We’re dedicated to staying at the forefront of the industry here at Sea Salt, which is why we love undertaking regular training sessions and workshops.
Recently, we had a Lunch & Learn with our partner agency Analyse Optimise Grow (AOG Digital) where “SEO & Web Development Wizard” Shounak Gupte talked us through all things SEO and the latest Google updates.
If you’re investing in this marketing channel, this is a must-read!
A quick refresher
Before we launch into what we learnt, let’s quickly recap what we already know about SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the combination of technical and content skills that get your website to the top of Google’s results.
Traffic that comes from Google is referred to as “organic traffic” – that means you didn’t pay for them in the same way you pay per click like other marketing channels.
Google is something we use every day, so most people think they have a good understanding about how it works – that is until you need to get your own website on there and suddenly Google, and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, seem impossible to understand.
This is where SEO (and AOG Digital!) comes in.
The key takeaways
Now that we’ve got a basic understanding of SEO (you can learn more in our blog How’s Your SEO?), it’s time to take a deep dive into the lessons and myths uncovered from our Lunch & Learn.
Lesson 1 – Ranking for “city” related keywords
If you’re investing in an SEO campaign, you’re likely targeting some high-traffic “city” related keywords, for example “builders Melbourne” or “home builder Brisbane”.
While ranking first for these keywords sounds great, this is a long term and possibly expensive endeavour. In fact, Shounak revealed that you’ll need to be spending at least $1500 a month for at least 2-3 years to start ranking for these keywords.
That’s a big investment. So, what are the alternatives?
Doing in-depth keyword research is critical and using a healthy mix of large volume keywords like the above, and more specific ones like “custom home builders Preston” or “bathroom renovations Ascot”. Shounak recommends tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush for keyword research.
It’s also important to invest time into your SEO campaign. Create meaningful blog content, update your website regularly and encourage people to spend time on your site. It’s all about making Google trust you to ensure your content is prioritised above others.
Lesson 2 – Write about a topic, not a keyword
The days of jamming a piece of content with as many SEO keywords as you possibly can are done. Google’s algorithm is incredibly clever and creating content purely for SEO purposes is likely to have the opposite effect than what you’re hoping.
Instead, Shounak suggests writing about a topic, not a keyword. For example, if you’re looking to target the keyword “home renovations Brunswick”, a detailed case study about a completed project in Brunswick is far more likely to rank than a 300-word page discussing general home renovations in the suburb.
Google is incredibly intelligent. Make your content valuable and you’ll be rewarded.
Lesson 3 – Voice search is the new text search
“Hey Siri, Google builders near me.” Most of us have used Google to search for a product or service in the local area, using “near me”.
While we can’t target “near me” specifically in an SEO campaign, if you’re ranking for local keywords like “builders Brunswick” or “home builders Paddington”, your website will show up when people use voice search with “near me” in those areas.
With more and more people using voice search over text searches, this is an exciting development.
Myth 1 – SEO is dead
We hear this a lot at Sea Salt, but we are pleased to have Shounak tell us this is just not true. SEO and the SEO industry has certainly changed since it’s inception in the mid 2000s but it’s important to think of this as an evolution, rather than it dying out.
With so many businesses online these days, competition is high when it comes to SEO. Now more than ever it’s important to create valuable content and focus on the user experience, rather than sneaky tricks that Google may penalise you for.
Myth 2 – PPC affects SEO
PPC refers to paid campaigns created on Google Ads, where you “pay per click”. While Google has clearly stated that PPC campaigns don’t affect SEO performance and page rankings, Shounak isn’t so sure.
He says there is evidence to suggest Google rewards those who invest in the channel, with those websites sometimes more likely to rank than those who aren’t investing in PPC. While there’s no way to tell, this is certainly something we’ll be keeping an eye on in future…
Myth 3 – Google’s “sandbox”
Quite possibly our favourite myth to come out of this workshop! Some SEO experts believe in a concept called the “sandbox”. The sandbox is essentially a corner of cyberspace where new websites are stored for the first 3-6 months of their lifetime.
While Google has denied the existence of the sandbox, many SEO experts say it is almost impossible for a new website to rank on Google in the first six months. Coincidence? Perhaps…
The main takeaway for the Sea Salt team was that SEO is very much alive and well. Investing in SEO is still a clever marketing tool, but it’s important that you strategise well and work with Google for the best possible results.
Of course, it helps to work with the experts! If you’re a builder looking to work with an experienced agency like AOG Digital, get in touch with the team at Sea Salt Marketing today.