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Why SEO’s Cannot Guarantee ROI

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It’s not an uncommon question from clients to seek some kind of guarantees or commitment from an SEO company on the returns they can expect to see from their (typically significant) SEO investment. Given also that SEO isn’t tangible in the sense that you receive a small car for the money you’re spending, but rather the promise that your search rankings will improve and subsequently then also your customer inquiries. But what’s the value of a promise, and why are so many SEO’s afraid to commit to this?

I like to answer this question by way of analogy against Google’s official means of marketing, on their AdWords advertising platform.

“The difference being that AdWords is a statistics driven, fully transparent marketing platform which generates revenue for Google when you use it. SEO, by comparison, is a black-box / closed algorithm with over 200 moving parts to it, all controlled by a search engine who doesn’t get paid when you do SEO for a website, and who are constantly evolving this algorithm to try and out-think the strategies used by SEOs to influence their search rankings in favour of their clients.”

Most SEO practices aim to merely accelerate Google’s Webmaster guidelines without tripping any of Google’s “unethical link building” monitors, which when done correctly, can have an amazing impact on your website’s visibility within the search engines and subsequently also in the volume of targeted and commercially valuable traffic (aka customers) to your business. But the simple fact of the matter remains that SEO’s are not Google, nor can they control or even hope to influence how the search giant decides to modify their search algorithm in order to make their service to their customers more reliable.  For this reason, any SEO who claims to guarantee an ROI with their proposal is just writing cheques their business can’t cash.

That said, it’s always a fun marketing pitch to say “if we increase your traffic by X then your inquiries will also increase by Y”… the operative statement there being “IF”. On the proviso that the SEO can deliver in improving search rankings and the Google gods also don’t throw any curve balls along the way, then an ROI could be guesstimated for a prescribed SEO campaign.

So in closing, I’ll just say that the mark of a good SEO isn’t one who was lucky enough to improve rankings while the Google algorithm waters sat calm and uneventful, but rather the one who is able to keep across the rapidly evolving search algorithm changes and quickly adapt their SEO strategy to accommodate any of Google’s latest requirements, to achieve an overall positive ranking trend for their clients. For this reason, an SEO shouldn’t simply be a transitive 3 month service engagement but rather a strategic marketing partner who’s in it with you for the long run.

What to know when considering SEO for your business

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To the untrained eye, the world of SEO can be a minefield of acronyms and snake oil salesmen, and having worked within the industry for the past 15 years myself, I can speak from personal experience that I too have seen and done most SEO techniques, many of which now considered unethical, in the interests of delivering results for my clients. Of course, the SEO landscape has changed significantly since those times and become arguably much more complex.

So for those who are considering including search engine optimisation into their business’ digital marketing mix, the following will help to prepare you for some of the things you should be considering when taking on SEO services for your business.

Local vs Organic SEO

The first question to ask yourself, which could save you considerable time and money, is to establish how broadly you need to market your services online. For most businesses who operate from a physical premises or where they are only able to service a prescribed area, the market scope will typically be local to that region only. For these types of businesses, a local SEO campaign will significantly reduce the degree of competition that they’ll be up against in the online market place.

For online merchants however which can ship products or perform remote services, such as eCommerce sites, the scope will often be much broader, along with the degree of competition. For these styles of business an organic SEO campaign would be required to provide the reach they would want to achieve.

Keyword Selection

Most SEO’s will talk about keywords in terms of long-tail and short-tail terms. It’s a common trap to get lured in by the short-tail terms with large search volumes, however often over-looked or neglected is the consideration of a user’s search intent which accompanies these short-tail terms, and where that intent lies within the context of a typical consumer buying cycle for that product or service.

With this in mind, consider a search performed on “business coaching”. The term itself yields a large number of searches every month which at face value makes it an attractive candidate to target for SEO – but there’s a catch. Given the large search volume, there is also a corresponding large number of competitors attempting to rank for these terms, and the higher the degree of competition, the greater the amount of SEO that will be required in order to rank for this.

The problem being however that often these short-tail search terms represent a user who is at the very early market research stages of the buying cycle. These searches are typically broader and less defined, as the user’s intent at this time is to merely to gain an understanding of what “business coaching” actually is, what benefit it provides and whether it’s even of interest to them to pursue. These terms are also often considered to be informational in context, by contrast to being commercial in intent, requiring even greater volume of content based marketing in order to rank for this.  Imagine performing a search on any informational term, then look at the top 3 results – to out rank these, your content would need to be considerably more comprehensive to stand a chance at competing as an authority on this term.

So let us now consider a long-tail approach to keyword selection. Long-tail terms, as the name suggests, are often even keyword phrases in terms of how many words these may comprise of. By way of an example, consider “Business coach for women in Brisbane”. Comparatively the search intent is immediately more commercial in nature, as it is much closer to the purchasing end of the consumer buying cycle. Being that the search is also more specific, there will also be a smaller search volume and correspondingly much less SEO competition taking place for this term, making it much more achievable to rank well for in a shorter period of time.

More important than the glory terms within your industry, are those where the commercial intent is unambiguous. Provided that there is still a search volume associated with these terms, a long-tail keyword approach will provide a much more robust SEO strategy that will see a better ROI on your SEO investment sooner.

Black hat vs White Hat

As I had mentioned earlier, and as most experienced SEO’s would also I’d expect, I have done my time with SEO practices that would now be considered to be “black hat” or unethical in nature. In actual fact, my background in black-hat SEO was during a time where such practices were quite common place, and to be an SEO during that time simply meant doing what works best to achieve results for our clients.

It should be noted at this point, that Google does not make money from SEO. Their business model is built upon providing users the most accurate search results for their query and search intent. Only then will people continue to use their search engine, and only then will they continue to generate revenue through their AdWords online advertising service (which is how Google makes money). This is an important piece of information to note, towards understanding why Google often changes how and why it ranks web pages.

Now consider that the process of SEO is to influence these search results in favour of an SEO’s clients, then it should come as no surprise that Google would, over time, take such SEO techniques which were once effective at ranking sites, and flag these as no longer being ethical under risk of being penalised in the search results for using them.

The lesson to be taken from this being that SEO techniques evolve over time as Google becomes more advanced in identifying strategies used by SEOs to influence their search rankings. A good SEO will be acutely aware of the latest algorithm updates and recognise that current strategies are qualitative over quantitative. Quality requires unique content that provides value, which also comes at a higher development cost. Beware of cheap SEO with the promise of thousands of back-links, as these will most certainly still be using old SEO techniques which will get your site into trouble. They may be effective in generating short term rankings for you, but longer term you may be putting your domain at risk of ever ranking again if Google detects that you’re using low quality SEO techniques.


It’s important to keep in mind that there are over 200 ranking factors that contribute how your website performs in the Google search results. These factors evolve in both complexity and weighting as Google continues to release updates to its search algorithm in order to try and maintain the integrity of their search engine.

Given this complexity, and the sheer volume of websites that exist on the internet, it is an incredible feat of computing engineering that Google is still somehow capable of crawling the entire internet looking for changes and new pages on almost a monthly cycle. While this may be the case, the crawl process is only the first stage of bringing any SEO improvements to Google’s attention, with the entire process taking generally between 2-3 months for any SEO efforts to be fully realised. Over this time period, Google first needs to pull this information into its index, then assigns it meta data and any inherent SEO value, which it then passes onto your website to be reflected in its next round of search rankings updates.

Depending upon the degree of SEO competition for the terms you are targeting, and of course how aggressively you are undertaking your SEO activities, most SEO engagements will usually span 3, 6 or even 12 months (or more) before your search terms will start to hit the first page of Google. It’s definitely a long-term strategy, with undoubtedly with some turbulence along the way, but for those few who can withstand the test of time, it also something which can offer incredible pay offs in terms of ongoing fresh leads for your business.

Nurture Prospective Clients through AdWords Remarketing

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remarketing-diagramMost people who want to buy something go through several steps before making a purchase. First, they visit a variety of websites to do some research. They check out your product or service, but they also evaluate your competition’s offerings. Then they narrow down their options. Now they have a list of what they would realistically consider purchasing. Eventually, they add the product or service to the shopping cart. The final step is to actually make the purchase.

What happens to all of the people who got lost somewhere along the way? At any point during the researching and purchasing process, people might decide it’s not the right time to buy or they’re too overwhelmed to make a decision right now, so they don’t make a decision at all. Some purchasers may just get sidetracked and forget all about it.

The Importance of Repeat Visibility

If you can stay in front of those visitors and remind them that you’re still around, you’ll be the first company they think of when they are ready to purchase. In fact, if you continue to hold a presence in their minds, they may consider you above the competition for the simple reason that no one else kept their attention.

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing allows companies to stay visible to those potential purchasers. Remarketing lets you tag web pages that relate to categories you’re trying to advertise. Then you can design an AdWords campaign to display related ads to visitors who have accessed these pages as they peruse other websites on the Google Display Network.

Remarketing is an effective strategy to maintain audience engagement. Offering them highly relevant content and offers when they’re just surfing the Web ensures your company is still relevant when they’re ready to make a purchase. This can improve your ROI significantly compared to cold marketing.

Remarketing with Google AdWords

Google AdWords Remarketing technology allows you to reacquire the attention of lost website visitors through carefully placed advertisements across the Google Display Network. This will help you not only develop brand recognition, but also reinforce it. Remarketing works to nurture lost visitors back into your sales funnel and ultimately into initiating contact with your business.

Remarketing coordinates people with the right message for them. Do you want to increase your conversions even more? Combine other targeting approaches, like interest groups and keyword campaigns. Promoting your diaper company to a group of college students in their mid-20s isn’t going to be as effective as advertising to parents of newborns and expecting mothers. With additional targeting methods, you can present your specific potential customers with a product or service they’re likely to purchase.

Using Google AdWords for your remarketing campaigns is straightforward and flexible. The Google Display Network is huge and allows you to reach most of the people on your remarketing lists as often as you’d like. Stay in front of them several times a day or limit it to a few times a week or a couple of times a month. You can effortlessly generate list combinations to access your target customer. The exclusive technology available through Google AdWords lets you target future customers with maximum accuracy.


For more information on how your business can leverage the power of Google AdWords remarketing, contact the Online Advertising team at IMASEO today to schedule in your obligation free consultation.

[Resolved] Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files on

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So quote a few of you will probably have received an email from Google this morning, titled Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files on, most likely on either your WordPress or Joomla website.

This is likely to affect your search rankings if you don’t action this ASAP, as these files are most generally associated with how your website renders… which for those who have been paying attention will know, has become something that Google has been monitoring leading into their April 21st Mobile compatibility algo update.

The solution for WordPress owners is quite simple. Update the below to reflect the correct sitemap URL, then update your website’s robots.txt (in the root of your website directory structure);

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-content/
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
Disallow: /wp-includes/
Disallow: /comments/feed/
Disallow: /feed/
Disallow: /trackback/
Disallow: /index.php
Disallow: /xmlrpc.php
Disallow: ?comments=*
Disallow: /search?
Disallow: /?p=*
Disallow: /go/
User-agent: Googlebot
Allow: /wp-includes/
User-agent: Mediapartners-Google*
Allow: /
User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Allow: /wp-content/uploads/
User-agent: Adsbot-Google
Allow: /
User-agent: Googlebot-Mobile
Allow: /

Then log into your Google Webmaster tools, expand “Crawl” and select “Fetch as Google” and / or “robots.txt Tester” to verify that the change has been picked up correctly and your site renders how it’s supposed to.

Why Consider a Blog Site for Your First Website

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Building a website is a big commitment for any business. Your enterprise must have a solid online reputation. If not, it could damage your physical reputation and undo all your hard work. To first-time business owners looking to have your own website, you should consider hosting it on a blog site.

A blog site has everything ready for you to create a website fitting your company’s brand. There are tons of features to make sure that it’s exactly how you want it to be. You can move on to building your own domain in the future. But for now, it’s a lot easier letting a blog site do it for you.

Easy Access

As any blog profile goes, you need your username and password to log in to your account. This is the main reason to build your first website on a blog site. Rather than worrying about hardware to carry all the traffic, let the hosting website shoulder the responsibilities. Focus on getting traction with online users to make your site popular.

User-Friendly Interface

What you most definitely need is something you can use. Sites such as WordPress or Blogger made their sites painstakingly clear so you don’t have to be confused while using it. Whether you want to add new content or interact with users, it’s easy to understand where to go and what to do.


Premium blog accounts for enterprises cost much lower than having your own domain. In essence, you get your own website at a fraction of the price. While you still don’t own your website, this should do for now. That should be enough to convince you to choose blog sites as a platform.

With the help of web developers, running your blog-hosted website should be stress-free. Contact us if you’re in need of experienced professionals to help you conquer online marketing.

Evolving SEO To Thrive In A World Of Semantic Searches

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For the last few years, the leading lights of the optimization industry have been hammering home a single message over and over: Content is king. The days of snaring unsuspecting searchers through unscrupulous keyword manipulation are over. Now that search technology is becoming frighteningly intelligent, the only way to reach the top of the SEO heap is by creating truly helpful (and accurate!) content.

Where Google Is Headed

Every fresh update Google makes to its search algorithms throws optimizers into a panic. No matter how well-intentioned, an algorithm shift necessarily changes the optimization game and unlocks new strategies for successfully connecting with a target audience. Google’s latest refinements, such as the Hummingbird update and the Knowledge Graph, clearly indicate a shift away from raw keyword matching and towards contextual, semantic searching. This means that simply repeating keywords isn’t enough to dominate the search engine results page any more; smart optimizers are getting more interested in providing useful information.

Latent Semantic Indexing

Thanks to the ever-increasing computational resources available to search engines like Google, it’s getting easier and easier to execute semantic searches. Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a process that builds associations between terms based on the frequency with which they’re combined. LSI might identify a strong correlation between the terms “Apollo,” “moon landing,” and “space race,” for example. Thus when someone searches for the term “Apollo” and “space race,” a semantic search approach may include highly-rated pages containing the term “moon landing” among its results. This hopefully illustrates why strong content with plenty of accurate, pertinent information is more important than ever.

The Next Step In Content Marketing: Building Context

In this new world of context-based searching, experts in optimization are moving towards “semantic SEO.” It involves casting a wider net and securing attention not with individual keywords but with wide groups of strongly-related keywords knitted together in informative content. These key indicators need to be distributed throughout a page in a natural style rather than crammed in to the detriment of readability and usability. The result should be an LSI-friendly “keyword context,” a page whose content is heavily loaded with a wide array of pertinent terms. Search engines are also taking user behavior into account more than ever; that means social media sharing, author verification, and trustworthy citations play an increasingly important role, too. It all boils down to the fulfillment of the promise search engines have made for so long: The best search results are going to be the ones that users find the most helpful.

Future-Proofing Optimization

A valid long-term optimization strategy that reflects this new reality needs to be strongly content-oriented. Content marketing isn’t the only avenue of attack. SEO needs to dive back under the hood of webpages and tinker in their code again. Today the goal isn’t to stuff in keywords; now optimizers are loading pages with accurate, machine-readable data. The proliferation of standardized data organization formats (like and Wikidata) is strongly encouraging optimizers and web designers to build robust metadata into their web pages. This allows them to show up on the Semantic Web, the formalized network of logical statements that makes even more subtle semantic searching possible.

Now more than ever, SEO is not a one-size-fits all solution. An effective SEO strategy needs to be crafted like a real marketing plan. Thought has to be invested in defining the ideal audience and meeting their needs, not just in picking out popular keywords. Creating better content isn’t as easy as keyword stuffing. It’s definitely the way to reach the people that are most interested in the message, though.

Surviving the Gauntlet of SEO

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Staying ahead of SEO without help can be like standing in front of a raging bull. Just when you think you’re safe from the horns, something changes and you need to go back and start all over again. This is the risk companies run when they forego the services of SEO companies and try to enter an arena without prior knowledge or experience. This is actually why we exist, to provide all the help anyone would need to navigate the world of SEO.

Many companies have gone through the gauntlet of SEO, and survived with the right help; they became better businesses with wider audiences and greater voices in the market. Through their trials, the rest of the world learns the secrets to surviving SEO, and realize the full potential of digital marketing.

Expect Unexpected Expectations

The first secret is to discard any expectations about SEO prior to meeting with professionals of the industry. Too many business owners make the mistake of comparing their own experience to SEO, and expecting the latter to behave in a similar way. It would be accurate to describe the industry as unlike anything the corporate world has seen before, so preconceptions based on past practices mean nothing.

By way of analogy, while it may be reasonable to expect a supermarket to double its output six months after hiring a new delivery service system, it’s unreasonable to expect SEO to do the same with rankings. This is because even though the industry exists on the Internet – where everything is faster – the process of building organic rankings takes time. Businesses need to understand that patience pays off in SEO, and it pays very well.

SEO is a Strategic Partnership

Working on SEO is more than just about people working on a computer and letting the algorithms do their work. Specialists need to keep in touch with clients so that they can keep a finger on the pulse of the company’s status and steer them in the right direction. As good as SEO companies are within their own industry, they don’t have the expertise that clients have with theirs, so that input is needed to facilitate maximum growth with minimum effort.

Going through SEO is certainly a tricky experience that most people can’t wrap their heads around. But, the industry isn’t that hard with the right partners acting as guides through the maze of rankings and algorithms. We’d like to be that partner, and if you want to see more of our work, contact us today; we are up to date on the latest SEO developments that can help you rise through the ranks.

Web Hosting as a Way of Insuring Your Constant Online Presence

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Today’s business operates in an environment that no longer conforms to the 9-5 work life. Consumers live in an online, connected world where shopping desires and the need for instant gratification has fueled an e-Commerce economy which well surpasses the revenues earned through classical retail sales.

For this reason alone, businesses can no longer afford to suffer the risks which coincide with the “cheapest bidder” in web hosting, as mission critical factors such as reliability, recover ability, high availability and the quality of support reach new heights in the priority chain of any responsible business in modern times.

Blogging is Free, So is Social Media. Then Why Pay for Web Hosting?

Enterprises are looking to the Net as a superior alternative to traditional marketing. It’s where you can show everyone their product. They can either choose to blog, tweet or post about it on Facebook or Tumblr, and all those are free services.

So why pay for web hosting? Well the first and arguably the most prominent reason may be that you’ve already shelled out thousands of dollars for a great websites, but if your hosting keeps letting you down then you’ll never see any returns on that investment. Your web hosting provider should have a good track record and great support, so that you know your site is being delivered reliably 24*7, 7 days a week and 365 days a year!

Quality hosting providers will also typically have a team of experienced systems administrators on hand to assist with problem resolution and system maintenance, to keep everything up and running smoothly for you. Solid infrastructure built upon great technology and a streamlined support process are the keys to keeping your website fast and accessible, and available for your consumers to find and utilise… and quite simply put, an advertisement riddled free hosting just won’t carry across the professionalism you’ll need to convert your visitors into paying customers.

Who Benefits Most With Web Hosting?

What price can you place on complete peace of mind that your website is in the hands of competent professionals who work tirelessly around the clock to make sure your online business never sleeps? Quality hosting services need not cost the earth either, but make sure you select your hosting partner wisely – check their recommendations, see if they have a social media presence (less reputable companies will not use social media to hide poor support performance), and most importantly, find out what sort of relationship (if any) the hosting provider is prepared to offer you in exchange for your business. Paying a little more for having a direct point of contact such as an account manager can make for the most phenominal experience in times of need, when you have urgent operational matters which need to be resolved – that quite simply don’t have time for a ticketing system to make its way through to your request.

If your website is the marketing engine which drives new leads to your business, then web hosting is the engine oil which keeps that engine running smoothly. Then add in a little oxygen and petrol (SEO and PPC advertising) and all of a sudden you have the foundation for some awesome combustion to occur!

IMASEO is the name to trust when it comes to web hosting in Brisbane. If you have more enquiries regarding web hosting and need convincing about getting one, contact our support staff for assistance.

How Poor Web Design Affects Sales and SEO

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Your website design sends a powerful message about your brand and your business. It plays a critical role in establishing the credibility of your business in the minds of your prospective customers. These first impressions directly carry over into how well your website will perform both in sales conversions, and as of April 21st, that user experience – particularly on mobile devices – will also impact your seach engine rankings.

Website Design for Conversion Rate Optimisation

  • The Internet of websites consists of so many missed opportunities to commercial consumer traffic into paying      customers
  • Website structure should funnel customers through the sales process towards finding (as easily as possible) what they are looking for, then in as few steps as possible guiding them towards completing the purchase
  • Address any objections customers might have around warranties, shipping (time and costs)
  • Take advantage of customer loyalty programs and mailing lists
  • Where possible, always attempt to cross-promote products and services where there is a carry over, in order to increase the overall sales amount with each conversion

Websites on Mobile Devices

  • April 21st deadline for mobile compability of websites. If not compatible then you can expect your website not to perform as well for mobile device searches
  • Google Webmaster tools now includes information on how your website looks on mobile devices
  • Website designs can be both responsive, where the website layout changes to match the various mobile device screen sizes, or adaptive, whereby a separate mobile version of the website is presented
  • Other factors also include the speed of the website (various speed optimisation tools available) , and ease of navigation – both extremely important towards acquiring and retaining website visitors.

Website Design for Search Engine Optimisation

  • Always ensuring that your webpages use the correct title, meta tags, keyword density in the on-page content
  • Ensure that your website uses search engine friendly URLs, with an intuitive website structure that employs siloing (domain/category/subcategory) to help google better understand what your website is about
  • Navigation and internal linking
  • When linking externally to other websites, use no-follow rules if the linked site is lower authority than your own
  • Where sites return multiple pages of results (common amongst directories), always ensuring that either canonical tags are used, or an appropriate markup to indiciate pagination (ie:

Most Effective Approaches to a Thorough SEO Analysis | Internet Marketing Advantage

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An SEO campaign should always be backed by comprehensive analyses. Whether you are recalibrating your strategies or gauging the current performance of your website, it pays to have a complete site analysis report in hand, so you can identify possible issues early on and create better solutions.

Today, there are a number of different site analysis methods you can use in auditing your site. Here are some of the key factors and tools we recommend you should look into:

Site Performance

Site performance has a huge impact on turning leads into sales. The longer it takes for your page to load, the higher the bounce rate is. Google PageSpeed tools offer in-depth insights on how your website performs. You can better see how your pages handle all the incoming traffic and make the necessary adjustments, like compressing particular elements or image resizing for faster page loading.

A Gzip compression, for example, can help your pages load faster and cuts the bandwidth use. By compressing HTML and CSS pages, you can boost the speed of your site. Another method you can use is local hosting services, which helps optimise your page for audiences from specific locations.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for tracking information on various key reporting areas. For instance, you can review where your traffic is coming from and what your visitors do most on your site. Once you get these reliable data, you can now implement strategic solutions for making the most of these visits. You can gain useful insights from the segmentation on browser and mobile device use. Create the right content that targets the market you can reach on any platform.

Webmaster Tools

The Webmasters tools are indispensable if you want to attract new audience. The tools help you see your page the way search engines see it. Webmaster tools let you gain information on key indicators like keywords ranking, crawler errors, and traffic trends. Coupled with Google Analytics, the Webmaster tools become immensely useful. You can easily find opportunities for tuning up your website in receiving new visitors.

Link Building

Acquiring links is one of the main driving forces of SEO, as links connect different pages together. Search engines measure a site’s authority by evaluating the link’s value. They use various signals to gauge the links attribute. The more authoritative links your site has, the better it can perform when it comes to rankings.

An in-depth analysis of your link acquisition can help you identify which links are “toxic” and which are not. You can also use third-party plugins to check for broken site links and which leads to 301 directs or dead pages.

These are just some of the different approaches to SEO analyses you can use. Ultimately, you can combine these approaches to gain a clearer picture of how your website performs in relation to other sites. For example, you may utilise the insights you gain from PageSpeed optimising your site for desktops and mobile platforms. You may use traffic trends data from Google Analytics as well to streamline your link acquisition methods. These and hundreds of other combinations are possible only through these comprehensive analyses.

At Internet Marketing Advantage, we take SEO analyses seriously. Our team of experts does not settle for anything less than outstanding. We make sure you get the most comprehensive SEO service that you can get. To know more how we can lend our digital marketing expertise, feel free to contact us today.