Should I ‘Google Now’?

Whenever I ask a client or team member the number 1 way to perform research, they instantly say ‘Google It’.

Google have always played a strong part in the growth of the Internet and for over 13 years have been committed to the growth of their online community.

They have released and acquired (whilst invested Billions of Dollars) in a number of key products, designed to grow their core offering whilst sticking to the core principle of delivering the RIGHT information to their end user as fast as possible.

Google have really have become a part of our daily lives and in many ways they have earned our trust as the place to go when you’re looking for information.

Heck… they’re the number one site in the world (according to Alexa)

Google ranks number one in Alexa

In order to remain the market leader they understand the necessity need to innovate and integrate.

With their strong vested interest in Smart devices (like mobile and tablets) Google are slowly shifting their focus to think more about their mobile users, what they need and how they can make their lives easier (with that market leader focus)

Enter… Google Now

Google Now

What is Google Now?

Google Now is a simple way of proving mobile users with information they require on a day to day basis, especially when they’re on the go. Although it has been available for about 12 months now on Android, they recently launched an App for iPhone’s iOS, proving that Google are committed to the ongoing growth of this service.

How Does Google Now Work?

With the introduction of Google Now you’re able to access all of your favourite information in one source.

Google is taking all of the information they’ve gathered (about your search trends) and are integrating that information into one central source. It will remind you of appointments, flights, bookings, update you on news you’re interested in and even tell you how far away you are from work, offering alternative routes if the traffic is too heavy.

Here are just some of the areas that people will find:

  • Activity – Tells you how far you’ve walked. This takes data from your location.
  • Flights – Flight information based on booking confirmation sent to your Gmail. Don’t expect anything to pop up here if your booking confirmation didn’t go to Gmail.
  • Boarding Pass – QR code of your boarding pass. List of airlines are limited for now.
  • Hotel – Hotel information based on booking confirmation mailed to you. This is complemented by directions using Google Maps.
  • Public Transit – Shows public transport schedule whenever you are somewhere near a bus or train station.
  • Public Alerts – Important advisories covering your area.
  • News – News items related to the last one you read.
  • Weather – Weather information based on your location.
  • Packages – Gives you shipping details, estimated date of arrival and delivery update. Will be quite handy since you won’t have to check online every time.
  • Appointments – Pops up before the event. This is based on items on your Google Calendar
  • Places – Information on nearby businesses. Shows you restaurants, bars and other businesses in your area.
  • Real Estate – If Google detects you’re interested in real estate, this card will show you property listings.
  • Stocks – Information on stocks you’re tracking. Based on your Google Finance information.
  • Research Topics – Topics available based on your recent searches.
  • Sports – Live scores, recap and highlights of games your favourite team played.
  • Currency – Google Now detects you’re in another country so it gives you currency conversion information.
  • Translation – Translates words and phrases to help you in a foreign land.
  • Attractions – This card will give you information on tourist sites and interesting places in the new city you’re visiting.

It can also predict what you need to know and want to know… that’s the power of data.

How It Works

So how does Google do it? Google Now harnesses everything Google has learned from you, from the search terms you’ve put on the search bar, your flight confirmations, hotel bookings, and more importantly, your location. Google Now uses relevant information it gathers from your Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+, Location and your recent searches on Google.

The level of integration and how much you share is in your hands (and unlike another very popular social network they are pretty careful when making changes).

Google Lets You Hold All the Cards

Google Now provides a simple interface using cards for every interest you have. Let’s say you booked a flight and you got an email notification of your booking. At the time of your flight, you will get information on the status of your flight, driving directions to the airport, and if you checked in online, you’ll get the QR code for your boarding pass.

As mentioned earlier, it’s designed to bring it all together in one location.

 QR code of a boarding pass
You can choose the cards you want or need and turn off those that you don’t want to see.

Google Mobile Features

Google Now tries to be predictive but there will be times when it will make a mistake about your expectations. For instance, you could have searched about a certain movie and Google interpreted this as genuine interest in that movie, so it would give you a Movies card to tell you when the movie will be shown in your location.


What’s In It for Businesses?

So what’s in it for businesses? A lot, especially if you understand the importance in creating a solid online presence.

Google Now incorporates Google Places and reviews. That means, you get better exposure for people looking for a business in your locality. That also means it’s important for you to be listed on Google Places or Google+ Local.

Google Places and Reviews on mobile and tablet computer

When users access the Places card, they’ll be shown businesses in the area. Having good reviews on your Google+ Local page will definitely boost your online presence and the more you interact the more likely your business is to appear as a recommended business.

What are the Down Sides?

It would be remiss to look at Google Now and not cover the downsides of this service.

It’s still pretty new, meaning it’s a work in progress.

If you’re using older versions of Android all of the features do not integrate as seamlessly as on newer versions (like having Google now on the phones lock screen. This doesn’t work on older versions of Android – older than 4.1).

It can use up a lot of battery power, voice recognition isn’t quite at the same standard as ‘Siri’ and there’s also issues with random crashes.

Also, let’s address the Elephant in the Room – Your Privacy

There is the question of your personal information… Do you want Google to know everything you’re doing?

Due to the nature of its set-up, the more you use it the more suggestive it will become… there are some super cool features in relation to traffic data, recommended places to dine and eat and more. But for some it may be stepping over the line and considered invasion of privacy. If you’re in that corner either customise what you share or wait a little longer to see how it evolves before you jump on board.

What do they collect and is this an invasion of your privacy?

If you’re still not sure, think of the Internet as a public forum. Anything you do, say or put out there is up for public scrutiny and knowledge. There are certain measures you can put in place but always be mindful that you’re always on show. If you want more information about the info Google use and gather, check out their privacy policy here –

Start of Something Great

Google Now is a new experience that’s both exciting and impressive that has a long way to go. At the end of the day you will get out of it what you put in.

Over time the Big G will no doubt evolve the offering as people use it.

Will I be using it?

I already am… I’m actually looking forward to better understanding how it will help ‘my everyday’, how they will continue to develop the service and how it will impact clients online business.


Does Google Adwords Impact Organic Rankings?

Does Google Adwords Impact Organic Rankings?
I’m asked this question a lot, so thought I’d cover it off in a short article.

The short of it… NO!

The 2 algorithms are separate and they the organic algorithm ignores the adwords algorithm.

I have come across the question a couple of times and one person that was certain that there was a direct correlation.

In this instance it was a mis-configuration of their analytics, which was not flagging their adwords traffic correctly so they presumed it was organic.

Paid Vs Free Traffic
Adwords When Used Correctly Can Boost A Sites Traffic!

With all of this in mind and although there is no benefit on organic ranking (directly from the using adwords), I have seen an impact on organic rankings (when used correctly) as a result of paid ads.

This has happened when trying to increase the quality score on an ad for adwords, which indirectly impacted the keyword density of the page that was ranking organically.

The moral of the story here… Make sure you use landing pages in your campaign and keep your adwords and organic separate.

Also, if you use you adwords data (CTR and Bounce Rate) in correlation with your Organic struture, you can improve your overall traffic.

Sources, Sources, Sources…

You’ll notice I’m only grabbing sources that are direct from Google as these are monitored and audited by Google.

The people that have responded have earned a higher member level (which is earned from Google based on accuracy, number of posts and knowledge)

Also, this is a youtube video from Matt Cutts (from Google) where he states there is no correlation –

The Growth of Mobile Users and Mobile SEO

When I was a kid I loved watching Star Trek. The idea of mini computers you could hold in your hand (called tricorders and communicators) to communicate, interact with the environment and to use as a medical tool seemed so futuristic. All I ever wanted as a kid was my own tricorder.

Fast forward to 2013 and while we still don’t have transporters, the whole idea or concept of a tricorders and communicators are old school as the worlds population use something far more advanced… A Smart Phone!

A man searching for another way

Although the text on their phones is way harder to read than the text on a regular PC, users feel the need to connect anytime, anywhere and is a major player driving technology right now.

They just NEED to update their Facebook status right away, tweet about the traffic, upload a picture of their fancy dinner, take a selfie to Instagram it, or check in on Foursquare at a fastfood chain. And while you used to do that on your desktop (just a few years ago), using your desktop in younger eyes is seen as and archaic thing of the past.

The Cold Hard Data On Smartphones

A recent survey (from BI Intellegence) supports this dramatic increase of smart phone users.

Global Internet Device Sales Chart

Although Ericsson were the first phone company to release what they called a ’Smart Phone’ in 1997, noticeable growth started in 2005 and then rapid growth in 2007 with the introduction of the first iPhone.

This started a massive upward spike to the end of 2011, where Smartphone sales outnumbered the sale of desktop computers. This trend is expected to continue as users shift away from desktops and laptops, toward Smart phones and tablets (as you can see by the sharp growth of laptops).

Global Internet Device Sales Survey Results

The rapid growth of smart phones can be accredited to the new sleek designs, new applications, better mobile OS, more affordable prices, Convenience and User Experience.

Even more recently, the heated competition between Apple and Android is making things better for consumers as they get better products and better choices as both companies try to out do each other.

What Do Users Do With Their Mobiles?

Many smartphone users have an ongoing relationship with their phone. Their phone is the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they look at before they go to sleep. Whether on the toilet or out for a walk, people feel the need to stay ‘CONNECTED!’

So, what are the top activities people do on mobile devices?

Mostly, they play games, listen to music, share and look at pictures, engage social networks like Facebook and Twitter, browsing the Internet and watch movies.

It’s important to note that people are also shopping more using their phones. This is a combination of reference shopping (reviews, investigating, forums) designed to form an opinion of their final purchase or decision. For businesses, this still means huge opportunities to expand reach online as long as you’re developing a smart phone strategy as a part of your overall plan.

U.S. Smartphone Owners Activity in Retail Stores Survey Results

Designing and SEO for Mobile

When it comes to SEO and mobile, there are a few ‘house keeping’ rules to consider to ensure your online presence is optimised for a smaller device, but also to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to find.

Fortunately the search engines are pretty transparent when it comes to what they want and Google have released a whole bunch of literature around the subject.

A few points from their documentation:

Google uses a different bot or spider for mobile sites. You may have a mobile version of your website, but are you sure it’s being crawled by Google? For mobile sites, Google is using Googlebot-Mobile for indexing pages.

If it’s a new mobile site, you can submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools just like you would in the case of a regular website.

Test against site:operator to check if your mobile site is being crawled. If the mobile site is not appearing, it could be that something is blocking Google’s mobile crawler. Make sure that you are allowing Googlebot-Mobile to access your site.

No flash support. Some videos are not playing on some smartphones because the platform does not support flash. Furthermore flash is not as transparent to the search engines (and is old clunky technology). In order to offer a more universal experience (and make it easier for the search engines) you should consider other Search Engine compliant technologies (like HTML 5).

Serving different URLs. The mobile version of a site can be structured in many ways, but one of the more common methods is to place the mobile version under a different URL path, for example You could potentially end up creating 2 sites under the same URL.

The search engines are very specific here and would prefer the same content on the 2 sites. If you are optimising for a more compact experience on your mobile version, use the same content snippets to ensure Google don’t think you’re trying to fool them in some way.

One last point… If you are cross-referencing within your site, you have to make sure that your mobile version links to a desktop-enabled site. This will allow your end user to visit your desktop version, and will also allow Google to access (and cross reference the 2 versions easily.

Is Responsive Design the Answer?

Currently, there is no single standard for mobile friendly web page design. Google’s number 1 recommendation for mobile sites is the responsive design. Basically, responsive design adjusts the presentation of the webpage depending on the resolution of the device.

In responsive design, you are only using one HTML and serving one URL for the desktop and mobile version. This is made possible by some changes in the CSS (this is the code that defines the layout of the site). For example, instead of using the ‘width’ attribute, you use ‘max-width’, and instead of ‘height’, ‘min-height’ is used.

This makes it less complicated to deal with Google crawlers. Because there’s only one URL for both desktop and mobile versions, it’s also easier for users to interact with your website. There won’t be any need for complicated redirects.

If you want a quick illustration of how responsive design works, check out the redesigned About Google page or the Chromebooks page. You can even test this on your desktop. When you decrease the size of your browser (try making the browser narrower), the page will render as it would on a smaller screen like on a smartphone or a tablet.


You will still face issues with the responsive design because needless to say, web development, whether for desktop or mobile, is never easy. You will need all the help you can get to make the mobile site deployment a success.

The internet is going mobile. If your business has not adapted to the mobile revolution, you risk losing important audience and customers.


* special thanks to Business Insider for the data reference slides


Beware: Google Penalties… Is Your Website Safe?

If you look around on a number of SEO forums, you’ll notice every time Google release an algorithm update that there are a slew of site owners complaining about losing traffic.

Let’s be honest… Google employ some of the worlds leading minds to ensure they are not only constantly developing measures to rank sites, but also to ensure they are on the most popular kid in school.

BBC Gets Slapped By Google

One surprise recently was that BBC, a very well known brand backed by a solid global reputation was penalised for unnatural links.

Not only was it a little surprising that such a big company with what you’d expect to have a solid online strategy was penalised, it also showed that if anyone steps over the lines of Google quality guidelines, that they would pay the price.

The BBC website is not alone…

Another popular website, Digg, also got accidentally penalised while Google was scouring the site for spammy submitted links. Earlier, Interflora, a popular flower seller in the UK, was penalised for its use of advertorials to boost its ranking.

Al Pacino's 'Scarface' machine gun

What is the message? There are no big brands or big companies when it comes to Google penalties and everyone has to follow the rules.

What does this mean for your company and how do you keep yourself protected and what are the rules?

Fair Playing Field

First things first… Here are the rules –

These are clearly laid out and do require a little technical know-how to ensure you are covering each step correctly.

A lot of the rules actually listed in this link relate to the sites structure, use of quality content and the type of links that come back to a specific site.

Google treats all sites as equal. Certain sites results in the search engines are different due to their reputation (and other earned measures), but Google will penalise all sites the same way irrespective of the size of the brand.

Matt Cutts, head of the Google webspam team, said that big brands are penalised quite often. They just don’t get into the news much because it’s not in the brand’s best interest.

In reality, if a big guy is doing something illegal, they will be punished. A smaller or medium-sized company can actually outdo a multinational company online just by following a number of basic principles.

This then makes you ask the question… If you’re a big or small brand, what basic steps should you follow to ensure you’re keeping the search engines happy?

Caution Protection Required

Basic Methods To Protecting Yourself

If you are not doing any prohibited SEO techniques, then you have nothing to worry about. If you’ve hired an SEO company and that SEO is using techniques that go against Google’s policy, then you may have an issue.

Here are some sure ways you can avoid being penalised.

Generate original, quality content. One good way of making sure your site do not get penalised by Google is to deliver only good quality content. This is Google’s primary rule. They want give the public the information they want and need.

Originality is also a big concern. You don’t want to be copying or rewriting content from another website. The best way to handle this is by providing content based on your field of expertise. Your site’s content should be helping prospective customers in a way.

In creating content for your site, think about the users first, not the search engines. Give advice, reviews or opinion on a topic related to your business.

What is quality content? Content that informs and educates the visitor to your site on your niche/ industry. This can be words, sounds, videos and other methods to interact and engage your users. Avoid fluff and duplicate content.

Stay away from spammy activities. Many SEO activities have been linked to spam and illegal activities which are really not meant for the best interest of the user. And that’s what makes them bad in the eyes of Google.

From Google Guildines… ‘Activities that you should avoid include buying or selling links, linking to web spammers and participating in excessive link exchanges – this is the old practice of ‘You link to me, I link to you.’

Gone are the days when spammy techniques helped sites get ahead in search results. If you do that now, you can get in trouble dealing with penalties. Worst case scenario: your entire site can be taken out of Google search results.

Google Webmaster Tools is a MUST. Your site administrator should be checking Webmaster Tools regularly to check the health of the site. It is through the Webmaster Tools that you will get notified by Google if there are spammy activities going on in your site. This was how BBC found out about the penalty. Regularly check it to see if there are errors when search engines crawl your site or if there is malware present.

Side Note: this is one example of hundreds of ways you can use Webmaster Tools to enhance your online presence.

Monitor and protect your site from hackers. Make sure you remove any hacked content that tries to get into your site. You should also protect your site from user-generated spam. Part of the responsibility of a web administrator is to monitor the site for spammy content. This unwanted content can do a lot of damage to your site. Installing good security will help a great deal in protecting your site from these attacks.

What Can You Do If You Get Penalised?

It’s not the end of the world if you get penalised by Google. There are solutions to every problem including this. Remember the prime rule in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Don’t Panic!

Here are some important things you can do if you get penalised.

Reconsideration. Google is not unforgiving. All you need to do is look for the spammy links or content in your website. Have them removed – you might need to contact a website to remove the unnatural link to your site.

You then submit a reconsideration request to Google. The reconsideration request can be done through Google Webmaster Tools. Your SEO should have this as a minimum requirement. If not, it’s time to move on.

Here’s a direct link to a reconsideration request form –

Get other venues to get traffic to your site. If your site’s been removed from Google search results, you can still get traffic while you fix the problem. This is why social engagement is very important.

If you have a good amount of followers on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, your site can still get the traffic you want. It’s a good backup plan and will go handy in times like this.

BSB band member 'AJ' shows peace sign

The trick to pleasing Google and search engines is simple. Think of your users, be honest and keep it clean. In other words – Keep It Real!

SEO is always an organic process that succeeds through honest efforts. Don’t be fooled by shortcuts and promises of instant results.

It can be a jungle out there if you don’t know where to look for help. Develop a trustworthy SEO strategy that’s good for users and eventually good for you. Google wants to help businesses and customers get the best from the search engines. This will ensure you’re getting the right message across and pleasing the Google Gods at the same time.

Finding a Good SEO Company for Your Website

So you have a company website and you are looking for SEO… because you’ve heard about it and you heard that it’s important and stuff. The fact that you are looking for an SEO service could mean you have little idea of how it’s done or how it works. Or perhaps you simply do not have the time to handle this rather time-consuming task. Another case: you’ve hired an SEO person before, and it didn’t do well, so now you have to save your site.

If you have little idea about SEO, then it could be troublesome looking around. It’s like hiring someone but you don’t know the qualifications to look for. All you know is that the SEO company has to make you do well on Google and other search engines.

What You Need to Know

Many people think of SEO as “making a website rank high on search engines.” Whilst there is an element of ranking involved, in the last few years it has really evolved to become more about traffic and engagement. This is where it can start to become confusing especially with many SEO services varying in the services they offer. So how do you hire someone and what should you be looking for?

you can't just magically rank your site

First, getting ranking in the search engines doesn’t simply happen as a result of waving a magic wand. You can’t say, “In a month or two, I want my website to be at the top of Google search result” and expect it to magically happen. SEO is a combination of specific consistent, continuous activities designed to show the search engines that your site is good enough to appear in their pages.

Think of hiring an SEO as consulting work. An SEO specialist is there to help you improve your sites overall image and to identify elements for improvement. When working with a consultant they should first of all identify potential improvements for your website.

These areas may include:

  • The site’s design and structure
  • The use of content on your site
  • How the search engines see your website
  • How visitors are engaged by your website

SEO is not about getting spikes in site visits; it has more to do with giving your readers, customers and potential customers the right web experience. The better your site improves in this aspect, the better you will do in search. And good SEO can help you achieve this.

Before searching for an SEO company, it would do you good to research a little about search engine optimisation so you will know what to look for.

As you can see by this video from Matt Cutts, Google actually wants to work with SEO companies.

Do You Need to Hire an SEO Expert, Really?

If you are not a technical guy, then yes, you’ll need to hire an SEO expert. You might not know if there are errors on your site, if your hosting is secure, if there are broken links or redirects, if the site is loading too slow or if it is being crawled by the search engines in the first place.

Another important element of SEO is how others connect (or link) to your website. With the growth of Google the number of people trying to find a ‘Quick Fix’ has also increased causing a lot of negative techniques that have caused many sites to be penalised.

More than ever, it’s critical to ensure any SEO company is focussed on a ‘Clean Online Footprint’. A good SEO company will have specific strategies that will target this.

It is possible to learn these things, just like anyone can learn plumbing, but it would take a lot of work, experimentation which may not end well, especially if you are inexperienced.

Beware of the Bad Guys

The trouble with finding an SEO expert is that the industry is filled with guys that cut corners promising amazing results. Beware of amazing promises of amazing results done in lightning speed that are too cheap. Treat it just like a financial investment. The adage “If the promise is too good to be true, then it probably is” applies here. If you are promised #1 ranking in Google search, that you be a warning sign to you.

beware of guarantees

As time goes on and the search engines get smarter, old school techniques do not work as effectively as they used to. If you use an SEO company that is using the same ‘short cut’ methodology as 2 years ago then there’s a good chance you’ll get your site penalised and might even be taken out of Google’s index.

SEO old trick – keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore

Google Makes the Rules

One thing that makes Google successful online is the ethics they try to inject into the industry, making them more trustworthy. For quite some time, it has been a battle between Google and the corner cutting SEO’s, with Google policing the SEOs and the SEOs always seeking to trick the search engine.

A good SEO for your website will abide by search engine’s rules and not go around them for the easy win. Google is constantly improving its algorithm to improve search results so your SEO company of choice should always be updated with such changes.

Where to Look

Google an SEO company and see how they rank. If they are any good then they should appear in good positions within their own serviceable area. For example, you may want a company within your area so you can easily contact them.

You want a business that you can call or email and expect a timely response during your business hours.

Another good way to look is through your network. Find good recommendations from people who have hired an SEO in the past. If you are in business-oriented social networks like LinkedIn, you can ask for recommendations from your contacts. Make a shortlist of the SEO companies you’re interested in and start investigating.

Questions to Ask

It would be good if you can do a bit of research on SEO before hiring someone. That way, you will have a background about the kind of service you wish to hire.

questions to askHere are some of the important things you can ask your shortlisted SEO candidates:

  • What are their strategies for SEO?
  • What is their experience with businesses like the one you are running? Ask which companies they have worked with.
  • How will they be reporting to you for you to know how your site is doing?
  • What are their marketing techniques that can help your business grow?
  • Ask for a timeline of tasks

Ask Their Clients

One good way to assess how good the SEO Company is by asking their clients and looking for real video testimonials. Are their clients happy with their service?

What is the average time frame they have worked with their clients?

What sort of results have they achieved? It should be about more then simply getting a site ranked. What other areas have they helped clients with?

In reality they may not be able to make everyone happy, but they should have a good list of happy clients.

Choose Wisely

Don’t go with an SEO specialist simply because of their low price.

In many instances a cheap SEO company should wave in front of your face like a red flag! There are many scammers around and you could become a victim if you are not careful.

It’s easier to get a site ranked the right way than it is to fix a site that has been heavily penalised due to corner cutting SEO.

Make sure you do your research and ask the questions listed above. This will be the difference between establishing a solid long term online presence and potentially getting banned.

SEO Techniques and Trends

MarketingSherpa have just released their 2012 Search Marketing – SEO Edition report, outlining past and future trends in SEO.

As a teaser to the report, they have also released an excerpt, highlighting several key SEO findings within over 1500 organisations.

Main reasons people Engage in SEO

The top reason people are investing in SEO is to increase traffic, which in a way is what you would consider to be the most important element of a website. In reality the most important reason to engage an SEO firm is to increase the leads and conversions through your website.

Even if your site is only attracting a few 100 visitors per month, if your campaign is highly targeted within your industry and you’re getting business through your website, then I would call that a success.

We recently started SEO’ing a site that attracts over 50,000 visitors a month, but the conversion to lead or customer was very low. By implementing a few on-page conversion strategies, we are slowly converting their traffic to leads to customers.

SEO Tactics to Rank

If you are new to SEO or you are considering DIY SEO this will give you an insight and may help you to understand why you should outsource this service. The graph below indicates the SEO methods in use and the level of difficulty through the use of each technique.

Keyword research is the second most commonly used tactic and rightfully so. Your keyword research will determine the success of your overall strategy.

A point of interest is that content creation is the most commonly used strategy and considered to be the most difficult strategy. This really does hit home that ‘content is king’, especially in light of the recent Google Panda updates.

SEO growth over the next 12 months

The following graph is broken down into 3 different sections; Trial, Transition and Strategic. It shows the level of investment expected in SEO over the next 12 months. Businesses within the Trial phase using SEO are generally run in-house, spending money on wages and staff salaries, with Transition and Strategic outsourcing either all or components of their SEO.

Further more, Transition and Strategic companies are continuing to increase their SEO budget, understanding the solid Return On Investment (ROI) in relation to dollars spent.

This also rings true with a number of our clients either previously performing the SEO tasks themselves or assigning the task to one of the members of their staff. Due to the nature of SEO, many of these tasks can be performed on a larger scale and with more consistency at a lower dollar investment.

ROI for SEO – Do the Maths

Really think about this last point and do the maths. Consider assigning an admin person with 10 hours a week of consistently performing SEO tasks (article writing, link building etc). If you are paying this person $45,000 per annum based on a  40 hour week, then you’re essentially investing just under $12,000 a year on SEO.

For a similar (or lower in many cases) level of investment you’re able to outsource this service, and have a dedicated team of people working on the strategic direction of your site working close to double that amount. They are also specialised in the art of SEO and have their finger on the pulse of all current and future trends. Hmmm… A No brainer?

As you would expect, a large number of our long term clients sit within the Strategic section and are constantly looking at increasing their ROI through other mediums like email marketing campaigns and social media.

SEO and the Wild West

This report shows that SEO is still in it’s infancy, with a lot of opportunity and growth available for many small to large business. It’s still the ‘wild west’ online and this report shows SEO’ers are taking positive steps towards standardisation.

The investment for the report is $397 for the .pdf version and is a good read for anyone that has an interest in SEO trends.

To download the report for a $100 discount, download the excerpt and fill out the form on the last page. You can download the excerpt from here –

SEO and Social Media – Is this the Missing Link

For the last 2 years, Google have pro-actively integrated social media (especially twitter) through ‘Google Realtime search’.

It shows the strength of social media, especially when comments are re-tweeted and in certain circumstances, shown in the Search Engine Results Pages.

Sounds like a good idea for a person searching on a certain topic? If a particular subject is trending at any given time and the social world is interested then Google will tell you about it in their results. This is great!

On the 3rd of July they decided to stop using Twitter as a factor in social media trends with no real explanation. As you can read in this post by Cyrus Shepard in SEO Moz the theoretical intention is to start using Google+ as the social medium to replace twitter. Here’s the article here –

In Cyrus’ article it shows a few examples of social media and its direct influence to the Search Engine Results Pages. The image below from this article demonstrates an example of pre 3rd July.

Will this impact my SEO and should I panic?

While this certainly demonstrates the importance of social media in any online campaign it doesn’t mean you should go out and set up a million campaigns and get a tonne of Google +1’s to your homepage. Aside from the fact that this is ‘black hat’ you’ll eventually get caught.

What it does demonstrate in some instances the importance of a solid social media profile and that it can potentially influence your position in the search engines. If you are serious in your online presence should you ensure you have a solid social platform? Maybe… in reality it could be overkill and you could end up spending a lot of time and money with your BDM or team member performing tasks that won’t actually give you any real measurable results.

Truth told, we are certainly recommending to certain clients that they look at their social media presence, especially if their SEO competition does the same and is doing it well.

Take a look at your competitors and see what they are doing. Like most Search Engines, in order to rank you don’t have to ‘do it all’; you simply have to do it a little better than your competition. By ensuring you’re keeping an eye on your competition (using social monitors) you’ll understand if now is the time to react, or if you should invest your time in other activities that offer a better return on investment.

A nice Niche for Search Engines – Google’s, What Do you Love?

I recall reading a book discussing the fundamentals of Google. The book was
written by Mark Malseed in 2005, and was called ‘The Google Story’.

One of the main points of the book I recall was discussing the structure of a
Google employee’s week and how they are encouraged to develop their own projects
one day a week.

Over time if you project was interesting enough it would be integrated into
Google’s overall offerings.

I have no doubt Google Maps, Froogle (now Google product search) and a multitude
of other offerings from Google were as a result of this method of encouragement
and development.

One of the latest projects just released is ‘What Do You Love’ (can be found at, which is a cool way of showing many different online mediums in
one summarised area on a particular topic.

You can see the full story on their blog here –

They explain it to say ‘A while back, a few of us wanted to make a little tool
that we could use to show just about anybody more of what Google makes. That led
to some simple ideas, and then a few more ideas and ultimately, to a challenge:
how we could connect people to products they might not know about and may find
useful, but make the discovery relevant to them and keep it fun.

Playing about with that challenge produced a website—What Do You Love?—that we
hope meets at least some of the challenge by demonstrating how different Google
products can show you different things about any particular search query.’

This tool reminds me of iGoogle, which is the tool that you can customise to
bring back specific information when you are signed into your Google account.

The difference with this site though is it’s offering of other interesting
snippets of information including Blogs, Patents, Images, 3D, Books, latest
news, and many other cool features.

A useful add-on? From an SEO perspective, visit the site and type in your
business name. This will give you a nice cross section of what’s out there in
relation to your business. Even better, type in your product or service and see
what comes up.

Could you could use this as a cool tool to track your competitors. Hmmm

Resource – Official Google Blog –