position

8 – Google Ads increases organic ranking

Many agencies who specialise in selling Google Ads will insist that they improve your organic rankings. This is simply not the case. Not convinced? Take Google’s word for it.

  • Should you incorporate Adwords into your digital marketing campaign? Absolutely (Particularly when you’re in the process of improving your organic rankings through proven SEO strategies).
  • Should Adwords be used instead of SEO? Or in the hopes that it will directly benefit your organic rankings? Absolutely not!

Your main focus should always be on your organic rankings. However, incorporating Adwords in order to give certain search phrases a boost is definitely an effective approach. You can even do this during certain holidays. For example: if you specialise in camping equipment or swimwear, then a summer Adwords campaign could yield some great results over the short-term.

search ads

9 – Mobile first isn’t all that important

The question you need to ask is; how often do you search for products and services on a laptop or desktop computer? If you’re in the office or you work from home, then you’ll be more likely to use a computer. However, the rest of the time you’ll more than likely use a tablet or mobile device.

The fact is: up to 70% of web traffic happens on mobile devices. So, why is it then that so many people claim that “mobile-first” is irrelevant?

If your website hasn’t been optimised with mobile functionality in mind, then you must endeavour to remedy that immediately. All content should be visible to both desktop and mobile users. There really is no excuse not to.

seo still work?

10 – SEO no longer works

This is quite possibly the most dangerous of all misconceptions. There are a number of reasons why people might think or believe this…

Many people might have had a bad run with a previous SEO company who failed to get them anywhere, took their money and messed them around. That’s enough to put most business owners off for life.

Other marketers who specialise in more traditional marketing methods (e.g., magazines) might share media about SEO being dead or no longer working, in an attempt to attract more clicks and ultimately scare people into favouring their chosen medium.

Don’t buy into it. Yes, there are other forms of marketing. Certainly, if you have enough budget, you should work on as much as you can (the bigger the net, the more fish you’ll catch). But, by believing that SEO doesn’t work, you’ll be missing out on huge growth and earning potential!

SEO does work, but it requires a patient and well-informed approach. You must be up to date with Google’s strict guidelines. You must also persevere through the tough times and trust that your hard work will pay off.

If you’re not convinced but would be interested in exploring honest and reliable SEO services, then feel free to contact one of our friendly representatives today.

search engine optimization company

Conclusion 

If you take anything away from this post, it should be that you shouldn’t believe everything that you hear online. Do your research and choose your experts carefully.

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Marketing

Digital Marketing 101- What is E-A-T and Why is it Important?

 

When exploring the world of digital marketing and SEO in particular, trying to get your website to rank higher in competition with your rival websites.

You’ve likely come across the acronym E-A-T.

But what does E-A-T actually mean?

Well, it stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

Ironically, you can compare it to the qualities that you might look for in a restaurant when looking to do exactly that: eat.

What do you look for in a restaurant?

You’re going to want them to display expertise in their area; you don’t want to go to a restaurant that employs sub-standard chefs who aren’t well-versed in the culinary arts.

You’re also going to want to find a restaurant with authority, which is the hottest restaurant in town and stands out as the authoritative figure on your desired cuisine.

And of course, trust; do they have a reputation as being great at what they do? Can you trust that upon booking a table and sitting down to eat, that you’re going to have a positive experience?

The very same applies to the way in which Google and other search engines rank (and thus, recommend) your website.

Have you displayed expertise in your field; are you an authoritative figure worth mentioning; and can you be trusted?

Of course, every company is going to answer yes, yes, and yes.

However, your job is to not simply say yes, but to demonstrate the fact through your actions, methods and the type of content that you share with your target audience.

By adopting and improving E-A-T score, you will not only encourage Google to recognise and reward you, but you will subsequently offer a better ‘guest experience’ for those visiting your website.

When a higher standard of E-A-T is displayed, you can expect those visiting your website to have a much higher chance of converting into business.

You see, its not just about getting bodies through the door, but being able to accommodate them appropriately as well.

Demonstrating Expertise

Having ‘expertise’ is demonstrating great knowledge and/or expert skill in a particular field. So, how do you go about proving that you are indeed the ‘expert in your field?’

Demonstrating expertise is about following through on your promises.

You have to provide an exceptional service that gets people talking and wanting for more.

You must have unique, engaging, and informative content that has purpose on your website, content that makes you stand out from your competitors.

An effective way of doing this is by adding regular content to your blog, sharing industry-relevant information to your audience.

It is important to write unique, and expertly crafted content that stands out from the crowd. Google will be scrutinising the content on both yours and your competitors websites in order to decide which is the best, the most informative, and truly authentic.

Writing regular blogs that provide good information, teaches the end user something new or helps them solve a problem will also help you get found for more search queries on the web.

This will invariably increase your authority over time and help to build trust, but we will get to that.

Achieving Authoritativeness

Authority is a way of measuring where your website stands in comparison to other website’s that offer similar information.

You can achieve authoritativeness by expanding your website and offering as much information as possible.

You will want to have detailed information pages on each of the products and services that you offer.

The more services or product pages you have, the more you are likely to be found for.

The bigger a website the more authority.

An FAQ page is also another great way of building authority.

If you have an answer to every question that your potential customers might have, available to peruse on your website, then it proves that you are the authority in your industry because you are anticipating your audience’s needs before they arise.

Link building is another huge factor when building your website’s authority.

It shows that other websites and businesses are ‘recommending’ or ‘vouching’ for you.

A backlink from one website to another is a vote of confidence that proves to Google that yours is a website worth talking about.

Gaining Trust

What is trust? It is simply being able to be relied upon as being genuine and truthful.

People want to know that when they are seeking information, products, or services, that the source can be trusted.

You don’t want to end up buying products from a website that turns out to be completely different from the description provided.

Nor do you want to put your faith in a service provider that has a history of letting clients down.

 

So how do you gain trust?

You must be truthful, accurate and reliable always.

First, you will need to have a secure website with an up-to-date SSL Certificate. This shows that you take safety and security seriously.

Try to secure as many positive reviews as possible.

This can be done through Google My Business, your website via a testimonial section, and through your social media channels, such as Facebook.

At Content SME, we have an effective method of obtaining positive reviews, whilst also protecting our clients from negative reviews before they can make it to a public platform.

That way, you can identify the problem area and work to resolve the issue with your disgruntled customer.

If handled with care, you may even be able to turn that negative feedback, into a positive review.

If you’re interested in exploring it further, please feel free to contact us and we can take you through the essentials.

Remember: it’s always better to issue a refund, than it is to suffer a negative review.

Be integral in everything that you do

Another great way of gaining trust, is by remaining truthful. Do your due diligence when researching and writing about a subject.

If you’re going to write figures or percentages, you must cite your sources so that people can check the authenticity of the claims.

As an example: there are approximately 1.7 billion websites on the internet, which is why it is so important to be as authentic and informative as you can in order to stand out.

But how can you trust those figures?

I could have just plucked that number out of thin air to reinforce my point. However, we’ve linked this claim to the source of the information, demonstrating that we have nothing to hide.

The same applies to all other content that you produce. Show your workings and let your audience know how you managed to arrive at a certain conclusion, so that they can have faith in your intentions.

You must create authentic content, rather than simply ‘copying and pasting’ it from elsewhere, because another website summed it up rather nicely.

Make your post bigger, better and more informative.

Remember, trust that is lost will very rarely be regained.

Thus, it is paramount that you always have the best intentions when associating content with your website, brand, and business.

That is the key to achieving an optimum E-A-T rating, and subsequently experiencing greater success in the online community.

If you’d like more information about this subject, or would like to explore our digital marketing services more, then please feel free to contact us today.

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