Think again on SEO

By AdNews | Sponsored
Steven Waldberg

A Q and A with Steven Waldberg, Director at Hopping Mad Designs and SEOSydneyExperts

1. As a digital native and owner of Hopping Mad Designs, you’ve built amazing consumer experiences online for a wide array of clients. How does that creative and design experience compliment SEO needs?

Web design and SEO are intertwined. You can't have one without the other. SEO can generate traffic, but conversion-focused web design is the real kicker. You ave to ask yourself this question: ' what is the customer experience, and what do they do when they land on your website?' If you are planning on launching an SEO campaign, you need to plan this before any design takes place. Remember that for any SEO to be effective, you must have your design well sorted out.

2. Why is now the right time for clients and agencies to revise their SEO strategies? What kind of upside can be achieved?
With COVID in the past year, if agencies and clients have tighter SEO budgets, now would be a good time to look at what you're getting for your ROI. Forget expensive SEO agency fees. You can now get more bang for your buck if you do your research. In this post COVID era, it's value for your marketing dollar that's important, obviously, with proven and real results.

3. Has SEO changed much in recent times? What are the main conversations your having with clients in the space today?
SEO has changed and is always evolving as we know. The main conversation I am having with clients is about content and content marketing and how important this is. Plus, how conversion-focused landing pages on your site must be tweaked and refined regularly.

4. There’s myriad services out there, from single operators to departments in multinational agencies and marketing departments. Could you explain the current landscape and the chief areas demand is coming from for you? 

SEO Sydney Experts difference is that the owners of the business and doing the SEO work. We are nimble and have a proven SEO formula to apply across the board for all our clients. I have seen how other SEO agencies work, and if you like dealing with an account manager or salesperson, that's fine. But, our difference is you deal with me, and I am the go-to person. I will learn as much as I can about your business and online marketing goals. Plus, I have over 20 years of experience in this business, allowing me a certain amount of swagger that not many other SEO agencies can offer.

The SEO landscape is currently saturated with cowboys and flooded with agencies that offer cheap deals with unrealistic ranking guarantees. I tell all my prospective clients to watch out for these so called ' gurus and specialist'. They'll lock you into contracts, take your money and either do nothing for your marketing dollar or buy a few low-quality links as a smoke and mirror tactic.

The barries to entry for SEO are very low, so be warned about quick, unrealistic rankings.

5. Can you tell us of any key areas where perhaps even bigger brands may have been getting SEO wrong? What industry dynamics are holding back progress for Australian brands CEO outcomes? How does Australia look by world comparisons?

Bigger brands may be getting SEO wrong by looking for quick wins and over optimising their website and SEO strategy. It's common as businesses need to get their products or services in front of people. The bigger the pressure, the more temptation there s to spam and over optimise their SEO.

So many Australian agencies outsource their work to India or the Philippines to cut costs. This practice is rampant, and not many businesses are aware of this. They might be dealing with an Australian account manager, but the bulk of the work is off-shored. It's a bad practice, and I can't tell you the number of times I've had to rescue businesses that have a Google penalty due to dodgy SEO practices.

Smoke and mirrors, false promises and empty ranking guarantees hold back many companies from doing well online.

6. How has the explosion in ecommerce and online life in general affected SEO since Covid? Do you think these trends are her to stay? What does that mean for Marketers to get SEO right for the times?

COVID has undoubtedly opened the door for eCommerce and businesses wanting to get into this space. But SEO has always remained a constant and hasn't changed except that specific industries' online space has become more competitive.

The competitive nature of Google hasn't changed that much except agencies out there preying on businesses naivety.

Getting SEO right is not rocket science. You just have to follow the same formula that's worked well over the years. You have to focus on both 'on-page' and 'off-page SEO to be successful online. Quick wins and sugar highs are temporary. So, be prepared to have a long term strategy when it comes to your SEO campaign. And, by this, I mean 12 months minimum.

7. As a share of the marketing budget there must be a baseline investment you cannot escape. Does it take much more money to achieve exponential results? What share of the dollar should marketers generally be allocating to SEO these days? 

Investing in your SEO and internet marketing should be about 10% of revenue. Obviously, the more you are prepared to invest in SEO and online marketing (Adwords, content & social media marketing ), the better the results. But you can now get more value if you are prepared to ditch the glossy and glitzy SEO agencies and deal with more boutique firms like us that offer real value for money.

To have an effective SEO campaign, you need to invest the right amount of money. To see a decent ROI, you need a mix of all your online channels. Everyone searches on Google, and I feel that this is where your priority should be for your business. It would be best if you dominate your niche on Google with fresh, informative and quality content. Then and only then will you start to see the real benefits that Google can deliver. Combined with industries best link building and you will see sales and revenue skyrocket.

8. Your leadership in the space is certainly coming through…What is the best way for brands to do a health check on their SEO approach? What are the red flags currently?

The best way to check your website's health and previous SEO efforts is to leave it with people who know what they are doing in this space. A DIY approach is not advisable.

The biggest red flags are poor link building by agencies, as I've stated previously, that quote low and do nothing. Other red flags are agencies who throw a hell of a lot of statistics at you to try to convince you that your online presence is improving. When, in fact, the phones not ringing or there are no inquiries. Some agencies employ graphs, and confusing charts with lots of geek speak as a disguise for their lack of any progress on Google. A huge red flag. If you're not ranking and not getting inquiries, something is wrong with your SEO campaign.

9. Who’s on board at SEO Sydney Experts? Would you say it’s a Science or an Art?

SEO is a science, not an art. Follow the formula and do it regularly, and you will succeed.

10. What’s on the horizon? What should brands be planning for? Any changes afoot that brands should be future proofing for?

Look to future proof your brand's trust and authority online. That's the best advice I can give. Publish quality content and if you want to dominate Google, then use an agency that can demonstrate their past successes. Far too many brands get their rankings smashed online because they have trusted SEO agencies to do a good job. It's a real pit that well-intentioned, hard-working businesses cannot make a real go of it online because they have not set a solid foundation for the future.

All I can say is the future is now, so don't waste time trying to build your brand online if you can't see progess. The likelihood of it ever happening will grow smaller as your competition takes centre stage.

Steven Waldberg, Director at Hopping Mad Designs and and SEOSydneyExperts

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