SEO for Christmas 2018 – You Need to Plan Ahead

If you have a product of service that you need to market for the Christmas rush, then you really need to think about planning your SEO campaign and strategy well in advance. By this I mean you need to realistically be giving it 6-12 months of planning. This sounds like a long time but when it comes to your search engine optimisation you really have to think long term and plan well ahead. Rushing your SEO and expecting miracles within 30 days is just not going to happen. The reasons for this are many but following are just a few reasons why you need to plan your SEO in advance if you expect to reap the rewards that Christmas shoppers offer.

SEO rankings for Christmas takes time

1) Speedy Website Rankings will only get your website pinged by Google and you will end up loosing any rankings you’ve had in the past. This is a certainty as Google is on the look out for over optimised websites that are trying to fraudulently manipulate their page rank. Like gravity, what goes up must come down and in the case of your SEO, its going to drop like a rock. Of course, this will only happen if you take this approach or pressure your SEO company to push too hard for your Christmas rankings. If you rely on Christmas traffic passing through your website then creating content beforehand and optimising these pages is the best way to do things. If your primary Christmas product or service is on page 2 of Google and you need these keywords optimised further then a slow and steady approach is vital.

2) Many SEO companies absolutely love to offer quick 60 day guarantees when it comes to site rankings. For those Sydney businesses looking to make a killing for the 2018 Christmas period this may seem like an awesome plan of action. The logic is as follows. If they can rank me web pages in 60 days, they can certainly rank them in 30 days if I give them just a bit more money. Most of these SEO agencies will agree to this and will be more than happy to watch you part with your money. The only one who looses out here is you the business owner who is getting completely ripped off and scammed by these guys.  It is well documented by Google that any form of SEO guarantees are blatant lies and the following article proves my point: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291?hl=en

Pay particular attention to the paragraph that begins with: ‘No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.’.

3) If you have a product that you want to sell, you should have it professionally photographed and you should be looking at getting some great copy written for this. PLUS you may want to look at blogging about this and starting to promote this on your social media platforms. All this takes time and planning. A rushed approach to this is simply not going to work. Saying this if you are able to handle the photography yourself then Facebook and Instagram is a good option for getting the word out there about your product pre Christmas. SEO results unfortunately, will have to wait. If you think that you can do the SEO yourself and hit your blog with 100’s of articles, forget about it. This is not going to work and Google is far too smart for this kind of trickery.

So if you have an eCommerce website or have a retail outlet and are planning to sell to the Australian market for Christmas 2018 – Start planning now. This is a great tip and I strongly urge and advice all Aussie businesses to really get their head around this lengthy time frame. Planning ahead is the best way to survive any Google algorithm updates that can happen.

5 quick wins to promote your brand for Christmas

Social media: most of your customers are already using social media platforms every day. Cater to this market and promote your brand instantly by offering a discount or special offer.

Create a YouTube Video:  have you thought about creating your own YouTube Channel and marketing your business through this fantastic platform?  Creating videos about your product and posting them to your website is seriously engaging and your customers will love watching your videos about your business.

Refresh your home page banners: You main banner image is your primary selling message so update this to reflect your Christmas message

Direct marketing: Make sure you have collected the emails of all your clients and send them a well designed flyer via email to tell them all about your Christmas specials. Quick and very easy to do, this is a great way to ensure that people who have engaged with you previously, will do so again.

Make sure your Christmas pages are unique: If you have a unique product for Christmas and are creating specific landing pages for these make sure all content on these pages is unique. Never copy from other sites and if you have a generic product that other businesses are selling you will have to write your own copy for this. Never plagiarise! See what Matt Cutts from Google has to say about duplicate content and the negative effects it can have on your Google rankings.

Google Penguin 3.0 is here and some sites got smashed

googlepenguin3Well it’s official. Google Penguin 3.0 has rolled out and this has had a tremendous impact on some websites that would appear to have, lets say a very dubious or dodgy back linking profile. Websites that lost ranking are those that would have had far too many what is termed ‘black hat’ links. That is, sites that have far too many back links from bad places that have absolutely no relevance to your website.

These were all picked up in the latest Google algorithmic change and these roll outs are expected to become more frequent – so be very aware that if your site has suddenly shifted in the rankings then you have been hit by this latest Penguin 3.0 update.

So was this a completely new algorithm or just a Google refresh of its last change?

After reading a lot about this online I would say that it is just a refresh. That is, it was re released to pick up any websites that were non compliant over the last 6 or so months. No new signals or vast algorithmic amends were added to this latest roll out but we can safely assume that it was a re-run or repeat of the last algorithm update. Google loves to do these kind of updates to keep SEO agencies on their toes and other would be companies looking to get a foothold onto page 1. Those SEO players who were able to rank websites very quickly have now found out the true meaning of a Penguin update. By this I mean what was working for them and getting them a good ranking are now not working.

If these techniques seemed manipulated or contrived by Google, the results are now very evident. I often warn my customers about this and the huge problems that can occur if web ranking results are too quick.

How to tell if your website has been affected by the Penguin 3.0 update.

If you have suddenly noticed a decline in phone calls or inquiries over the last week or so then your site may have been affected by the update.

The best way to check this is go to your webmaster tools account and look at the traffic numbers. If there is a sudden decline then this is a cause for concern. Make sure this is from your organic searches and not other channels like your social media. If there is a dip (and this is not seasonal) then you should start taking action to get out of the penalty.

The best thing to do is have a look at your back link profile and begin the tedious and long process of removing suspicious links. You can generally tell them by the relevance to your site. If they look as though they have no relationship to your business then the link should be pruned. If you are unable to get in touch with any of these sites, make a list and submit them as a Google disavow. For most businesses this is a little out of their comfort zone so we do suggest getting professional help in this instance.

How long does it take to recover from a Penguin Penalty?

There is no set rules to this but this will depend on 2 main factors; the ability for you to trim links and how quickly you can disavow them. Personally, I would start this process immediately and gauge my ability and time frame to contact the web owners that the troublesome links are on. If there are thousands of links then you have a battle in front of you. For more information on how to disavow links please read this: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2648487?hl=en

 

 

Local SEO for restaurants

Sydney is a huge city and guess what? People enjoy food and absolutely love going out to restaurants all the time. Whether for business, pleasure, entertaining friends or relatives it doesn’t matter; Sydneysiders are obsessed with eating out. This is where local SEO is necessary.

restaurants-seo-sydneyQuestions like, what’s new, what’s fashionable, what is in my area for a particular cuisine all pop to mind when thinking about where to go out to dine. Well, the best thing to do and the only thing one can really do for a quick answer is get onto Google and start searching away. This is where local SEO is so important for the restaurant industry. Why? Beause if your establishment is no where to be found you can forget about attracting all those new customers. They are going to go down the road and eat at your competitors restaurant. People, especially those with families want to eat locally. Travelling distances can be a hassle so finding the nearest pizzeria, Japanese restaurants , health food bar or cafe is what most of your customers will be looking for. Google delivers these results in their maps area.

Google clearly explain how to add or edit a local maps listing here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/6174435?hl=en

So it is vital that all restaurants in Sydney’s CDB and suburbs get an understanding of how SEO can have a massive impact on their business.

Standing Out Is Going to Really make a Difference.

How are you as a business owner going to stand out among the throng of restaurants trying to compete for the same local customers. If you are in the city or in a crowded suburban area you need to grab as many customers as you possibly can who are searching online for that night out to eat. There are only 10 spaces available on the first page of Google. So if I am searching for Italian restaurants in Sydney CBD, your restaurant better be on that first page in the maps area or else you are going to loose out. This is where SEO is so critical. A maps listing is perfect for attracting loads of local customers.

Think About Other Areas of Your Business You Want to Expand.

Do you offer catering? Does your restaurant have the space and the ability to handle corporate events or weddings? If so you need to start actively promoting this side of the business. Through SEO you can target these specific keywords to designated landing pages within your website and push these hard for you online. Relevant pages such as a corporate event page can be easily designed and added to your websites navigation. This is why SEO is such a great marketing tool.

Have you thought of Social Media?

Getting a great local listing is one marketing avenues but there are other ways to attract hungry customers. There are some fabulous social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook that are just ripe for marketing your restaurant. Do your research and have a look at what other popular, well known establishments are doing and follow their formula. These social media platforms are fantastic at promoting special offers, new dishes, new chefs, anything you want to tell your local customers quickly can now be done.

10 Local SEO Citations for restaurants

Following are 10 quick and easy websites that are perfect for local SEO. Simply log into these sites and register your restaurant:

  1. Yelp
  2. Urban Spoon
  3. Trip Advisor
  4. Yellow Pages
  5. Reach Local
  6. Local.Yahoo
  7. Google Plus
  8. Open Table
  9. Hot Frog
  10. White Pages

Are You on Your 2nd or 3rd SEO Agency and Still Unhappy?

How come so many people churn through their SEO companies? Why do they seem to bounce from 1 to the other and are never quite happy with the results they are getting? Why do businesses only stay with their SEO provider for a month or two and then look elsewhere?

This type of random behaviour & swapping of SEO agencies is common amongst businesses who never seem to be satisfied with the online results they are getting. If this sounds familiar then read on because you are not the only one jumping from one supplier to another.

Many businesses I come across  are onto their 2nd or 3rd SEO agency. They are continually looking for better results but keep on making the same mistake when they choose their SEO agency; this is why they keep on moving.

The reason why people are not totally happy with the SEO service they are getting is due to the fact that many people go with an agency that is purely based on price. They do the whole ring around exercise and then pick the company that offers the lowest price.

They tend to make the same mistakes and never learn from their errors. I know its hard to turn down a cheap price when its pitched to you by a sales professional. And I know it’s tempting to trust your entire internet marketing to a total stranger who you have never met but people do this  Ignorance is no excuse anymore! SEO Is an investment

This is why the results are poor and this is why your website is not ranking and will never have a chance of doing well online. It makes no sense. Why on earth would a company who is being paid a pittance put any effort or have any intentions of ranking you. They might do a couple of hours work a month (if that) but that’s where it ends. These guys may put a few back links here and there BUT nothing to really elevate your listing.

SEO is a long term strategy

So what happens next? Most people will notice that nothing is going on with their SEO and will look elsewhere after a couple of months. They, unfortunately will repeat the same exercise, get a few prices, believe the lies they are told and sign up with a company that is also offering a cheap price. The cycle continues.

It really doesn’t matter how many companies they go to and how many attempts they may have at using different suppliers. But, the real truth regarding SEO is that unless they are prepared to go with a proper, reliable SEO agency and pay a fee accordingly, then this merry go round will never end.

Ways to improve your SEO slump

There are ways to improve your page 2 or 3 slump:

1) Long Tails Keywords: Look at other keywords that are easier to rank that will also bring in customers. Some keywords are a lot easier to rank, are less competitive and have decent traffic numbers. Focus on a range of diverse keywords and don’t focus all your attention on rankings highly competitive words.

2) Content Marketing: Many businesses will have a set and forget approach to their website and ignore the basic fundamentals such as content marketing. Google likes to see fresh new content added regularly to sites. The better quality content you add the more likely someone will link to your blog or article. This is a huge ranking factor so make sure you are adding 1 to 2 blogs per month.

3) Social Media Platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram offer other ways in which you can look to promote your website. You need to understand your target market and where they search online. Google is not always the definitive answer. Having said that, If you add a post to your Google + account tis may render on the Google search results very quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We recently posted an article on Google + and it rendered on Google search almost instantly which shows you that social media activity can help in exposing your website to more people online.

There is also an article worth reading about the correlation between social media and SEO: https://searchengineland.com/what-social-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389

4) Google Analytics: Ask your self this question: when was the last time you audited your website using Google analytics? Google have made it very easy for businesses to take a closer look at consumer behaviour on a website. Use this tool to see where your customer base goes and how long they stay on your site. You can tweak your website and measure the effectiveness of this by having a better understanding of analytics.

5) Internal Linking: Make sure that all pages within the website have a link to at least one other page within the site.