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Posted on 20th Mar, 2017 by Kayla Paul
Ever since Gary Illyes’ announced Google’s mobile-first index (MFI) in 2015 and its official confirmation in late 2016, there’s been constant buzz around the topic. In particular, whether sites that have not implemented mobile friendly mark-ups and responsive website design are being penalised.
But before we jump to conclusions, let’s first take a look at exactly what the mobile-first index is and how it affects not only marketers, but all businesses with an online presence.
@localseoguide please don’t assume we WON’T have different indexing for mobile. We are still experimenting, but it may happen
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) September 28, 2015
In one of our recent blog posts, we mentioned the rise of mobile search and how Google have started to show a preference for mobile content rather than desktop.
The mobile-first index is Google’s way of responding to both the rise of mobile technology and recent statistics indicating that most Google searches now happen on mobile. This means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content, rather than the desktop version.
The short answer is yes. The mobile trend is on the up and is showing no signs of slowing down, so as a business owner or marketing manager, adapting your website to suit this change will ensure your website’s ranking won’t be compromised and may give you a one-up from your competitors who are yet to make the change.
If you’re guilty of not having a mobile-friendly website, don’t stress just yet. There are some simple things you can do to get started:
As Google begins to prioritise mobile pages, it’s important to ensure your site is not only up-to-date, but has also been optimised for search. Being mobile-friendly is simply one aspect of a digital campaign which should be used in conjunction with an overall strategy aimed at making your site easier for visitors to use.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind that as more people begin to search using mobile, more opportunities will arise for your business to improve its offerings and better meet consumer demands.
Posted on 8th Mar, 2017 by Samantha Whitewood
Google released a document on Valentine’s day providing valuable insight into how brands should go about hiring an SEO agency, including guidelines on what to look out for and avoid when choosing and hiring an SEO specialist.
Included in this document was a video by Google’s Developer Programs Tech Lead, Maile Ohye. In the almost 12-minute video, Maile offers her advice on how to identify a legitimate SEO provider as well as what exactly constitutes ‘good’ (and bad) SEO. Curious to know which practices make the cut by Google? We’ve summarised the video below.
“An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website”
– Maile Ohye
GENERAL SEO HIRING PROCESS
Unfortunately, there are a number of SEO agencies out there who don’t play fair, often using illicit techniques in an attempt to manipulate search engines. These techniques, and the agencies that use them, should be avoided at all costs as Google does not easily provide ‘second chances’.
To avoid getting locked into a contract with one of ‘these’ SEO agencies, Google has provided an agenda to follow when interviewing and selecting an SEO provider. These are the steps Google recommends brands take when choosing an SEO:
STEP 1: Conduct a two-way interview – ask relevant questions to ensure they’re sincerely interested in you and the success of your business.
STEP 2: Check their references – the agency should offer you a list of clients willing to talk to you about their experience. If they can’t offer this, you should be cautious.
STEP 3: Request an audit – a good agency does their homework. Ask them to complete an audit, identifying any potential website issues and how they suggest to improve them, as well as what impact these changes are estimated to have on your digital campaign.
STEP 4: Decide if you want to hire – discuss with other decision makers within your business whether they think this agency is a good choice. Before deciding on an SEO agency, make sure all internal stakeholders are on board.
You should leave your first meeting with a potential SEO agency feeling impressed and holding a proposal which indicates extensive research into both your company’s current position in the market, and your website.
In addition to the hiring process recommendations, Ohye also shared some useful insights on SEO basics as well as common misconceptions. Here are a few we found particularly agreeable and commonly find ourselves explaining to clients coming to us with limited search knowledge (or previous bad advice).
“SEO is not black magic” – SEO isn’t magic and it won’t work overnight. If an agency is promising instant rankings, avoid them, as they’re likely to be practicing bad SEO – this could cause irreversible long term damage to your domain and could greatly affect your digital standing with Google.
SEO suggestions should align with google best practices – ask the SEO to corroborate their strategy recommendations with supporting documents from Google e.g. an article from their help centre, a Googler response in their forum or a video (like this one).
Good SEO aims to improve the searchers’ entire experience – recommended changes should aim to not only create a search friendly site, but also a user-friendly site.
Quality SEOs will be genuinely invested in your business – they will be interested in learning about your business from a holistic stand point and genuinely care about your business goals, customers and other existing marketing efforts.
Good SEO takes time – allow 4 months to a year before you expect to start seeing real search results from strategy implementation. There are a lot of components in a good SEO strategy, and unfortunately no magic tricks to make them work faster.
An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website – investing in a user-friendly website will significantly help every SEO strategy implemented. You can’t build a home without a solid foundation.
“One of the biggest holdups to improving a website isn’t [the SEO’s] recommendation, but the business making time to implement their ideas.”
– Maile Ohye
The road towards finding a legitimate SEO agency is not an easy one. However, the outcome of your choice is vital to both the health of your campaign and business. These guidelines should help with the decision process and ensuring your business is left in capable hands.
You can watch the full video by Maile Ohye, titled How to Hire an SEO, here:
Posted on 7th Feb, 2017 by Kayla Paul
With such a high demand for both residential and commercial pest control experts in Australia, Termitrust sought to partner with Bonfire to help gain an advantage within this highly competitive industry.
Having already established 33 centres across the country, the Termitrust team not only wanted to ensure their website was of the highest SEO standard, but also wanted to drive business growth through a strong digital strategy.
Almost two years later and Termitrust have continued to thrive both online and offline. Together, the Bonfire and Termitrust team have curated a personalised strategy, targeting multiple locations within AdWords and SEO. Due to the seasonal demands within the industry, we continue to adjust these campaigns relative to seasonal changes, delivering results that have been nothing short of impressive.
This partnership has achieved:
We would like to commend all team members involved with this campaign and look forward to another great year. For the full case study, please click here. To learn more about the pest control experts Termitrust, visit: https://www.termitrust.com.au.
Posted on 31st Jan, 2017 by Samantha Whitewood
Which SEO trends will thrive in 2017? And more importantly, how can I stay on top of these trends for my business? These are some of the top questions circulating marketing and business minds in the new year. Here’s what the digital experts at Bonfire HQ have to say…
Below are the predicted 2017 SEO trends that our search experts believe will have the biggest impact on digital campaigns this year.
Statistics show that most searches occur on mobile, with more than 50% of search queries happening from mobile devices. Consequently, Google has already begun to test mobile-first indexing. There have been murmurs that Google will soon prioritise their search listing rankings based on the mobile version of content, rather than desktop.
— Philipp Krieg 🌎 (@myguerilla) January 18, 2017
2016 highlighted the importance of quality website content for digital campaigns. In 2017, we believe this will be taken a step further. No longer will it be enough to merely produce content, but in a highly competitive market, businesses will need a structured content marketing strategy in place to ensure they can compete. It’s also predicted that with the rise in mobile searches, content will shift away from lengthy pieces and favour quality over quantity. Businesses are anticipated to adopt ‘dense’ content strategies; providing useful information in the most efficient possible format.
Algorithmic Machine Learning (AI)
Algorithmic machine learning was first introduced by Google’s RankBrain in 2015. We anticipate another update like this in the near future, some of which may go beyond the scope of search to encompass other digital areas (i.e. data collection and interpretation).
We expect voice search to continue gaining traction in 2017. With platforms like Google Home and others of the like we believe this marks the beginning of a revolution inspired by voice search. This will cause a shift in traditional keyword discovery, meaning SEO agencies and businesses alike will need to be prepared to see more contextual, natural search phrases increasing in search volume.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
As Google begins to prioritise mobile, we expect to see a rise in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a Google initiative to speed up mobile browsing, by building web pages for static content that render fast. It is an open-source slim HTML coding standard that when implemented, allows web pages on mobile phones to load instantly and ultimately improves the user experience. Google has already started favouring pages that have made the coding changes to optimize their mobile pages with AMP.
— Bonfire (@Bonfire_Group) January 31, 2017
— Bonfire (@Bonfire_Group) January 31, 2017
It seems 2017 is heading in a direction where the reliance on technology will soon be stronger than ever before, for both consumers and marketers. It is imperative that marketers recognise this as soon as possible, and shift their strategies accordingly. Collaborating with technology providers is heavily encouraged, as it’ll allow businesses to gain an advantage over their competitors. To stay ahead in 2017, we believe it’s imperative that SEO marketers and business owners keep a close eye on these trends and are prepared to adopt strategic changes when necessary.
Posted on 1st Dec, 2016 by Kayla Paul
In today’s highly competitive market, the ability to operate and sustain business practices for over two decades is truly an achievement in itself.
During their 25 years in the industry, City Beach Veterinarians have witnessed an innumerable amount of changes to their business and marketing landscapes and have continued to operate despite this. Among other things, we believe the owner’s profound understanding of the importance of acclimatising to their clients’ changing needs has been a key player in this process.
Despite being online for over 8 years, City Beach Veterinarians saw the need to strengthen their online presence by bringing it in line with the needs of their clients – this meant a streamlined booking process. Owner, Neville Robertson, sought the assistance of Bonfire and expressed his vision to not only increase traffic to a newer, more efficient website, but also to cement their position as a leader in Perth’s extremely competitive veterinary market.
In collaboration with our digital services team, the website was built by our experienced web designers and developers in only a matter of weeks. The new site not only showcases their business, but also brings together the necessary practical and functional benefits of a well-designed platform.
After engaging with Bonfire for over 2 years and successfully launching their new website, City Beach Veterinarians have produced some spectacular results:
Our team at Bonfire are thrilled with the results achieved by the City Beach Veterinarians campaign and wish Neville and his staff all the best with their new and improved website. You can visit their website here.
Posted on 31st Oct, 2016 by Courtney Mills
The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way the world travels. In-store travel agents are being replaced by Google, Tripadvisor and Skyscanner and this trend is forcing Australian travel marketers to rethink their digital strategy.
Tourism is a $124 billion industry in Australia and with so many operators wanting a share of that revenue, getting a competitive advantage is more important than ever.
While the reasons people travel has changed very little, the way people are beginning their journey has transformed significantly in recent years. Consumers are increasingly going online to research, plan and book holidays. Data from Google indicates that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile in assisting them to plan their trip, from comparing flight fares to reserving tours.
These insights can be invaluable to travel marketers and tourism operators looking to influence tourist’s buying decisions, so let’s take a look at them in more detail.
1. YouTube is the go-to for travel hacks
More and more travellers are turning to YouTube to get their trip done right by watching “travel hack” videos from ingenious luggage-packing techniques to tips for staying healthy on the flight over.
YouTube searches for “travel hack” videos grew by 115% in the last year and the number of search enquiries for the keyword term “travel hacks” has increased 16 times over in the past 4 years.
Travel marketers should be capitalising on this by creating their own useful video content.
2. Mobile research, desktop booking
Though 90% of travel-related bookings are completed on desktop, the research is primarily completed on mobile devices. Especially on weekends, when mobile queries related to travel outpace those on desktop.
Also, research and bookings aren’t a one-and-done, point-and-click proposition. Travellers are taking their time to evaluate all options. Marketers really should be employing digital strategies (such as remarketing) so their business stays top-of-mind when a traveler finally starts moving to purchase.
3. Smartphones are breeding “spontaneous travellers”
Long gone are the days of dog-eared guidebooks. Instead, leisure travellers are using their smartphones as their research tools once they touch down in their destination.
As the image below shows, smartphones have changed the way people research holiday activities. Travel marketers need to embrace “local” mobile marketing strategies to ensure they’re not missing out on this valuable chunk of the market.
There are many opportunities for marketers to make their mark on a travellers’ digital journey, it’s just a matter of embracing them.
Posted on 14th Oct, 2016 by Courtney Mills
Google’s hotly anticipated Penguin ranking update has finally been released. It’s been a long wait for SEO agencies and website owners.
In late September, Penguin 4.0 was launched by Google, however it’s unlike any other previous Penguin update. Through this release, Penguin now operates in real-time and as part of Google’s core search algorithm. This means that ranking adjustments will now occur as Google re-crawls the web and existing penalties will be lifted much sooner. However, instead of demoting a website, Penguin 4.0 now devalues the link spam so that it is excluded from a website’s ranking calculation.
Our team have kept a keen eye on the “recovery” component of the update. We’re happy to report we’ve seen some strong improvements for clients who have engaged us to help fix penalties from previous SEO activities.
Bonfire CEO, Clay Cook, recently discussed the update with Campaign Brief, including providing some advice for website owners moving forward.
Posted on 9th May, 2016 by Courtney Mills
The recently announced 2016/17 Federal Budget has again shone the spotlight on multi-national tax avoidance, otherwise known as “Google Tax”.
The government plans to put in place a number of measures that will help it secure almost $4 billion dollars in “lost tax” from Australia’s top multi-national companies including Google and Apple by July 2020.
As a start, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is getting $679 million over four years to fund a 1,300 person taskforce to ensure multinationals, private companies and wealthy individuals pay the right amount of tax.
Beginning July 2017, the tax system will also get a new Diverted Profits Tax law. The regulation will impose a penalty rate of tax at 40% on large multinationals that are found to have attempted to shift Australian profits offshore to avoid paying tax. This law is a follow on from the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law which was passed in December last year.
A similar law was introduced in the UK recently and forced Google to agree to pay the UK government £130 million in back taxes.
In Australia, the issue with Google arises by it booking its advertising revenue from Australia in Singapore where the tax rate is lower, therefore not counting income it earns through advertising locally.
Google has already made progress to rectify this issue. Google’s Australian business restructured at the beginning of January 2016 so that it now recognises revenue from the marketing and selling of certain services and products to Australian based customers.
While for the everyday Australian an extra $4 billion in the coffers is an attractive prospect, what implication will this have for Australian advertisers?
Advertisers and agencies will be keen to see whether the new tax will have an effect on the advertising rates they pay to Google. For example, would Google pass on this cost to advertisers by increasing CPC rates on AdWords campaigns? If the cost is passed on, this is likely to have quite an impact on the marketing budgets of businesses across Australia.
Google says that in 2015 it’s workforce grew to around 1200 people in Australia and the company invested more than $400 million into its Australian operations. If this new tax encouraged Google to shutdown operations and move offshore, it could have dire consequences for Australian advertisers and agencies alike.
So we wait with baited breath for the July 2nd election result to see if these laws will become a reality.
Posted on 25th Feb, 2016 by Courtney Mills
Advertising on Google is competitive at the best of times.
Google has just made the game even harder by announcing a major change to the way it will display ads in its search results page.
Google will no longer display ads on the right hand side of the SERPs. Instead, these ads will only be displayed at the top and bottom of the page.
Our CEO, Clay Cook, spoke with Campaign Brief on this change and the impact it will have on advertisers and SEOs alike.
Posted on 19th Nov, 2015 by Courtney Mills
Welcome aboard, REIWA!
We’re thrilled to announce that REIWA, the peak body for the real estate profession in Western Australia, has recently engaged us to implement its Google marketing strategy.
Over the past 3 months we’ve been busy implementing a thorough SEO strategy and the results are already showing – the REIWA website, http://reiwa.com.au/, has seen a 15% increase in its organic traffic already.
News of this partnership was featured in both The West newspaper and Campaign Brief.