How I added $77,548.80 in additional traffic to a Plastic Surgeon’s Site Doing Nothing But On Page Technical Speed Tweaks [CASE STUDY]

Introduction

This post will go over a case study of a plastic surgeon client I had and how I was able to double its organic traffic by (really more) than 2x. The focus – or theme – of this case study is speed optimisation.

As you are (hopefully) aware – your page speed is a ranking factor for Google – and where it places your site. However many people do not know exactly what it takes to have a fast website.

Many think that a fast website involves nothing more than installing a WordPress speed plugin – perhaps tweaking some options and Bob’s your uncle.

However this is not always the case – and this particular client is a perfect example of how someone can have a very well designed, professional site – pay $10K+ for it – and yet still not have it optimised and fast.

The reason is because many times a client will test a web design’s company on their computers – which are normally extremely fast – and will not notice any speed issues – and will then sign off on the project – and there really isn’t a big incentive for the web design company to put any work into really optimizing the site for speed since the client isn’t even aware of the issue to ask about it.

Then the client could go to an SEO company – which can focus on various SEO factors like buying backlinks – but will not look at the underlying site structure as they (may) not be equipped to handle such technical undertakings.

Rather than creating a generic ‘How to make your WordPress site faster’ article – of which you can find many online – I instead wanted to show you a case study of a client who not only had a professionally created website – but also had a speed plugin installed – and how I optimized the site to its fullest potential – and allowed the site to perform to its greatest potential online.

Keep in mind – that this client’s site was not only professionally developed but also had a page speed plugin all ready – it was not “slow” per se.

This Case Study will go over the specific technical issues I had to fix – and may give you some ideas on how to squeeze some extra juice out of your site.

Good luck!

Let’s Start with The Results

Before we start let’s quickly look at the results that were achieved on this campaign (and when I say campaign I’m really only referring to the work done on site with speed fixes which will be outlined in this guide).

Please note the calculations used to come up with the total number in the title ($77,548.80) was done using my SEO Agency Audit method which you can find here.

First the overview graph

Here you can see a sharp increase in impressions and clicks – which were hovering around 35-60 clicks p/day.

To show you how you could quantify the results of this campaign on a financial level let’s look a bit deeper into the numbers. Below is the comparison traffic report of the 2 months before the traffic upswing and after the traffic upswing:

https://d3vv6lp55qjaqc.cloudfront.net/items/1N0U1a1t0f2q3M3e1t1b/Image%202019-07-08%20at%201.32.07%20PM.png?X-CloudApp-Visitor-Id=3150368&v=2b22f2ab
As you can see it’s 6.63 (6,630 clicks) vs. 2.72K clicks in the previous period. The impressions have pretty much quadrupled

The traffic only tells part of the story – luckily the client had tracked conversions through a long period of time on Analytics – so let’s look at how many enquiries were received over the same comparison period

https://d3vv6lp55qjaqc.cloudfront.net/items/3X2U0y0P452l2E3s453p/Image%202019-07-08%20at%201.03.47%20PM.png?X-CloudApp-Visitor-Id=3150368&v=d3d97cd7
Number of goal completions (contact form filled out) between the 2 periods

You can see a 38% difference – or an extra 157 leads in 2 months – which is significant. Keep in mind that this is a high ticket industry – with a starting price of $10,000 for the smallest surgical operation.

To quantify this further we can look at CPC on individual keywords. Let’s give a couple of examples and add those up:

https://d3vv6lp55qjaqc.cloudfront.net/items/440B2o2I400w0C2V1P3H/Image%202019-07-08%20at%201.29.13%20PM.png?X-CloudApp-Visitor-Id=3150368&v=2b22f2ab

Here we see hairline lowering surgery has gone from 1 click in 2 months to 83 clicks every 2 months. Taking this one example – and using the Keywords Everywhere Chrome plugin you can see the CPC (cost per click) for this keyword below:

https://d3vv6lp55qjaqc.cloudfront.net/items/3L0G241B233f2I0Q1N1b/Image%202019-07-08%20at%201.28.24%20PM.png?X-CloudApp-Visitor-Id=3150368&v=2b22f2ab

This comes out at $357.52 every 2 months – or $2,145.12 p/year – and that was just for one keyword change.

Note: to be fair I did some on page optimisation for that keyword above but here are ones where minimal changes were done:

https://d3vv6lp55qjaqc.cloudfront.net/items/132H2529430X0o3k3S2x/Image%202019-07-08%20at%201.29.41%20PM.png?X-CloudApp-Visitor-Id=3150368&v=2b22f2ab

You can make your own calculations on these keyword variations but taking ‘coolsculpting sydney’ at 55 additional clicks per 2 months at $5.80p/click comes to $1,914 p/year in additional traffic from that one keyword

In total taking all additional traffic into account and multiplying by the CPC the total additional traffic comes in at $16,156.01 over 5 months or $77,548.80 over 24 months (expecting these results to hold over that period).

The 5 months is stretched out over 24 months to find total traffic value – all though it could be consistent for more than the next 24 months.

Now I’d love to tell you that I achieved this with some voodoo magic behind the scenes work of powerful backlinks but actually all these results were achieved without a single backlink being sent to the site.

The two results above came from fixing one header (forehead reduction) and a broken link (coolsculpting) – but the thing that really put all this together is page speed.

The reality is most people have no idea on how to make their website faster – and this includes top of the line developers – so in this case study I will break down the road blocks that made me stumble – and what I learned.

Remember that this was not:

  • A poorly built website. It was a professionally built website which cost tens of thousands of dollars (this was not a ‘broken’ or ‘slow’ site) – nor was it essentially a bad web development project. The company that created this site did a good job.
  • There was all ready a speed plugin installed on the site (and yes – just because you have a speed plugin installed on your WordPress site doesn’t mean you will automatically see results like this)

So below I’ll go through the major challenges I faced – and that you will face too – when getting a site to optimal speed. This is a case study so the changes I made relate directly to this client – as well as the specific challenges I faced – I think learning from real examples and case studies is the best way to learn. So let’s get into it.

Cons
Keep in mind that if you don’t have the right plugin you will fall!.

HTTPS Redirects – The Silent Killer of Page Speed

I wanted to start with HTTPS redirects because it is one of the least discussed elements of making your site fast, the least understood (and slightly technical) and also one that has the potential to really screw up your site speed.

In fact – in all honesty – this really stumped me – and I actually had a few clients that had faster sites but were not getting under the 2 second load time that I was after – and I was racking my brains out to figure out why. The host couldn’t help – and WP Rocket support couldn’t help.

The hint came when I noticed that my staging site was loading much faster than the main site – and I noticed this and sent this news to my hosting cmpany – trying to figure out why. After all – they were pretty much identical in everything – except one – the staging site was loading fast and the main site had a 3 second load time.

Here is the screenshot I sent to my hosting company – trying to figure out why the 2nd resource (with the blue dot) was taking 3 seconds to load – and notice nothing else could load until that was finished). My staging site was identical except it didn’t have the 3 second delay. Also note it’s htps://myclientsite.com.au that I was typing in – notice the 3rd resource changes to https://www.myclientsite.com.au – I’ll get to this later.

The host couldn’t help me nor could WP Rocket support themselves – until finally I figured it out.

There was no redirect setup to take a user from https://myclientsite.com.au to https://www.myclientsite.com.au. So the server was trying to create this itself – and taking a long time (not sure why it was so hard to figure out).

But here are the steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you and you don’t rack your brains out like I did:

You do have an HTTPS certificate right?

Before we even start – I highly recommend – just for general SEO reasons to ensure that you have an SSL certificate.

If you go to your website on a Chrome browser and see this:

[ ]
If your site is not currently secured you should see this in the address bar in Chrome (the place where you type your web address in)

You need a certificate. Get in contact with your host – “Hey, can you guys set my site up with an SSL?” or you can

If your address bar looks like this (check at the top) – then feel free to proceed to the next step:

To www or not to www – that is the question

The first site wide decision you’ll have to make is if you want your site to be in the format of www or non www.

For example – your site could be either

https://yoursite.com.au or

https://www.yoursite.com.au

Take my site – headstudios.com.au for example. If type in ‘headstudios.com.au’ into the address bar – you’ll see it’ll change to my site URL:

In my case I made the site be www. throughout – however I could just as easily have made it https://headstudios.com.au – it doesn’t really matter. But you must make this fateful decision.

I have set the address for this URL in my WordPress Settings > General section. This is the place to choose how you want to display your site – once you know this you can move on to the next section.

Test site speed with waterfall and HTTPS Redirect (watch the blue dots)

A quick note
If your site URL is set to https:// without the www then technically you don’t need this section – as this only seems to happen for sites of mine that are https://www.

The first thing you want to do is find out if this is an issue that your site is currently experiencing. You can do this with either tools.pingdom.com or gtmetrix.com – in fact you could even do this with your own browser – but let’s use tools.pingdom.com for this example.

[image of tools pingdom]

Go over to tools.pingdom.com and type in your website URL without the www and without the http/https. So if your domain is https://www.lumbercaryard.com then type in lumbercaryard.com. This will force the site to create a redirect to the proper web address – and you can see how long this takes (if the server tries to do it itself – or if an htaccess file is setup).

You might also select the area you’re closest to your hosting server from the drop down but this isn’t that important.

[ image ]

Then wait for the site to load and once it does go down to the bottom and see the time it takes for the redirect to happen. Here is an example on my own site headstudios.com.au:

A waterfall chart live from headstudios.com.au – look at this – the redirect from http to https is fairly quick (first row) – but the redirect from https:// to https://www takes a whole second – this is slowing down our download time.

On

Wordfence and other Plugin HTAccess Rewriters

One day my client called me to let me know the site seemed to be loading slower than usual. I didn’t know why this would be happening – we hadn’t changed anything – on the server or on the files – for the site to be slowing down.

However the culprit was soon identified (thankfully the server knew what the issue was in this case) – it was the Wordfence plugin – and some code the plugin had added to the htaccess file that was slowing down the redirect.

Wordfence is a very popular security plugin – and I use it on my sites – however just be aware of the potential for this plugin to cause issues. If it’s the case try disabling it and removing the htaccess code and see if this fixes your speed issues.

The Worfence code will look like this:

# Wordfence WAF
<IfModule mod_php7.c>
	php_value auto_prepend_file '/wordfence-waf.php'
</IfModule>
<Files ".user.ini">
<IfModule mod_authz_core.c>
	Require all denied
</IfModule>
<IfModule !mod_authz_core.c>
	Order deny,allow
	Deny from all
</IfModule>
</Files>

# END Wordfence WAF

This makes the browser execute a file called wodfence-waf.php before the site starts – unlike other plugins who – once the cache is activated – don’t have access to any WordPress hooks and have al their actions hooked – Wordfence can be a drag. So just be aware of this. There are other plugins that can potentially cause issues so just look for any code that redirects to a .php file in the htacess file.

Firstly – you’ll want to see if this is an issue that your site is currently experiencing.

Your htaccess file is required to tell the server where to direct your URL’s.

If someone types in ‘yourwebsite.com’ and the address bar immediately changes it to ‘https://www.your…’ that is due to the work performed by the .htaccess file.

A big problem I faced was configuring the htaccess file and I will now tell you how I solved the problems and made the site lightning fast.

A quick note
This section of the guide assumes your weba ddress is https and that you have an SSL certificate installed. If you do not you can find out more info on how to install your SSL certificate here.

Speed Optimisation

Mobile Cache

One of the mistakes I made at first – which was slowing down the site significantly was not creating a mobile only cache with WP Rocket (please note from memory this is not enabled by default). The worst thing is – I wasn’t even aware of how much more heavy my mobile website was because of this.

Let me explain.

Whenever you come to a website – with either your phone, iPad or desktop computer – your device sends information to the server about what kind of device it is. The application (that is your website) – can then have access to that information when building your site.

To keep it simple and not make it too technical – there can be certain elements on your website – like a big video banner – that are probably un-necessary on a mobile device (nobody wants to go to a site on their mobile and see some video auto playing and draining their mobile data – leaving them fuming at you).

By creating two cached versions of the site – mobile and desktop – WP Rocket will check what device the user is on – and then serve the cached version of the site that corresponds to the device.

Let me show you an example of why this is so important.

In the video above I am on the desktop site – however the desktop site is still responsive. When I make the browser smaller it looks exactly like the mobile site – but the big video you see at the top still loads in the background – it’s just not visible.

Below you can see the ‘Network’ Dev Tools from Chrome – which tells you which elements are loading in which order and how long they take – what I discovered was that the mobile site was still loading that big 8.8MB video file.

Every.

Single.

Time.

The video loads in the background and sucks up 8MB – not good for Google crawlers – and impossible to pick up. Moral of the story – have a separate mobile cache!

In our case what was happening was that after WP Rocket was activated the mobile site actually started loading slower.

This is what was happening and dragging down the mobile download speeds (Google looks very carefully at how big your mobile site is) – so I created a separate cache for mobile to fix this issue.

Conditional Loading

One way to save on mobile speed – (by the way – I should mention that Google is switching all sites to mobile first indexing – which basically means you better have your mobile site fast otherwise good bye rankings) – is conditional loading.

This will require a slight bit of programming – but it’s well worth it.

You see – most sites will hide elements on mobile responsive sites that show on the desktop site – but will still load those elements. In other words – just because you don’t see a particular image on the mobile site – does not mean it’s being loaded.

There are many sites that serve the same site regardless of what device the user is on – and unfortunately there’s no front end way I’ve found to not load images on mobile devices when they’re not required – lucky for you I’m a WordPress developer – and can show you how to do that now.

I introduce to you the results of my research – and it is a function called [….].

But let’s take a practical example. Here is my client site’s drop down:

Note the images on the drop down – in total there are 30 images like this spread out across the top menu (for example there are 6 in ‘Procedures’ as listed here, 6 in About Us, 5 in Medispa, 5 in Patient Info etc. So that’s a lot of images!

Now as you can see image above there are 6 images being loaded – even though they’re not visible on the mobile version of the site menu.

This is the same drop down on the mobile site – note that even though on the mobile version these images are not visible – they are still being loaded in the backend. How much data do you think 30 images will suck up? All that for images that aren’t even required – and believe me no speed plugin is going to fix this issue.

You may conclude that these images are not being loaded but alas you would be wrong – there is a whole bunch of elements like this that are loaded on many sites and clog up servers.

So let’s get that speed edge over our competitors.

You are looking for 2 functions (and just a heads up this may get a bit technical – you may need a developer like me to implement) – preg_match and the $_SERVER variable.

Note: there are tools like Elementor that will allow you to hide elements on mobile screen with options – be aware that these tools do not remove the said item from the loading queue. This is the only way I could find that does this – and saves a bunch of date.

And here is how to hide images you don’t need:

Introducing the isMobile() function to your theme

In the source code of your website – in the location where your template is located – you need to edit a file called functions.php – don’t worry about all the other stuff on that file – just add the following code to the bottom:

function isMobileDevice() {
    $useragent=$_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];
if(!preg_match('/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows (ce|phone)|xda|xiino/i',$useragent)||preg_match('/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i',substr($useragent,0,4))) {
    return true; } else { 
        
        return false; }
}

What this code will do is allow us to quickly call it by using isMobile() anywhere on the site – and then choose what we want to display (or not display). Let me show you a live example implemented from the client’s website:

if(isMobileDevice()) {
$title_enhance = '<span class="fusion-megamenu-icon"><img src="' . $this->menu_megamenu_thumbnail . '"></span>';
//echo "You are on a mobile";
} else { $title_enhance = ''; }

That’s all I added! After that change has been implemented here is how the menu looks now (using the Chrome User Agent Switcher):

This is the website viewed using Google Chrome User Agent Switcher (as mobile) – notice the images are now missing – they will be visible if switched to

The plugin that I am using here is ‘User-Agent Switcher for Chrome‘ – this allows you to fake who you are to the website – making the website believe you are a mobile user when really you are on the desktop. It’s helpful to see just how a website will react when it thinks you are on mobile – during development and testing.

Summary

That is all there is to it. Using these 4 steps above I was able to increase the traffic to my plastic surgery client by $77,548.80.

Speed is a considerable ranking factor for Google – and while this client had a professional and well put together website there were a few speed tweaks that were required to make it look perfect in the eyes of Google.

If you suspect your site may be slow follow the steps and you have tried the traditional page speed advice you may want to try the tips above and you should see ranking and traffic increases especially on a well trafficked site.

Is Your SEO Agency Measuring Up? How to Audit Your SEO Agency’s Efforts with Google Search Console

Recently I had to create an update for a client – and I wanted to put together a way to show the client the impact that my SEO had done for them. I had all ready been working with them for 5 months and you know – you want to show the client exactly what kind of ROI their SEO results are getting.

It was kind of a slow month as far as more traffic coming through goes – so I decided to compare the previous 5 months that I had worked with the client vs. the 5 months before that (before I started working with them).

No – Rankings Don’t Matter

This is the catch cry of all SEO’s – I see their posts on Facebook (as I am friends with a lot of them) – it’s usually a sheet that has a list of keywords and their position from the previous month to the current month.

So if you have a keyword like ‘bike repairs new york’ and you were position 9 last month and this month you are position 7 then you’ve gone up by 2 points.

However this actually means a lot less than you think it means. And here’s why.

Recently I optimised a keyword for my client who sells eco friendly toothbrushes – I got him on the first page – and I mean from nowhere. Now that may sound good but do you know what the CPC is?

It’s only $1.

Now $1 is still higher than other keywords but a lot of time an SEO person can share keywords which mean nothing – because the value of that keywords is what’s important.

Let’s say you optimise for a keyword that costs 10 cents per click – and has a volume of 50 searches per month. You may be getting 10 clicks from this keyword per month but it ends up being $1 that you’ve actually saved.

The SEO person looks good and you may feel good that some keyword that you thought was important is rising – but it really doesn’t mean anything and is not worth much.

No, Traffic Is Not Important

Well then why not go by traffic? If you are getting an extra 500 visitors per month – that’s great right?

The problem is many SEO’s don’t really compare their services to simply BUYING traffic.

Many people that start SEO don’t do AdWords – they’ve heard good things about organic optimisation but they don’t get the benefit of comparing.

So let’s say you join an SEO company that charges you $1,000p/m – they do SEO for you and you are getting an extra 500 visitors per month. That may sound great – and the keywords may be in your area – but how much is that traffic worth on the free market if you purchased it.

For some niches (industries) the cost per click is very low – simply because the price of the item being sold is low. So for my eco toothbrush company client – the cost per click is quite low – and this has to be factored in.

An example – let’s say I get my eco toothbrush client an extra 200 clicks per month – that sounds great – it’s more traffic – right? But the cost of those extra 200 clicks comes in at $200p/m – the SEO traffic has to be compared to the cost of the free market.

So that doesn’t work.

So how do we compare?

Hard Dollar ROI Is the Only Thing That Matters

The only thing that matters – as far as the decision maker being able to see if SEO is worth it – is hard dollar ROI return.

Here’s how it works – how much would we be spending to purchase this traffic had we not gone with SEO.

That’s it.

This is the only metric that matters.

We are getting this much additional traffic – and this would have cost $x dollars had we purchased it.

This moves SEO from the land of airy fairy metrics that no one cares about to the only metric that matters.

But Would You Just Look at my Cool Graphs!

Many SEO companies will send through some big, nice, colorful report with their branding on it – it’s probably going to raise more questions than it answers – but it will be optimised to look good.

This graph might mention various keywords that are rising in search – it might mention CTR.

It can mention Bounce rates.

All kinds of metrics that while great – hide the one metric that really matters.

And that is DOLLAR ROI.

The other issue with these reports (which I’ll get into later) – is the source of those reports. Whenever data is presented to you – you have to ask where that data came from.

Maybe I’m a little bit more traditional but I don’t trust data unless it comes directly from Google – there are many third party products out there and I just don’t know about an SEO company saying

“Well this is our software that gets data from god knows where and it says that things are going well.”

So not only are you getting some random metrics that raise a bunch of questions – but the data that those metrics are coming from can raise some questions.

So – how do we get the one metric that matters ($ ROI) – and make sure that we get it right from the source.

If It Ain’t Coming From Google Then I Ain’t Trust It

Sorry – that was a hip hop lyric reference.

In this article you’ll see Google making one thing clear -https://www.seroundtable.com/google-search-console-reports-accurate-26027.html – the data it gives you for free is as accurate as it gets – and this data comes from Google Search Console – which any webmaster has access to.

Note: by the way if you are with an SEO company and you don’t have access to Google Search Console then think twice about what you’re doing. You should be given user-read access to your Google Search Console account – as this is where Google will tell you just how good your organic trafic/results are doing.

So the first thing we have to agree on – is that we should get our base data from Google Search Console – or in other words Google itself.

But how do we use Google Search Console to

[traffic uptake]

I could say “Well last month you had this many visitors and this month you had this many visitors”

So, How Do We Find Out the Only Number ($ ROI) That Matters

Firstly – you shouldn’t go to your SEO company and ask them for a $ ROI – if possible you should be able to determine this for yourself. In other words you should always be able to validate the data yourself about how your SEO is doing – if you do ask your SEO company to provide it make sure you ask them to explain how they came to that number.

In order to do this yourself (and by the way doing this yourself will take literally 10 minutes) here is what you will need.

What You Will Need to Determine ROI

Below are the following things you will neeed to determine ROI:

1. Access to Google Search Console

You should have access to Google Search Console – this is the central hub where Google sends you all the data it has on your website. It is arguably the most accurate representation of how your website is doing in organic search results.

If your webmaster or SEO person setup a Google Search Console account – they should have granted you access. If not you should send an email requesting them to grant you access.

Hi SEO Man,
Can you please grant the following email access to our Google Search Console?
Thanks

If your SEO company refuses to grant you access to Google Search Console or even worse – has not set up an account for you then run. If an account hasn’t been selected you can follow the guide here to set it up for yourself – going into details on how to do it is outside the scope of this blog.

Warning: Google Search Console data only goes back 16 months. So if you have had an SEO company for the last 16 months+ you are fresh out of luck because you won’t have any data to compare to.

Double Warning: make sure that you are getting data from the ‘Domain Property’ in Google Search Console and not just a subdomain. You can see below for my own website headstudios.com.au I have 2 subdomains and a Domain Property (which Google Search Console clearly outlines) – use that one. If you don’t see ‘Domain Property’ as per screenshot below then follow the instructions here to setup a new Domain Property.

Make sure you select Domain Property for your domain – and not the others. It’ll clearly say ‘Domain Property’ underneath – if you don’t see that for your site you can create it.

2. Microsoft Excel (or Google Sheets)

In this example I use Microsoft Excel – you can download it on a free trial. If you absolutely cannot use Microsoft Excel – then you can use Google Sheets or really any spreadsheet software that you have access to.

Steps to Get Your SEO ROI

Step 1: Create a Comparison Performance Graph with Google Search Console

To start you’ll need to login to your Google Search Console account and click on ‘Performance’ in the left hand column – then from there click on the ‘Date: Last 3 Months’ filter at the top and then click the ‘Compare’ tab (by the way I will provide a video guide below on how to do this so don’t worry if it’s a bit confusing).

From here – if you have been working with your SEO company for 3/6 months exactly you can just select ‘Compare last 3 months to previous period’ – however if it’s an odd range like for example you’ve engaged them 120 days ago or so you would need to scroll down and select ‘Custom’.

In the example below I started working with my client on the 9th March, 2019 – since it’s the 23rd July, 2019 now – if I calculate that it comes to about 135 days roughly in total (4 months * 30 + another 15 days from 9 to 23) – I’m not the best with maths and I’m using rough figures here.

So then I back track 135 days from the day I started – or 4 months and 15 days so let’s do December, 15th (4 months from March 8th is November 8 – then minus 15 days is 23rd of October).

Note: in the above exmaples I’m just assuming every month has 30 days to make it easier.

So our final comparison period is:

9th March, 2019 – 23rd July, 2019
compared to
23rd October, 2018 – 8th March, 2019

Note: one thing I left out in those calculations is that Google Search Console only goes up to 3 days ago as the most recent date for its data (so you have to wait 3 days to get today’s data) – but it’ll come out of the wash in the next step if necessary.

Let’s see a video on how this is done on my end

Note: in the video above you can see after I do the comparison that I have an additional 3 days that are not being compared – to be fair to the SEO efforts you are auditing you want the same amount of days in between. I won’t go into this as this is just doing the astral calculations – after doing the video above I adjusted the date range to be 3 days in front so 26th October, 2018 instead of 23rd so we’re working with the same number of days.

Step 2: Download the Comparison Data into Excel

For this step you’ll need a copy of Excel open and you simply need to copy/paste the table data underneath the comparison graph that we created in the step above.

You’ll need to ensure that you select the maximum amount of rows per page and then drag from the ‘Query’ column all the way to the bottom and then press Ctrl+C or whatever your copy command is on your computer model – and then go into Excel and paste in the top left hand corner – if you do everything correctly you should have some very valuable data in your Excel spreadsheet.

If you have a long keyword list you’ll need to go to the next page.

Step 3: Create a ‘CPC Savings’ Column and Calculate the Total Value of the Extra Traffic

For this step you’ll need to make an extra column – in this case I’ve called it CPC Savings – and you want to create a calculation in this column. What this calculation will do is say what the dollar amount of the extra traffic is worth.

Since during our export from Google Search Console we have the column for ‘CPC’ – or how much each keyword costs per click – as well as the clicks for that keyword for our 2 comparison periods (before and after SEO efforts started) – we create a formula similar to this:

=(F3-G3)*C3

Now this is assuming that
F3 – the clicks for the particular row’s keyword done during the SEO period
G3 – refers to clicks made for keyword in the period where SEO had not been done
C3 – the cost per click for that keyword

The idea is that there should be more clicks in the SEO period then before – we simply find out how much more clicks e.g. 20 more clicks and then times that by the cost per click.

So if you have an extra 20 clicks at $5 per click – then that is $100 worth of extra traffic generated on that keyword.

The video at the start of this section will clear up any questions you may have – otherwise just contact me in the contact box in the bottom left and I’ll try and assist you best I can.

Finally we repeat the calcualtions across all the keyword rows (by double clicking in the bottom right corner of the cell where you wrote the calcuation when you see a black cross).

Finally we create a sum row at the bottom which adds up all the savings (or in some cases losses) from this campaign – and this final number is how much money was saved over that time period.

In my case – in the example video above you can see it was $16,056.01 over the 5 month period.

Note: keep in mind your SEO company doesn’t need to generate enough traffic to cover its costs for the month because the traffic is ongoing. So if you work with your SEO company for 3 months at a $1,000 retainer – and they generate an extra $1,000 worth of traffic in that time period – you haven’t lost $2,000 because that traffic (should) continue to come into your site for an extended time – I look at 1-2 years.

Step 4: Evaluate the Results

Once you have your final figure down from Step 3 it’s time to evaluate the results that have come through. How you make this decision is going to be based on a number of factors – the biggest one being how much you are paying your SEO agency per month.

SEO starts from $590p/m to $10,000p/m. The amount that you spend must always be compared with how much you get back in ROI. To be fair to the SEO agency you are working with you could look at their SEO efforts in the context of 2 years.

Note: every SEO agency is different in the way it achieves its results – some do a lot of black hat strategies that may not last once the next Google update hits or their efforts are discovered by Google – so the extra traffic you see may be only temporary and may not last 2 years – this calculation is done with the assumption that your SEO agency is fairly competent and that the traffic increase will last.

Let’s use the above example for our sample calculation:

  1. Take note of the total CPC savings and divide by the amount of months of the range taken. So in our example it’s $16,156 / 5 months = $3,231.20p/m of additional traffic.
  2. Times the average monthly traffic by 24 months. So $3,231.20 * 24 = $77,548.80.

Most of the time the answer will be apparent. In this particular case you can see there’s $77,548.80 generated over 24 months. If the total traffic generated per month is more than the SEO cost than it is a solid investment.

But really you don’t need complex calculations – in fact you could make the argument that if the additional monthly traffic generated from SEO is worth more than the monthly SEO fee then it is a good investment overall as long as that traffic remains.

Good luck and feel free to ask any questions you have – also I offer a free SEO Agency Audit if that interests you – just get in contact with me in the chat box below.

Increasing Conversion by 400% using an Elementor Landing Page

In this blog post i wanted to talk about a recent Facebook Ad Campaign I did for a Guesthouse – and how I used Elementor to update a landing page and increase conversions by 500%. This may seem difficult to believe but I wanted to clarify a few things. 

Firstly when I speak conversion rate I’m talking about the following metrics:

  • Number of people who engaged with the booking app
  • Number of people who initiated a checkout (which is actually putting sample dates in the booking app to see availability)

The booking app that was used is CheckFront – all though the actual booking app that is used – if you are promoting a guesthouse/hotel/hostel is irrelevant – as long as it is built to be integrated with Facebook Events.

By having the booking app that you use be integrated with Facebook you can then track the results by seeing how many interactions happen for each user and being able to track what kind of results happen from modifying certain aspects of the page using split testing.

In this case let’s use an example of the old landing page and the new landing page that was built with Elementor to get it all out of the way first:

Here is the old landing page:

And here is the new landing page created with Elementor that got a 400% positive response rate:

By the way interestingly enough the first time I ran a split test between the old landing page and the new landing page the CheckFront app had broken and was not registering Events – so I couldn’t track the results too well – however after getting in contact with them and informing them of the issue they promptly fixed it.

Below are the results for the split test that was ran on Facebook Ads:

Please note ‘Content Views’ refers to times users engaged with the booking widget – it’s a different metric to Landing Page Views

Now keep in mind a couple of things – the first being that there are less impressions/click on the old landing page than the new (the targeting and ad copy are exactly the same for the two ad sets – it’s only the destination page that is different) – the reason for this is because the old landing page ad set started delivering AFTER the new landing page was launched – probably because I didn’t set some option correctly leading it to not be approved.

The other issue is that the new landing page was performing so well I didn’t see a need to continue the old landing page campaign to completion of its budget.

There were 111 clicks on the new landing page and 58 clicks on the old landing page. As you can see even if you double the results of the old landing page the new landing page outperforms it by far.

For example 4 Website Content Views (this is someone engaging with the booking app) – doubled would make 8 Website Content Views – compared to 35 Website Content Views on the new landing page. At 400% increase from 8 that would still be 32 – less than the 35.

As far as the Checkouts Initiated go – you can see we have 5 vs. 0 on the old landing page – in the past when I ran the old landing page campaign my results were pretty dismal for add to carts – having 5 is very good. Basically there is about a 12% conversion of people who engage with the booking app – and those that actually begin the checkout.

You can check out both landing pages using the link below:

http://bit.ly/2Qa7XVE – Old Landing Page

http://bit.ly/2DDTcnn – New Landing Page

So in saying that I’ll make some comments about what worked for me and what I learned from this conversion increase that you may be able to apply to yourself:

Have a Straight Anchor Call to Action

For guest houses/hostels especially – if you have a booking page – allow the user to immediately click and go to the booking section of that page instead of having to scroll down. You will find on the new landing page I have a button that says ‘Book Now’ I made this an Anchor link that takes the user past all the content and immediately to the booking section.

This may not work for all industries – but many times people are going to want to check the prices right away – why force them to go through a bunch of copy? It’s only going to annoy them – on the internet you can’t really hide the price – for commodity based products allowing users to go straight to purchase would be the go.

An Image is Worth a Thousand Words

This is not something I need to tell most people – but make sure your images work and that you have plenty. In the old landing page the images would consistently break – there were times when I would click on the images and they wouldn’t come up – or I would click on the images and the whole page would have to refresh to display that image.

The great thing about Elementor is adding an image gallery is easy – and you will notice on the new landing page I have image galleries for cabins and rooms.

Also I’ve added images for features/benefits of the accommodation stay – along with images for those:

Remove Un-necessary content

In the old landing page you’ll notice that there is a bar on the right with some unrelated content – this was taking up valuable real estate which could have been used to push the product and so I removed this.

Remove header real estate

In the old landing page the header was quite large – as you can see:

In the new landing page I had created a much smaller header. It could be argued I could have done away with the header completely but I still wanted users to explore the rest of the site. If you check the site now you’ll notice that the only page that has the new header is the Accommodation page – so I basically implemented my Elementor page on the Accommodation page only.


In later blog posts I might share the ad copy and the video I created for this ad – but hopefully this is of value to people. I have attempted to be as transparent as possible – and I believe real case studies rather than theory pieces is the best way to learn and get insight.

Peace Y

Getting Paid Online Using Stripe, WooCommerce and a Good Theme (and those pesky SSL certificates)

I’m very excited to be writing this blog post because it deals with one of the most important – top line activities for any business operating online – getting paid. If you’re not getting paid, and staying in the black – or at least looking to do so – you may as well pack up and go home.

In this blog I’ll be covering the technical issues in relation to getting paid – if you are opening an online store or selling a single product and looking to integrate a payment gateway read on – this will be a technical breakdown of how I setup payment gateways for my clients to get paid – and what you need to be aware of. 

So without further ado, let’s get started:

1) Understanding the Simple Complexities of SSL Certificates

In order to get paid online you’ll need an SSL certificate. This is just some piece of software that gets put on your site that encrypts the data between you and the payment gateway software that you’ll be using.

Rest assured that while this may seem technical (where do I get an SSL certificate, which SSL certificate is the best to get) – the easy answer is this – you can get a basic SSL certificate for free – easy peezy. 

For example – I have a number of staging sites – and I can just get in contact with my hosting company through their online chat and have them put an SSL certificate on a client’s site. It takes 1 minute – alternatively there is an option in cPanel called something like ‘Let’s encrypt’ where you can do this on your own without speaking to you rhost. And the SSL certificate is free.

Don’t let anyone convince you that you need to pay for an SSL certificate – there’s absolutely no need – and SSL companies have been pushing this for a long time – the idea that “customers won’t trust you” if you have a free SSL certificate. 

However let me show you something.

Below is me checking the SSL certificate of Amazon.com (a pretty reputable company):

And here is me checking the security certificate of a client’s site using a free SSL certificate provided by my hosting company:

Notice that they look exactly the same to the client. So don’t stress about SSL certificates or which one to get! Just get a free one provided by your hosting provider. Believe me if you’re going to fail to make sales it’s not going to be because of your SSL certificate. I’ve never heard someone say “You know we launched our product but… if only we had a reputable SSL certificate.” Lol – no that’s never happened. 

2) Make sure you are not linking to any external images or content

This is just a basic web development tenent you should be following anyway – but if you are linking to any external images on your website then the SSL certificate won’t break – or won’t authenticate your site – and your payment gateway will not work. 

This is a pretty easy fix – in fact I had this issue with a site I was working on and my hosting company fixed this issue for me in 2 minutes. If you install your SSL certificate and see this:

It means your connection is not secure due to external images. If you do have this issue simply go to this URL:

Why No Padlock

And enter in your URL – and you will get a report specifying exactly what code is breaking the SSL certificate:

And that’s it! That’s the biggest issue that can come up when you install your SSL certificate.

2) Setting up an online store using WooCommerce

No matter if you are selling 1 item on your website – or 100 items – it’s still considered an e-commerce store. Luckily these days setting up an online store is easy with WordPress and there are many frameworks that have all the checkout functionalities you’ll need to make it all work. 

Just ask yourself what you want to sell and try to find a framework that closely does what you need. 

The best advice I can give is to take a framework that has done 90% of what you need – and modify the last 10% to your needs. Do NOT create a checkout/e-commerce/online store system from scratch. 

Believe me when i say you’re not the first person to do the type of shop you’re doing online – and there are lots of frameworks that all ready do what you need. 

Here is a sample framework for a construction company that may sell certain products/services online:

Construction Theme Example

This all ready comes WooCommerce ready and everything is ready to go at the click of a button – just install it on your hosting provider and you’re ready to go.

3) Setting up a payment gateway

There are many payment gateways to choose from – PayPal, Stripe and Square are the most popular ones at the moment – but there are many others to choose from. As long as the payment gateway you choose is integrated with WooCommerce that’s the most important thing. 

If you’re not sure if it does go to 

WooCommerce Extension Library

And type in your payment gateway – e.g. Stripe

Also note that the extension is free – and many times the developer of the integration software will actually help you. For example Automaticc – the guy who built the Stripe WooCommerce integration have been helpful in replying to issues that I was having. 

If they are unresponsive many times you’ll have to buy their software or something in order to get that email support.

Once you install the plugin it’ll be available in the WooCommerce in the WooCommerce -> Settings -> Payments tab

When you sign up with your payment gateway they’ll ask you for a bunch of details (your bank account details) – to get everything working. There’s three things you’ll need to be aware of in all these integrations:

Test Keys / Live Keys

Your payment gateway will have some Test/Live keys – they are like API keys – that you will need to insert into your settings page for that payment plugin. For example once you sign up with Stripe you can find them at this URL:

Click here to get your Stripe API key

Simply copy them from here and paste them into your site URL below (just replace yourdomain.com with your domain):

https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=wc-settings&tab=checkout§ion=stripe

Couldn’t be easier than that – you can start planning your site with a test key and enter fake credit card details until everything works and then switch to live to make some test purchases with a real credit card to make sure payments are being received correctly if that’s important for you.


That’s it – once this is done you’ll be ready to start receiving money online. 

Hopefully this has taken out some of the complexities of receiving payments online and cleared some things up for you.

Good luck and remember – there are so many complexities to anything you want to do (especially when it comes to the online space) – but the most important thing is taking action.

Why Visual Composer is Worse Than Elementor and Why Theme Frameworks Need to Start Implementing It

For the past 3 months I have been eagerly studying Elementor – the new page builder for WordPress (well not technically new – it has been around for over a year – but it’s the newest WordPress page builder plugin – and in my opinion the best).

As I was using the page builder it really showed me how professional website layouts can be created in a matter of hours. This is beneficial to both clients and myself – and allows any type of promotional campaign to be launched very quickly – the only thing where effort needs to be put into is the actual content of the layout, image choices etc. rather than the technical aspect.

While I was very happy with my knowledge of Elementor – there is one problem. 

Unfortunately most WordPress frameworks/themes are still using Visual Composer Page Builder (a different plugin to Elementor) – as their standard page building software. 

Recently I was building a site where I attempted to use Elementor and it crashed some functionality of the site – forcing me to recreate the layout in Visual Composer – so I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase the differences between the two – and show you just how great Elementor is – and yet also make you aware that should you go with a framework – why understanding what Visual Builder the framework comes with is very important. 

So let’s start with checking framework page builders – and what that means (don’t get scared of all these technical words – it’ll make sense soon).

If you go to ThemeForest – which is one of my go-to places to find themes – but more importantly frameworks – let’s – for the purpose of this – imagine you are building a directory site for coffee shops in Australia – and what their facilities are for digital nomads (this is a bit of a selfish idea – as it’s something I would be interested in – since I need a powerpoint until I replace my Macbook battery, and good WiFi would be preferrable – as well as a generally friendly atmosphere when it comes to being able to sit with my laptop and not be bothered etc.) So we would build a site like ‘Digital Nomad Coffee Directory’. 

If we find a framework to start working on like this one for example: https://themeforest.net/item/urbango-directory-and-listing-wordpress-theme/22712624?s_rank=2 (P.S. I wouldn’t personally recommend this theme for other reasons – like the fact that it has no reviews left – but we are just using this as an example)

If you look through the sales page it looks very cool – and the layouts look great – until that is – you have to modify them.

At the bottom of the page you’ll find what you’re looking for:

As you can see the plugin comes with Visual Composer – which is the case for the majority of theme frameworks. So – what does this mean to you? And why should you care?

Well just to give you an open book of how it will look when you actually decide to change the layout of this page – let me show you two identical layouts for a client – and how it looks like to edit them in the backend.

Here is me editing a client layout using Elementor:

As you can see – I (or you) simply click on an element that you want to edit and then make the changes – and afterwards everything is visible exactly how it would appear on the front end. This is what makes Elementor so revolutionary! 

Now let’s compare that to Visual Composer – and how editing the same page would look like using the Visual Composer plugin:

As you can see in the video above – I do the exact same thing that I did with Elementor – but do you see how much more un-intuitive it is? Now instead of clicking on some text and editing it – I have to open up a new section – and when it comes to adding a visual element like an icon to the button – I don’t even know what it will look like without previewing the page – so every adjustment I make – I have to then update the page and then preview it (which takes 10-15 seconds each time – instead of being instantenous).

So now – hopefully – you have an idea of the differences between Visual Composer and Elementor – so keep this in mind. Especially if you get your site built – and should you wish to make changes to it – Elementor will make your life much easier in the long run.

Try and go with a theme that supports Elementor – and be aware of what page builder plugin your framework is using before you start – otherwise you will have headaches making new content.

Good luck!

FREE TOOL to Find out every time a Googler sees your page in search results

If you have a website and are not getting that much traffic – – I wanted to show you how you can see every time a Googler (google user/your potential future customer) sees your site in search results.

This will be in reference to a client I’ve recently been working with – they were not receiving much traffic in Google – however after some research I could confirm that their site was not penalised – so I wanted to see what their current status was – but also I wanted to create a seed list of keywords that I could target for that industry.

Google is a behemoth of a software company – with all the information it keeps. Not only does it keep a log of pretty much every website on the internet and who it links to – but it also keeps a log of every single Google user, and every single Google user’s search. Google also keeps track of which websites were seen by every Google user.

This means that if someone Googles your company – let’s say for example “air conditioning installation sydney” – and looks through the first 2 pages and decides to click on a specific result then Google will also keep a log of every website the user SEES on the search results (not just clicks on). 

This is very useful information to have – for example let’s say you feel that you’re not getting any traffic whatsoever from Google search results – however unbeknownst to you users may still be SEEING your results in search engines – just not clicking on it (for example if you are on page 2 or 3).

Wouldn’t that be useful information to have? 

Imagine if you are on page 2 or 3 for a high traffic keyword all ready – wouldn’t it be useful to then optimise your site for that particular keyword – a keyword you all ready have some success in – instead of starting brand new?

The other part of it is – people are searching for keywords where your site is showing up that you may not have even thought of yet – this will give you some ideas when deciding on what keywords you want to target and optimise your site for.

So – how do you see into Google’s eyes? The process is actually quite simple – it depends on if you currently have a Google Analytics account or not, below I will outline the step:

1) Make sure you have an Analytics account or a Google account

If you have an @gmail.com account – or if you all ready have an Analytics account then you are set. Otherwise you can create a Google account easily. Just go to the URL below and enter your first and last name, a password, a username that you would like. You may be required to verify your account using a mobile number so make sure you have your phone handy. 

https://accounts.google.com/signup/v2/webcreateaccount?continue=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.google.com%2Fsearch-console%3Futm_source%3Dabout-page&hl=en-US&flowName=GlifWebSignIn&flowEntry=SignUp

Also note that you don’t necessarily need a Gmail account and can use another email if you like – this may make things easier in that you receive emails to the email you check often by habit instead of having to check another email to see any updates on your site.

You’ll need to verify your email address by entering the code that is sent into the Google sign up step:

Image 2018-10-10 at 4.40.38 PM.png

Google will ask you to enter some personal details – note that your mobile is optional. 

Image 2018-10-10 at 4.41.30 PM.png

2) Add Property

Once you click on ‘Next’ after Terms and Conditions you’ll be taken to a page where Google will ask you to enter the URL of the site you would like to see Google Search data for. Simply enter in the URL as http://www.yoursite.com.

Once you enter your URL you’ll need to verify your ownership of the domain – so Google can trust that you really are the owner (otherwise anyone could spy on someone else’s domain for free). 

There are two main ways to verify your site – HTML file and HTML tag. 

Image 2018-10-10 at 6.25.39 PM.png

If your site is using WordPress then I suggest the HTML tag method – all you need to do is login to your WordPress and then click on ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Editor’

Image 2018-10-10 at 6.27.08 PM.png

Once in the Editor page (dismiss the warning that you could screw the site up – you’ll only be making one small change so there’s little risk of damaging your site).

Find the theme header file on the right (it’ll usually be called header.php) and click to edit it

Image 2018-10-10 at 6.28.49 PM.png

In the Verify Ownership page in Google Search Console click the drop down for HTML tag and copy the <meta> tag

Image 2018-10-10 at 6.32.50 PM.png

Then paste the <meta> tag anywhere between the <head> and </head> text in the header.php file – you can see I’ve pasted it into the file below:

Image 2018-10-10 at 6.39.08 PM.png

Click the ‘Update File’ button once you add the <meta> tag and then click on ‘Verify’ in the Google Search Console screen – you’ll get a message saying that your property has been verified:

Image 2018-10-10 at 6.40.47 PM.png

Once you’ve done this you’ll have to wait about 24-48 hours to see any useful data in your console. 

Image 2018-10-10 at 6.43.43 PM.png

Get the data

Now when you come back in a couple of days and login simply click on ‘Performance’ on the left

Image 2018-10-10 at 7.00.04 PM.png

Then click the download button and click on Download CSV.

You’ll now have a spreadsheet similar to this – with 5 columns:

Image 2018-10-10 at 7.01.37 PM.png

The columns will let you know:

Query – the query Googlers searched for where you came up Clicks – the amount of clicks your website has received for that query Impressions – the amount of time your website appeared on a page that a Googler was viewing
CTR – the percentage of people that clicked your ad vs the people that viewed it – for example if on average someone clicks your ad once for every 3 times it’s viewed you would have a 25% CTR
Position – the average position at which your site appears under for a particular keyword, so if position is 74 for example – it means you show up as result #4 on page #7 (not the best place to start from)

Finding out what keyword is useful

This step will require some custom software – you can use Rank Tracker – which is a free download by clicking on the link below:

https://www.link-assistant.com/rank-tracker/download.html

I have the paid version and I assume this will work in the free version (otherwise just send the .csv file over to me and I can do this for you) – simply open Rank Tracker – create a New Project and then paste the keywords from the .csv file into the text field:

Image 2018-10-10 at 7.21.33 PM.png

Personally I remove Bing and Yahoo.com.au from the preferred search engines and just leave Google.com.au

Then click on the refresh button to get – this is not really that useful because you all ready have the average position that they keywords are at from the .csv file – however what you really want is the traffic for the particular keyword

Image 2018-10-10 at 7.22.38 PM.png

So click on that one

Once you have a list of the searches you can sort by the most popular searches and see which ones you are ranking for all ready.

In the case of my client you can see he is ranked position 33 for ‘sound proofing material’ – a keyword that gets 10,000 – 100,000 searches a month. While position 33 is pretty much invisible in Google’s eyes – it’s still a starting point and I can use that to then research other keywords. 

So there it is – looking through Google’s lens to see exactly where you are right now – what keywords you’re showing for and which keywords are the most powerful – a great way to start a campaign – and by the way all the software I describe above is absolutely free.

Good luck!

The Black Cloak – What the top SEO Experts are Forced by Google to Keep a Secret from You

There was a book that I was reading – I don’t remember the name of the book exactly – but I had found it in a popular bookstore in Sydney (Kimonodo bookshop on George Street). The book was an SEO book – and was actually through its fourth or seventh edition. It was a very popular selling book – the name of the book isn’t really important – what’s important is that the person who was writing the book was recognised as an SEO expert – he had worked with Fortune 500 companies and judging by the weight of the book – he had a lot of things to share with me.

So I divulged this book (the digital version of course). And the entire experience was just like any other expert’s book that I read on this topic – it had the same flaw.

You see the book talked about all the standard stuff you would expect to hear from an SEO book – on page optimisation, making your site super fast, having the right tags, uploading sitemaps, competitor and keyword research and all that jazz. 

However at the end of the book – I was really at the same step that I was at when I started. Sure – I could optimise my site, make it fast, make sure the title tag and heading tags match the keyword I’m after – and doing all that may get me to page #2 (or page #1 if there are not that many competitors).

However how do you get the coveted top spot where most of the traffic goes?

At the end of the day the big thing which is most often overlooked is – backlinks.

How the hell do I get a bunch of high quality backlinks coming to my site?

If you look at the content by SEO Experts they will talk about ‘outreach’ as a strategy to get backlinks – this is the concept of finding out companies that will link back to you and starting a program of calling them to get backlinks (or emailing them). 

The above strategy – of ‘outreach’ is the most popular – and the second most popular is getting backlinks through various social media platforms, web 2.0 properties and all kinds of ‘submission’ services – this second strategy is dissapearing fairly quickly as Google de-authorizes most of these services as a viable way to increase your page authority.

But let’s go back to the first step – ‘outreach’.

If you were to listen to the experts – what kind of ‘outreach’ could you really do? Let’s say you’re a a solopreneur – or you have a small business doing some kind of trade. Who are you going to outreach to? What will you say? 

Now – this is not to say that this type of strategy won’t work – but it’s a big amount of work. You have to isolate the companies that you want to outreach to – track your correspondence. It’s a lot of heavy lifting – even if you were to outsource this service it would still cost a lot to have someone manage the entire project – it’s something outside of budget for many solopreneur companies.

What if there was another way? 

Now when it comes to ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ – terms you may have heard – white hate refers to getting rankings in an ethical fair way within Google guidelines – while black hat refers to getting rankings by basically ‘gaming’ the system in some way that would make Google really mad with you.

Some black hat tactics may work for a period of time – until Google catches on – at which point if you were running a black hat strategy – your sites would get penalised – potentially placed in a sandbox – and your business would be kaput.

The idea is that white hat takes longer – but you are more assured of the results being longer lasting.

There is also grey hat – the idea of using both white hat strategies and some black hat strategies in combination. 

So now let’s come back to this book I had found in the Kimonodo bookshop – this author talked about – of course – all the white hat strategies available and he also recommended these strategies to the person reading the book. Most people who would be reading this book – solopreneurs – would get one side of the story – he would warn people that using “black hat” strategies would only lead to – at some point – the downfall of their websites – and to keep it clean.

The SEO Expert would also of course say that he only uses white hat strategies for his clients to maintain safety.

A closer look

But let’s dig a bit deeper in this.

Let’s assume that SEO Expert Bob used some strategies that were not 100% legit – as part of his toolset. Do you think he would really mention this in his big expert book? And how would that look when he went to SEO conferences – with the Google big boys there?

“Oh, by the way – one strategy that I’ve used that’s been really helpful is this black hat strategy, I hope I don’t get caught by Google – but I use it with all my clients and there’s no way Google can find it because it’s pretty iron clad.”

What will Google do if he were to say something like that?

They could easily audit his sites and those of his clients and de-index him in a jiffy. 

Now I’m not saying the SEO Expert Bob uses any black hat/gray hat strategies – all I’ms saying is that even if he did – there is no way he could share them in a public forum as it would impact his business and his potential results. 

So here you are in this conondrum – as you look for resources on how to rank well you turn to popular experts – who are in an awkward situation when trying to tell you how to rank for competitive keywords – and so you are getting 50% of the information – in the end SEO Expert Bob has to – for his own interests – hold back the real information on how to rank successfully. 

And this is why you can’t look too deep into ‘mainstream’ SEO information when it comes to ranking – while it’s technically effective it involves a lot of work – and while hard work is good – for a small business sometimes using some tricks that Google may not be a fan of is ok – if you don’t do stupid stuff.

So what is everyone not telling you?

What is the big secret that no one can really tell you?

Well I’ll make this quick – it has to do with domain ownership.

Simply put – rather than looking for backlinks from high authority sites – you create the high authority sites yourself and link them back to your own website – unlike the outreach method – this strategy is replicable, predictable and is untraceable by Google – since to Google’s bots the sites you build look like proper high authority domains. 

I won’t get too much into this strategy here for the sake of time – however I hope you can take away from this to look at any information regarding SEO that is provided with a critical eye and understand where people stand in relation to Google.

Good luck!

If You are a Guesthouse/Hostel/Hotel and Want to Advertise on Facebook – READ THIS!

In this article I want to talk about what you’ll need to know before you promote a guest house (or any type of accommodation on Facebook). So let’s get straight into it.

Cultivate a Liking Economy

If you are a guest house you want to ensure people like your page – and there is a reason for this. Unlike in the past where if you were to get someone’s details you could put them on a mailing list and perhaps remind them to come back later – with a Facebook page – having a like means having access to EVERY FRIEND THAT YOUR ‘FAN’ HAS ON FACEBOOK.

The reason I bring this up is the Relevance score that I obtained from my latest campaign using this technique. Now keep in mind the higher your relevance score the more people are engaging with your ad – which is a win-win for Facebook and yourself – Facebook gets ads that are engaging and provide a good user experience and you get to have low click through rates (or whatever your objective is). Facebook can also better justify their results.

In my most recent campaign I promoted to Friends of Fans – seeing as I had access to a Facebook page of 50K users this was a HUGE market. What’s great is that when your post is promoted the person being promoted to will see that one of their friends likes the page that is promoting (make sure you promote from the Facebook page that has the ‘friends of fans’ audience). 

Anyway in the end I got a Relevance Score of 9 – which is the second highest relevance score you could get. 

Video is your friend

As someone who used to run a video production business I was all about selling big video packages – and while it can be beneficial to spend a good budget to showcase your product in the best way – when it comes to a guesthouse or smaller accommodation a big video crew is most likely going to be outside of your budget.

One tool that I highly recommend is Animoto – which is what I used for my campaign. The thing with video is it gets people’s attention – you can see the video that I created for the guest house below:

As you can see it’s quite simple and I used a bunch of photos that the client had on file – Animoto has templates that you can use (in fact they have a real estate template which I used) – and all you need to do is take out the photos and place in your ones and play around with the copy. The subscription for the month is only $41 – which is a bargain if you can get a good video out of it.

Once you make your video you can download it and never use it again since you’re not locked into a contract.

Install the Facebook Pixel – and Learn the Naunced of FB Events

Facebook is a big gold mine of data. They track everything – while I don’t think they deserve all the big oversight that’s come down on them recently – I can also understand how people can be concerned with how much data Facebook collects on you. And to be clear – Facebook collects a LOT of data on user’s interactions not just with Facebook – but also with your ad campaign – and all of this data can be used to fine tune your ads and get the optimal cost per conversion (and keep cost per clicks etc. low).

The Facebook pixel is a no brainer – especially if you are getting quite a bit of traffic coming through your website – you can retarget everyone who visited your site as a specific audience.

But it’s more than that – you should hope that your booking system integrates with the Facebook Pixel – in the case of my project the client had a booking system setup with Checkfront – which allows for Facebook Pixel integration.

However it’s not just integrating your booking system with the Facebook pixel (that’s the easy part – in most cases you just have to find the Facebook integration option and paste in your Facebook Pixel in there) – you can find out how to create your facebook pixel by clicking here.

Let me give you an example. In the case of my guesthouse client – any time that someone even clicked on the booking widget to check the rate of the rooms – the booking system would fire off a custom event to Facebook – called ‘ViewContent’ (not to be confused with ‘PageView’). At first I wasn’t sure what this ‘ViewContent’ meant however once I found out it became easy to see how much we needed to pay to get someone to engage with our ads – we were able to see the difference between someone just clicking on our ad and viewing our landing page – and actually engaging with the booking widget and checking prices – we could also see events such as ‘add to cart’ and ‘initiate checkout’ so we could see the cost per result for each of these actions from all the campaigns.

facebook pixel view content

One cool tip – once you install the Facebook Pixel on your booking app – test creating a booking and watch which events the Facebook Pixel fires off.

Split Test Genders

One cool way to approach a campaign – once you’ve got a decent audience of (hopefully) friends of fans – is to split test genders. From my experience I’ve found men and women engage differently with ads – men tend to view a page and then if they want to book they will fill in the details and make a checkout.

With women on the other hand they will engage more with the booking app – checking prices and whatnot and availability – before making the booking.

Try and split test genders to see how the results turn out.

Remarket, remarket, remarket

Remarketing is the name of the game with Facebook. While a big part that is pushed by Facebook is access to its demographic audience and the ability to target users based on interest – you should have a strategy where you are remarketing to engaged audiences.

Let me give you an example.

After launching the video ad for the Guesthouse I was able to see how many people engaged with the ad by 3 second blocks as well as 10 second blocks. Facebook was giving me so much data – and an easy way to re-market.

3 second views

The way customer behaviour is – nobody is going to see an ad for accommodation and immediately book (Facebook has attribution for a set number of days – so if someone clicks your ad and makes a purchase 10 days later the result is still attributed to the campaign – as long as they’re still logged into Facebook).

You should see any campaign that did not achieve what you were after as the cost of building an audience – so let’s say you launch a video ad and get few clicks but a large number of people watched the ad longer than 10 seconds – you could then retarget this audience of people who watched your ad longer than 10 seconds. It’s a great way to build audiences.

Not to mention the traffic that comes through your website from other source (AdWords, organic traffic). If someone has engaged your ad you should make the effort to follow up with them online and move the person through the sales funnel.

Facebook’s massive data points allow you to create cool audiences of everything so take advantage of it.

Good luck!

Get Control Over Your Site With Elementor

Recently I’ve been playing around with a new plugin for WordPress called Elementor. If you haven’t heard of this plugin it’s basically the newest, freshest way to edit your website in WordPress – and in order to understand why it’s becoming such a big deal you’ll need tou understand firstly how WordPress pages used to be built (using one of my favorite theme’s in-built editor – Enfold’s Advanced Editor) – how the market has changed and how WordPress has stepped up to combat these market forces.

I was playing around with Elementor and you can see a sample page I created – this was my first play through so don’t expect much – headstudios.com.au/sample-landing-page/

However what is important is to understand how (my) clients used to need to be able to edit their pages and how they can edit their pages now that Elementor is a core aspect of my tool kit (I’m going all in with the training on this).

The Good Ol’ Days

I created quite a few sites in the past using the Enfold theme – the way this theme would work is – well it looked quite good – but in order to edit a page you really had to have a bit of expertise. It was still fairly straightforward – but it wasn’t ideal. Here is an example of a backend for a client’s site using the Enfold theme:

As you can see the Advanced Editor for Enfold – while still showing the text that can be edited – isn’t a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) type editor. As far as editing pages in WordPress has gone – there has been a couple of editors that have attempted to get as close as possible to being WYSIWYG without any really succeeding to the true nature of what a WYSIWYG editor is supposed to be.

The closest plugin that has done this is WordPress Visual Composer – and even that was more complicated then it was worth – being in essence something that looked like a WYSIWYG editor without really being one. 

Now even though WordPress is the king of CMS on the internet there have been a number of players coming in that have been offering complete WYSIWY type editors on the market – notably Wix in the cheaper range but also sites like HubSpot/ClickFunnels which were more premium options.

The technology was there but WordPress hadn’t picked it up in a major way – until now.

Let’s Compare

The old Enfold way is cumbersome and still creates another layer between what you see on the final screen and what you’re editing – Elementor completely removes this.

If you are editing a page built with Elementor you can edit it in real time – as in you will see what the end user sees as you make changes to it. While you’re not expected to learn everything there is about Elementor – what is great is that it’s so easy to pick up (just click what you want to edit and you’re away) – but also it’s very intuitive to learn.

Many new clients have issues where their web developers are unavailable and they are completely lost in editing their sites and making required changes – with Elementor things become almost too easy (I could be out of a job soon ? ).

All new sites that I create from this point forward will have Elementor Pro installed on them – and I will be moving to using Elementor exclusively for new sites – not only because it looks great but more importantly because it makes it so much easier for clients (and myself) to keep front end product pages updated.

How to Decrease your Cost Per Conversion by Doing Split Tests on Facebook

Recently I launched an ad and I made a mistake – I didn’t actually do a split test of the campaign before I launched. I created a cool video (which by the way – looking back was not the best option in hindsight as my goal was conversion and videos drive more awareness and engagement gaols) and I targeted a pretty good audience – being people that had visited my client’s website in the past.

The ad did well in getting about 50 cents per click (all though no conversions – however the button clicked was ‘Book Now’ so I can only assume that a click showed some intent).

However looking back I wanted to talk about how I setup a split test based on the reports and why Facebook is awesome when it comes to getting audience insights after a campaign is launched – unlike Google.

With Google – if you launch a campaign you can tell which people searched for which keywords – but at the end of a campaign you can only garner conversion results from specific keywords and optimise as so. So you could say:

“Well this keyword ‘x’ brought in this much conversion for our ad spend, but this keyword ‘y’ brought in this much conversions – so this keyword is better based on spend vs. results”.

However the big advantage Facebook has is giving you insights that you had never even considered.

For example in my latest campaign – after launching it I noticed a very clear advantage in the amount of engagement/clicks between women and men (women tended to click the ad at a much higher rate).

This type of demographic reporting is simply not possible with Google – and all though Google is great at getting customers at the moment they are searching for a solution – the insight you get is much lower. 

The great thing about Facebook is how easily they allow you to split test campaigns based on different variants. In fact the tools are built right into the system with one click solutions – you just click an ad set, ad group or ad campaign – and click on ‘Duplicate’. You can then run the variants to see which performs better.

What’s great is that once you find various target groups you can then target your ads based on those groups – so while my next campaign will only have the gender variant (one campaign is targeting all genders while the other is targeting females only) – later I could tailor an ad to only women – since I am promoting a guest house at a spiritual retreat – to have photos of a woman doing yoga or something along those lines.

To do a split test simply click on ‘Duplicate’ > ‘Quick Duplicate’ at either the ‘Campaign’, ‘Ad Sets’ or ‘Ads’ level. Creating a variant then involves simply changing some minor point on either of the rows in the categories above. And voila – you’re off and running.

Running a Facebook campaign without a split test is not a good idea – and there has NEVER been a time when – prior to planning a campaign people didn’t have a disagreement on the best way to setup ad creative or targeting – now the guesswork is out of it – it’s easy to setup and test the results.

This means that even if a campaign is not as successful as you would have liked – you can almost treat it like a market research excercise to find out what doesn’t work and what demographics are more engaged with what creative.

If you are looking to launch a split test and get engagement with your product/service leave your details below and I can launch it immediately in my business manager and let you know about your customers. 

Let’s do this!