Learning how to get your business higher up in Google searches – Part 1

Today I want to give you a bit of a ‘behind the curtains’ look into how search engine optimisation (SEO) specialists work to get business sites closer to the top of Google.

If you have anything to do with marketing your company, it’s probably something that’s come up at least once as something you need to look into.

Hopefully it makes the process a little easier to understand – especially if you take on the task yourself or you choose to engage an SEO specialist to help with your website.

The good news and some helpful links

First, if you’re thinking about getting someone to do your SEO and you have even a slight technical interest – eg. you simply feel comfortable navigating your website’s backend and posting articles to your blog every now and then – then I have good news.

It is completely possible to do your own SEO with a bit of focus and self-education.

The best starting point is Google itself (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7451184?hl=en), closely followed by this guide by SEMrush (https://www.semrush.com/blog/semrush-guide-to-seo-for-your-blog/) and another produced by Moz (https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo). SEMrush and Moz are both online software tools for search engine marketers.

Also, full disclosure: Wyatt Media pays for access to SEMrush’s services and gets no favourable treatment or incentives from them for this post.

Alright, back to it!

As an example, I’m going to follow the process for my business – Wyatt Media.

Let’s say I want to get my site higher up Google for searches relating to search engine optimisation experts.

This is a good example, because it can play out over time as my site goes through what would happen for any of my clients if they release a new product or service.

Step 1. Keyword Research

The first step in SEO is researching the terms people are using already, and picking terms I want to target. These terms are called keywords.

Because not many people know me, I’m going to focus on the broader SEO category. Now. This is a blank slate. I have no pages right now relating to SEO on my site, and I mention the phrase once on the ‘What we do’ page.

I’m based in Brisbane, so I want to make sure people can find a local SEO expert. But I don’t want to ignore SEO work that could come out of Melbourne and Sydney.

So I fire up SEMrush and go to the Keyword Analytics tool to type in ‘SEO’. In another window I search ’Search Engine Optimisation’ to see what gets used most by people searching.

Interestingly, everyone seems to be using ‘SEO’ in their searches, and Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide related searches trail the vanilla ‘SEO’ term. You can see an interesting trend here. In SEO, searchers use the term first, then the location (eg SEO Brisbane instead of Brisbane SEO). Funnily enough, when I test that search option, I see that ‘SEO services Brisbane’ gets just under a third of the searches that ‘seo Brisbane’ gets, but people are advertising like crazy there at just under double to cost per click.

SEMrush results for SEO brisbane

SEMrush results for SEO brisbane

I decide that I’m probably going to try to rank for the ‘seo brisbane’ keywords.

Before I commit, I decide to check SEMrush’s ‘Keyword Magic Tool’, a handy way of seeing related terms and identifying any useful trends or difficulty information.

It shows me some interesting stuff – ‘SEO brisbane’ is reasonably achievable at 46% keyword difficulty (essentially outranking the top 20 google results for the term). I see that ‘local SEO brisbane’ seems to be trending upwards and has a similar keyword difficulty, so I decide I’m going to try and rank for ‘SEO brisbane’ and ‘local SEO brisbane’.

SEO Brisbane results in SEMrush keyword magic tool

SEO Brisbane results in SEMrush keyword magic tool

Now, I set up a project in SEMrush and add the domains I want to track my progress against. Simple – I just search ‘SEO Brisbane’ in Google and copy the domains into the project, add my two keywords to the project and fire it off.

At the end of my research, I’m sitting at over 100th from the top of Google for ‘SEO Brisbane’ and have a lot of work cut out for me.

Next Time: I walk you through building a page (using on-page SEO techniques) that targets your chosen keywords.

For tech’s sake

Tech and business have a weird relationship.

For every new invention, it seems everyone’s in a rush to make sure they don’t miss out on the potential savings or earnings. Or the opportunity to tell the world how they are disrupting and innovating.

The media doesn’t help: every business article proclaims the death of something that until last week had been The Way Things Are Done.

And because technology launches to market more regularly these days, it’s easy to get stuck in a constant cycle of updating everything. It feels like you have to keep chasing digital nirvana or your business will crumble.

All of which takes up business focus, and by extension, decreases momentum.

Sometimes tech is just a distraction

Sometimes tech is just a distraction

It all feels very important though. Like it’s stuff you should be doing. And sometimes it is. Sometimes it really will give you a competitive advantage that cements your position at the forefront of your field and increases market share.

But often it’s easy to forget that you’re allowed to ask a question, like “What does blockchain really mean for my coffee shop,” and arrive at the answer of “Not much.”

I believe we often use these cutting edge quests as a way of overlooking the more boring, but arguably more useful, things we could be doing to drive our companies forward.

Things like, maybe making sure when our customer or client uses a product they get a result that is at least close to the claims we make in the marketing materials. Or that if they do have an issue or question, someone answers the phone when it rings. Or that they can even find the phone number. Or that the website even works on a phone.

That’s not to say it’s not worth investigating emerging tech – just put it through a sanity check that pits whatever it is against the ‘boring’ stuff in the business: service delivery, new business, invoicing, payroll etc. If it wins, go nuts! But if you’re investing in AI-driven business development when you’re still manually generating invoices, I’d argue your time might be better spent fixing the invoicing.

A relatively low-stress business tech improvement I do recommend is using Facebook Messenger on your website so clients can access you easily with simple questions. 2 years ago you would have been paying good money to access that technology. Now? Free. You’re meeting your customers where they are, using a tool they are probably already very familiar with, and it costs neither of you a cent. Win/win.

If you’re feeling guilty, I’ll be honest and say Wyatt Media is certainly not perfect here either: we spend time and money on keeping up to date on the latest in search engine optimisation or web site design, when we should probably be putting it towards making sure our own website clearly says what we do and offers useful information. (All of which we are working on at the moment.)

In fact, writing this article already prompted me to update our site to support live chat.

What are the things your time could be better spent focusing on than the next big thing in technology?


The prompt for this article was a recent LinkedIn post by Tom Goodwin. If you’re interested in marketing, consumer behaviour and technology, Tom is a voice of relative reason.

PS. If you think chat on your website sounds great, you can find the official Facebook chat tool for your business here. If you want any help installing it on your site, or making your site a bit more modern, click the chat button at the bottom right of this page 🙂

If someone looks ‘creative’, it doesn’t mean they are

Creative person holding notebook and coloured pens.

The internet has made it easier than ever for anyone to synthesise a hundred great thoughts, put up a website or blog post and sound like an expert – especially in marketing and creative services. That increases the risk for you and your business if you confuse someone who can explain with someone who can execute.

There are two simple ways you can de-risk your marketing engagements: ask for references and ask for proof of success (or at least operation) in the field. It’s your money, so don’t be shy about asking hard questions.

Also, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone who says they haven’t solved your business problem before – that’s how people get their start, after all – so long as you both know the lay of the land and go into it eyes wide open (and the project costs reflect this). In that case, being able to read and trust their character is critical, so listen to your gut.

The value of going all in

The case for campaigns over one-offs

The big ideas that built the big brands we know (and in some cases love) didn’t come from a brochure design.

They may have started there, but those ideas were simplified, amplified, packaged and transmitted through a much broader, all in marketing strategy.

A campaign.

Now, when we say “campaign”, many of us think of big brands and say “I don’t need to spend that much time or money – we aren’t that big. Let’s just do a brochure.”

But a campaign doesn’t necessarily mean you’re looking at a bigger spend or time investment.

It really just allows us to be really specific about a specific communication/sales opportunity and broadly consider “what will make this person change how they act in relation to this brand’s products/services, and how and where should we engage them?”

And that’s a really important question to ask, because persuasive business communication is all about reaching the largest number of your target audience (reach) enough times (frequency) that they can notice, recall and act on the offering (impact).

If you pick the wrong medium, you’re wasting your money because you’re either talking to the wrong people or you’re talking to the right people at the wrong time.

You stand a much better chance of getting a good business outcome if you can correctly match the media choice to your audience’s habits and interests, and then reach those people (and increasingly, engage with them) with the right, consistently communicated message over a period of time.

Campaigns also gives both of us a clear understanding of what success looks like by putting timeframes around expected results.

For example: by doing A within B we want to achieve C.

(A campaign focus also takes into account what success looks like for you, so we don’t recommend a $100,000 media spend that will only pull in $20,000 worth of sales over a given period of time.)

So while any marketing shop worth its salt can and will do one off work, it never hurts to ask yourself and your agency “how could we spend this time and money more effectively to get a better outcome?”

You might find that you don’t need that brochure after all.


There’s no power without connection

If no one cares, nothing else matters.

Wind farm seen from the air

There’s no power without connection.

Not your products or services.
Not your values or mission statement.
Not even your donations to charity.

The best way to make people care?

Make a connection.
Talk in their words and images – not yours.
Make it believable – and entertaining.
Show that you understand the bigger picture – and your place in it.
Don’t overreach – remember what you are actually selling.
Make sure they can remember that and know what to do next.

David Trott has a wonderful piece on this over at his blog: http://davetrott.co.uk/2017/02/learn-the-law-of-diminishing-marginal-returns/