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How to Target Using Google AdWords' Display Network

The display network on Google AdWords is something that many people leave well alone. Sure, it has a really cheap cost per click and sure, you can rack up tens of thousands of impressions per week, but if they’re not targeted, what is the point? One issue many advertisers find is that the display network can run through their budget very quickly bringing in nothing more than a lot of irrelevant clicks, a ridiculous bounce rate and a high ad spend which in turn reaps very little return. In this week’s article, I’m going to highlight a couple of different targeting options within display network campaigns and give you some tools to be able to set something up that might bring you better results in the long run. Different Targeting Methods Placement Targeting Placement targeting allows you to set (on an Ad Group level) the exact websites you want your ads to show on. Rather than running your ads on any website that is a part of the AdSense network, placement targeting allows you to select the exact sites you want your ads to run on based on where you expect your customers to browse. An example might be running display image ads to support an ecommerce campaign on sites such as ebay.com.au or gumtree.com.au. This can work really well when you’re running a re-marketing campaign and you see that a particular website brings you a decent number of conversions. It might be fair to assume that like minded people visit similar websites and given this you could reach a new audience who might not have found you otherwise. Interest Categories Interest categories shows your ads to users based on what people are interested in -- seems obvious right? Well, this is how it works. Users are able to update their preferences within their Google account or browser to nominate their preferences. This ensures that the end user only sees ads that are relevant to them. This may seem fairly limited and, you’re probably thinking "I’ve never done that and I can’t imagine many people have." This is true to some extent. However, the people who have done this are going to be more receptive to the ad content. In showing an interest based display campaign to a small, targeted audience who are more likely to be receptive to your ads is only going to be a good thing at the end of the day. Topic Targeting Topic targeting shows your ads on websites which are targeted to specific subjects. For the most part it’s very similar to the interest category but the main difference is that interests target the users interests, topics target the web page content. Let’s say you’re running a display campaign for a travel company – it makes more sense to show your ads on sites which are about travel. It’s an easy way to hone in your efforts and build awareness in front of a particular audience based on the content that they browse. Keyword Contextual Targeting This method of targeting allows us to target page content on a keyword level. You build out your display campaign based on a set of keywords and this allows you to show your ads on the display network the moment a user engages with page content that is relevant to them (and you!). Using a keyword list, including match types such as broad, exact and phrase match modifiers, your ads will show on pages which contain keyword combinations based on your keyword set. This method of targeting is actually pretty sophisticated. The Google system analyses text, language, link structure and page structure to determine where to post your ads (not bad huh?!). What's Best For You? So… what now? How do you know which method of targeting will work best for your campaign? Well, to begin with you won’t, it’s that simple. What you will probably want to do is build an ad group for each targeting method. This way you’re able to split test targeting methods, track them in Analytics and grow your campaign based on what works. The best way to do this is to keep the ads consistent – if you have that element as the control you’ll get a pretty good idea pretty quickly as to what will work for you and, from there you can hone in. The beauty of this set up is that you’re able to build out your targeting as your campaign progresses. For example, if you notice that a particular site within your interests or keyword targeting is converting well, try adding it into your placement campaign and see how it works for you. Over time you will be able to combine targeting methods to get even more specific, for instance, people who are interested in travel and are browsing pages with Keywords about Japan. This way you’re telling Google you’re only interested in showing your display ads to people who fall into both categories. I hope this helps bust some myths about display targeting and that it gives you something to think about in your own campaigns. At the end of the day, any form of marketing is all about test and measure, trying a new idea, measuring the results and making decisions based on the facts. This is just another thing you can test when you’re looking at your next campaign.

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How to Use CPA Bidding Like a Pro

Conversion Optimiser (CPA or Cost Per Acquisition bidding) is a bidding tool which lets AdWords use your historical conversion data to determine when to bid, how much to bid and what to bid on in order to secure you conversions at the best possible acquisition cost. Put simply, it takes your campaigns conversion data, analyses it and bids on your behalf based on bringing in conversions at the best possible price for you. How do we set this up? Here is the catch: Google requires a decent level of conversion data coming through the account before it will let you kick this off. To set up CPA bidding, your account has to receive 15 conversions over a 30 day period. Without this data, Google will not allow you to set up this bidding strategy as it does not have enough conversion information in the system to optimise with. Without the equivalent of a conversion every other day, Google can’t make good bidding decisions within the campaign and CPA won’t be effective. 2 types of bidding: Maximum CPA Bidding – This is an option which allows you to set the maximum dollar value you’re willing to pay to receive a conversion. It’s similar to the maximum cost per click bidding in the sense that your maximum CPA bid will probably be lower than the actual bid you set.Target CPA Bidding – Target CPA bidding allows you to tell Google what you’d be willing to pay for a conversion and then targets that number. It’s good if you have a particular figure in mind. Whichever bidding strategy you choose, AdWords will automatically set a recommended bid based on your historical data. This is a starting point and as AdWords gets more data to work with you will probably find that the figure begins to even out and drop to a more reasonable level. How does it actually work? Conversion Optimiser looks at all conversions both AdWords and/or Imported goals through Google Analytics which weighs recent data more heavily. It looks at trends in your conversion data for you and makes decisions about: - What to bid - What position to put your ads in - What time of day to show your ad - Which ad to show and more… AdWords looks at your previous conversion data and makes dynamic decisions on a search by search basis in order to show the right ad in the right position to bring you the best possible results in the long run. How to use it effectively Start with a bidding strategy that is familiar to you and is aligned with your marketing goals. If you want to increase traffic and conversions, increase your CPA bids. If you want to lower your costs, drop your CPA Bids (being aware that in dropping bids, traffic will likely drop as well.) Make small changes less often. Google needs uninterrupted data to get CPA bidding to work. As a result, if you make big changes often you disrupt the historical averages and make it harder for the CPA model to work for you Keep your conversion data accurate. This method only works when the conversion data is accurate. So make sure the conversion tracking code is in the correct place of your website. If it’s tracking something completely irrelevant then CPA bidding will bid to  ensure this keeps triggering. There are many tips to making this work well for you. However in my opinion, the best way to learn it is to try it. If you have a campaign which is eligible and is focused on generating leads, I would recommend setting it up and letting it run for a few weeks to measure the results. The beauty of this is that if you decide it isn’t for your campaign, you can switch it off and it reverts back to your previous CPC bidding strategy. 

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Integrating WordPress With Twitter And Apply Twitter Magic

Wow! Who would have thought that you could work from your WordPress Dashboard and connect with your Twitter account. But then again, the various plugins that are continuously made available makes it a breeze for business owners to work from their dashboard within WordPress. This is particularly useful as more and more small business owners are moving towards using WordPress due to the hands free functionality it offer them. Most business people using WordPress know that it comes with thousands for plugin that cover a host of useful features. Luckily for everyone there are around 60 Twitter plugins that allow WordPress and Twitter to interact with one another. Ideally, you should look at the rating and how many ratings a particular plugin has. Each plugin has a different functionality. Business owners need to determine what their need are to ensure they are using the right Twitter plugin. For instance, would need a plugin that would post your WordPress posts to Twitter? Or, would you prefer to use a plugin that will show all your tweets in WordPress? Generally, Twitter WordPress or Twitter Tools are good plugins to use. Most of the plugins would need little more than your Twitter username and password, whereas other plugins would need to be configured which are easy to achieve as you only need to follow certain instructions to get it right. Once achieved, you will have your Twitter Account and WordPress talking to each other. Twitter Magic and SEO What is more is that Twitter.com gets indexed like any other website would. But, it gets even better! Your website will get much quicker attention should you link to them from within your tweets. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this. Unknown to you some of your competitors might follow you too which will enable them to see what products or services you are displaying. For this reason, you want to have a separate Twitter account with no followers so that you can bring your websites under the attention of the Search Engines for your business to benefit from SEO benefits. Ensure that the tweets you post contain your URL and some targeted keywords around it. You should take care to write as naturally as possible as that is what the Search Engines will be looking for from Twitter. In doing this you take advantage of LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) that would look for a related keyword around the link you posted. At the end of the day you want to make money with Twitter so your ultimate mission should be to build your list of followers and direct them to your blog or site where you can eventually monetize your list. Twitter is therefore seen as a social marketing platform that takes a subtle approach to marketing. You cannot make use of aggressive marketing like you would if you were making use of a landing page or squeeze page. Business people have a good chance of being successful when they are active on Twitter, tweet daily, maintain a professional approach, and ensure that at least 80% of their tweets are related to their Niche. For more information it would be a good idea to see what the "Complete Guide To Twitter Traffic" has to say.

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Keeping Google happy with smart SEO

There’s a right way to do SEO, and a wrong. When it comes to search engines, Google makes the rules – and they’re constantly evolving to ensure that they deliver the most relevant and credible content to their users. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one component of smart website design which Google can use to measure and reward you for being relevant and credible. Get it wrong, and SEO can do exactly the opposite – with some techniques having long-lasting penalties on your site with Google. So whether you’re engaging a third party SEO company, or taking the DIY approach, there are five simple steps to ensure that you’re doing all the right things to get your search engine rankings up – keeping Google happy and your customers finding you.   1. Know what your customers are looking for To drive the right traffic to your site, you need to be very clear on who you want to attract, and understand how they’re looking for you. Through the free Google Adwords Keyword Research tool, you can research what it is that your customers are searching for. Implementing clear and simple keywords on every page of your site will give prospective customers the chance to find you on the front page of the search results. Tip: make sure EVERY page on your site is optimised, including your home page, all product level pages, and any blog or newsletter content that you include. This will maximise your opportunity to attract new customers to your site, and keep your rankings high. Regularly check your keywords to make sure they’re relevant for your business, and your customers.   2. Avoid keyword duplication and ‘stuffing’ Duplicating keywords on multiple pages, or ‘keyword stuffing’, not only will Google penalise you, but you will be sending an unclear message to your prospective customers. If you’ve got 7 different products or services on offer, make sure that each has their own unique URL, and also its own set of keywords. At the topline level, make sure that your brand and your key business function are promoted. Tip: The same goes for duplication of content. If you write a blog for your own site, and write for another site, don’t publish identical content. Google will recognise it, and give you another red cross. And make sure you’re writing for credible sites. (see point 4)   3. Build credible backlinks Driving traffic through off site SEO is about placing credible and relevant links to your site from other sites. These are called backlinks. The more relevant and credible backlinks to your site, the more credible that Google deems your site to be. Tip: Your SEO company should be providing a list of your backlinks to you each month. If they’re not, ask them. If they don’t share, seek alternative advice. All of your backlinks should be relevant to your business, and should have anchor text that relates to your product or service offering.   4. Involve your SEO company in your content strategy Developing great content for your existing and potential customers is a highly regarded way for your site to become relevant and credible. Working with your SEO company throughout the development process will ensure that each new piece of content is optimised for maximum traffic on your site, and through third party sites too. Tip: Content is a fantastic way to build additional traffic to your site, another ‘pillar’ of Google’s ‘credibility’ measure. Google ranks content highly for the amount of traffic, interactions, and how much your content ‘stands out’ to what’s available on the web.   5. Expect steady results Competition for the first page results is strong across most categories. It is unrealistic to expect instant results in your rankings – although implementing smart SEO techniques will certainly help. Stick to it, measure, improve, and try new things. You’ll achieve better results over time, but it will take time. Tip: Any SEO company that promises you instant results is doing it the wrong way. On site SEO (namely keywords) may generate improved search engine results, and an initial spike in your traffic, but your backlinks are going to take time to develop, as is your content.   Like building a brand, a customer base or a social media following, the results of a solid SEO strategy are going to take time, and investment. But stick to it, and do it the right way, and it will pay off soon, and for years to come.   For further reading on Google SEO techniques, click here. 

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Lightbox Ads

It seems that Google is updating its policies, interface and features each and every week! Just as you might get your head around one particular feature, they go and update it to improve targeting, responsiveness or creativity. In this instance, Google’s update to their engagement display ad format (Lightbox ads) is no exception! Things are moving fast surrounding their AdGallery ad formats and Lightbox ads are a new twist on an old (and largely under-utilised) favourite. Lightbox Ads Lightbox ads have the potential to be pretty incredible. If used in the right way, Lightbox ads can be an exceptionally cheap and effective way to build brand awareness, product engagement, drive action and ultimately build loyalty to your brand or product.  Have I got you hooked? Want to know what these Lightbox ads are all about? Well here it is, Lightbox ads are an ad format set up on the Google display network. In essence, they look exactly like a standard display ad (or banner ad). They appear in the same locations that you’d expect to see banner ads, the only difference is, and they’re interactive. Lightbox ads allow you to present rich media content to your target audience allowing them to engage with your content before they make the decision to act on the call to action. The ad format allows you to embed a video, game or other piece of creative content into any standard ad size which expands to full screen of any device once hovered over. Once your user hovers their mouse over the ad for more than two seconds, the ad will expand and that is where the fun begins! How to use Lightbox Ads Lightbox ads allow for multiple formats within the single expandable advert. The format gives you a number of ‘screens’ in which you can embed or upload content and allows your ad viewers to scroll through the content and engage with each screen individually. What this means is that you can embed an auto play video into the home screen within the ad and a series of images within the other screens which you can scroll through. This allows you to showcase products with billboard style image ads which can build awareness around your products. On the other hand you could create an embeddable digital catalogue, allowing anyone who hovers over your ad to expand the content, scroll through the catalogue and find the items which grab their attention. Alternatively, you can create a series of videos that your users can scroll through, almost like a directory of video content. If your videos are embedded through YouTube, the views within the ads will count towards your video views in YouTube. It’s exceptionally cool and allows you to take all of your targeted ads to a whole other level. In my experience, depending on your marketing objectives, Lightbox ads work well targeting the display network. On the display network they work to build awareness for your offering and engage new customers. However, when used as a remarketing ad… it goes to a whole new level. In doing this, it’s important to set your remarketing lists up to specifically target an action which you can encourage through engagement. For example, let’s say you’re an online clothing store and you’re getting a lot of people abandoning a cart full of goods. You could remarket to these people with Lightbox ads including catalogue specials with in built, interactive image ads. Imagine remarketing with images which display your product on models (to show people how the clothes could be worn) as well as using engaging video content which will draw people in and reinforce your brand for the future. It’s a double-whammy and if targeted well will certainly make people remember you, if not come back to your site to make the purchase they previously forgot about. If set up well, it has the potential to be huge for your business, and realistically is only limited by how creative you can be. This is an example from: http://www.richmediagallery.com/detailPage?id=8063 and is not a real business, it’s purely set up by Google to show how it can work… Have you been using Lightbox ads? I’d love to know what you think of them!

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SEO Tips & Tricks to help Aussie SMEs get more traffic from Google

I have been doing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for quite a while (since the late 1990's). I've had the opportunity to work for some amazing companies on some of Australia's largest most trafficked sites such as: The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's The Age. I've also had to sort out global SEO issues on sites like Microsoft Australia and currently on the Salesforce CRM Australia site. Even though I've had the opportunity to work on such amazing websites, working with amazing people, it's not easy being the SEO guy. It's a constant challenge to rank well and maintain rankings. The sites are very complex, competition is fierce, many technical CMS (Content Management System) hurdles/limitations to overcome and often large teams of web developers and content producers to deal with. In some cases (depending on the nature of the business and competition) it's easier for small businesses (SMEs) to outperform and outrank large businesses. I'm passionate about search and want to show SMEs how they can succeed at SEO. I recently presented at CeBIT Sydney in May 2013. My session was part of the Small Business (SMB) stream at the event. I wrote a blog post that has highlights of my talk - "My 7 Secrets to Search Marketing Success" and I thought I'd share it with folks here at SavvySME as I want to help as many Aussie SMBs succeed with SEO.   Photo: Mark Vozzo presenting to a packed room of Small Business owners and SME employees at CeBIT Sydney, sharing his SEO tips. My presentation covers a wide variety of topics such as: 1. Analytics - What are key Search Marketing Metrics you should be focused on? 2. Keyword Research - How do I conduct Keywords Research? What are some free tools to help me do effective Keywords Research? 3. Crawl-ability - How do Search Engine spiders work? What are some free tools to check what my page looks like to Google? How do I check how many pages of my site are in Google's database? 4. Content - How can I figure out what content I need to write? How do I optimise my content to improve ranking and traffic?  5. Connections - What types of links will affect my Search Rankings? Can you show me some free tools to check my site for broken links?   6. ROI - How I can measure Return on Investment (ROI) of my Search Marketing programs? 7. Keeping Up-to-Date - What are the best websites, newsletters and video channels I should subscribe to so I can learn more and stay ahead of pack?   During the presentation I cover each of the following in great detail. But here is the action list for SMEs:  View and Download the slides If you'd like to view/download my slides here they are: 7 secrets to successful search marketing My slidedeck contains many links to Free SEO tools, resources and videos.   TIP: If you don't have time to go through the entire deck, the one thing you must do is watch this YouTube video titled: "Using Google Webmaster tools like a SEO" (the link is on slide 66). It's a free tool by Google that will help you uncover any SEO issues with your website that if fixed will help you get more traffic from Google.   Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn or post questions here.   I wish you all the best with your SEO rankings. 

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The importance of your landing page experience on adwords

‘Landing page experience’ refers to the functionality of your website page that your AdWords traffic is directed to, in terms of relevance and navigation. Google aims to have relevant content for their customers, and this is why Google assess the landing page in the quality score (QS). As discussed in the previous article, QS is Google’s evaluation (a score out of 1-10) based on how well Google thinks your campaign is delivering a good user experience to its search users. Google uses three factors in the QS: the click-through-rate, which is the amount of people that click your advert, the keyword you are bidding on, and the landing page your customers view.  There are a few aspects that this article will cover, which will not only increase the amount of leads from AdWords, but will create a positive landing page experience for your audience. This article will cover: How Google assess the page your clicks view and; Five methods to use to make a successful landing page experience.  ​How does Google assess the page your customer views? Google is unable to read images, and only text on the page. In saying this, the keywords you are bidding on, should be a direct reflection of your offer, which should be used on the landing page. Needless to say, images and videos are important in creating the experience, and offer visual aids for the product and or service. A good landing page experience can help relevance, that being landing on the product or service. For example, if you sell multiple items on an e-commerce store, rather than having customer’s land on the homepage and find it themselves, you should have them land on the product or service you are bidding on. For more information, feel free to read ‘3 Ways Poor Landing Pages can let down your Google AdWords Campaign’. This should decrease the bounce rate, and have time to reflect on the content of what you offer than having them search for the product or service in your website and being there at the right time.  Google evaluates your landing page experience using these three categories: Above Average and Average: this lets you know that your landing experience is good, and it will not affect your landing page experience. Below Average: this lets you know that your landing page experience is not good, and will require changes to improve your QS and more importantly, your user experience.      So, let’s say that your landing page experience is ‘below average’. What should you do? Firstly, before we tap into methods of creating a successful landing page, it is important to think about the user, and understand that businesses can be blinded by the amount of knowledge they have about their offer. This in turn clouds their judgment about the end user. In saying this, when developing a website, by have someone that has not used your site to evaluate it, this will help you to see if there are any unanswered questions when navigating the landing page, will help you in the long-term.  Five methods to use to make a successful Landing Page Landing page experiences need to make the user act that is to contact you. In order to have users to act from a landing page, there are many issues to consider before an effective landing page experience is created. There are five generals methods discussed bellows to improve your Landing Page (by no means are they the only methods used).  Phone number on the right hand corner: Research has found that our eyes are drawn to the top right hand corner of the page. As a result, this is why placing your advert in a newspaper is more deer on the right hand corner than other places of the page. Well, this rule also applies to the landing page experience. By having the number on the right hand corner, you can increase your calls.   Enquiry Form on each landing page for services: If a conversion for you is defined as having someone fill in their contact details on the landing page, then by having an Enquiry Form on each page; will give the customer the opportunity to fill in their details at any point in time. If at any time, a potential lead connects to the content of your page, and feels that your service can help their need, then this will give them the opportunity to contact you without change the page.     Images and Videos: We have all heard the saying, “a picture paints a thousand words”, well, it is true. Images and video tours can help your audience see what they are reading about. By having the image relate to the content, you can evoke benefits and emotions to your customers. Most people skim-read through text, images and videos help to aid the imagery and break down content, which inevitably keeps your customer engaged.    Testimonials: We have all been to interviews and asked for references, testimonials work the same way. Testimonials from your clients should be placed on your website; this helps you build a profile, and works with building your brand identity, which will help your positioning, that being how your customers perceive you.        Content Management: Most businesses offer more than one service. For example, you are a make-up artist, and service weddings, formals and other occasions. In order to relate to each customer, a separate landing page for each service will allow for targeted imagery, videos and content. In turn, creating a rapport between the customer and the offer. Content management is not only important for search engine optimisation (SEO), but for the end user. As a result, landing pages are effective because you are able to decrease the amount of irrelevant information and concentrate on having your customer to act upon their need, that being to contact you.       Going Forward I hope this article has made you think about your end-user, and the importance of having an effective landing page experience. Not only is having a good landing page is not only going to create an issue for advertising on AdWords, it will affect any customer that lands on your page. With the increase of people searching online, it is important to understand how the landing page experience can reflect on customers’ decision on whether or not contact you, making it imperative for the success of your online presence.

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The Small Business Hiring & Cost Guide for SEO Experts and Agency

  Search engines heavily influence our buying decisions as we tend go online first when researching for products and services. You’d be silly to ignore Google searches, even if your business is fully offline. Potential clients or customers tend to rely on online reviews and testimonials to help them decide whether they want to do business with you. As this is a highly technical area, most small businesses choose to consult and hire SEO experts or SEO agencies.   What is the difference between SEO and SEM? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the technique to attract online visitors to your website or content by appearing in the top 10 results of a search engine’s query. You don’t pay for this, as search engines’ algorithm will rank your content organically. Meanwhile, search engine marketing (SEM) covers search engine ads. You pay to appear on the first few pages of a search engine’s result page (SERP). These ads are also called pay-per-click (PPC) ads because you pay only when someone clicks on your ad. The biggest advertising platform is Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords.   SEO: free, long-term results SEM: paid, short-term results   Should you use SEO for your business? SEO isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It is for you if: Enough people search for your products and services The first question you need to answer is: “How many people are searching for my category or product?” Use Google Ads’ keyword planner tool to see how many are searching for keywords related to your product or service. If there are over 1,000 people searching annually, then SEO may be a viable marketing investment.  Otherwise, you’re better off with other forms of marketing.   You can commit for the long term SEO requires ongoing commitment to keep up with changes in search algorithms and emerging competitors. It is not a set and forget exercise.   You can afford the SEO costs The benefits are great in the long run, but you still need to invest in hiring experts or buying appropriate tools.   Which type of business is perfect for SEO? SEO is particularly useful for local businesses such as: exercise studios beauty services trades and other local service providers or retailers With just a few hours of work on Google My Business and other online listings, it can significantly boost your ranking.   Which type of business is not suited for SEO? For startups looking to carve a new niche, SEO may not be useful until you’ve created organic demand for your product or service. Until then, your budget is better spent by placing your brand directly in front of your target audience using Google network banner ads, social media influencer and ads, traditional ads and PR.   What are popular SEO services for businesses? 1. SEO strategy A good SEO plan must be holistic, covering technical, on-site, off-site and content SEO. Use white hat SEO strategies as they don’t break any search engine rules. Black hat SEO uses questionable tactics that may result in a search engine ban or downgrade such as keyword stuffing, cloaking and buying backlinks.   2. SEO Audit A regular SEO audit should cover on-site and off-site SEO. On-site SEO focuses on how SEO friendly your site is while off-site focuses on how credible your site is viewed by others.   3. Keyword Research This identifies search trends and keywords that are relevant to your products, services and brand. It could be geo, brand, or product and service targeted.   4. Website optimisation This involves improving the overall user experience, loading time, content, metadata, keywords, etc.   5. On-page SEO On-page SEO is the tactic of improving a webpage’s relevancy, authority and ranking by using proper headlines, metadata and other options.   6. Backlinking and local listings A backlink is an external link to your content or site. The more high-quality backlinks you get, the more it helps your SEO.   7. SEO Content Writing & Guest Blogging Having SEO friendly content that’s relevant and useful to readers is a sure-fire way to improve your ranking.   8. SEO and SEM Analytics There are plenty of free and paid SEO analytics software such as Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Moz.   9. Search engine ads This will give you instant results by putting you on the first page but may often cost more than SEO.   How much do SEO services cost in Australia?   Service Provider SEO Services Cost or Price Range (AUD) SEO Content Writer Content creation  $100 - $500 per content SEO Agency or Company Hourly Rate $100+ per hour   General on-site SEO $1000+ per month General off-site SEO  $2000+ per month SEM  30% - 50% commission of ad spend SEO Expert or Consultant Hourly Rate $70 - $200+ per hour   General on-site SEO $700+ per month General off-site SEO  $1000+ per month SEM 30% - 50% commission of ad spend SEO services hourly rate and costs in Australia *These costs vary depending on your current SEO state, scale and depth of the SEO project   As with any form of marketing, the sky’s the limit with SEO. It’s up to you to monitor your costs to ensure your investment is fruitful. It can start from as little as a $99 affiliate marketing with SEO to tens of thousands of dollars per month for hiring SEO agencies. However, proceed with a $99 investment at your own peril! SEO results aren’t instant. It requires time and money. If you want quicker and better results, you either put in more hours or increase your budget.   On-site SEO Costs Engaging an external agency can be an expensive affair if your website is huge. The fees are usually on a retainer basis, costing a few thousand dollars a month. Many businesses choose to hire people in-house because this is a full-time commitment. An alternative would be to hire a contractor to come in house for a couple of months to optimise your website and train your staff. This can take anywhere between 3 and 12 months, so make sure you’ve got a good $20,000 minimum in hand. SEO Writers: Content and SEO go hand in hand. A SEO-friendly content ideally has between 800 and 2,000 words and includes a range of popular and highly targeted keywords. Expect to get good quality content from freelancers for around $200-$500 per blog post.   Off-site SEO Costs SEO Agency or Company: It will generally cost between $2,000 - $5,000 for a one-off service.  Some maintenance may be required over time, but you may be able to get away with a biannual or annual review rather than a monthly retainer. Get a quote for achieving a top 3 local Google listings ranking, as they attract around a third of all users. For ongoing back linking service, you’re looking at a commitment of between $2,000 to $10,000 a month over a 12-month contract period. DIY Option: If you’re a local business, optimising your off-site SEO through business listings and some minor on-site SEO tweaks is a great starting point. You can teach yourself SEO but proceed with caution if you lack time or are a beginner.   SEM Costs If you’re in a hurry and prefer to invest in tangible leads, SEM is your answer. Some industries can get very competitive and you need to identify niche keywords that ensure you’re still getting leads at an affordable price. Agencies and experts will generally charge between 30% and 50% commission of your advertising spend. Alternatively, you can find fixed management fees of a few thousand dollars per year.   What questions should you ask when hiring a SEO agency or expert? This is a sample of questions you should ask, and the answers you should expect, before making a final decision: 1. How many search engines can help improve my ranking? Inexperienced agencies looking to make a quick buck will promise improvement on hundreds of search engines. But there are only two search engines that matter. Google and Bing make up more than 95% of all searches on the internet. The right agency will focus on these engines only.   2. How long will it take to see improvement? This is a trick question. Anyone who guarantees an improved ranking in X number of weeks or months is lying. The very nature of SEO is uncertainty. Google and Bing have secret algorithms that determine ranking and they can change at any time. An honest expert will answer this question by saying, “I can’t make any promises about the timeline. I can give you an estimate, if I have time to conduct a thorough research.”   3. What is your backlinking strategy? Many SEO experts focus solely on content. While your content is important, your ranking will improve more quickly and effectively if you have new links pointing to your website. This is how Google measures your authority. The right expert will have a clear backlink strategy for legitimate links.   4. Can you show me three websites whose rankings you’ve improved? When it comes to SEO, experienced agencies are often more effective. Visit the websites of past clients, ask questions about their strategies, and conduct searches. Finally, and most importantly, talk to business owners. The results could look great, but the experience itself might have been terrible.   How do you choose the best SEO agency or consultant to hire for your business? It’s easy to fall for the lure of cheap rates and unrealistic promises of success when hiring an expert. Whether you choose to hire a freelancer, a SEO expert, an agency or company, see past the hype and consider these factors: 1. SEO Costs Don’t just look at the total price. Look at their clauses too. Do you have to pay if you exit the contract prematurely? What about extra work or variation costs? How often and when do you need to pay?   2. SEO project scope and depth Consider the scope and depth of the project based on your goals. Which SEO services are covered, and will they help achieve your goals? Is there room for feedback and improvement? What happens if you don’t get the result you want?   3. Past successes and referrals Snoop around and investigate whether they are worth their price or whether their claims are untrue. Read testimonials and reviews, get in touch with past clients, and study their portfolio.   4. Vibe You need to work with someone you trust, feel comfortable and can communicate with. This is usually a vibe that you get when talking or dealing with someone. Only hire people you like and trust. Partly Contributed By: Steph Barr, Founder and Managing Director at Barr None Group and Tabitha Naylor, Owner of TabithaNaylor.com   Further Reading: How Much Should You Spend on SEO? What's Best For Your Business: Adwords vs SEO? Top 10 SEO Tips For Writing Content Google Loves In 2018 How Much Does Google Adwords Cost?

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