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Small SEO Changes, Big Impacts

by Jim on April 23, 2014


I’m moving home this week, so this week’s video and blog are a tad shorter than usual.

Last week we began a series of SEO case studies. Every Friday ( not this one though because it’s a public holiday) we’ll be publishing a story from one of the team of an SEO challenge they have met and what we did to overcome it. Last week’s was from Vandi who too you through the importance of setting up authorship correctly. Today I have a closer look at authorship and continue with Vandi’s case study by examining the two ways you can setup authorship. We’ve discovered recently that Google’s 1st option (which ironically was the second they released) does not work as well as their second option ( the original way of doing it!). I originally discussed why I thought the Authorank would become the new page rank back in 2011. We are now seeing clear impact on ranking when you mess it up.

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You probably have a general idea of what authorship is. It’s official credit for having written something—or having something ghostwritten for you. It’s your name on the cover of a book or your byline in a newspaper or magazine. It can also be your name and picture at the bottom of a blog post and Google’s acknowledgement that you’re the official author.

On the web, authorship isn’t just a text attribution. It’s a whole system of credit that accrues to your identity in Google searches and in Google+. Your authorship is associated with your website and with your online identity. However, if it isn’t set up right, then authorship is nothing but a name on an article, and it won’t help you build your reputation or improve your search engine ranking.

Why Google Authorship?

Authorship has recently become a big deal on the web, thanks to Google. In the past ten years, Google and SEO companies have been sparring, with the SEO companies aiming to place their clients high in Google’s search rankings and Google trying to maintain authentic natural rankings and increase their ad revenue. The key to effective search engine optimisation is content, and it’s been content for quite some time. Five years ago, content farms were cranking out thousands of cheap, mediocre articles. These articles were being used to make websites look active and dynamic so they’d rank high on Google. However, much of the content was repetitive, unoriginal and poorly written, as well. The focus on content at all costs was cluttering up the web with rubbish.

An Apple and a Stick

Google hit back with an apple and a stick. The apple is the ability to build a strong reputation as an online author, one that boosts your site’s ranking and establishes you as an authority in your field. The stick? Penalties for poor quality and unclaimed content. If you’re planning to put content on your site today and you want to reap rewards when it comes to SEO, then it had better be high quality content, and you had better be willing to claim it as your own. If you choose not to do what’s needed, then your competitors will. Failing to use authorship properly can have serious consequences.

Case Study: Authorship Saves the Day

One of our clients came to us with a problem. They had been averaging around 1,000 visits and 10,000 impressions a day. That means that each of their 10,000 daily visitors was viewing an average of ten ads. Then, Google decided to slap them with a warning. In less than a month, their rankings tanked and they were averaging only 200 visitors and 600 impressions a day.

The StewArt Solution

We knew just what to do. When rankings drop suddenly, the best way to start is by conducting an analysis in Webmaster Tools and crawling the site, performing a full SEO audit. In this case, Webmaster Tools couldn’t tell us what had happened to cause such a big drop. Next, we conducted an on-page analysis. TA-DA! It was like a light bulb switching on. We found a huge coding error: the authorship was set up incorrectly.

We checked Google’s structured data testing tool. Google had a big green ticket that said the authorship was working just fine, but our developers knew there was something fishy going on. We asked the client to ensure that they had set up the authorship using one of Google’s preferred methods. The instructions said: ‘Make sure that your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.’

Solution & Conclusion

After the client fixed their coding to match Google’s recommendation, the rankings started to soar higher and higher. In fact, with our help, the site not only reached its previous level of traffic, it surpassed it.

Google Authorship

Web Master Tools Screenshot of How Authorship Affects Your Rankings

With today’s increasingly stringent and rapidly changing requirements for higher search engine rankings, SEO is getting to be less accessible to business owners as a hobby or sideline. If you depend on your website to generate business, then one wrong move can seriously harm your company. You can count on StewArt for meticulous work, up to date knowledge and the strategic know-how that you need to stay on top.

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Facebook Ads Blitz Google

by Jim on April 16, 2014


This post is not about beating up on Google. It is really more about how much cheaper it is to sell stuff via Facebook, for one of our clients anyway. A few weeks back I did a show on Facebook vs Google. I introduced you to a couple of new audience features we were playing with. Last week I launched a campaign for one client using the new feature. Scroll to the end of this post or watch the video to see the results.  At the same time we ran a campaign on the Google display network targeting the same products. Here are the results.

Google Display Network Campaign

Ad Creative

We used over 13 different creatives and let Google serve the one that got got the most clicks more often.

Impressions or reach

In the last 7 days we’ve had over 77,000 ad impressions.

Click through rate

This was actually quite good for a display campaign at 1.15%

Cost

The average CPC was really cheap. Only 31 cents. The total campaign cost to date is $257 for 837 clicks.

Google display ROI

Nada, zilch, zero, nothing, doughnuts, not one fricken sale.

Facebook Custom Audience Campaign

Ad Creative

We used 1 piece of creative

Impressions or reach

In the last 7 days we’ve reached about 3500 people.

Click through rate

Around 2.5%

Cost

For this campaign we did optimised CPM as we were bidding for actual conversions. Total cost at time of making my video was about $34

Facebook Custom Audience Campaign ROI

8000%. Not a typo. We spent $34 and sold around $2700 worth of product directly attributable to the campaign. I sh-t you not. Watch this week’s video for a closer look at the data.

 

 

 

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If you have been hit with a manual penalty from Google it’s your lucky day! I know it may not feel like that when you see your traffic and rankings plummet but the alternative of dropping away without knowing why is a far greater dilemma. By getting a manual spam action, it allows you to quickly address the specific issues and then beg Google for forgiveness. Or as my dear old Dad would say, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Unfortunately if your rankings drop from an algorithm change there is no clear path to reconciliation and usually it will take a lot longer to recover. If you have got the manual spam action it will look like this.

Manual Spam Action

Manual Spam Action


Here are the steps to get back on track.

Step 1. Disavow EVERYTHING!

– well at least every link from the time you started buying links. Even the good ones. Google’s Matt Cutts has said that this will show real remorse and contrition so they are more likely to absolve you from your sins quickly. Well he didn’t quite use those words but that was the gist.

Step 2. Submit a reconsideration request

- If you have completed step 1 properly you should hear back fairly quickly. Hopefully you get a message like this

Manual Spam Action Revocation

Manual Spam Action Revocation

If you have not disavowed properly Google will issue you a notice after every reconsideration request saying you missed a few links and to try again. This can go on for weeks so it is best to just disavow enmasse.

Step 3. Do some real SEO

– chances are you have neglected your site when it comes to real SEO. Creating great content, sharing it and having a well functioning site are the things you need to be focussed on. Forget about the backlinks.

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Facebook Ads Vs Google Ads

by Jim on April 2, 2014


You may have heard that since I learned of the new types of ads available on Facebook from the Beers Blokes and Business episode “What’s Up Zuck?”, I immediately started trialling it for ourselves and some of our clients. I admit that up until then I had not been much of a fan of Facebook ads. My trials of them in the past had resulted in all the demographics you can eat but with little to show in the way of real traffic. As I wrote in my digital marketing post, this year I have not only sold my house using facebook ads I’ve also got good traffic to our website and my videos for a fraction of the cost when compared to say Google Adwords. On Monday I took some of our team to a training session of Facebook ads run by @sportsgeek Sean Callanan.

Cost of Traffic Between Facebook & Adwords

Do you know how costly adwords is for SEO related keywords? REALLY costly. I know this because last year I threw a bunch of money at an adwords campaign for ourselves. You are looking at between $15 – $20 per click for SEO keywords. You could argue that those are highly relevant clicks and therefore more likely to convert. The user intent is that they are looking for an SEO company. You would be right of course, however when you compare that to the traffic I can get from Facebook It makes you stop and think.  Earlier this year I ran a short campaign on Facebook to get traffic back to our site. Over the course of 10 days I got about 350 clicks. This would have cost me say $7000 on adwords. From facebook the cost was just over $200.

A Massive Cost Difference

adwords vs facebook

How and who you are targeting makes all the difference

The reason you can get better click throughs on Facebook now is because they have greatly improved their ad targeting by letting you create “custom audiences” as well as massively improved the way in which the ads are delivered into the users stream.

When To Use What

I’m not saying Facebook is an adwords killer. What I am saying is that you need to use these venues very differently when it comes to an adspend. For instance for ourselves I will never buy SEO keywords in adwords again. It is ridiculous but I buy other keywords that are only around 80 cents CPC. The keywords we are buying for ourselves in adwords are cheap and are showing real buyer intent. I am using Facebook to build our general audience, much the same way I use the videos. I’m targeting people in Facebook who can benefit from our content but not really doing any sort of sales pitch. I think this works given the difference of the venues. People in Facebook have not asked to see my ads where as people in Google really have, given the keywords I am buying.

Scary Creepy Good

Have a look at today’s video to see some of the scary creepy good things you can now do in Facebook. It may surprise you. Special thanks goes out to Sean Callanan & Steve Vallas for converting me :) .

 

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The single most important SEO check.

by Jim March 26, 2014

Matt Cutts released a video yesterday in response to a viewer question about being hit by an algorithm change or a manual penalty. He explained you should do all the usual checks in Google webmaster tools as well as making sure you have a healthy site. The big check he did not tell you to [...]

Read more: The single most important SEO check.

3 SEO Essentials

by Jim March 19, 2014

For SEO there’s been some question around the value of backlinks from social sources such as Twitter & G+. Are they worth it? Should I spam the bejesus out of the networks with my backlinks. In case you’re wondering, the answer to the latter question is no. In today’s video I revisit some data from [...]

Read more: 3 SEO Essentials

SEO Triage

by Jim March 12, 2014

It’s that time again kids when we get to review someone’s site for SEO. If you want your site reviewed just follow me on twitter @jimboot In this week’s video I take a look at a site that has just been inherited by a viewer. If you ever inherit a site you really should triage [...]

Read more: SEO Triage

Interflora SEO Spam?

by Jim March 5, 2014

So I would have thought the brand Interflora would have learned from it’s Google slap just over a year ago. Although that was the UK version of Interflora. It seems either that Interflora Australia is now engaging in backlink spam or someone is certainly trying to make it look like they are. SEO Spam Clues [...]

Read more: Interflora SEO Spam?

Digital Marketing Fuel

by Jim March 5, 2014

SEO is the foundation of your digital marketing efforts but the fuel that feeds both your SEO and social marketing is content. Breaking News SEOs! Guess what? The search engines love content. Who knew? Google loves it so much it wants to marry it. Of course most SEOs who know this believe that churning out [...]

Read more: Digital Marketing Fuel