SEO Q&A Week #2

SEO Q&A Week #2

SEO Q&A Week #2

Episode 019

It’s the second SEO questions & answers episode this week. Six new questions from the world of SEO answered by Michael & Arthur.

And a reminder, if you have any questions you’d like answered feel free to submit them at

Lockdown Update – Due to the Sydney COVID lockdowns we’re not recording in the studio this week (or for the next few weeks at least) – instead, we’re recording from our home set-ups. Apologies the sound quality isn’t what it usually is!

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Local Digital 0:04
It’s time for the SEO show where a couple of nerds talk search engine optimization, so you can learn to compete in Google and grow your business online. Now, here’s your host, Michael and Arthur.

Michael 0:23
Hello, how are you going?

Arthur 0:25
Yeah, very good. How are you going?

Michael 0:28
I’m very good, too.

Arthur 0:31
I’m very excited about this episode.

Michael 0:34
You know, when are we not excited? Because we’re talking SEO? It is the SEO show. You got a good one. That’s true. It is true. I’m not lying. It is the SEO show. And we had so much fun last time that we did a SEO questions and answers episode that we thought we’d do another one again, because we’ve had a few good ones come through a couple of ones there that are probably a little bit on the beginner side, then a couple that are on the technical side, or more than beginner side, let’s say. Would that be right in saying yeah, sure. Okay. All right. Good. Just checking, just checking. You’re still with us?

Arthur 1:09
No, I’m here. I’m here.

Michael 1:12
Alright, it’s been a big week for you, hasn’t it? You’ve been under the pump a little bit.

Arthur 1:16
To say the least. But it’s good. I like being on the the pump that makes the days go faster. You feel accomplished. I like feeling accomplished.

Michael 1:24
Well, on that note, I should say for all of our listeners, Arthur is now SEO director at local digital and you move it up in the world of SCA. That’s it. That’s it. That is a very, very official sounding SEO title. They’re well and truly, very gracious. Oh, yeah. Have an SEO podcast, co host. So anyway, with that, with that little little deviation aside, let’s, let’s get into some questions because it’s going to be short and sweet. We’ve only got six. You know, if people want to send us through some more, by all means, head over to the Seo Go to the contact page, send us your questions. But um, yeah, for today, we’ll be going through what we have here. And we’re gonna start with Aaron’s question. And Aaron’s asking, asked, What are some good free link options? Now,

Arthur 2:13
there’s a lot out.

Michael 2:16
Here you taking a deep breath at the sound of that question? Yeah, because there’s so many different ways, you know, free, there’s no such thing as free, there’s still going to be time involved in all these things that we’re coming up with here. But as it comes to actually handing over money to someone for these links, you don’t have to do that. So that’s a little one caveat we want to put on this. But um, what are your favourite free links, Arthur, if you’re out there building links,

Arthur 2:42
my favourite, I’d say probably directories and citations, web 2.0 profiles, quick and easy to kind of set up, I say quick, they’re easy to set up. Like you said, it takes time to manually go through all the sites and fill out all the information, verify your email address and all that. But they’re a very good starting point. We build these for our clients as foundation links, because they build a good foundation to do, I guess, regular outreach and more authority link building later on down the track.

Michael 3:14
Yep, so these are, these are the lowest investment in terms of, I guess, time and money, like they, they’re just listing on directories. So yellow pages, true, local Hotfrog, that sort of stuff. They don’t do much for SEO. Like, they probably do nothing for your SEO really, maybe for your Google, my business performance, you know, your local SEO, they’re very important for that. But if you’re in some competitive nation, you think building directories and like web 2.0, these three links is going to sort of push you up into the top spots. Unfortunately, it’s not but it’s just the type of links that every legitimate website probably should have. Because you know, real business should be unreal business directories. Exactly. If you want to build actual links that move the needle from an SEO point of view for free, definitely doable. But it involves a lot of effort on your side. So a service that is good for this sort of stuff is Haro Help a Reporter Out. So that’s a service where reporters, you know, if they’re putting together a article, on a certain topic, they would put the call out for experts or people to feature in the article, you know, like a giving their opinion or expertise to the article. And quite often you can get links, if you have the expertise to, you know, give them what they’re looking for. So, you know, just signing up for that sort of a service in Australia, we have another one called SOS bottle, which is like a more localised version of that, but you know, sign up for their services, and each day, it will send you an email with, you know, what journalists are looking for help with, you know, when and what topic they’re looking for help with, but, you know, you basically then have to write a comprehensive reply to what Their brief is and then hope that they use you, you know, they won’t always use you. So a lot of time and effort, but you can get some very juicy links free of charge doing that, you know, we’re talking Dr. A 90 Plus.

Arthur 5:11
Yeah. What about infographics? What are your thoughts on infographics?

Michael 5:17
I love infographics. We used to do heaps of it way back in the day. We do none now but no. But

Arthur 5:25
it does take a lot of time and effort to you know, create a good infographic. Yes. And there’s a lot of shit infographics out there. So

Michael 5:32
that’s the thing like you know that they’re just churned out for linking purposes, you’re not going to get links with that real. But let’s say you have some cool data or unique angle or something. Well, let’s

Arthur 5:45
use the example you used for local discovery. Yes,

Michael 5:49
so we did one on politics. Yeah. Which doesn’t sound that exciting, really. But it was around the time of the election in here in Australia, the federal election. And we researched what people are searching around some of the topics of the day at the time, you know, or the sort of political things that they were sort of campaigning on. And we looked at Google search data and Google trend data and Google Autocomplete data and just put together an interesting infographic of what Ozzy’s are searching for, designed it up looking really nice, you know, really well illustrated and totally custom and then promoted that. So the big thing with infographics is the promotion, you know, you don’t just create it, put it on your site and suddenly have all these links pointing to it out of nowhere. You’ve got to really get out there and let people know this infographic exists. But with that, one, we got a tonne of really good, authoritative links from you know, well established publishing type sites. I remember, a lot of effort goes into it. It’s again, yes, the links are free in that you’re not paying the website owner for the link. But you are spending a lot of time researching, scripting up the infographic dealing with the designer to create it, and then doing outreach and find, you know, well finding other sites and doing outreach to that says, there’s a lot of time a

Arthur 7:04
lot of time. Yeah, very time consuming. What about um, April Fool’s Day?

Michael 7:10
Yeah. Well, tell us. Tell us. Tell us your favourite April Fool’s Day linkbuilding. Story,

Arthur 7:18
my favourite story?

Michael 7:21
Well, I’m thinking of one in particular, where there’s a little bit of a little bit of angst on your side.

Arthur 7:26
I won’t go I won’t go into full detail. But basically what we used to do for a lot of our, I’d say larger clients or well known clients was link building around not the building sorry, but promotions or April Fool’s Day jokes, I guess you’d call it that. So we’d for example, for ion net, what we did was we had a brainstorming session and we came up with a like a mock up product called pet fire. So basically what it was was a, like a pet collar with a Wi Fi dongle built into it. Basically what it did was it expanded your Wi Fi reception. It was just a joke. We put it up on the site, April 1, and I got a lot of coverage so it was picked up by a lot of new sites because often they do like a wrap up every April April Fool’s Day where they’ll go and find because all the all the brands that have released one of these kinds of April Fool’s jokes and publish it on this site so yeah, we were fortunate that year to get published on Conde remember it was like 20 Odd. Hi, Dr. Sites, proper news sites, calm BuzzFeed. All those

Michael 8:31
usually size seven. Yep. And the thing is that with a good April Fool’s prank, you can get featured, like legitimately like why people believe it and share it and sort of do articles on it and then the roundups as you said, so

Arthur 8:45
I think when we did it, this was going back and what, maybe six, seven years ago, people didn’t believe it, because it was kind of still fresh in you. Now now people would just expect, you know, yeah, companies to drop something on Twitter or Instagram. Yeah. But back then. Not so much. So it was a cool tactic that we successfully use for some of our clients. And someone stole my idea, which is annoying, but

Michael 9:09
that’s the part I ended up at this out a minute was his idea. His genius, USA, you know, and he felt he didn’t get enough props for his his genius. But anyway, anyway, looking now

Arthur 9:23
what under the bridge

Michael 9:27
another good one competitions. So, again, like I’ll touch on an example that we did for a client. We had a florist Valentine’s Day is the be all and end all date on the calendar for florists. You know, it’s a big, you know, filling period for them.

Arthur 9:45
No, mother, so sorry to chime in Mother’s Day is bigger.

Michael 9:49
Anyway, alright. 555 That’s just a little fun fact. Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Yes. We did a competition for Valentine’s Is day playing up on that whole love angle. Love is in the air, all that sort of stuff. And we basically went found this really cool, I guess you could say Instagrammable venue, the love cave, the love caveat, it’s a cave out in the Blue Mountains where you can stay asleep in this cave, it’s got a fireplace. And it’s got views over a valley. And it’s got like a hot tub in it and stuff. And you know, it looks awesome. And we basically teed up that spot, we went out there and took photos of it with like petals, and rose petals all through it. And the competition was good when a night there for you and your partner, you get a bottle of champagne chocolates, that sort of stuff, and it will be covered in flowers. And like that place costs like a grand a night or something like that. So it has a healthy dollar value attached to it. We created a landing page for it, we created like a YouTube video, Instagram and Facebook video ad that went with it. And then we just pump the advertising for that. We also did a lot of outreach, we reaching out to all sorts of different blogs, you know, sort of mommy blogs and things to do in Sydney type blogs in the like and promoting it there. And it got a tonne of attention a tonne of links because it was really visual and awesome. So that worked really well, again, a lot of time and effort goes into that. It’s not free per se but you weren’t paying for every link that we got.

Arthur 11:21
No. And I guess in that situation as well, there was the cost of the prize. So I can’t remember the client covered the cost of we did but you have to factor that in as well. Because that would have added up a fair bit, I imagine. Yeah, but well worth well worth it in the end.

Michael 11:36
Oh, yeah. Yeah, in that particular case, for sure. So again, like all these ideas we’re talking about here like infographics, competitions, April Fool’s Day, it really is the idea. And the execution has to be really strong to make it link worthy. Otherwise, you put it out there and no one would link to it. Exactly. But maybe some ones where you can just get links without having to put as much time and effort and sort of coming up with awesome ideas like Arthur is so capable of with his April Fool’s idea would be partner link building and broken link building, right? Because that’s just your time.

Arthur 12:11
Yeah. So if you have any partners that you work with, or sponsors that you work with just reaching out to them, and then if they have a website, getting them to link back to your site, all it takes is, you know, a simple short email. We’ve had great success with it for our clients and for ourselves. So yeah, like you said, Any takes your time. Sam is broken link building a bit more technical. But basically, I guess a dumbed down version is just finding broken links on websites, in your niche that link back to similar sites and then reaching out to them and letting them know, hey, you’ve got a broken link. We’ve have, you know, similar content, why don’t you link to us instead? Yeah, again, that is a bit more technical. And but like you said, it just yeah, it takes up time. No cost involved.

Michael 12:55
Yeah. So look, they’re there. They’re the main ones for free link building. Like there’s plenty there to get started with. So hope you enjoyed that one. Aaron, if you’re listening, and let’s move on to move on to Hannah’s question. I think it could be a joke question. What does SEO stand for

Arthur 13:10
other search engine optimization?

Michael 13:12
Okay, good. Moving on. Question three. This one’s a real one. From Page. I’m not saying the last one. It’s not a real one, by the way. But had I you could have just googled that that’s not a real one. All right. Well, anyway, page, our company is opening an international office. How do we deal with this from an SEO perspective? So there’s a bit going on with that question. It all comes back to I guess, first foremost, what your domain name is, if you’re on, let’s say, you’re on So Bob’s today, and you’re opening an office in the US, the approach there would be different than if you were operating on, you know, Bob’s company calm, and you’re looking to open an office somewhere else. Because, you know, with, today, you can’t really go into the US and use that domain name, because they’re not going to want to today, you domain names gonna be weird foreign to them, it’s probably not going to rank well in Google over there, either. So if you were expanding from Australia to another country, what you’d probably want to do is, in an ideal world, you want to have like domain name, like a, you know, just a very standard top level domain name that is well known the world, right? Yep. Then you want to have a sub folder on that for each of the countries you’re operating in. So slash au for Australia, slash us for the US slash N Zed for New Zealand, for example, and have versions of your site on those sub folders that are tailored to that country. Then you can use things like hreflang tags in your code to say to Google, no, this is our Australian one and it’s in English. This is a US one it’s also in English. This is New Zealand when it’s in English, but in the New Zealand English, Australian English US English, and then have Search Console and Google My Business setup for each of those countries or locations pointing to those sites. That way, you’ll be able to have those those sub folders show in each of those countries, you with Miyata? Does that all make sense? Oh, it makes perfect sense. So that’s my preferred option. Why is it my preferred option because you have one domain then. And all of your link building efforts for that domain benefit all of the different locations of the different countries that you’re working up. Because the other ways of doing this is you can set up a subdomain. So that might be au dot whatever your domain or us or.or. Instead, dot whatever your domain is. So you know, the the NS that a US pitches before the domain name. That’s one option or just having a whole top level domain for each location. So, code and Zed.

Arthur 15:56
Can you think of any reason or benefit of using a subdomain or sub photo?

Michael 16:03
Well, benefits might be it’s easier to create a website, like whole websites on each subdomain, like a WordPress installation or subdomain, for example.

Arthur 16:12
Yeah. But, but you could also do that with subfolders.

Michael 16:17
Hmm. No.

Arthur 16:23
Yeah. Historically, historically, it used to be more about subdomains. But now everyone’s kind of moved over to sub folders. I rarely see subdomains. No,

Michael 16:31
no, no, no, it’s always it’s always been better to go with subfolders. That’s good. So link building perfect. Yeah. You said Historically, it’s been subdomains

Arthur 16:39
fact check it after the recording. Okay, well, I’m pretty sure I said it the other way around. If I didn’t, then I meant what you said.

Michael 16:48
So you’re agreeing with me don’t do subdomain? Yeah, I’m

Arthur 16:50
agreeing with you. I’m just saying I just remember historically, when I started doing SEO, it was more about sub sub domains. And it was sub folders.

Michael 16:57
Yeah, yeah. Other thing, maybe things like hosting as well, like if you have a server in each location, yeah. So you might just have your sub domain point to each server. But there’s ways of dealing with that with sub folders anyway. But um, look, really, the other thing would be top level domains as well, like, companies will just register domains in each location. That can be good from a, like a user’s point of view, when they For Australia and New Zealand, they’re seeing instead it’s very familiar, it makes you seem local, and the like, but you’re just splitting your efforts across three sites in, you know, your link building efforts and all the rest of it. So the preferred way, have a subfolder on a master domain for each location, and then use hreflang tags and Search Console GMB for each location if you don’t know what they are. Look up href. Lang tag. And it’s pretty straightforward to implement that. Anything you want to add to that other?

Arthur 17:59
No, I think you covered everything very, very comprehensively.

Michael 18:03
Yeah, I hope so. Because I felt like I was talking to so we’ll see. So let’s, let’s get to Greg’s question. Because you’ve done a bit of training of team members, so I think you’re pretty well placed to answer this one. How long does it take to become a good SEO? Greg wants to know,

Arthur 18:23
that’s a difficult question to answer, isn’t it?

Michael 18:27
Hmm. To find good?

Arthur 18:29
Yeah. I mean, I’m still learning every day I’ve been doing SEO for God knows how long so I think you know, what makes a good SEO someone that’s committed that is actually passionate about it. So obviously, you’re going to the longer you do SEO, the more experience you have the more knowledge you have. I guess the easier it’ll be but I think to be a good SEO first and foremost, you have to be passionate about it. You have to enjoy SEO I guess for lack of better words. You have to be a geek you know, you have to want to learn it. Like most things in life, I guess but there’s a lot of people that I guess started out doing SEO that just weren’t cut out to it just because they didn’t have that passion that didn’t have that drive they didn’t enjoy doing us here help me out here come on.

Michael 19:16
No, no, I agree. And you have to enjoy you have to be a self starter a self learner like because we’ve see a lot of it is coming up with ideas and testing them or constantly reading and staying in the loop with what’s going on the industry like being members of slack groups or different forums or reading different publications and staying on top of what’s going on and then trying that stuff out. So after enjoy doing that sort of stuff. Yeah. As it comes to timings. You know, I would say to become a competent let’s because good is you know what is good? Like, that’s a bit tough, but a competent SEO. I would say like if you work at an agency, and you’re doing it after a year, you should be competent. enough to be able to managing multiple clients. And provided you’ve got that team around you that you can lean on where when you don’t know certain things? Absolutely, you definitely would be competent enough to be managing client campaigns. You should have done enough training and had enough experience on the SEO side of things.

Arthur 20:19
Look, and everyone’s everyone’s different as well as it takes, you know, some people little longer to pick up things. Others learn a lot more quickly, sir.

Michael 20:27
Yeah, and some people are better at different aspects of SEO. Like, you know, there’s technically true content links, so like, some people might be drawn to different aspects of it as well. So they’d be really good at one thing, but maybe a bit, you know, not as good on the technical front, for example, which is fine. Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, let’s say about that year, Mark, you would hope to be pretty competent. Agree. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. All right. Well, let’s go to this one here. Because there’s another little technical one. Wade, asked, our staging website is indexed, and showing in Google when people search for our brand. What’s the best way to deal with this? Okay. So um, like, if you’re sorry, guy, Gaga? Yeah, if we were to go search local, digital, instead of just our website results showing our staging server, it might be sitting on a subdomain of Kinsta. Or it might be you know, you know, testing, digital, you know, some where your staging site live so that you can look at it and use it and test it before it goes on to your life that has found its way into Google’s index happens all the time. Oh,

Arthur 21:42
it’s happened to one of our bigger clients recently. I don’t know if you

Michael 21:46
know, who

Arthur 21:48
am I allowed to say? What let’s just say one of our bigger clients said one of our more recent clients have migrated to a new site. Oh, give you give you enough clues. Okay. Okay. Yes. So what happened was they wanted to keep the, I guess, the legacy side or the old side, visible for the time being just as a migrating across. And they move that to a old dot subdomain. but forgot to know index it. So what happened was the new site and the old site were both showing up in the search results. Yeah. Which is far from ideal when you’re migrating.

Michael 22:25
Yeah, so the reasons it’s far from ideal, a it just like you don’t want people accessing both versions of the site. Be like, that’s two whole sites in Google’s index with all the same content and exactly the same,

Arthur 22:37
more or less. Yeah, yep.

Michael 22:41
See, for me, from a OCD point of view, I don’t like seeing staging results mixed in with your results. But that’s not just for purely OCD purposes. But yeah. Anyway, it’s relatively easy and quick to deal with. Yep. So step one, with your staging site, make sure the page is a no index. So you know, you do this via meta robots tag in the code. Or, if you’re on WordPress, there is actually a setting in the settings just to block search engines, think every CMS has that setting. Yeah, so make sure that’s in place. First and foremost, you can also in your robots. txt file, block, or crawlers from indexing the site. So the one two punch there the knockout blow for your site being indexed. So get that in place, then your staging site, you’re going to need to claim that in Search Console, so that you, you basically confirm you how you own the site, and that you can tell Google what to do with it. So claim it or get it all set up in Search Console, then you can use a URL removal tool to request to block the entire site. So like there’s a section there to block URLs with that start with a certain prefix. If you just leave that blank, it’s going to block every URL that starts with your domain name. So the whole site effectively, so what will happen is Google will remove those pages from the index, they won’t be found anymore, and then eventually, they’re going to come back and want to re crawl it that the removal is only temporary. But because you did all of that no indexing stuff at the start, it won’t index it again. So your problem solved. So there you go, Wade, hopefully, that makes a difference in your world. So lucky last. Rachel says why are SEO fees so expensive? Why are they that’s a tough one because we don’t know what what you’ve been quoted. But you know, first of all, are they expensive? What is expensive? Exactly? Subjective as again, it comes back as well to we’ve we’ve spoke about this in the past is SEO a cost or isn’t an investment. We see it as an investment. If you’re getting a return and your business is growing, and you know that you’ve putting $1 into SEO and getting $5 back that investment is not expensive. It’s awesome. You should be spending as much as possible.

Arthur 25:04
I might have to dust off my mechanic analogy again.

Michael 25:08
I’ve got one. I’ve got a new one ready? I’m ready. So let’s say, because I Okay, so first of all, probably isn’t expensive. Depends on what you’re selling. It depends on your margins, all that sort of stuff. But let’s say for most, you know, if you’re a business, a service business that has customers coming back to you all the time, pretty decent pricing and margins, then you should be able to invest a decent amount in SEO. So as long as you’re returning on that good thing, but yeah, let’s let’s look at the costs involved with doing an SEO campaign. You know, link building and content creation cost money, as we always talk about. So it’s next to impossible to do good, strong link building without investing it like even though that question at the start talking about free link building, there’s a tonne of time that goes into that. And if you’re working with an agency, you’re paying for their time to do that. So look, you can’t get good links without investing in it just doesn’t come for cheap. So here’s the analogy. You’ve got your mechanic one. My one is, you know, if you’re building a house is dictated by the cost of suppliers, or at least you know, a third of your cost building a house is probably in the cost of suppliers. So the same with SEO, if someone comes along says they can do it for a quarter of the price, Something’s fishy, you know, the builders probably using dodgy materials if they can do it super cheap. What do you reckon about that one?

Arthur 26:22
That’s good. I think I think mine’s better. But yeah, no works definitely works.

Michael 26:29
Let’s do a little recap on yours again, cuz I always say I’m going to use that one, then I forget it.

Arthur 26:34
Connie, remember how it goes? So I guess, being an SEO is similar to being like a mechanic. So let’s just say your timing chain breaks, right? You go to a mechanic and you get quoted two grand to get the timing chain repaired. An actual timing chain cost about three $5, depending on the make and model of your car. But the rest of the the price that he’s quoted you goes to his experience his time? And yeah, basically, that’s my calorie. Yeah, yeah, it’s the outcome. So you’re paying for the experience you’re paying for our experience or knowledge, you know, someone that’s been doing SEO for 10 years is going to have a lot more experience and lot more knowledge than someone that’s only been doing it for six months. So you get what you pay for, like everything in life. So if you can imagine, yeah, you know, your links are your timing chain, you know, you we might spend X amount of money on links a month, the rest of it is our time, our expertise, our strategy, all that kind of combined into one. Yeah. And look, we as as, as an agency, we need to make a profit as well. You know, we’re not a charity. So

Michael 27:42
yeah, well, that I was gonna say on that note, like, think about how much it plays costs, you know, like anyone that ever has, yeah, overheads, electricity, insurance. But anyway, if you work with an agency, you’re working with a team of people often like SEO specialists. And if you want an employee that’s not totally overloaded with clients set to the point, they can’t even really work on you properly. And you know, you want them to be available to you that the cost will be a bit higher, because they have less clients to cover them. So you know, it’s still going to be cheaper most of the time than hiring people in house, you know, some companies will want to try and hire this unicorn, digital marketing guru that does SEO, paid media, PR link building copywriting, just for the average wage, now, you know, handle everything, but that person doesn’t exist. So, you know, please do cost money. But an agency is going to be cheaper than doing that all yourself at the end of the day. But like, if you do think SEO is expensive, we recommend just learning to do it yourself to begin with. So yeah, podcasts like this blog posts, tutorial courses online, YouTube, learn what you can get results yourself. And then once you’re busy enough to take that off your plate, then do so but um, yeah, don’t go down the path of cheapest. Yeah, we’ve spoken about it in the past. It just does more harm than good. Normally. Hmm. All right. Well, that’s all the questions we had for this week. Hope you enjoyed it. I think next week, we’ll be back in our studio. Let’s do it. Let’s get out of this home setup. Let’s get in the studio. Give the listeners that awesome audio quality that they’ve been desiring. And yeah, we’re looking forward to that. But for now, I’m just gonna end this because I didn’t know what I’m talking about. And we hope you enjoyed this episode. We’ll see you for another episode next week. See ya. See ya.

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