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 –

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!

Integrating HubSpot CRM with QuForm 2 (and why this can double your yearly revenue)

If you are like most people with a business website – your contact form is linked to your email account. Someone fills in their details on your website after seeing your ad on AdWords/Google My Business/Search and then the form is sent to your email. You receive the email – look over their details and either email them back or give them a call. You go back and forth and eventually you either close the deal or they go somewhere else.

Depending on the industry you’re in – the sales cycle for a new lead can be extra long – and it’s all too easy (and I will put my hand up as being guilty of this) to simply forget about a lead who is not looking to make his decision until some time.

Just because someone leaves an enquiry on your site doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy right away – they could still be doing their initial research.

So this lead comes to you – you speak to them and then other things come up – other projects – perhaps even other sales opportunities and eventually this lead gets forgotten.

If this resonates with you – just know that 48% of SALES PEOPLE (we’re not even talking about self employed businesses but people that are actually paid only to know how to sell) don’t follow up with prospects.

So this brings us to the importance of having a CRM. Most likely you have heard of CRM’s in the past – I have used them before – however I’ve never really written much about it. In the past I used Zoho CRM – a free solution that while it made me feel good to have a CRM – it didn’t really make that much of a difference in my life.

However this all changed with the release of HubSpot CRM – this is a user friendly CRM that is not only the best CRM I have used – but is completely free! A price you can’t really beat. There are so many great features in this CRM – and I would highly recommend checking it out.

While HubSpot CRM is awesome the issue is how to get a lead into it through your contact form so that you can then nurture it and not forget about it, categorise it and track your correspondence with it.

Anyway HubSpot CRM does provide a Web to Lead form however the issue is that – on the free version of HubSpot CRM this standard Web to Lead form has HubSpot branding on it – I love HubSpot CRM but I don’t want to advertise them on my website – plus it shows people that I’m a little cheap with my CRM.

The solution is to use QuForm 2 – a WordPress plugin – setting this up is so easy so below I will give you a guide on how to do it as well as some general tips on Contact Forms on your site.

Install QuForm 2 On your WordPress Site

As a client of mine you will receive this plugin as standard – however you can also purchase it here:

The plugin costs $29USD – however this is a small price to pay to remove the branding from your site.

Sign up for HubSpot CRM and Activate the Marketing Extension

This is something that is not as straightforward as you would think. Signing up for HubSpot CRM is easy and you can find the sign up link below:

However I had difficulty setting up the Marketing Extension – which you can see the HubSpot ticket for below:

Long story short – after signing up for HubSpot CRM simply install the HubSpot Form Builder plugin (don’t worry even though the name of the plugin is ‘Form Builder’ you won’t actually be building any forms with it – it’s only to setup the tracking code so it can pick up the results of QuForm)

And follow the instructions to setup the HubSpot tracking code for your website.

Now I have no idea how HubSpot does this – it’s very impressive – but after you add the tracking code to your website – which involves installing the ‘Contact Form Builder for WordPress – Conversion tools by Hubspot’ plugin‘ and then logging in through the plugin which will then add the tracking code to your website.

You don’t have to integrate the QuForm with HubSpot at all – the tracking code takes care of all that for you.

One Quick Bonus Tip for Forms

One quick bonus tip – if you have a form on your site make it redirect to a success page after it’s submitted.

The reason for this is that if you do that you can actually track where your enquiries are coming from in Google Analytics (which is another topic). Many forms I see the user fills int he details and the form has an AJAX message saying ‘Form Has Been Sent’ – however if you are doing organic search optimisation or simply have multiple promotion channels using Analytics to track the source of your leads is really important.

And you know what’s great about Analytics – it’s free too! (Yes I love free stuff).


Nurturing leads is so important – and if you don’t have a follow up system in place – or your contact forms are just going to your email and then dissapearing beneath all the other correspondence – and you don’t have a CRM system integrated with your site you could be losing a ton of money. Making a habit to follow up with your leads is so important – and now that a great tool like HubSpot CRM is free – and there’s a way to integrate a nice looking form with it – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it.

As a new client – ask me about linking your new (or current site) with HubSpot CRM using QuForm. In fact here’s a QuForm below – let me know what you are currently having challenges with and I’ll get back to you to assist.

Adios Amigos!

Why I Moved Mine (And My Client’s Sites) Off GoDaddy – and why SiteGround is Awesome

Firstly – this is not a diss at GoDaddy – which is a great hosting company in many ways. However I wanted to talk about why I moved mine (and my client’s sites off GoDaddy) recently and give a bit more of an insight to you if you are considering GoDaddy (and have seen the ads on the telly with that guy in the kitchen or out on the street).

So let’s get straight into it.

Server Locations

Even though GoDaddy prominently advertises on television in Australia you should be aware that they don’t actually have servers physically situated in Australia.

The closest set of servers that GoDaddy owns is in Singapore – this is the same as SiteGround – my new hosting provider – however it’s important for people to understand this.

GoDaddy is extremely good at branding – and it is good that you can call them on an Australian number – but don’t make the mistake that if you go with GoDaddy that your server will be located in Australia.

WordPress Hosting

GoDaddy does have a WordPress hosting option – which I have tried – all though I had difficulties with it and ended up just using the standard hosting and installing WordPress on it.

Even though GoDaddy has a WordPress option it should be noted how their business is organised. Their target market seems to be mom and pop retailers and a big push they have for new website owners is to get sites built with GoDaddy’s site builder (a product they created).

If you are someone sold on using WordPress (which as a WordPress developer with absolutely no bias I think is awesome) – then looking at GoDaddy as a host for WordPress is not the best option.

In fact in a public poll of the best WordPress host on Facebook was held and SiteGround came at #1 while GoDaddy was down at #6.

I should note this is not necessarily a dig at GoDaddy but rather the fact that GoDaddy just isn’t built for WordPress hosting – it is not their core business and this might be good for some who are not as tech savvy.

Server Response Time

This is really the thing that broke the camel’s back. Before I was going to write this I thought it may be a wee bit unfair – because I was on GoDaddy’s Deluxe Plan which is about $12-$14p/m billed monthly – and SiteGround’s servers were more (slightly more expensive) at about $24p/m. Pricing is complicated because the cost goes down to being the same as GoDaddy with discounts – but you do have to pay for 12 months up front.

So when comparing the server response times I decided to compare it with a client’s who is on a more expensive GoDaddy hosting package. And the result – just like with all my other sites is the same.

Simply put – GoDaddy’s server response time is extremely frustrating.

While my sites now get a .2 second response time – my other client’s site is still at 1.2 seconds for mobile and 1.8 seconds for desktop. You have to keep in mind this is not the time it takes to load the site – but rather just to hear back from GoDaddy’s servers so that information can start to be passed!

Since I knew how important it was to have fast loading sites for Google search results (not to mention user experience) – I made the decision to migrate everything away from GoDaddy.

Phone Support

What I will give GoDaddy credit for is their fantastic phone support. Unlike Crazy Domains – whom I had been a customer with – who outsourced their call centers to India and who caused me untold amounts of frustration (long hold times and people who just didn’t know anything) GoDaddy tech support are located in America – in house – and are very skilled up.

This is why this is not meant to be a diss on GoDaddy – the mom and pop stores who want to make something themselves will find GoDaddy’s experienced phone support invaluable.

However I found I didn’t need to contact GoDaddy support in most instances after I had figured everything out – and SiteGround still has phone support (it’s just located in the US).

Customer Experience (and Search) Comes First

Despite GoDaddy’s great customer service support customer experience and search rankings come first. If clients can’t find you – and are waiting too long for your site to load nothing else matters.

And this is why now all my sites respond in .2 seconds – and that 1.6 second difference from GoDaddy is a big deal. Just remember to look at these things when choosing a host – server response time is the big one at the end of the day when all is said and done however it’s something that most people do not consider when purchasing hosts.

All my clients receive FAST hosting as part of working with me – so you won’t have to worry about it – fill out the form below if you’re feeling your site is giving users a bad user experience (and is not being found on Google by your clients) and I’ll call you to discuss.

Adios Amigos!

Everything I know about SEO – And how I Got to Page #1 for ‘wordpress developer sydney’

Recently I’ve been making a bunch of calls to a number of companies in the waterproofing niche and it always astounds me how big companies with impressive websites can still get SEO fundamentals so wrong.

Not only are businesses breaking SEO rules that would literally take 30 minutes to fix – if even that – but even SEO companies who charges clients thousands of dollars can make big mistakes.

What I wanted to do was show how I got to the top of a very competitive keyword.

Now before I start I wanted to make a couple of things clear.

Firstly – WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) and is built from the ground up to be SEO friendly. There are more WordPress developers than any other type of web developer. And on top of that – Sydney is the most populous city in Australia. This is not an easy keyword to obtain – but to give you some more of an idea about just how much this keyword is worth – the Google AdWords bid for ONE click on an ad for ‘wordpress developer sydney’ is valued over $50!

Now if you are reading this and feeling that your keyword is as competitive or less competitive than I hope this article will be of assistance to you as I break down how I got this hyper competitive keyword.

The Basics

The first thing I did – and I call these the basics. They’re very straightforward to implement on your website is the following:

Title Tag and Heading Tag

As you can see on my site the keyword ‘wordpress developer sydney’ is clearly in the title – and when you go on the site you will see it’s in the slider as well as the heading underneath the slider. There is no doubt in Google’s mind what this site is about.

What is interesting though is that I am also on the first page for the keyword ‘wordpress consultant sydney’ even though I don’t have this keyword ANYWHERE on my site – I’ll get to my theory as to why this is soon.

Google My Business, Citations and Footer

Google is going to trust businesses that have a physical location and evidence of a physical location. In my case you can see I have a Google My Business page with a (verified address) and I stretch this out further.

Firstly – if you have a business address make sure to include it in the footer of your website – not only for clients to check – but also for Google. It’s also a good match with your Google My Business.

Sometimes I have clients who don’t want to put down their addresses because they live in a residential area – firstly Google doesn’t care what area you live in – only that you have a physical address (which Google verifies with a postage envelope with a code). However if you absolutely cannot have your real address advertised online here’s a tip – get a virtual business address in a CBD area for 1 month and just use it for Google My Business verification – easy!

High Authority Inbound Links

This is where the kettle really meets the road.

If you were to just do the above items you would be ahead of 80%+ of your competitors. However high authority inbound links is what is really going to set you miles ahead of anyone.

The question is – where do you get these high authority inbound links?

This is a very contentious area of SEO – now if you look at one side you will hear that you should get inbound links from natural sources (PR, online blogs) – and while that can work for some indusries let’s be real – what is your typical tradie/plumber going to do to create PR? Sure – you could dress up as a hammer and go on the street and invite some newspapers and hope that works – I know I’m too scared to do something like that.

What I have found very effective however is ownership of high authority assets. The idea works like this – you purchase (or get in contact with someone) – who owns a high authority website and get them to link to you.

You vary up the link text and THAT’S IT. Your site is at the top – and you can rinse and repeat this with other inner pages and even other niches linking to the same front page on your site.

Now here is what I did – I purchased a bunch of expired domains with high authority links (think – an online magazine based in Utah for example that was quite large for 3 years but then got shut down – even though the domain is up for sale and the site doesn’t exist do you think every link that pointed to that site is gone)? And do you think once that domain is brought back from the dead that Google can see what is going on?

This is what has worked for me – and is working for many other people.

It’s really that simple! The only challenge is getting those high authority inbound links – and I can help you get those from either my network or other networks – you will see a result in 2 weeks guaranteed!

So you can be raking in the clients to your business within 2 weeks – and I can even get you some rankings that will get clients enquiring and calling you (high quality purchase intent clients) as a trial to show you just what is possible.

Simply fill in the form below if you are interested (and mention this article):

Final Thoughts – Mobile and Fast Sites

Everything above would be straightforward if not for the whole “getting a quality site built” (hint hint: I’m a WordPress developer :) – but there are two things you’ll definately need to keep an eye on.

The first is mobile compatibility – this is easy to achieve by simply finding a website template/framework that is mobile compatible – for example Enfold is one that I use for many clients that is very customisable and is battle tested:

In fact it’s the same one I used for this site – don’t get too hung up on which framework to use – believe me – for 90% of businesses no client is going to find you and say “Well everything looks good, the offer is good but I’m not going to leave an enquiry or engage because I don’t like the background color” – it’s not nearly as important as other factors like the content (and Enfold looks great anyway).

And finally – have a fast site. Not only does Google decide your organic results based on how fast your site loads – but studies have been done that show that a 2 second delay in website load times leads to a 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor.

One mistake I made when I started my business was going with GoDaddy (you may have seen their ads on TV recently) – BIG mistake. Their server response time was at some points up to 7 seconds – and most of the time hovered at 1 second. My recommendation if you are going to do hosting is to use SiteGround – and I can host your site for you for free as part of my packages – I use SiteGround’s servers and the response time is always at .2 seconds.


My hope is that this article stirred up something in you – however taking action is what separates those that achieve results from those that don’t. Get in contact with me using the form above and I will make a time to speak to you to see how I can put you in a position to get the purchase intent visitors leaving you inquiries on your site.

And if you have any general enquiries about SEO or this article put them over and I would be glad to assist any way I can.

Good luck!

Getting Out of Your Own Way – How a Developer’s Staging Site Can Completely Destroy Your Google Rankings

When people think about SEO – and I put myself in this category – they think of the smartest ways to get to the top of the search engines. How they can outrank and beat their competitors for those tough keywords. They imagine this complex web of ranking alchemy that select search engine companies use to get clients to the top of search results.

The truth that is closer to home however – is that many times it’s just a case of getting out of your own way.

The idea that search engine marketers are people who have figured out some secret sauce is only half true. Read on to see how getting out of your own way is sometimes more than 50% of the challenge.

Google actually has a guide on how to optimise your site for their search engines – and its own software which is very easy to install – that tells you what issues it’s detecting on your site.

Yes – Google actually tells you how to rank higher in search engines.

The combination of a web developer that understands how to not only create an appealing website – but also how to get it indexed and ranked – is a rare combination. And I have not seen a clearer example of an excellent web developer combined with a complete dearth of SEO knowledge than what I witnessed in the last couple of days.

A client’s site whom I had not had contact with for a while had gone down and its brand keyword search was not coming up.

Upon researching in Google Console I had discovered that even though the site was coming up on – what was happening was the WP dashboard was redirecting to a staging site (which is a site that developers use to test code prior to pushing it live). The staging site had created an automatic sitemap which was submitted to Google – and this was the site that was coming up in search results – about the 4th one down.

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This video shows how a sitemap was submitted from the staging site – leading to the wrong URL’s being indexed – which led to a whole pleothora of problems for site indexability.

I had resubmitted the site URL in Google Search Console and it is now coming up – however this shows you how important it is to – at the very elast – get out of your own way when it comes to optimising your site online.

If you want to learn more about using Google Search click here for Google’s official guide.

Also if you would like me to setup your Google Search and tell you what errors are coming up with your site simply drop me a line and I can do this for free (limited time offer).

All the best – and remember – sometimes it’s not about competing – it’s just about getting out of our own way!

Launching my first funnel – 5 Nuggets That I Took Away

If you’re not all ready aware from all the advertisements throughout my website – I have written and launched an eBook called ‘How to Not Get Ripped Off By Your Web Developer’.
This was a big accomplishment for me for the following reasons:
  • I had created for the first time in my life – a ‘product’ based on my creative output
  • I launched this product
  • I advertised this product
 Now to be clear this ‘product’ – I gave out for free. I didn’t charge people for the eBook – the idea was that people would download the eBook and say – “Wow, I don’t want to get ripped off by my web developer – and since Kosta is so adamant about showing me how to not get ripped off I think I can trust this guy.”
The biggest barrier – in my belief – for most businesses launching their own product and advertising is fear.
Fear was the biggest barrier for me anyway. I had been developing websites using WordPress for 6 years – I knew how to create funnels, how to write, how to do everything that would be required to launch this eBook – the only thing stopping me was the fear of putting something out there. I remember writing ideas for the eBook and literally getting a panic attack.
Anyway now that I’ve launched the eBook I wanted to give my take-away of what I learned.
Keep in mind – for the record I got about 120 downloads on the eBook – and I could probably get more if I pursued my strategy. However rather than saying what I did – I wanted to explain the mistakes I made along the way to finally getting people to download my eBook –  since that’s more interesting right?
  1. Listening to Random People
The first mistake I made is listening to the advice of random people. Now when I say advice I mean people that would comment on my eBook on Facebook pages to which I posted it to. Basically people would give me feedback on the eBook – and the biggest feedback that I got was that the eBook cover was not “professional” or was “too controversial”. Now for the record the eBook cover was this:
The guy pointing the gun at the reader is a bit intense – a bit in your face sure – but when I found the photo I thought it was tongue in cheek funny and attention grabbing so selected it. Boy was I unprepared for the vitroil that random haters flung at me. I wish I still had the screenshots of people that would comment on the Facebook page.
I was called “unprofessional” (what a stupid word by the way, like it takes effort to be professional – a.k.a boring).
There were also other developers that got very offended that I was ‘tainting’ the web development profession by insuniating that web developers were rip offs (ignoring the fact that I was a web developer myself).
Every time someone commented on my post it received more engagement and attention – and thus led to more downloads.
Now here’s the thing – I actually had two alternate eBook covers. My graphic designer had created the eBook cover shown above and also the one below:

An alternate ebook cover that my designer made that was more ‘appropriate’

An alternate ebook cover that my designer made that was more ‘appropriate’

So anyway I decided not to use the eBook cover above but just out of interest I asked people on Facebook if they felt the eBook cover above was more ‘appropriate’ to which people on the Facebook group responded with a resounding YES. Anyway I thought my gun slinging eBook cover was way better – so I decided to run a split test using Google Analytics. And guess what? My awesome cover with the dude with the gun pointing at the reader completely smashed the ‘appropriate’ cover with the hacker guy.
What does this mean? To me it indicated that people are so obsessed with being “professional” and pushing it on to others – and while to some level it’s important to be “professional” if what you mean by that is that you respond to enquiries quickly, you deliver a high level of service, and you deliver value to your clients then yes, it’s important to be professional.
But if what you mean by being professional is being boring and not having a personality – then that is you operating on a level of fear. You’re not being professional because you hold yourself to a higher standard, your ‘professional’ attitude is more a polite self-rationalisation for your fear of not being yourself and honest.
Of course everyone is different and every company is different – that eBook cover may not work for a lot of industries and companies depending on how they present themselves – but it worked for me and at the stage that I’m at – my biggest concern is conversion level – so if something increases the conversion level I’m going to go with that.

2. Making sure your email sequence spits out at the right order

Mailchimp is the email application I use - I highly recommend it.

Mailchimp is the email application I use – I highly recommend it.

 After people have downloaded my eBook – the idea was to send 5 emails over a period of 5 weeks with extra content related to the content of the eBook along with a call to action to get in contact with me. The entire eBook funnel was really a lead generation strategy.
The email sequence was setup with Mailchimp however I had screwed up the sequence. While I don’t want to get into the technical details of why it happened – suffice to say that the 5 emails I had planned were not sent out correctly – at first only the first auto repsonder email was sent and not the others – and then later the emails were not sent out at the correct times.
The problem was however – that once I got about 50 subscribers, I couldn’t just re-activate the other emails in the sequence – because the 50 subscribers had all ready been on my list for longer than the time the second email should have been sent out once I activated it.
The whole thing caused problems and was probably one of the lead reasons that I didn’t get any concrete leads.
So the one thing I recommend for those that are setting up a funnel with an email sequence (every funnel should have an email sequence) is to test that the emails are being sent out at the correct times.
If you have an email sequence that is meant to go for 5 weeks – with 5 emails being sent a week for example – you can test the email sequence by scheduling the emaisl over 5 days. If the emails come through for 5 days then you know the system you have setup is correct and you can simply extend it to 5 weeks.
Remember – I’m a tech head and I still had issues figuring out the email sequence for Mailchimp even after consulting with them on chat so make sure you are doing it all correctly!
3. Work within the confines of your funnel system

Thrive Leads is the WordPress plugin I used to create my landing page as well as the pop ups you may have seen around the website. Once again highly recommended – a highly favoured alternative is ClickFunnels.

This one would have saved me a lot of headaches. To create my funnel I used Thrive Leads – and specifically the ‘Thrive Content Builder’ plugin which allows you to create your landing pages in real time.
One of the modules in Thrive Content Builder is the opt-in form creator – where you can create an opt-in form (read: a field with your email address and a sign up button).
Thrive Content Builder also allows you to connect your opt-in form to an email marketing software – and I chose Mailchimp as my email marketing software. Everything was going well until I wanted to do 2 unique things which I thought would be cool, and these were:
1) Create an additional field in the opt-in form that allowed the user to enter their website URL
2) Remove the requirement for users that opt-in to verify their email address with a confirmation email – and instead to instantly receive a download to their eBook (I just thought this would be quicker for people to receive the eBook)
To achieve these two things took me a lot of hair pulling – especially the first point.
While I won’t get into the technicalities of everything – let’s just say I fumbeld around with trying to get point 1 working for over a week – and it actually made me give up on the project since I couldn’t achieve this one thing; I had written my eBook, created the cover, formatted it, created the copy for the landing page – but damn if I couldn’t have my additional text field then screw everything!
The reality was that I was using the additional field as an excuse not to launch the eBook because I was afraid of the reception from people and being judged. After all it was my photo on the landing page – and the content that I wrote was me – if someone rejected the eBook and said it sucked they were basically saying I sucked – or that’s how I saw it.
But suffice to say the Thrive Content Builder software really made it easy for you to have 1 field (just your email) or 2 fields (email and name) when creating the sign up form (when linked to Mailchimp) – but additional fields simply didn’t seem to work. In fact I remember registering and connecting at least 2-3 other email providers to get my desired result.
The amount of time I spent on the issue was crazy for the small incremental benefit that I would have received had I succeeded – an additional text field. At the end of the day if someone signed up for the eBook their website would be in the email in many cases anyway.
The one thing I learned from this experience is that any software that you purchase is going to have certain limitations somewhere – and you are much better off just working within the system instead of trying to twist the software to make the landing page look like you had imagined.
Work with what you’re given and launch! If something doesn’t work do the next best thing!
4. Commit to your list

Best image I could find for 'mailing list'

Best image I could find for ‘mailing list’

This is a mistake I made which was more a result of laziness and lack of planning. Basically once I started advertising my eBook and my list started to grow I left the list alone. As per point 2, a lot of the emails that I had planned in my sequence were not sent out in the right order – in many cases users only got the first email and not the 2nd.
After I had built up a list of 120 sign ups I felt good about myself and felt the job was done. I patted myself on the back for writing the eBook, launching the eBook along with a cool landing page and making “everything work” as it were.
However I didn’t continue my system and most importantly – I didn’t work the list.
If you are going to create a landing page or just any way to build your list then make sure you commit to a program where you keep your list informed and stay top of mind for them. Perhaps I could have made myself a commitment that if the list got to a certain size I would make the efforto to email out some insightful information to that list every week or so.
Any time you are creating a list building strategy you should also include in that the time taken to email the list.
Basically I left the list alone and left a lot of money on the table.
5. Break the rules and say sorry

A closed mouth doesn't get heard - especially online

A closed mouth doesn’t get heard – especially online

Finally – and this is one I’m proud of – this relates to advertising yourself.
My plan originally was to advertise the eBook on Facebook Ads (which I did do eventually but didn’t get as much success) – however my business advisor advised me to post the eBook to a bunch of business groups which I did and I had much better success.
The thing with posting to various social media groups is that you run the risk of spamming and pissing people off.
This is a very thin line – there’s nothing that annoys me more than blatant spamming and it ruins the atmosphere of a group – but at the same time my belief is that if I were to go into a group and just honestly let them know what I’m working on and what I did in my own voice it’s not really spamming.
After all if there is a group of business owners on a Facebook Group every business owner has a product to sell – if for example a roof tiler created an eBook – 5 ways to tell your roof tiles are in need of a replacement – I may not download the eBook but I wouldn’t be upset either as the roof tiler made the effort to create a valuable piece of content. It’s also useful because were the author to post it on the Facebook group if I had any interest in the content I could also quickly reach out to him and ask any questions.
While I posted in a number of Facebook Groups I did receive a caution from the owner of a Facebook Marketing group about my spamming and I stopped it. However I had another guy in my PM’s who was in the group warning me about getting kicked out of the group for spamming.
The point I’m trying to make is it’s better to share what you’ve done on a group and then say sorry if you’re cautioned against spamming then be concerned about the official “rules” – reviewing them and making sure you’re not breaking them. At the end of the day all these social media groups need new members and they’re not going to kick you out if you’re sharing real content with an authentic voice.
Many times with certain large forums – despite posting content that was considered ‘advertising’ – all that happened was the post that I created was deleted and I was allowed to stay a member of the group.
But hey – by the time I got the caution from the FB Marketing group admin I had all ready gotten a bunch of subscribers to my eBook.
If you’re in sales you have to sometimes do things that not everyone is going to be happy with – including the admins. If you’re told not to do something by an admin then it’s fair game to listen and agree not to – and ask for an apology.
NOTE: I am not advocating spamming the hell out of Facebook Groups with crap spam. I’m just saying to share what you’ve created and if you’re cautioned and informed that your post is considered then simply don’t do it again.
That’s all for my 5 tips. Hope that these give you something to think about and motivate you to launch your own list building campaign!

Stop Competitors and Mean People Destroying Your Reputation – How I Removed My First (F*A*K*E) Negative Google Review

Recently I had setup my Google Local page and was excited – I had set the address to be in the centre of Sydney – which I believe would help my local search results.

However right after the first client had left a very positive review something happened.

Not to get into specifics but let’s say I had a spat with a certain person who I believed was upset and wanted to get me back. And this person went on Google and left a negative review for my business.

It’s interesting how vulnerable we all are as business owners – as far as our reputation goes.

Lucky for me though the negative Google review that was left was complete bulls#$t – in the sense that it was verifyable false.

Unlike other businesses that serve the public such as a coffee shop for example – all my clients are businesses and so it is much harder for someone to just come out and say I did a bad job – since they would then have to say what I did wrong and I could then place a dispute with Google that their review is bogus. Whereas if someone just says the coffee shop staff was rude you can’t really dispute that.

Anyway right after the first client had left a positive review – this 1 star review was left:



Firstly – there are a number of things with that Google review that are sketchy – and when a Google review is left for your business – when the reviewer is saying things that are verifyable true it’s a good indicator that the review was left for nefarious purposes (such as by a competitor).

To quickly break down this bogus review here are just a few inaccuracies and outright lies:
There is no public file on me at the … – their dispute handling process is done internally and any mediated decisions are not released to the public
The client cited as being ‘fake’ is actually very real – and I have evidence of the website I built for this client as well as the invoices I have sent
The account which left the negative Google review is an anomyous business account – incidentally they had another negative review left for another business leading me to think that maybe this account was just created to leave negative Google reviews (or it’s just a very terrible/negative person)
Oh and I’m not a ‘fly by night’ operation as evidenced by the Wayback Machine which will tell you my business and website have been around in various iterations for 5+ years

Anyway below I will outline what I did to have the Google review removed – I’ll also note some things I could have done to speed up the removal.

Remember your reputation is everything and one negative word could make a high profile client look the other way – so reputation management is big. Here I’m basically laying out the blueprint on how to keep yourself sqeaky clean from the ill motives of competitors.

The steps are actually really simple:

Step 1: Reply Politely and Clarify

The first thing you need to do is to make it clear to anyone reading your side of the story. In my case I realised there was no point in trying to reason with the person that left the review – since their intention was to damage my reputation.

Instead my reply – which is now gone (since Google has removed the negative review) was somewhere along the following lines:

The review left above was not left by a customer but rather a disgruntled competitor and contains verifyable untrue statements. The domain age of my website is 5+ years and I am far from a fly by night operation – the client the review is referring to exists and I would be happy to provide evidence to anyone that enquired. Further there is no public file on me at the Department of Fair Trading.

My hope in leaving this reply was that while I was waiting for Google to remove the negative review – anyone who would stumble across my business page would get both sides of the story.

As the owner of the Google Business Page you can reply to reviews.

However if the negative review was left by a genuinely disgruntled customer my advice would be to engage the customer in seeing how you can make it right – even if you feel the customer is in the wrong. It would be a lot cheaper to give the customer a discount or a partial refund in exchange for the negative review being removed rather than have the reputation of your business come down.

Step 2: Call Google (and how to call Google)

So how exactly do you contact Google and ask them to remove a Google review? There’s no ‘Contact Us’ button at the bottom of However most businesses have no idea that they can actually call Google and talk to them about their website.

So here is a step by step tutorial on how to call Google:

  1. Login to your Google My Business Account (if you have a local business page then by defination you would have a Google My Business account which you can login to here:
  2. Select the business page which has received a negative review (if you are just running the one business just select that page) – you can see an example of me selecting my local business location below:
  3. Click the 3 horizontal lines in the top left hand corner of your My Business page for your local business and click ‘Contact Support’
  4. Scroll down in the popup window that comes up on the right and click on ‘Phone’
  5. Enter your ‘Contact Name’, ‘Email address’ and ‘phone number’
  6. Finally click on Send
  7. Wait for Google to call you! (usually about 5-10 seconds)

How cool is that?

And now when the person answers simply explain to them your request to remove your Google review.

Bonus Step: Follow Up with Evidence by Email

Here is what you must understand about Google’s resolution process.

Let’s say you call Google and you speak to Cindy who tells you that she will review this issue and resolve it for you.

You get off the phone (and this happened to me) – and you wait for Cindy to get back to you.

You’ll wait 3 days and hear nothing so you call back to Google to speak to Ryan – who checks the issue – puts you on hold for 15 minutes only to return to tell you that since Cindy is looking after this there is nothing you can do.

In order to make the issue go quicker make sure you have Cindy’s contact email address and follow up with evidence if the review is not true.

Note: Google My Business support don’t have direct email addresses however if you get the person you’re speaking with to send you an email you can then interact with them by replying to that email.

In my case I could have emailed them a confirmation from the Department of Fair Trading that they have no file on me for example.

The more information you can give Google – at the very least – will remind the person about the issue and will get them more reasons to remove the negative review.

Finally – The Good News

When it’s all said and done you will eventually get an email that the negative Google review has been removed. You can see what this email looks like below:


Hope that helps and good luck!