SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
We've helped heaps of businesses grow on Google with SEO in Newcastle and other corners of Earth.
SEO Agency in Newcastle, NSW
Wanna be #1 on Google?
Everybody does. But if you choose us to be your SEO company, rankings will not be the main metric we’ll focus on. If you hire us optimise your website, we’ll focus on sustainable traffic growth, conversions and sales. Search engines reward sites that provide valuable, easily accessible content to its users.
Human users want fast, smooth experiences across desktop computers, smartphones, digital assistants and wherever else they search for stuff. Let’s give them what they want.Book an SEO Consultation
REAL SEO OUTCOMES
$3 Million Increase in Yearly RevenueHOME SERVICES COMPANY
Home Services Company
Sometimes, the only thing our clients care about is revenue growth. With this home services provider, that what definitely the case. We started working with this client in 2015 after they’d been through a rocky few years. Their website was looking tired and couldn’t be found anywhere. Their traditional marketing channels weren’t cost-effective anymore and we were brought in to turn that all around.
Channels and tactics
- Aggressive Google Adwords pay per click search advertising campaigns with strong focus on optimising for a lower cost-per-lead.
- Ongoing localised Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and content strategy
- Careful attention to the clients’ mobile website experience and conversion rates
- Commitment to encouraging customers to leave great reviews on Google and Facebook
- Marketing automation processes setup to re-engage customers who have bought in the past
- Above the line advertising spend shifted from traditional media to Facebook and Instagram
- Adaptive approach to budgeting and tactics based on seasonality and market factors
Fast-forward to 2018 and we’ve played a key part in growing this small business’ annual revenue by over $3 million per year and still trending UPwards.close [x]
Dominant Market Share in SearchPEST CONTROL COMPANY
Pest Control Company
This is a story of maximising opportunity. Every ounce of opportunity. On search engines. Really, who doesn’t want a dominant share of Google’s search results in their chosen market? For this pest control business, it is all about squeezing the lemon for every last bit of tangy, delicious SEO juice.
Channels and tactics
- New mobile-first website experience
- Aggressive, data-driven approach to Google advertising
- Budget shift from traditional media to digital
- Facebook as an engagement and nurturing tactic
- A clever approach to generating real, genuine Google reviews
- Customer re-engagement strategy support
- A comprehensive approach to content for dominant search engine visibility
- and more…
- Drastically improved conversion rates
- Dominant share of local organic search engine market
- A really happy client who said this about us:
“I deal with Vicinity because they get results! They know their Search Engine Optimisation and digital marketing better than anyone I have ever dealt with before. They also put the needs & objectives of the customer FIRST.”close [x]
An International DisruptorCAMPLIFY
Around the same time our agency kicked off (in early 2015), our director Dave also co-founded a little Newcastle-based startup that had big dreams of becoming the “Airbnb for caravans”. A bold new plan, Camplify had this big vision of activating people’s under-utilised RVs to more people experience the joys of camping. Starting life as a twinkle in CEO Justin Hales’ eye, Camplify was just another “peer-to-peer marketplace idea” at the time. With no funding, no customers and no idea of what the future would hold, all we really knew was that there were a tonne of RVs that were sitting on people’s lawns not being used. That was enough for us to take a leap of faith and become part of Camplify’s digital marketing team.
Channels and tactics
- An international SEO strategy built for scale
- Hyper-targeted social media advertising
- Google advertising automation and profit optimisation
- Marketing automation management
- Tests of every growth hack under the sun
- Much, much more
Camplify is currently valued in excess of $20m and boasts the largest RV rental fleet in Australia and the UK. A sensational story of growth, this star Newcastle tech company now sends thousands of people on holidays every month and holds a dominant share of the RV sharing market. Our role in the journey? Well, much of Camplify’s user growth has come from the digital marketing activities we’ve helped ideate and execute. Camplify is no doubt one of the jewels in our crown and we’ve loved every second of our involvement with this awesome Aussie startup!
Here are a few nice things Camplify’s CEO said about us:
“Vicinity continually surprise me with their professionalism, expert knowledge and ability to smash the KPI’s I set them out of the water.”close [x]
363,736 Phone Calls from Google MapsOUR CLIENTS LAST YEAR
Ringing off the hook
Over the course of one quarter, we saw over 360,000 inbound phone calls to our clients’ Google My Business listings. Based on these numbers, we reckon that ranking well in Google’s localised search results matters – alot.close [x]
SEO Traffic UP 23% and SOLD OUTMachinery Dealer
We’re strong believers that word-of-mouth referrals should be a primary source of new sales leads for any business. However, this international machinery sales company was relying a little too heavily on word-of-mouth and industry referrals. There was a tonne of potential customers searching on Google every day for this clients’ range of industrial vehicles and machinery. They were capturing almost none of these potential sales.
- Cleaned up technical issues with existing WordPress website
- Website analytics / conversion tracking implemented
- On-site Search Engine Optimisation and content development
- Off-site citation building and link acquisition strategy
- Ongoing organic traffic growth plan + execution process
The client had little knowledge of the digital world and was understandably weary about been “burned” by another digital agency who promised so much yet delivered little. We assured him he was in good hands this time. Fast-forward a few months and here are some of the results we have been able to achieve for this client:
- SEO Traffic UP 23%
- Sales leads UP across all key product categories
- In 6 months, this client went from having to chase sales leads to being sold out of a few key product categories 8 weeks in advance
From Nowhere to #1 on GoogleMEDICAL PRACTICE
Local Medical Practice
Our client came to us for help to launch their new website before opening the doors of their practice. It’s always a challenge for a new website to become recognised in Google’s Organic Search Results. We were over the moon that within 5 months of launching the website, our client was dominating Google Organic search results!
Channels and tactics
- Ongoing Google pay per click search ads, always aiming for the lowest cost-per-patient scenario
- Gradual Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- A beautiful, seamless mobile website experience
- Dominant share of local organic search visibility
- Google #1 source of new patient enquiries
SEO Share UP 222%+ Record SalesFINANCIAL SERVICES FIRM
Financial Services Firm
This long term client has a strong history in the Hunter region, but their digital presence did not reflect that when we were first referred to them. Our sole KPI from day #1 was “Get me more business”.
Channels and tactics
- New responsive WordPress website project
- On-site and off-site Search Engine Optimisation
- Linkedin and Facebook lead-gen campaigns
- Industry-specific email and database marketing
- Google traffic is at an all-time high, UP 222.65% since we started working on the site
- The firm is generating record new client sales with search engines being the primary source of growth
413,526 Mobile Website ConversionsOUR CLIENTS LAST YEAR
Our Clients on Mobile Last Year
Do you remember the first time you laid eyes on an iPhone back in 2007? One of your initial thoughts may have been “Wow, I can’t ever see consumers accessing my website on this little thing!”… Don’t worry, we thought the same thing! Oh, how wrong we all were… According to leading web intelligence site SimilarWeb, mobile now accounts for over 65% of all website traffic and this figure is only growing by the day.
Last year, we saw our clients’ results from mobile skyrocket – with some sites seeing in excess of 80% of their total leads coming from smartphones. Crazy, huh?
Big numbers on small screens
Here’s just a few of the ways we can keep your mobile users in mind:
- Mobile-first website experiences (it’s no longer enough to just have a “mobile-friendly” site. To maximise ROI, your site should be designed with all screen sizes in mind)
- Close attention to conversion rates and cost per conversion across all devices
- Consideration of mobile-specific search, display, video and social ad formats
- Including “near me” keywords in search ads
- Relevant structured markup optimised for voice search
- Messenger bots, live chat and other mobile lead magnets
- Mobile commerce solutions eg. Selling through Facebook Messenger
- Progressive web apps and smartphone notifications strategies
- Content load speed improvements via new technologies like Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles
- Cross-device analytics and conversion attribution
- Emails that look nice and pretty on mobile
- And the list keeps growing…
Mobile is here and we’re here to help you tackle it.close [x]
HEALTH CLINIC CHAIN
Newcastle Health Business
When a business has been around since the 90s, it goes through many rounds of change. A few years back – this iconic Newcastle brand was rolling along OK, but they knew they needed to change their approach to acquiring new patients for their range of healthcare services. We got introduced to the CEO in April 2012 and their numbers have only moved UPwards ever since!
Channels and tactics
- Ongoing Google pay per click search ads, always aiming for the lowest cost-per-patient scenario.
- Gradual Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and helpful content strategy
- A beautiful, seamless mobile website experience
- TV advertising spend shifted to Facebook and Instagram for a stronger return on ad spend
- Numerous successful campaigns and promotions
Year on year, we’ve been able to help this awesome Newcastle business grow their intake of new patients and in turn help more people improve their health and quality of life!close [x]
Coherent, Actionable ReportingNOT FOR PROFIT
Not for Profit
We love data, so when a national Not for Profit approached us for help with reporting we were pretty excited to be involved. The client was running nationwide campaigns on multiple platforms with low visibility of each campaign’s performance.
Metrics and reporting
- Individual campaign and promotion performance
- Which marketing sources were driving traffic and conversions
- Which content users are engaging with most
- Simple dashboards to help the client’s internal marketing team easily communicate key insights to their board.
These are all genuine, no BS.
All of the results we’ve shared on our website are real outcomes we’ve helped produce for our clients. Of course, we can’t take 100% of the credit – Great client collaboration has been key in all of these results. Here are a few things we’ve noticed all our most successful clients have in common:
- They’re committed to working with us as a true partner in their business
- They’re open to ideas – taking a few risks and trying new things
- They’re willing to do their part to make the most of their marketing activity. eg. Following up on leads, participating in the content production process, giving feedback on performance metrics, etc.
Our Reviews on Google
We love it when we’re able to make a difference to our clients’ businesses. It seriously gives us warm fuzzies! It’s even better when they share their kind words publicly over on Googs. Check out our Google reviews right here!close [x]
SEARCH DRIVES SALES
SEO is consistently voted the most cost-effective lead generation channel by businesses across the globe
Our approach to SEO
So how does a search engine decide how to rank your website? Is it just about who pays Google the most money? Not at all. These days, major search engines like Google consider hundreds of factors when ranking web pages & mobile apps to choose who will appear on top of search results. (This is especially true for localised search queries.) Some factors you can legitimately influence, others you can’t. Luckily, we know SEO like the back of our hand.BOOK A CONSULTATION
HOW WE USE SEO
TO GROW YOUR SALES
Here's the 4-step process we generally use to help businesses grow their organic search traffic, leads and sales from SEO in Newcastle, Australia-wide and other corners of Earth.
WHEN GOOGLE LOVES YOU
How valuable is SEO to YOUR business?
Like any marketing channel, SEO is a case of “horses for courses”. For some of our clients, visibility in Google’s organic search results is absolutely critical to the health of their business. Without Google, they would have no new customers. For other clients, SEO just provides a nice extra trickle of new customers. The value of SEO really depends on your market and the search demand for your products and services. Our job is to help you identify whatever opportunity is available and help you maximise your returns from search engines. We love our job!
Your Newcastle SEO Team
Here are the humans that can help you grow your Google rankings, traffic and revenue.
Performance & Account Manager
Performance & Account Manager
Favourite animal: Purrrring cats!
Celine has over 7 years experience in marketing and sales with a special interest in all things data, technology and innovation. Having worked in startups as well as multinational companies, she’s passionate about business and helping businesses achieve measurable results.
Originally from the land of ‘fush & chups’, ‘chilly bins’ and ‘jandals’, Celine moved to Newcastle in 2016 and quickly learnt to adore it. She studied Archaeology at the University of Otago and loves history….even spending her free time writing a historical fiction! She’s also an avid reader, proud cat mama and hopes to one day to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
What drives this sharp, quirky Queen of the ditch forward?
Celine is a self proclaimed lover of data who gets a kick out of translating numbers and trends into marketing strategies.close [x]
Guitar's Name: Thelma
A kid from the bush who grew up in tiny mining towns, Dave has an infectious passion for marketing, search engines, social media, creativity, technology and people. After graduating with a degree in Business Marketing & Psychology, Dave spent 7 years working with hundreds of businesses via gigs in large marketing & advertising firms. One day, he woke up and decided to start a digital marketing consulting business from his bedroom, with a vision to do things a little differently, to help businesses grow and stay ahead of the curve.
Fast forward to 2018 and Dave is a busy boy. His role at Vicinity is to steer the ship, solve problems and tell awful, childish, irreverent dad jokes. Dave is also MD of our sister company – Newcastle web design and development agency Redback Solutions – and is the co-founding CMO of star Aussie caravan sharing community Camplify. He sits on the board of Australia’s first SingularityU chapter and is also director of Interactive Minds Newcastle, a series of educational events for marketers and agencies.
What drives this creative + analytical + happy lump of a lad forward?
Well, in Dave’s simple words, it’s the “real weird, awesome buzz” he gets whenever we achieve tangible, meaningful growth results for a business.close [x]
Client Marketing Manager
Client Marketing Manager
Favourite Food: Bandeja Paisa!
Gina is our newest member, joining the team in June 2018. As a Digital Marketing Strategist with over 7 years of experience in Product Development, Project Management, and Digital Marketing, Gina wanted to makes waves in the agency space. Gina is definitely a people person!
Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Gina moved to Australia in 2014 and quickly learnt to love it. She lived in Sydney for 2 years, then moved to Newcastle and hasn’t looked back since! She studied Industrial Engineering in Colombia and Marketing in Australia. As a lover of coffee, salsa dancing, and soccer, Gina is a true Colombian, through and through!
What drives a determined, passionate Latina Gina forward?
Well, Gina is crazy about helping businesses achieve measurable results as well as connecting with people… always with an infectious smile and exotic accent, Gina is great at building strong relationships with our clients and is passionate about delivering the best outcome.close [x]
Campaigns & Analytics
Campaigns & Analytics
Favourite animal: DOGS!
Dragan is a Senior PPC (Pay Per Click) Specialist who is a certified expert in all 5 major Google advertising platforms including Search, Display, Shopping, Mobile, Video, and Analytics. Dragan has built and managed accounts across dozens of different industries with monthly ad spends starting as low as $250 and as high as $500,000.
With an insane eye for detail, Dragan is a guy who does what he says he’s going to do – every time. At Vicinity, Dragan’s job is to make sure our clients get the best bang for their buck on their Search Engine Marketing campaigns.
Favourite TV Show: Blue Heelers
With over eight years’ experience in web development and a keen eye for detail, Jess is a Senior Front End Developer at our sister company Redback Solutions and is definitely on Newcastle’s “one to watch” list.
Her strong desire for perfection, combined with her expert knowledge in HTML & CSS make her a unique and rare find in Newcastle. When taking on a new web build, Jess will meticulously plan her strategy and ensure that the end solution matches the design vision set by Redback’s Head Designer, Kyle. With sharp memory and eagerness to learn, Jess is an extremely valuable asset to the team – continuously delivering “pixel perfect” code.close [x]
Junior SEO & Web Specialist
Junior SEO & Web Specialist
Downfall: Leaving his computer logged on while Dave is around
Lachlan is our resident content editing gun, focussed on supporting our web team in delivering high-end websites on time and on budget. Lachlan’s growing skill set extends to SEO and AdWords, recently taking ownership of several client projects from start to finish with maturity beyond his years.
No project is too big or small for this young fella with a kick ass positive attitude.
In his spare time, you’ll likely find Lachlan at the Tattoo parlour getting yet another tattoo for the collection.close [x]
Least favourite colour: Fluro Green
Maddie, the baby of the team, came on board in May 2018 as the Graphic Designer. Whilst growing up in the small country town Mudgee, it left her with nothing to do other than explore her desire to create. This led her to Newcastle in 2015 to study Visual Communication Design at The University of Newcastle.
At the heart of what she does, is the aspiration to deliver impeccably crafted designs that exceed expectations. When not stuck behind her computer and up to her knees in all things creative, she enjoys sipping on tea and dunking scotch fingers, going on picnics and exploring the beautiful Newcastle.
What drives this fun and funky female forward?
The never ending possibilities within design that she finds addictive and exhilarating. It is that amazing feeling she gets when she exceeds the ability to tell a story visually.close [x]
Optimisation & Automation Manager
Optimisation & Automation Manager
Worst habit: Laughing when he definitely shouldn’t be!
Ben joined the team in July 2017. After managing to grow and monetise his own Instagram accounts to over 900,000 followers, Ben wanted to apply his skills to a range of businesses in agency land. Since joining the team, Ben has worked heavily on optimising our clients’ Facebook ad campaigns for maximum results across a wide range of industries and business objectives.
Ben is a natural problem-solver – a real modern day growth tactician with a strong focus on numbers. We love unleashing his brain on interesting digital marketing problems when they arise!
What drives this clever young man forward?
“The awesome feeling of always growing & improving my skill set in the industry I love!”close [x]
Marketing Project Support
Marketing Project Support
Bad Habit: Never finishing a cup of coffee!
Friends and colleagues would describe her as dedicated, resourceful and bossy – in the best ways possible.
Some may call it separation anxiety, but we think this tenacious woman learned these fantastic traits from a lifetime of competitive gymnastics and her eight years of employment at one of Australia’s leading grocery retailers.
Before graduating from UoN with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing and Management (no biggie), she started working in the marketing industry with a high-end Australian fashion retailer in Sydney. While most students were at Kingers every Wednesday night and eating smashed avo at a trendy cafe on the weekend, Sinead was studying full time and commuting to Sydney multiple times per week.
After her OTT, Novocastrian use of words was gawked at by colleagues, she came to realise that you can take the girl out of Newcastle, but, you can’t take Newcastle out of the girl, and quickly moved back to Newy to pursue #agencylife. See, we weren’t mucking around when we said she’s tenacious.
Sinead spent 2017 – 2018 freelancing and working with a couple of reputable digital agencies in her hometown. Today, Sinead’s role at Vicinity consists of using her masterful bossiness to keep internal projects (and Dave) moving forward, as well as helping our account managers with a little bit of everything for marketing.
Throw her an inch, and watch her run a mile.
In her spare time, you will find her: eating hash browns, freelancing, working at Woolies (why stop, she’s almost up for long service leave), drinking coffee, exercising and traveling – in that order.
What drives this strong, super sassy lass forward?
Undoubtedly, Sinead loves taking a project from zero to hero. In her words, “seeing a small idea transform into a huge project, and then into a masterpiece of an event – the satisfaction is just strangely euphoric”.close [x]
Likes his steak: "Well-don"
With 11 years experience as an on-site computer technician and 13 years under his belt as a web developer, Shane Welldon brings a vast variety of skills to the team. Our web team over at sister company Redback Solutions build a diverse range of WordPress sites – everything from single page start ups, to small business, to large eCommerce solutions – and it is Shane and Jess who we safely rely on as our go-to WordPress Specialists.
A seasoned business owner himself, Shane has been serving the local business community for over 12 years and has the calm disposition of a Zen-like master when it comes to problem solving even the mightiest of challenges.close [x]
Are you maximising Google?
We’ll help you maximise your search market share – by text and by voice – across all devices.BOOK AN SEO CONSULTATION
GENERAL SEO Q & A
How Does SEO Work?
So how does a search engine decide how to rank your website – is it just about who pays them the most money? Not at all – these days, major search engines like Google consider hundreds of factors when ranking web pages & mobile apps to choose who will appear on top of search results. (This is especially true for localised search queries.) Some factors you can legitimately influence, others you can’t. Luckily, we know SEO like the back of our hand.
Is SEO really that complicated?
Yes and no. Always think of SEO from the search engine’s perspective. What a search engine wants to do is link to sites where users will find the most useful and relevant content (so that people will keep using that search engine – remember, Google is a business too!). The way Google and other modern search engines determine which site is the most useful is based on the principle that the more different sites reference (or backlink) to your site, the better your site is, and so they will rank you higher. This is true even if you are paying for ads using a service like Google AdWords – if your site is not judged by Google as being useful to their users, your ad simply won’t appear at the top and you wont outrank your competitors.
What can make things appear even more complex is that the very definition of search and search engine are constantly expanding – there is now everything from voice search to image search and especially the growth in mobile search. This constant digital evolution means that the criteria and optimisation of your content for any of these ‘new’ types of search can be very different versus ‘traditional’SEO. And keep in mind that YouTube (owned by Google) has become the second biggest search engine in the world, so depending on your industry, optimising your video content can be vital to your overall digital strategy.
What is on-page or on-site SEO?
On-page SEO are tactics that are directly under your control as a webpage manager, as opposed to external links or other external signals, which can still be influenced indirectly. On-page tools, also known as on-site tools, comprise the content of a page as well as its HTML source code (including meta tags, keyword optimisation, image optimisation, snippets, etc.). The latter aim at helping search engines “understand” what the content is all about and what information to display to their users.
Where is the best place to start with SEO?
What have you done thus far? If the answer is nothing, you’re going to want to use one of the SEO tools I mentioned above to run a site audit. This will allow you to find and rectify any broken links, make sure all your meta tags are in order, and check page load speeds.
Search Console also has a great “Crawl Errors” tool, in addition to other tools that help you diagnose your site’s speed and usability. Once your current pages are in order, get cracking on keyword research, and start putting out some content!
Most popular SEO techniques
Where to begin? Link building. Keyword research. Site audits. On-page SEO. Updating pages for relevancy. Blogging. All are important. Check out the relevant sections to find out more!
Site audits. That’s an in-depth assessment of your website, aiming to pinpoint what’s working, and what’s holding back its groovy potential. Maybe a particular piece of content is creating friction and impacting your click-through rates, or your landing page has got too high a bounce rate due to user-friendliness and loading time issues. A periodic site audit will ensure your site is always on fleek!
Updating pages for relevancy. Pretty self-explanatory, if you want your content to be relevant (and valuable!) for your audience, you gotta keep it current. That way, you can be sure they’ll be coming back for more.
50 Shades of Hats: White Hat, Black Hat and Grey Hat SEO
This terminology refers to a search engine’s guidelines as to which tactics are, and which aren’t, acceptable for website ranking. ‘White Hat SEO’ is the most ethical and follows the guidelines established by e.g. Google to a T. It’s the most sustainable approach in that you don’t risk getting into the search engine’s bad books, which can penalise your website’s ranking in the longer run.
‘Black Hat SEO’ are more aggressive tactics exploiting search engine algorithms and ignoring the human audience, aiming at short-term ranking gains. Employing such tactics can actually get your website in trouble with Google and lower its ranking or even ban it from showing up in search results.
Finally, ‘Grey Hat SEO’ borrows tactics from both Black Hat and White Hat SEO, falling somewhere in between the two.
How Often Does Google Update Its Search Results?
The more often you update your website, the more GoogleBot visits you’ll be getting—so for high traffic websites, it pays to update often. Google crawls the most popular webpages every few days or even every few hours, because they wouldn’t want to miss out on the latest juice. So if you’re itching to see that shiny new content pop up in search results, you likely won’t have to wait too long. Brand new websites on the other hand generally take a bit longer to get indexed than updates on already indexed sites.
Is SEO Really For Me?
SEO is for any business that wants to “be found” by potential customers. From the most global companies with operations across dozens of countries, to the corner frozen yogurt store, pretty much any business can benefit from SEO. Now, which SEO strategies are worth investing in for each individual business, is a different story.
Does SEO Cost Anything?
Differently from SEM, which deals with paid marketing efforts across search engines, SEO can be free, if executed in-house using free tools. Your time will be your main investment here.
If you prefer to outsource part or all of your SEO strategy to the pro’s, there will be a price tag. It may, however, be less than what you’d think! With so many communication channels and options on the table, finding a strategy that will fit your budget is easier than ever.
How Do I Know If My SEO Efforts Are Working?
Metric-driven digital marketing is all the rage now, and for good reason. With SEO, you can often obtain measurable results for your investments: traffic, leads, conversions. Systematically testing different approaches and marketing mixes will enable you to nail down the right strategy for you.
How Long Will It Take For My SEO To Work?
The answer is, it depends—largely on your type of business and your chosen strategies. You might be able to reap the fruits already in days—but sometimes it takes months. SEO is generally a long term investment, but it can bring excellent results for your strategy.
SEO History and Trends
SEO Death Threat – Is SEO Dead?
The short answer is: no! SEO is alive and kicking, although certainly not in the same shape as it was 10 years ago. That’s because (almost) every Google algorithm update brings about a change in how search engine crawlers interpret your website’s intent and contents. This in turn impacts which SEO tactics are most effective for both the short and long term. More targeted, paid approaches such as SEM and social campaigns may win quick conversions, but SEO really still does pay off in the long run. It’s organic, cost-efficient, and targets those users who are likely already in the market for your product or service.
How is SEO changing?
How is SEO changing?
As we discussed earlier, SEO is always changing. But the biggest change continues to be the shift toward mobile. Mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher (51%) than desktop digital media time (42%), and that number is set to continue to grow. Google recently made mobile page speed a ranking factor. Going forward, if you haven’t already done so, you should look into Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s becoming more and more paramount to make sure you have no mobile usability issues on your site.
Where is SEO headed in 2019 and Beyond?
Mobile search has been on the radar for a while, but today voice search is the absolute biggest trend to watch out for. According to ComScore, half of all searches will be voice searches… by 2020. No surprises here: voice searches have almost tripled since 2016 thanks to the spread of smart speakers and assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Google Home. To provide their prompt answers to your queries, these systems use featured snippets—and search engines have caught onto that.
What are featured snippets, you may ask? That’s the special box that appears at the top of search results, just below any paid advertising. It provides a short answer to the query, a link to the page containing this answer, and the page title. Featured snippets enhance the user experience by returning a concise result, without the need to actually load and browse any web pages.
CONTENT & SEO Q & A
Does blogging help my SEO?
Absolutely! Each blog post which effectively addresses topics relevant to your audience is a chance to rank for a target keyword. Choose your topics wisely, create high-quality, helpful content, and you’ll see a dramatic improvement in organic traffic flow to your website. And, with some luck, also tangible results for your business.
What does 'high quality' content and links mean?
So, you’re wondering how can you rank at the top of Google for a certain search term? Your first question should actually be ‘Why do I deserve to rank #1 for this term?’ Here are some more questions to ponder to help you with your content strategy. Have a high quality content check: Does your content provide the most comprehensive, insightful, digestible, original and creative response to the search engine users’ query?
What about a high quality backlink check: Who else thinks that your content is the most comprehensive, insightful, digestible, original and creative response to the search engine users’ query? Are they reflecting these feelings through links to your content? We could go far deeper with the response to this question, but honestly – that’s the nuts and bolts of it.
Search engines want to give their users the best user experience. They’re not really concerned about how much traffic you receive. Keep the needs of the search engine user in mind and you should be repaid in kind with litres of lovely organic traffic and sales.
So what content should I publish – and how much?
That’s an important question – and the answer can be frustrating, because it really depends! It depends on your business, on your target, and on your competition. The fact is that you should be publishing content as often as new questions emerge from your customer or target base. And the amount of content you publish should also depend on what your target is looking for – if they are new to your industry or company, they may be looking to answer some basic questions, quickly and clearly. If their queries are complex and reflex the questions of an expert, your content may need to be more detailed and technical.
A good example of how you can optimise content is blogging, which has recently become more popular amongst businesses. Blogging can be a way to present consumers with informative, understandable (and minimally ‘sales pushy’) content. This positions the business as a trusted authority other websites will link to and thus increase your backlinking and your rank in Google. However, blogging is not a one-size-fits-all marketing and seo solution – and every business will need a tailored solution.
We know that’s not a simple answer – and that’s why the SEO consultants at Vicinity marketing will conduct an ad-hoc content audit and plan. We’ll analyse the quality of your content, understand how competitive it is in the search engine landscape and then work together to understand how that content can be further optimised in your case specifically.
Will you guys write the content for me?
We can do. We have access to some wonderfully talented writers who can do the writing part. However, the industry-specific knowledge needs to come from your head. You’re the expert in your niche. We use a number of techniques to help get this information out of you easily and quickly so you don’t have to spend hours writing blog articles.
What about the stuff you don’t know? We can do the research for you and gain your approval before incorporating it into your published content. Many of our clients have talented content writers in-house who can produce content with our strategic guidance. We can handle the optimisation of the content for search engines and the distribution online, of course.
What is content / keyword research?
As the name suggests, keyword research entails understanding (researching) the keywords relevant to your products and services. To pinpoint the best keywords for your business, it’s best to look at both the demand side and supply side of the equation. What do search engine users look up when looking for what you offer? They might use more conversational wording rather than a string of technical terms, or employ a synonym (think ‘car’ rather than ‘vehicle’, for instance). On the supply side, clever keyword choice may help optimising your ranking by tapping in higher search volume, lower competition search results. Once you’ve settled on the keywords you want to rank for, it’s time to seamlessly work them into your website’s content.
How do I conduct keyword research?
How do I conduct keyword research?
Most of the SEO tools we’ve mentioned in this article have some form of keyword explorer. There’s also Google’s Keyword Planner; and, for SEO’s elite, WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool. Once you settle on a tool, ask yourself some questions: What are some parent topics related to my business; related to a product I’m selling; related to a blog post I want to write about? Starting with broad parent topics allows you to generate large lists of potential keywords, then narrow them down by preference. Perhaps you’ve noticed that keywords with certain volumes generate the most traffic to your site, so you filter the rest out. Perhaps you’re looking for uber-low-competition keywords for which you can easily rank. Establishing parent topics allows you to start large, then get gradually more granular.
Where do I put my keyword phrases?
While it is tempting to stuff as many keywords into your webpage as possible, remember that your content targets both search engine crawlers and a human audience, too. Keywords should be included organically, ideally in the H1 title, the first paragraph and, periodically, in subsequent H2 or H3 headings and paragraphs throughout your copy. Keywords in the form of questions are really good, too!
MOBILE SEO Q & A
How does Google rank web pages on smartphones?
Newsflash for those who have been living under a rock: mobile SEO is now more critical than ever! According to Hootsuite, as of 2018 mobile significantly outranks laptop & desktop where it comes to web traffic, with mobile users responsible for 52% of web traffic as compared to just 43% for desktop & notebook—with similar trends for Google queries, too. Fully aware of this trend, Google has recently rolled out a mobile-first indexing policy, ranking those websites that are optimised for mobile higher than those that aren’t, including loading speed, visible content and metadata. Rather than creating separate rankings for searches from desktop and mobile devices, Google uses the mobile-first ranking for all searches, no matter the origin. That means you’ve got to make sure your website’s mobile version is on point, including your mobile SEO.
What is mobile SEO?
So what is mobile SEO then? Easy, that’s your SEO strategy for mobile users. While many items may overlap, you may want to implement different tactics where keywords, snippets and tags are concerned. Your desktop vs mobile CTR (click-through-rate) ratio is an aspect to consider here. If it’s out of whack and your mobile CTR is significantly lower vs desktop, mobile users aren’t as interested in your website. In this case, Google may downrank you—on both mobile and desktop search results, because mobile-first. Reasons may be that your snippets or tags may be too long and get cut off on mobile results, resulting in lower CTRs. It may be time to have a closer look at your website’s mobile version as well as your target’s mobile research patterns: they may be using more colloquial words and sentences, or preferring local results.
VOICE SEARCH Q & A
How does voice SEO work?
Voice search or hands-free search is growing fast and will be even more so in the coming years—heck, in the coming months! Featured snippets play a massive role in helping you rank in voice searches, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Where voice search is concerned, Google’s algorithm also favours authoritative pages that provide short, concise answers and websites that load fast (4.6 seconds for voice-activated vs 8.8 for the average webpage). HTTPS-secured websites also tend to do well here, as do local search results. You can leverage these characteristics to rank higher in voice search—try structuring your blog posts around question phrases, optimising page loading times or localising your search results.
TECHNICAL SEO Q & A
Will HTTPS or SSL Hosting Help SEO?
Absolutely! HTTPS is a more secure form of HTTP, supported by a certificate that confirms that the page doesn’t contain any harmful code and is safe for your device to visit. They also tend to load faster, impacting their click-through rate. Google likes such pages and ranks them higher. This preference is even more marked within voice search, where HTTPS results make up 70% of the total, vs some 50% in desktop search results. So by all means, switching over to HTTPS should help you with your ranking goals.
What is Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI?
Latent Semantic Indexing sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but it’s really not as complicated as it seems. In simple terms, search engines use LSI to understand the context of your content and how it relates to a user’s search intent. For instance, when a search query includes the word “nirvana”, the search engine will analyse the other keywords to decide whether the query is about the famous rock band or the state of enlightenment achieved by Buddhist monks. By working through synonyms and relationships between words (semantics), AI can distinguish subtle contextual meanings and deliver the correct results, time after time.
Will redirects affect my search rankings?
That depends on the kind of redirect we’re talking about. Redirects are a way to link content within your webpage. 301 redirects, where a page has been moved permanently, are the best kind for SEO purposes, as they keep between 90-99% of the original page’s ranking power or link equity. 302 redirects, on the other hand, involve a temporarily redirected page and keep less link equity in comparison. You’ve also got meta refreshers, redirects that say “If you are not redirected to the new page within X seconds, click here.” These happen on a page rather than a server level, and only keep a fragment of the original link equity. Avoid meta refreshers, if you can.
Are breadcrumbs important for SEO?
Remember the tale about Hansel and Gretel and how they used breadcrumbs to find their way back home from the forest? Breadcrumbs are little bits of text, often located at the top of the page, that indicate the path from the homepage to the page currently being viewed by the user. These navigation aides guide both users and search engines through the structure of your website, and as such can even show up in Google search results. Together with categories and tags, breadcrumbs can be instrumental in dictating the hierarchy of a complex webpage, such as an eCommerce store.
How do categories help SEO?
Organising your pages according to categories will help search engines to understand your website’s structure and decrease detrimental competition for ranking among individual pages.
What is robots.txt?
Peep inside your website’s top-level directory, and you’ll see a small text file called Robots.txt. This little fella guides search engine crawlers (“robots”) through your site, providing them with helpful navigation and indexing suggestions.
Are meta tags still important for SEO?
They sure are! But meta tags are not all created equal. Here is a quick overview:
Title tag: that’s the title of your page, which you definitely shouldn’t overlook.
Meta Description Attribute: it presents a short description of what the page is about. Also pretty important!
Meta Robots Attribute: it indicates what search engine bots should do with the page, i.e. index it.
Meta Keywords Attribute: this includes keywords relevant to your webpage, now outdated.
SEO BACKLINKING Q & A
What is SEO link building?
Search engines such as Google use the quantity and quality of links to a particular page as a proxy to assess its usefulness and overall authority. Therefore, link building often constitutes an integral part of SEO strategies aiming to improve page ranking and, accordingly, traffic. Link equity can be increased by either internal or external link building efforts, but usually only the former is directly within your control. The latter, also known as backlink building, requires more finessing and long-term efforts to bring in results.
What are SEO backlinks and are they important?
In its purest and most elementary form, the web is really built of two elements: content, in the form of text, images, files, and links, connecting the pieces of content together. Inbound links, those that point toward your website, signal helpfulness and popularity of a piece of content or page to search engine bots, who use it to rank the page accordingly. The higher the number of (quality) backlinks leading to your page, the better.
How do I build quality backlinks?
Real, authoritative links pointing to your web pages help search engines understand your business’ authority and relevance to certain topics. ‘High quality’ links mean better SEO and more leads from search engines.
We focus on a few proven link building techniques which are all legitimate in Google’s eyes. No trying to manipulate Google’s algorithms – it’s pointless and unethical. We focus on helping Google understand your business’ real relationships. If location matters to your business, then check out this local link building quiz to help uncover valuable sources of links for your site.
What is "link juice" or "link equity"?
Link equity, or link juice, is a measure of the influence of links on the ranking of a page. Link equity is an agglomerate of several factors, such as backlinks from other influential sites, relevant content and body text. Even the relevancy of outbound links gets to play a role here, so it pays to have a concise, curated range of links within your content—if that’s pertinent to your type of webpage (say, a newsletter or lifestyle blog). Conversely, links contained within page headers and footers, content that’s not relevant to your page, and spammy links are far less valuable in this regard.
Internal vs. external links: What’s the difference?
Internal links originate from within your website, or domain name. An example would be a webshop of men’s attire linking its Shoes page, www.thesmartcasual.com/shoes to its Socks page, www.thesmartcasual.com/socks
External links, on the other hand, come from the outside—the big wide web. Using the same men’s attire example, if www.mensfashionweekly.com features a gaudy tie and points its readers to www.thesmartcasual.com, that’s an external link—and good news for your website’s traffic.
Domain authority and page authority – What are they?
Domain authority is an aggregate measure of the link equity of all its pages, which in turn is determined by the quantity and quality of its backlinks.
Conversely, page authority is the measure of the strength, in terms of link equity, of individual pages. What does this mean for SEO? That, once again, relevant, helpful and unique content with a broad appeal together with a smart marketing strategy can push your website to new highs.
What is a follow link vs nofollow link?
Follow links are links that carry link equity. Examples include backlinks from influential websites, links contained within relevant content, and links within the body text. Links provided within page headers and footers are also follow links, but carry less link juice than paragraph links. Nofollow links carry no link equity and therefore can bring no value to your SEO strategy. Links originating from content that’s not relevant to your page, such as spam, are no-follow links and should be avoided.
What are the best ways to build SEO links?
Building SEO links requires time, effort and a degree of discernment. It is the process of getting other websites to reference your content within their own content, because they find it informative, unique and up to date. How is it done? It all starts with the research of related, often industry-specific pages, and involves some relationship building acumen, too. In fact, once you’ve pinpointed the pages that could find your content, product or service useful, get in touch with the webmasters or publishers, and invite them to visit and link to your page. Ideally, you want to win links from pages that already rank high on search engines and carry a reasonable level of domain authority. If possible, try to choose your anchor text wisely, favouring keywords relevant to your page, to improve ranking results.
What is SEO anchor text?
Ah, the anchor text. That’s the blue, clickable text of a hyperlink, which should exactly match the target keywords of the page it leads to. Search engine crawlers use anchor text to understand what the link is all about… as do the users who are browsing the page containing the link. Exact match anchor text is good, but too much of the same is less so, as it may come across as spam. So allow for some variety if you can.
Improving SEO Visibility & Results
So How do I increase my Google ranking?
Search engines like Google use a variety of search ranking factors to determine the order of search results (a lot of which are confidential to Google). At the end of the day though, the essence of SEO is that you’ve got to make your website valuable to users – and ‘prove’ it to Google. This is true for both paid and organic search results. One of the most concrete steps to getting to the top is the backlinking we’ve mentioned earlier – that’s essentially what off-site optimisation is all about.
Google needs to know that there are real, authoritative links from other sites that link back to your web pages and prove to the search engine that your business’ is trusted authority on a particular topic. ‘High quality’ links mean better SEO and more leads from search engines. We focus on a few proven link building techniques which are all legitimate in Google’s eyes. Don’t be fooled by SEO marketing companies that claim to be able to manipulate Google’s algorithms – it’s pointless and unethical.
What does an SEO agency, company or consultant do?
Of course there is plenty of other technical stuff that Google looks at when ranking web pages on mobile and desktop. Most modern content management systems handle the basics out of the box these days. However, there are plenty technical factors involved, such as page load speed, hosting quality, meta data optimisation, duplicate content and indexing issues, etc.
Backlinks can also be confusing for an inexperienced business owner trying to figure out how to leverage SEO. Combine that with the wealth of SEO resources out there – from Google Search Console and Google Analytics to WordPress SEO and Yoast, sometimes it feels like you have too much data and no useful way to interpret and act on it. Don’t worry though, we’ll handle the technical stuff and provide the actionable SEO advice. Let’s keep it simple and focus on helping your business generate great content and an outstanding user experience for website visitors.
So simply put, an effective search marketing agency like Vicinity Marketing will not only help your website get found on Google, but make sure you rank well in Google’s search by making your site more accessible and visible to search engines’ algorithms, getting you to the top of those search results.
Should I hire an SEO consultant or and agency?
Short reasoning why hiring an SEO agency is a better way to go than hiring a one-man band SEO guy with no resources or time.
We focus on helping Google understand your business’ real relationships. (If location matters to your business, then check out this local link building guide INSERT LINK HERE to help uncover valuable sources of links for your site.)
Paid vs organic search results – which are better?
Obviously, the more organic or ‘unpaid’ traffic you get, the better. And since SEO is what creates organic traffic, it really is the gift that keeps on giving – if you do it correctly. So we’ll focus on growing your organic search presence as a priority. Keep in mind though, paid and organic results are not an ‘either or’ options – in fact they are two sides of the same coin.
Remember, the more spots you can cover in the search results (organic and paid), the higher your likelihood is of being found. However, we’ll only recommend paid search ads if we think it will make financial sense for your business. For example, your website might need some conversion optimisation work done before we start driving paid traffic to it. Paid search ads are great, because we can test and measure which keywords are most valuable to your business and push the budget towards those to reduce wastage. Often, we’ll use Adwords to test which keywords we should target with our SEO efforts.
So if you are using paid advertising does that mean all your work is done – pay Google and instantly increase exposure, generate more leads, and generate more sales? Not quite.
A typical SEO company might quickly try to push you into focusing on paid search ads – it is certainly a fast way to get your results to appear in Google – but chances are you will be grossly overpaying for your ads. That’s because when it comes to their paid results, Google uses a combination of the price you are willing to pay per click (vs the price your competitors are willing to pay) together with how relevant and useful they judge your site to be.
So that means that, even if you are willing to pay a lot in Google Adwords but your site’s content is judged poorly by Google, chances are Google will rarely show your ad to anyone (or you will end up grossly overpaying for pay per click).
So what does it all mean? Effective search engine marketing involves optimising both your sites content so that it will rank higher in organic search traffic (via the ‘high quality content and links’ strategy we’ve talked about above) and finding the optimal amount you want to invest in tools like Google Adwords. Using paid Google Adwords and SEO together is the single most effective way for your business to rise in search rankings.
Can I pay Google to increase my organic search rankings?
Not directly – sorry! However, by investing in SEO services you will start climbing that rankings ladder. And keep in mind that, by also finding the optimal amount to pay into GoogleAdwords, you’re increasing the traffic to your website. Paid results can be a way to ensure you are at the top of Google’s ranking – and fast.
In fact, the more users find out about your site via GoogleAdwords, you will improve visibility of your site which – provided your content is relevant and useful – will cause more people to link to you. That, in turn, will cause you to rise in organic search ranking. Remember – there is no way to trick or bribe Google. The more helpful Google users find your content, the higher they will rink your site and the more traffic from Google your site will get.
How long does SEO take to work?
It depends. As a general rule of thumb, we generally see results within 3-6 months of an SEO program. However, if your site is new and/or operating in a competitive industry, it can take years to rank for your most valuable terms. Heck, you might never rank for them!
On the flip side, you might be able to rank well without too much effort if your market is less competitive. Of course, we’ll do research and advise on estimated timelines before you engage us to do SEO for you.
What tricks can I apply to be #1 on Google?
NONE. Tricks don’t work. High rankings on search engines are achieved with high quality content, a superior user experience and real authority signals.
What is the best SEO software?
That really depends on what you’re after, but there are many great tools out there! We feel like recommending:
- Ahrefts for backlink research and competitor intelligence;
- Moz Pro for a great SEO toolbox which includes a content explorer scoping out any unlinked mentions that may be worth backlinking;
- SEMrush for a versatile visibility and rank tracking tool.
There’s many more out there, we advise trying them out and going with whichever you find to be most comfortable with.