Big Changes for the search term “Car Insurance” in Google Australia.

So over the last 24-48 hours I have received a few emails from contacts in the Australian SEO industry asking me if I have seen the changes which center around the term “Car Insurance”.

Example email quote:

“On the head ‘car insurance’ term, there’s been more movement in the serps in the last 48 hours than the last two years.”

What seems to have happened is AAMI, has held the top spot for the term “Car Insurance” for over 2.5 years with 2 results a huge CTR boost for the brand, what now has happened is that AAMI has been moved to 5th position. And we now see Youi at number 1 position in the organize space (see image below)

car-insurance-changes
car-insurance-changes

Now the question people are asking is why is this happening?

– My guess is this could be the recent change rolled out from Google been the “Over optimization” penalty – SEER Interactive does a good write up here – http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/over-optimization-penalty-speculation

This does not seem to be a manual penalty for “naughty SEO”, because I mean all Google would need to do is audit the link profiles on some of these key players in this term and it is “paid link central” for some of the top players. I am surprised these companies have not engaged with a long term viral link building/ inbound marketing campaigns, they seem to opt for the quick and cheeky paid link option which may be here now and gone tomorrow.

– Also as a note I do not work in the Insurance niche currently, I work in several other Enterprise SEO niches.

Please post your thoughts on this below –

Google Doodle Harbour Bridge 80th Birthday.

So I work in Walsh Bay and pass the Harbour Bridge every day on my trip to work, but today the harbour bridge is turning 80 and in light of the birthday Google has put up a special doodle drawing to support the 80th birthday.

Google Doodle Harbour Bridge
Google Doodle Harbour Bridge

A post on my Career history in SEO, What will the future be?

SEO future
SEO future


Ok so this post is something I have been wanting to write for a while, after recent developments with several people who I have worked very close with over the last 3 years and the decisions they have made in which they want to re form their careers and myself having thoughts on where I want to be in the next 3 years as it has all been one great ride.

So where did my career in SEO start?

I have been involved with SEO for over 7-8 years now and I have been involved with web dev and websites since 1999, since I was a young kid I was making websites, no matter how shocking they were I was learning things myself. I mean at first it was something for a bit of fun, I never really was a hardcore programmer or I never really knew every single programming language but messing around with front page and later on dream weaver seemed to be really cool at the time.

How did I get involved in SEO?

When some one told me about SEO in around 2004, I was a pretty active community member on many car forums, I have been involed with cars for a long time, I had 1000’s of posts on car forums it was a real first love been community development admin management of forums ect. This specific user told me how I could grow my traffic for my websites I was integied, he told me to join a website called “Digital Point Forums”. He said if you want to learn SEO this is the place to do it, so instantly I was off on a journey which started back in 2004 to join DP and see what i could learn, their were literally 100’s of posts on the site and it was never ending reading on SEO, social media and every thing else. In 2004 and 2005 been at high school I was not really making much money at all I was in the learning and development years while still studying.

Where did I go from their?

I started making websites and started generating income from Adsense, the money started rolling in, I was making a fair bit, I was not making 10 dollars a month I had made over $55,000 from Adsense (if you work in online you know Adsense pays the worst) and I had sold other websites for close to $XX,XXX over the space of a few years this was at the point of been a teenager and just learning on the job. I mean I have also paid a fair share of the money earnings via online to TAX over the years, it is always advisable to have you tax affairs in order when doing business online.

55k-Adsense
55k-Adsense

Now move into work

– I started doing SEO consulting in 2006/2007 for small business, some times it was for a family business so it was even free, overall it was all fun. I started with the smaller businesses from 2007-2009.

I remember in 2008 I went for an interview at “Geekdom” they pretty much told me to go away because I was too much an Entrepreneur and too risky!, so I continued working with the smaller businesses making money myself via Adsense and some other cash rolling in.

In 2009 I saw an ad one a website one day and thinking nothing of it I said hey I thought i will send my resume off too a random company I had never heard off called “Media Contacts”, after a quick Google search this company was really big on a global level I think they were in like 38 countries and owned by “Havas Digital”, Originally I applied for a Social Media role as I had a huge amount of knowledge in that area but instead I recieved a call for a SEO role they had going.

Media Contacts Days

I went in one Friday afternoon to have the interview, it was a really chilled out place, this is where I met Marcio who was the “Head Of SEO and Social Media” I would be working with him and a few others to develop the SEO offering for the business, great. Marcio liked the fact that I was an Entrepreneur and he also liked the fact that I know a lot about all the various SEO tools and had a fair bit of history and experience in SEO and I had experience working with clients. So I start work and on my first day Marcio tells me he has to go overseas for 3 months and I have the manage the whole offering and develop it all myself over the next 3-4 months!! Great so I am dropped in the deep end straight away having to swim. This is where I meet the other search business which was on the same level at Town Hall called “Columbus Search” at first I thought “what is this business? Christopher Columbus”? but not realizing Columbus Search was in fact the largest PPC (paid per click company) in Australia by billings, owned by the giant “Mitchel Communications Group” Australia’s largest media buying company!!

I met Karl a PPC manager, Karl was a great help in developing my skills to help pitch for new business from a more corporate (big business) level, sure I had sold SEO and Social to smaller business but selling to smaller business and selling to companies which turn over 100s of millions is a very different story. Karl set me up on my first pitch which was a $XXX,XXX project, I had to put together the deck and then go in and present to 4 directors from a company, overall it went well we got sign off of the project in 2009, and work began. The cleint was great they really knew how to look after the people working on the account as the agency managed SEO, Offline, PPC, Online Media, PR and Star Management, at this time I was working across both Media Contacts and Columbus Search.

This one account developed into several others, till the point where we had say 3 or 4 SEO accounts going which I had a hand in. Marcio came back after 4 months and got things moving once more, the great thing about working in such a large “Display Media” company is i started to realize how well display media people were treated, companies were always looking to take them out and buy drinks for them when ever they wanted. I also worked on several large Social Media campaigns and had my involvement in some Social Media Monitoring.

Move to Columbus Search full time.

In 2010 I was approached by Columbus Search (on the same level) to move full time into the company rather than working across both companies as I did since 2009, It was an opportunity to bring on some huge talent into the team and start the SEO offering, and to also grow the team from SEO been (just me 1) to a large number.

This is where we hired Pieter, Lead SEO from BWIN Poker, Pieter was incharge of the SEO behind one of Europe’s largest poker websites so he was very switched on in the SEO space, if you wanted advanced strategies pieter was your go to man, he was also an expert in management of teams (Pieter taught me a lot about professional management and managing large teams, I will always be thankful for his help and expertise). Pieter was also a random character who always had something fun for the team to do, such as dress up days, random lunches, random bar tabs at bars, weekly meetings at a bar, if any one was a credit to getting the PPC/SEO and whole business together Pieter was the best at it.

(Pieter on one of his dress up days)

Pieter
Pieter

New Direction for the SEO team.

Things moved very quickly from this point on we initially has a few SEO clients to where we had a huge number of SEO clients and we were working with some of Australia’s largest brands, with large wins means the team then grows in size, from me been the first member of the team to start the offering from Pieter coming on board to grow it, then we hired 7 additional people in the SEO team, this was in line with say 35 in the PPC team which were already hired in Sydney alone, we also had presence in other states 20+ in Melbourne and a few in Brisbane. Working with Pieter for over 2 years was great becuase the whole team learn alot, had a lot of fun too!

In the last year I have also been working in house at Virgin Mobile which is also a good bit of fun, in house and agency life is very different and it is good experience as people say the best of both worlds.

Now The funny thing and the overall method of this post is to show that Pieter and Marcio, two great SEO’s have now moved on from SEO to other careers outside SEO, they have different directions for the future in terms of where they want to be. The question is their where will SEO be in 3 years? I feel having a strong connection too social media will still be a key factor in moving forward.

Now you probably say what happened to some of the money made online?

I think it was around 2007 I purchased a BMW with some of the money I was making online, I picked it up at a really good price at the time, every one thought I was selling “something else” at the time but really i was just making money online from ads!!

e46 Bmw
e46 Bmw

Probably a stupid idea I should have used the money to buy a unit some where when the property market was down in 2007.

Another purchase was a piece of Art one night –

art purchase
art purchase

Overall you can not change how the past is you just need to move onto the future and see what the future has install, this is a brief view of the last few years, making a more in depth post would take me ages =)

So I thought it was time to update this post as it has been a while since my last post.

SEO in 2012

So in 2012 after Pieter and a few other members from the team left we were left with a team of 4 or so people, many people left the business and things changed. We had a fair amount of work on and things were getting very busy. It was left to me to take on a role of looking after the team. Now I had a 2 month holiday booked in for July and August which I had to take which also made things hard. So before I left for the holiday it was a case of making sure the team was set up while I was away and also that I could work remotely.

2 months in Europe

So I went on a two month holiday of Europe with a few friends and it was really enjoyable. It was good to take some time to see all different parts of Europe. Europe has so many different countries and we got to taste most of the best countries and what they had to offer. I could probably write a whole blog on my holiday to Europe as it would take a very long time.

Whilst I was in London I contacted some of the guys from SEO Gadget and they told me to come down to a local meetup for a few beers. I was shocked at how popular Meetups were in the UK so this is the reason why I decided to set up my own meetup when I came back to Australia – http://www.meetup.com/Online-Marketing-Sydney/

Coming back to work

So when I came back to work from my holiday it was a phase of getting every thing sorted, we had many new projects on and it was a case of keeping all the clients happy. Further to this we had new hires of a head of the team and a director. We did not really have a view on the business which was “joint” with the new management team. It was hard for me starting the team 3-4 years ago to been a point where we I did not have a say on the direction of the team any more.
I decided the best thing to do was to start up my own business as it was something I have always wanted to give a shot.

Starting my own business

So for the last 8 months I have been in the phases of starting my own business, it is hard as a business owner as you are running new business development, team management, accounting and promotion.
The thing about having a well known name in Australian market is many jobs come to your by word of mouth or when you meet some one at an event. But things are never handed to you on a silver platter. Currently we are working on a range of different companies from small to large with more exciting things to come in the near future.

I will update this post hopefully when more content comes.

More Changes in the Australia SERP landscape, change of rank for the term “SEO”.

I have been doing some quick checks today and I notice more shifts in long term search queries, for example “SEO” one landmark term seems to have a shift once more with DEJAN SEO in first spot over the long held eweb marketing.

I have tested this rank on 3 x IP addresses with no personal search on and the rank is showing, yet for low long.

– Red marks Paid, Green marks Organic.

SEO Page One Australia
SEO Page One Australia

Ad Preview View –

SEO-Australia
SEO-Australia

I have noted this change in the past – http://jamesnorquay.com/a-new-number-one-rank-for-seo-in-google-australia/

The question is: Is this Google testing results will we see a more fixed listing for the term “SEO” who knows but interesting times ahead.

Jamesnorquay.com On the first page of Slashdot.org (top 1k Alexa Site)

So the other day I noticed that my analytic’s had gone crazy I was recieving 1000’s of visitors from Slashdot.org, a website which I am not on too much only from a bookmarking sense and some times for reading search content. Some one else had picked up my content from my blog and used it as a article on page one.

slashdot
slashdot

This is not the first time I have hit page one of a huge social website, back in 2006, one of my high “blogspot” domains was on the first page of DIGG, the traffic on Digg back in those days was crazy post here – http://jamesnorquay.com/getting-to-page-one-digg-with-a-blogspot-domain-i-miss-2006/

Mitchells (My Agency) #1 in 2011 Media Agency Rankings.

Nielsen has released its 2011 Media Agency Rankings and it’s fantastic to see that Mitchell & Partners has again taken the number one position in Australia, I work for Mitchells in the search division Columbus Search heading up innovative SEO and Social strategies for clients across Asia pacific –

Top 20 Agencys Australia
Top 20 Agencys Australia

KONY 2012 – Who is Joseph Kony Viral Video Campaign.

Over the last day I have seen a lot of buzz around the word “KONY” and “KONY 2012” on my social channels, been some one who is always monitoring social media signals and wanting to know what is this latest buzz word is it a brand or is it a person? Is it a new Jeremy Lin?

Well in this case it is non of the above it is far worse, I suggest you take the time to watch the video below to find out who exact Joseph Kony is, he sits in the same category as a Ghaddafi or a Hitler.

I have to admit this is one of the best viral targeted campaigns to spread a message I have seen, it uses social media effectively and really brings together key influences for a specific cause. I guess this is the way the world is changing where social media can have a direct impact on a specific subject or area for all.

So spread the word KONY 2012:

KONY 2012
KONY 2012

But we also must bare in mind that the money raise for this campaign is spent wisely I noticed an interesting link on Tumblr
which shows past campaigns by this organisation, I also think that all the posters and kits will be thrown in the bin at the end of the campaign, but in the same mind set how much do politicians spend on campaigns even if they have caused so much damage, I think social movement is good in this case.

Have reached “SEO Guru” Status on SEOmoz – James Norquay

So after working very hard on the SEOmoz website for the last few years, writing detailed blog posts such as my post on Advanced Keyword Research for example, helping out with 100’s of questions in the PRO Q&A section, providing free SEO help for the many thousand users on the website and also commenting and contributing on 100’s of different SEO posts to show my insight I have reached the level of SEO GURU (picture below)

SEO GURU Australia
SEO GURU Australia

Along with the rank I am now positioned 12th in the community ranks on SEOmoz http://www.seomoz.org/users, this is out of over 11,783+ global based SEO’s.

About SEOmoz:

SEOmoz is one of the worlds most well known SEO brands online with daily SEO news and information, SEOmoz is an authority in the space. Founded by Rand Fiskin a household name to many in the business.

Facebook Launches New Brand Page Timelines

Facebook over the last 24 hours have launched the new brand time lines, I have been involved with 3 pages launching these mew changes. What this means is that Facebook pages will now look like Facebook profiles, this is a great change for brands because it makes brand pages look more graphical on the cover picture.

Other changes are the main image for your page will also be smaller so it may be advisable to use the brand image in this section, another change is the about me section has moved across, also with apps you can now add 4 apps in the main profile section and an additional 12 on page.

Another important point: You can no longer make Facebook landing pages for users who are not fans of the page, this was a great way to drive engagement with users, yet Facebook has now stopped using it.

A great exmaple of a brand using Facebooks new brand timelines well is Livestrong which can be seen here:

facebook brand page timelines
facebook brand page timelines

So why wait sign up for a brand page timeline here or edit your current page: http://www.facebook.com/about/pages