Making Money Online WITHOUT Google

The September 2012 Brisbane SEO meetup session was inspired by the question
Why are we so dependent on Google ?

The obvious answers is : Because 94% of Australians use Google to search the web. However, another valid answer which got quite a lot of attention is “We aren’t“.  The point here is, that although Google is clearly very important for  many site owners to generate traffic from Search… there are plenty of other ways – not necessarily search related that we could 9and should) be using to get visitors to our websites.

Stephen Grealy (from Grealy Good SEO) presented this session and detailed a range of different (not necessarily Google related) activities which site owners should be using to help generate traffic.  Obviously the techniques used will be dependent on the niche, the products/services you are promoting, and where your target market “hang out” but many of the activities would be relevant to most site owners.

Stephen provided a detailed case study on a Molecular Food Kits website which was launched in July 2012 and through a variety of techniques, generated 10s of thousands of dollars in sales – before it even started to show up in Google rankings.

Some VERY important points raised were – “Don’t wait for Google” and “Treat you website as an online business, NOT just a website online“.

Outlined below are bullet points which highlight some of the suggested activities for improving your sites traffic and sales.

  • Implement SEO Fundamentals (but don’t just wait for the traffic to come)
  • Implement basic (relevant) link building
  • Use Webmaster Tools and pay attention to what it says
  • Know your Competitors – and interact with them
  • Know your Target Market – and engage with them (particularly social media)
  • Traditional marketing should NOT be ignored (if that is where your market is)
  • Youtube
  • Ebay
  • Facebook

Attendees of this event will receive a link to the full slide pack…. If you’d like to learn more about optimising your own website, building traffic and growing your business online, make sure you come along to the Next Brisbane SEO event :)

Understanding Web Analytics (Brisbane)

The Brisbane SEO meetup had another awesome event last night – Great to see a big turnout and many new faces.

Jon Whitehead from Metricks provided a very useful and informative presentation on the topic ‘understanding analytics’ and covered the following main areas :

  • The ABC of Web Analytics – acquisition, behaviour and consequence
  • Applying the ABC to Google Analytics to focus your efforts
  • Extra settings, code and reports
  • Importance of setting up goals and campaign tracking
  • Tracking SEO with Google Analytics
  • Other tools to consider

Jon has very kindly provided a copy of the presentation - Understanding Analytics slide pack – and would be happy to answer any further questions you may have so feel free to contact him via at [email protected]

Web Analytics Training Workshops

In case you missed the session and would like to learn a bit more about the basics of Analytics, you may be interested in attending a 2 hr Introduction To Web Analytics Workshop, in Brisbane next Thursday 17th of May (just $44).

If you were inspired by Jon’s presentation… and would like to get serious about maximising the benefits of analytics for your own site there is also a One Day Google Analytics Training Workshop in Brisbane on Friday 25th May, which will guide you through the most important features and functionality of New Google Analytics, and get to review, analyse and take action on on data from your own websites.

Thanks again to those who attended, come along to next months Brisbane SEO Meetup when we will be discussing SEO in a post penguin world

Practical Strategies for Keyword Analysis (Brisbane)

Stephen Grealy gave an awesome presentation on Keyword Analysis and outlined a whole range simple but powerful strategies for digging deep into keywords.

Rather than limiting Keyword Analysis to the standard “Keyword Tools”, using the technqiues that Stepehen presented will give you and edge on your competitors and make it more likely for you to find powerful and lucrative keywords to base you optimisation on.

Although Stephen started of squeaky clean and “white”, the session did start to slide a little into “the dark side” as the evening progressed, but gave some great ways that keywords could be cleverly applied.

Stepehn has also provided the Slide Pack (Powerpoint format) from his presentation and a Keyword-Research-Template (Excel format) to help guide you through the procedures discussed.


Our 30 Favourite SEO Tools

For the August 2011 SEO Brisbane Meetup we held a roundtable session where everyone got to highlight some of their favourite SEO Tools.  I’ve collated below a list of most (but not all) of these tools.  If you wanted a full list you should have come along to the SEO Meetup :-).

Note: not all of the tools listed here are necessarily tried and tested  – although most are tools widely used by SEO Professionals, there are also others which were suggested at the meetup that have been included here for completeness. 

We attempted to group various tools into different categories (although some tools do belong in multiple categories).  We’ve not of course been able to go into much detail here about how to use any of these tools but may (if there is enough interest) cover some of these SEO tools in detail at future SEO Meetups.  Most of the tools listed below are free, some are paid, and many of the paid services also offer a free (cut down) version of the tool as well.

If there are any other SEO tools that you use and would  like to contribute, please feel free to leave a comment.

Keyword Analysis Tools

  • Google Instant – an often overlooked but very quick and easy way to check for higher volume search keywords. Hint: Log out of your Google account to remove personalisation.
  • Google Keyword Tool – Allows you to enter trial keywords or a website name. Shows list of related search counts globally and locally
  • Google Insights – A great tool for for showing trend data – you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties
  • Google Analytics -  Looking at your own analytics data is a good way to see which keywords are already working well
  • PPC Data – setting up a PPC campaign and analysing click and conversion rates can be a very effective (and quick) way to get data about high converting (as opposed to high traffic) keyword phrases
  • Your Customers – Talk to your customers to see what keywords they would/did use to find your business
  • Brainstorming – talk to friends/colleagues to brainstorm related keyword phrases (don’t just rely on the keywords that you think are good)

Interestingly many of the “traditional” Keyword Tools used by SEO Pros (such as Wordstream, Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker) were felt to be of limited use to most attendees – although they can be very useful for very detailed analysis, because their data is sampled, and largely USA biased, for the most part they were not considered to be useful for Australia based keyword analysis considered.

Browser Plugins

Firefox was considered to be the web browser of choice  for SEOs – largely because of it’s plugin capabilities , with other browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Flock etc) mainly only used for compatibility testing.

  • SEO for Firefox – considered one of the most comprehensive (and useful) of the many SEO plugins available
  • Chatzilla – useful IRC plugin to ask people for advice suggestions on SEO
  • Firebug – more of a developer than SEO tool but VERY handy for debugging HTML/CSS and lots of other web page/browser based issues

WordPress Plugins

With WordPress becoming increasingly important as a blogging platform / Content management System (CMS) we felt that we simply had to inlcude some of the many SEO related plugins for WordPress

  • All In One SEO – one of the original and still arguably best general purpose SEO plugins
  • Google XML Sitemaps – auto generates a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
  • Google Analytics for WordPress – easy setup your Analytics code, allows you to track your blog easily and with lots of metadata.
  • SEO friendly Images – automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images.
  • SEO Smart Links – can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog.
  • Sexy Bookmarks – adds an attractive social bookmarking menu to your posts, pages, index, or any combination of the three.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast - all in one SEO solution for your WordPress blog: SEO titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs & much more.
  • And also a number of Search Engine Friendly Themes got an honourable mention – e.g. StudioPress – Genesis Theme, and Thesis

 Analytics Tools

Pretty much the ONLY tool discussed was of course Google Analytics.  Way too much about this tool to cover here, but it is likely to be the topic of a future Meetup.

Ranking Tools

We were pretty pleased to discover that noone was particularly interested in PageRank, and that even our clients had started to get the picture that PageRank in itself is not something worth obsessing about.  However, ranking reports can be a quick and easy way to monitor the impact of SEO strategies over a period.  Many of the SEO Suite based tools (see below) offer rank tracking tools.

BackLink Tools

  • Yahoo Site Explorer – once recognised as the single best way to get fairly decent backlink data on your competitors site – is now seen as no longer reliable and on it’s last legs as a useful tool
  • Webmaster Tools – the most accurate source of backlink data for your own site – not available for competitors though (dammit !!!)
  • Open Site Explorer – SEOMOZ’s famous Link Popularity Checker + Backlink Analysis Tool
  • Majestic SEO – perhaps the worlds most comprehensive source of backlinks information
  • Market Samurai -  a Suite tool (see below) that offers some good backlink reporting
  • Backlinkwatch – enter a website URL to get detailed information about quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to the site
  • Blekko – a “search” engine with a difference.  “slashtag” capabilities extend the info that Blekko offers – try /seo

Conversion Optimisation Tools

There are hundreds of specialist tools that can be used for Conversion Optimisation – here are a few that were mentioned :

  • Google Website Optimizer – Google’s free website testing and optimization tool makes it quick and easy to implement A/B split testing and monitor and measure results.
  • ClickTale - discover everything visitors do on your website. Visitor Recordings, Mouse Move Heatmaps, Heatmap Suite, Form Analytics and more…
  • CrazyEggsimple and affordable heat mapping tools that allow you to visually understand user behaviour
  • Screenrweb-based screen recorder makes it a breeze to create and share your screencasts around the web.  From a CRO perspective this is a great tool to record test users behaviour – including their commentary on what/why they are doing thing.

SEO Tool Suites

  • SEOMOZ SEO Tools – A comprehensive (and sexy) array of SEO tools : Link Building, Competitor Analysis, Keyword research, Optimisation, and more….
  • SEO Powersuite – offer a range of SEO Tools from LinkAssitant – including Rank Tracker, Website Auditor,  SEO Spyglass and Link Assistant
  • Raven SEO Tools – Internet marketing tools for SEO and Social media  (tends to be higher end, more sophisticated/complex tools for SEO professionals/agencies)
  • Market Samurai – Great general purpose and good value tools for internet marketing and SEO

THE Most Important SEO Tool of All ??

And the single most important tool for any self respecting SEO is of course…  EXCEL.  Excel is critical for Collating, Filtering, Analysing and Sorting the reams of data that most SEOs accumulate in their day to day activities.


about the author: Andy Henderson, one of the Brisbane SEO meetup organisers is a Brisbane SEO Consultant and also provides Website Training Workshops and WordPress Training/Consulting services in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.