Tips for selecting a company to do your SEO

selecting

Every time I go to business events, read online forums or use social sites, I always notice a raft of people who have been ripped off by a suspect online marketer or SEO, as I work in this industry I do not like to see people loose money. Now the problem with the SEO businesses is that many people get into the business because they see it as a fast way to make money with little knowledge, a common trend is you see a car dealer turned SEO, you see a magician turned SEO you see pretty much any one start to do SEO because they think they can learn it easily. This is simply not the case to be an effective SEO it takes years of training and years of learning different strategies. You may be able to pick up a few articles and learn the basis in a short period of time but learning more and more areas of SEO and Online Marketing takes time and testing.

As I have worked in SEO for 10 years, both in house and agency side I have seen my fair share of businesses and know a thing or two about selecting companies for work.

I have decided to write some points for businesses looking to use/ hire a new SEO company, it is best to ask these questions before signing on the dotted line. These questions could potentially save your business time, money and stop you from getting a Google penalty.

Ask questions to the company when you are seeking a new business to do your SEO!

1. Ask the SEO business for case studies related to your industry or related industries. If you work with companies who have worked in similar niches it can save every one time.
2. Ask for current or past client testimonials, from brands which have a name in the market or where you can physically call the business.
3. Check too see if their strategies lie in lines with the Google guidelines, ask questions based off the Google guidelines found here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356
If their strategies do not line up with Google’s start to think twice.
4. Ask some technical questions to the business, it could be something such as: What are your thoughts on hreflang? what are your thoughts on QDF? what are your thoughts on schema markup? do this over the phone or in person it is better to see how quickly they can respond.
5. Ask for the Top 5 on page and top 5 off pages strategies they will aim to use on the account.
6. If you feel you need to bring in some additional fire power ask a friend who works in IT to ask them some questions.
7. Look for passion, if you meet some one you can pick up if they are passionate about something, if they do not seem passionate and act like a drone then it may be a sign to look for another company.

Setting KPI’s with the new SEO business

You would want to set KPI’s for the SEO company, sure enough things are not going to happen over night so have specific goals for the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months.

KPI’s can be things such as:

1. Increase in organic and branded SEO traffic.
2. Increase in conversions from organic traffic.
3. Increase in referral traffic as a result of link building.
4. Any other KPI’s such as face to face hours with the client.
5. Link building reports been sent each month – If the SEO company is not sending link building reports each month it is a sign that they are up to no good.
6. Month reports been sent each month.
7. Quarterly business reviews to check on progress.

Overall I hope these tips give you some good insight when picking a new SEO/ digital company to work with. In the end of the day it is about transparency and making sure you work with a business you can trust.

10 content marketing for SEO and a blog update

Hello every one, I hope you have been well. Firstly I just wanted to say thank you if you are reading my blog, sorry I have not been posting as much in recently times as I have been very busy consulting for a select group of clients I work with at my new company and also working on some new projects I am developing for the global market. That been said but I will aim to post some fresh new content on the blog in the coming weeks, I also have a few new themes I have recently purchased and will customize for this blog as the design is in store for a change soon.

Last week I attended my meetup which I run to give a presentation on Content Marketing examples which work for SEO. A good mate of mine Jamie Andrei https://twitter.com/jamieandrei also presented on Content Marketing.

Online Marketing Sydney
Online Marketing Sydney
Special thanks to dennis graham for the image: https://twitter.com/DennisGraham7

Also be sure to view the slides below:

Arnold Schwarzenegger Sydney Event Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger Sydney
Arnold Schwarzenegger Sydney

I attended the Arnold Schwarzenegger Business Motivational speech in Sydney yesterday. I have always been a fan of his movies and body building career for a while so it was good too see the motivational talk by the big man.

The talk lasted around 2 hours with around 20 minutes Q&A.

A few interesting facts from the talk by Arnold:

– Arnold was not paid for the movie Twins, he had a 40% owner ship of the movie with Danny Devito, the movie made over 216 million so it was a huge payday which keeps bringing in money.

– Arnold made his first million in a property and bricklaying business in LA.

– Arnold was told when he was 15 in Austria that he was never going to be able to make it to the US, people never had the belief that he could go to a new country and learn a new language.

– Arnold said his favorite leading lady to work with in movies was Jamie Lee Curtis.

– Arnold said it is good to learn 15 minutes a day about something totally random such as classical music and continue this for several months. .

– Arnold said that when was body building at a young age he did it with no shoes on.

– Arnold relaxes by driving around in his very own tank.

– When Arnold was in the Army he still took all his weights on the road with him and trained every night for 2 hours.

Arnie’s top 5 tips for every one attending:

1. Have vision and follow it – it is important to have a big vision in life, set your vision down and go for it.
2. Aim Higher – Set high goals, if you think you can do something go for it, nothing is impossible.
3. Forget naysayers – Don’t listen to people who say you can not achieve something any thing is possible.
4. Work hard – you need to work hard on things if you want to achieve a goal, nothing is going to come easy.
5. Give back – Try to give back to your local community or charity where possible. You can have millions and millions but it will not mean you are happy.

Quick video from the Event, 4 minutes (sorry about the quality) it was taken from my phone.

Exact Target Connect Sydney Review and Notes

Recently I attended the Exact Target Global connect at Town Hall, first let me say that this is one of the best venues for a conference I have been too. It was also good too see the Sydney Online Marketing field out in force with 1000’s of people turning up to the event.

Now the conference itself had some fantastic speakers from all over the world, two of the best speakers from the day would have to be:

Kyle Lacy – https://twitter.com/kyleplacy
Author of Twitter for Dummies

Rachel Botsman – https://twitter.com/rachelbotsman
TED Speaker & Social Innovator

A few notes from the event with I would like to share with the readers of my blog from the event are:

Note 1. SoLoMo social = trust, local = close proximity, mobile = game changer. watch an example of this concept here:

Note 2. Crowd funding set to be huge in the near future sites like: outgrow.me

Note 3. Stats on Asia show the growth in the region

Mobile growth in Asia is really set to explode in coming years.

Mobile Growth in Asia
Mobile Growth in Asia
Stats on Asia
Stats on Asia

Note 4. It’s a ok to be a little creepy with marketing but not too creepy – This was an interesting statement that kyle had the audicence chanting over and over.

Note 5. Over 520 million online shoppers in China by 2015 – It just shows you how huge the Chinese digital market is going to be by 2015, far out pacing any where else in the world.

Note 6. Use the mum and dad test for design and CRO, if they do no get it it’s not simple enough for your customers!

Note 7. mobile-patterns.com is good website for mobile design ideas, people submit design ideas which have worked in the past to save you time.

Note 8. Using a service such as Exact Targets IGoDigital: By tagging every part of your website you can increase your relevance to visitors profile = increased conversion.

Note 9. 74% of customer don’t leave home without their smartphone, which just shows you how important marketing via smart phones is set to become.

Note 10. Mobile phone email pre-header is key to CTR – Many speakers on the day stated when doing a mobile marketing campaign.

Note 11.96% of Australians online have signed up for an EDM (email list), 55% have liked a brand on Facebook, 6% have followed a brand on Twitter – this just shows you how willing Australian customers are to sign up to email lists.

Note 12. Exact Target purchase funnel – This was a great slide to show the customer purchase journey:

Exact target Purchase Cycle
Exact target Purchase Cycle

Finally the night wrapped up with a networking party with singers from the Voice and Dj Casey Connor from the US. The food was pizza and dumplings with Beers and win flowing, overall it was a great event.

What is coming for SEO over the next few months and Penguin 2.0

penguin 2.0
penguin 2.0

Today Google’s very own Matt Cutts head of web spam has released a new video today, I decided to pull the video apart and put together my top 10 take away’s from the video, if you want to check out the full video click here.

Here are 10 key take away’s from the video:

1. Google has noted that Penguin 2.0 will be launched in Summer (US time)

Google has noted that they are expecting to release the next round of Penguin, which is going to be more advanced in comparison to Penguin 1.0 which was rolled out in 2012.

2. Advertorials that pass page rank:

Google has noted that will start paid PR ads which pass paid rank, so if you are paying for a large number of news paper placements it may be time to re-think your strategy.

3. Targeting spam links and black hat packages:

Google has noted they are looking to target black hat links on scale and will take the full force of removals where possible for websites which have engaged in this type of link building.

4. Hacked web sites will be easier to pick up:

Google will start to be more prominent with displaying search results as been hacked, to make sure more users steer clear from visiting infected websites.

5. Targeting spammed keywords:

Google has noted they will start to target keywords such as “Payday Loans” heavily which is currently a keyword which is spammed heavily. It will be interesting too see how quickly Google moves on some of these commercial keywords in the Australian market as I see spammers move on these keywords on a daily basis.

6. Google has new advanced link monitoring software.

Cutt’s has mentioned that his team has a new advanced software for tracking links online, they are able to pick things up far more quickly in comparison to the past. Brian White at SMX Sydney was using this type of software to complete a link review on a website it seems like Majestic SEO on overdrive =)

7. Providing Authority for high value websites

If your website is a brand within a specific niche and you are doing something great then this will mean that Google is going to treat your website more favorably. This is why businesses need to start thinking like a big brand, start acting like a big brand and do what you can to push a positive and authority message for your business.

8. Limiting Cluster Results:

Cluster results are where you see the same website ranking for multiple positions for a specific keyword. Google is confirming that they are going to limit this type of activity.

9. Overall the benefit will be here for high quality content driven sites:

Matt Cutt’s has noted that websites which use high quality content and push for a high quality site are the ones who will see the best benefit from this roll out.

10. Don’t worry if you are doing things right:

The key message is if you are working with SEO’s who are doing high quality work you do not need to worry, if you are using low quality spammy tactics for short term gains you need to worry.

What are you endorsed for on Linkedin?

So last year some time LinkedIn released a new feature where you can endorse people for related career sections. Now here is my total overview today from every one who has endorsed me for different things on LinkedIn:

Endorse For Linkedin
Endorse For Linkedin

Here is a break down of my endorsed for profile:

1. SEO -(Search Engine Optimisation) 56 different individuals have endorsed me for SEO
2. SEM – (Search Engine Marketing) 44 different individuals have endorsed me for SEM
3. Google Analytics – 30 different individuals have endorsed me for Google Analytics
4. Online Marketing – 22 different individuals have endorsed me for Online Marketing
5. Link Building – 19 different individuals have endorsed me for Link Building
6. Digital Marketing – 19 different individuals have endorsed me for Digital Marketing
7. Online Advertising – 16 different individuals have endorsed me for Online Marketing
8. Social Media Marketing – 15 different individuals have endorsed me for Social Media Marekting
9. Social Media – 14 different individuals have endorsed me for Social Media
10. PPC – 11 different individuals have endorsed me for PPC

Now I find it funny when you get endorsed for something by some one who you have never met, can they really tell what you are good or bad at?

Yet also this feature is interesting in the sense it can be a good way for users to show they key skills on LinkedIn.

Whilst I agree with most things i have been endorsed for their are a few things such as Google Analytics and PPC sure I know them but I would not class myself as an expert in those areas.

Regardless it will be interesting too see what this builds up too over time?

A question to you is what are you currently endorsed for post it in the comments sections below!

Kogan has 322 domain names, but what are they doing?

So I have seen a bit of talk online recently about the online retailer Kogan and the strategy they currently have implemented for the 322 domains they own.

I decided to do some analysis on this domain portfolio from an SEO point of view too see what they were doing, see full analysis click here:
http://jamesnorquay.com/Kogan-Domain-Strategy.pdf

Kogan-Domains
Kogan-Domains

Now with this many domains, I have decided to list a few things Kogan should be doing:

1. If they are 301 redirecting domains on a huge scale it may not be a wise strategy post Google penguin.
2. If they are 301 redirecting domains they should at least point them to category specific pages and not just the home pages to save the users time and increase conversion.
3. Investing in domains with a large amount of hyphen domains is probably not the best investment.
4. It would be wiser to invest in a lower number of higher quality domains in my eyes.
5. Buying domains like www.cheapsmokes.com.au do not really make sense in terms of relevance for Kogan.
6. Another option for the best domains from this portfolio is to build micro sites with product listings.

But overall I am still trying to get my head around what Kogan is trying to do with this portfolio, it seems like they are wasting money in my eyes.

Five Interesting Images and Insights from Google Webspam

Recently I saw a presentation from Google Web Spam, from this presentation I have used five key slides I would like to share with the readers on my blog. These are slides where I found the information interesting and worth sharing.

Image 1 – Shows the Manual Spam Actions taken by Google between 2004-2012. As we can see Google has really driven up the efforts in spam removal in the recent years in comparison to years prior.

Google-webspam-1

Image 2 – Shows that on 6/2012 over 655,274 messages were sent to webmasters from Webmaster Tools. Along side this date many more notices were also sent out to website owners. It is interesting too see that prior to 2012 the number of messages sent was quite low.

Google-webspam-4

Image 3 – Shows the number of reconsideration requests sent each week by Google it is interesting too see the number
of these requests increasing in size. Also the dips in the graph represent holiday periods where web spam team members stop work.

Google-webspam-5

Image 4 – Shows that some one has actually made a painting in their house of the parked domain girl, which I found quite interesting been a domain name buyer and seller.

Google-webspam-2

Image 5 – Shows that Google admitted that the de-indexing of Digg was a big mistake and they take full responsibility for it.

Google-webspam-3

10 Interesting Facts about Gen Y – Online Trends

Marketing to Gen Y is a lucrative area, as Gen Y is set to be one of the most dominant working age groups in comming years it is important to monitor their online methods and trends. I have sourced some really great facts about Gen Y which I thought I would share below:

What is a Gen Yer? – Any one born between 1980-2000 (so any one below the age of 33 and above the age of 13)

1. Gen Y will form 75% of the work force by 2025.
2. Only 7% of Gen Y works for a fortune 500 company.
3. Gen Y watch TV with two or more electronic devices – multi-screen viewing is becoming huge so make sure you invest in responsive design.
4. Gen Y trust strangers over friends and family when making online purchase decisions – make sure you have positive reviews online or it could hurt your business.
5. Gen Y are Three times likely to follow a brand or band over a family member on social media – so making sure your brand or band has a social media presence is vital.
6. 66% of Gen Y will look up a store if they see a friend’s check in – so online check in and making sure your business is set up with places is vital.
7. 73% of gen Y have earned and used some type of virtual currency.
8. Gen Y believe that other consumers care more about their opinions than companies do.
9. Gen Y are more connected on Facebook than average users managing around 696 average friends – it is important to monitor ways in which you can positively influence Gen Y’s social following.
10. 29% of Gen Y find love via Facebook while 33% are dumped via SMS or wall posts on Facebook.

The Importance of Weekly Content Updates and SEO

So I own around 50 websites, I have been building websites for the last 10 or so years and with building websites comes SEO hand in hand naturally, I picked up learning SEO from testing various methodologies over the years on my own sites too see what works and what does not work and then moved onto direct consulting. I use to make a full time income from running websites back when in 2006-2008.

Today I want to show you the difference between two websites I work with.

Website 1 (refer to image below): Has not been updated since 2010, no SEO work has been done since 2010. As I have been busy with a huge range of other projects and working on numerous thing it has just been running on auto pilot. But the days of a website running with no work are gone in my eyes. Websites really do need monthly/weekly content updates and SEO work to stay alive.

Website 2 (refer to image below): Now this is a bigger site with more content which I have been working on since 2011 to push growth, the difference is on a weekly basis 1-2 new articles are made related to the site, on a monthly basis some SEO work is completed. Sure more room for growth is evident but it would require more time which I will be able to push soon.

Benefit-of-on-going-SEO
Benefit-of-on-going-SEO

(Both websites traffic above are 100% organic search traffic/direct, 0% paid search traffic)

Now recently I have stopped working at my corporate job which was around 50+ hours a week of my time. What this means is I will be able to push further time and effort into sites like the two listed above plus many more. I will also open up my time direct to work with other websites and businesses on a consulting basis, contact me via the right banner if you are interested to talk.

Now the moral of this short story is that I have met business owners and affiliates in the past who say that they can have a website running on auto pilot or with no updates, It is evident that you need fresh relevant content and fresh SEO work on a monthly basis to really stay ahead of the game. Even if you want to have your websites traffic stabilized and increasing you really need to implement monthly on going work or things will slip away and you will start too loose revenue.