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  1. Nickolass Jensen on

    Hi John
    I totally agree with you.

    I am working with companies that spend more in 12 hours with Google Adwords than they spend monthly on technical and content optimisation, though they have serious potential for higher rankings and more organic traffic.

    Send us suggestions for next years budget, they usually say.

    We do, and then we get a reply that we are unrealistic when showing them our plan. Let’ s just take small steps, they say, can you please ajust this?

    If they do not reply at all, they usually take our provided plan, hire an intern or a cheaper bureau to execute our plan.

    Been there, done that. Too many times.

    So we have to learn how to sell our services like Google does.

    I am really trying to cope with this too and totally empathise with you on this, John. Thanks for sharing.

    Regards from Norway.

    • John Romaine on

      G’day Nickolass,
      You raise some interesting points, most notably, clients that are seemingly happy to invest tens of thousands into Adwords, and yet aren’t interested in building out a long term content marketing strategy built on good solid SEO – which in itself has the potential to completely replace those advertising expenses. I understand that all businesses are different, and that Adwords might be better suited in certain areas, but surely, organic search is more cost effective in the long term.

      As for clients that take your recommendations and give them off to other firms, I’ve seen that happen many a time. I’m not too worried about that anymore, because chances are the work will be second rate and won’t achieve the intended goals. I always make a point of charging for my time now, especially when performing SEO audits for clients. I have staff to pay, and I’m not about to “work for free”.

      Thanks for commenting, appreciate it.

  2. Phil Gregory on

    Hi John, whilst all the above have certainly been used as excuses by seo companies of ill repute. They are all pretty solid points to be made in contributing factors as to why websites don’t perform to client expectation.

    1. “It’s your website.”
    This may have been mentioned by the SEO company upon initial meetings, but often the client has neither the money for a rebuild or the inclination to fix the problems. Often times they let their ego get in the way of taking advice, because they are CONVINCED that their crappy design and content is the way to go, despite the stats telling them otherwise.

    2. “It’s your host.”
    Same criticism really. Decent SEO companies pick up on all these factors, doesn’t mean the client will listen or action.

    3. “It’s your websites copy.”
    This is a good one, but I find it’s usually a lack of copy, or should I say a lack of RELEVANT well linked copy. Some businesses roll their eyes and throw a tantrum when you mention content creation…they say things like ” we’re too busy to write” or “we don’t want a blog, because people can criticise us”, which really equates to “we don’t care enough about our business to go the extra mile” and “we are basically lazy and want you to perform miracles”

    4. “The algorithm just changed.”
    Yes it does…sometimes the changes are dramatic…not really for me as I alway employ best practise but I have seen drop off over time, usually due to dodgy links or old directories dying and taking their links with them. It may be an excuse but it’s not something to be ignored. I’d be more concerned if the SEO company NEVER mentioned the algorithm.

    5. “Your web design is no good.”
    This is a rehash of the site point. All of this should be said at the start and revisited throughout the campaign with details of HOW and WHY the existing design is detrimental to conversions.

    6. “You need more content.”
    This is not an excuse. Most sites, business sites unless they have a strong brand reputation, DO need more content. I have known companies turning over millions but they are too stingy to pay a copywriter or pay for PR services. Well you get what you pay for, and if you don’t invest in brand promotion, you can’t expect earth shattering results.

    To sum up though I agree with your conclusion SEO’s are not magicians…certainly not when we have little to work with. I certainly feel a lot more comfortable when clients are proactive, call me with questions and concerns and are prepared to invest with any means necessary. That’s the attitude it takes to make your online business perform.

    The same passion and drive that it took to get the bricks and mortar version up and running. One last thing to remember, It’s not just some SEO companies that shouldn’t be operating, its a lot of clients. Some of them have lost the passion and the reason behind what they do…for some of them, it’s time to shut up shop and try something they care about.

  3. Ryan B on

    Expensive doesn’t always mean good either but your point #2 is still well taken. Super cheap is not usually a good sign because good SEO really takes time.

    And it’s true about guarantees – they’ve always scared me in SEO because there is really no such thing as guaranteed results in rankings.

    • John Romaine on

      Fair point about expensive, you’re right – it doesn’t “always” equate to high quality work, but it should. It pains me to see business owners in a right pickle because they’ve implemented $99 a month SEO that has damaged their sites. Especially large sites where their brand is involved.

      Business owners need to stop looking at SEO as an expense, and more of an investment. Pay the money, and do it right the first time. Cheap SEO is damaging and can take much longer, and be far more expensive in the long run.

  4. Terry Van Horne on

    1. been in the business almost 20 years and never believed we’ve had credibility as a marketers much less a good reputation.
    2. At best we have been treated with skepticism just like the witchdoctors many believe us to be
    3. Do not blame SEOs for not working on sites… that is just as much or more about clients and the bigger they are the less you get access to the site!
    4. As founder of SEO Pros can tell you for a fact if you think anything you’ve written here is new… sadly mistaken… clients have always wanted something for nothing… the ones who get bad service either deserve what they got because they did no due diligence or used ANY of the resources at their disposal
    5. seriously who buys marketing services from telemarketers! Suckers is who!
    6. the biggest difference between an Agency and a free lance SEO consultant? The consultant drives an old chevy and works out of his home. The Agency has an office, the owner drives a luxury car and spends most of their time at conferences selling their brilliantly planned SEO strategies but poorly implemented by junior practitioners to the uninformed…… IMO, that sums up our industry REAL GOOD!

    Bottom line…. SEO’s got their rep the old fashioned way… they earned it!

  5. Perry Bernard on

    Excellent article, John. Shame it got cut out of G+. Might be ruffling some feathers as you noted, eh? The SEO industry is a shambles and at some times very embarrassing. An uphill battle to genuinely try to help clients now. Frustrating.

  6. Stuart on

    I wanted to stand up and cheer when I read this John.

    We tell all our new clients that relying on search engine rankings for the success of their business is a very unwise choice … we tell them that again and again … and yet they don’t seem to understand.

    Two weeks ago we completed a new website for a new client and a week later he was back complaining that he couldn’t find his site in Google.

    Despite what we had told him again and again he continued to believe that the success of his new business was assured from the moment his website went live.

    And some people wonder why I they sometimes find me banging my head against my desk.

  7. Phil Gregory on

    Why did the article get pulled from Gplus John? I think you’re bang on the money.

    I sometimes get clients calling me telling me X keyword has dropped 2 places..and “what am I doing about it?” A quick check later I can reveal that X keyword drove them 7 visitors last year.

    Expectation management is the biggest thing to manage in our jobs, clients are used to making calls and getting action, they don’t get that it takes sear engines some time to propagate…they think it all works like email.

    • John Romaine on

      I posted it up in the SEO Hangout community. I guess the moderators over there might have thought it was overly “promotional”. I wasn’t trying to pimp anything – just voice my concerns and frustrations about what’s going on in the marketplace.

      As for clients thinking SEO is “instant”, you’re dead right. I see clients continually “changing” their title tags almost every second day, and then wondering why they’re not getting results. As you know, you can’t be constantly making changes without allowing adequate time for things to settle down before you know if they’re working or not.

  8. Scott Hendison on

    Good article, very well thought out, and unfortunately this is an all-too-common a scenario here in the states also.

    I also think the G+ moderators with being overly aggressive, and I’m glad it got posted elsewhere.

  9. Scott Krager on

    Fantastic post John.

    While I’ve never worked directly with clients myself, I talk with dozens of agencies a week, and the amount of mis-information from them and from the client is astounding.

    One thing I’ve noticed over the past year or two is the severe decline in lower-end ($99/mo “SEO” shops) agencies…many have simply shut down. Too many clients penalized and no sustainable model without the low-end links that were their bread and butter.

    I’m actually optimistic about the future of SEO. It’s becoming more mainstream, more recognized as valuable. The agencies I see prospering are focused on long-term results and their pricing reflect that. There will always be the low-end offer out there, but I think business owners are coming to realize that good SEO takes time and talent…and both those aspects come at a price.

  10. Brady on

    Great insights! I get a handful of calls weekly about “I need to rank #1 on X” and while sometimes that totally makes sense most of the time it is a broad keyword that is not only unattainable for their site but wouldnt drive many (if any) conversions.

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Brady,
      Yes mate I know what you mean. I had to almost argue the point once for a client that wanted to rank first for “painter in”, because he said it got 1,000,000 searches per month. I gave up trying to explain that the term was useless and that it was a broad match anyway.

  11. Mike Peters on

    100% true. The combination of clients expecting to rank for #1 immediately and shady SEO salesmen makes its difficult for legitimate SEO practitioners to secure business. I have noticed that social agencies slowly starting to creep into the snake oil salesman position though. Social is even more of a wild west than SEO!

  12. Bo Simmons on

    Hi John,

    this was a good post and I enjoyed reading it having lived many of the same calls. I’ve run a digital agency for over 16 years and while we are not focused on SEO as much as our strategy, design and coding / implementation practice – we have always worked in SEO for select clients. Over the last 8-10 years, I found that most of our clients simply didn’t have the budgets or stomach for constant change to deal with organic search rankings. ( if they do we send them to one a few SEO focused shops we are friends with). So we have typically worked with most of our clients who are interested in search using PPC. Paid is much easier to explain and set expectations – it is straight forward and works for clients who don’t have the appetite to really build out and tweak their site for organic or the ability to build legit inbound links over time. We can and have told some clients – “hey the ROI here is not working” – lets trim it back or just cease it. We are glad to work on loose contracts with 30 day outs because of the way we can implement and manage a paid search account. I was curious why you didn’t touch on Organic vs. Paid more in your article and how you feel about paid’s appropriateness for some or many that you described. We think there are still plenty of upsides to playing the PPC route -thanks in part to the same ill informed clients you are describing (for example we have a prospect who is a specialist physician spending close to $10k per month using Google Adwords Express that he set up himself for 4 branch locations – yep using Express! … talk about doing surgery on yourself !)

    thanks again and I’d love to hear your position on the value and efficacy of paid search.

    Bo Simmons

    • John Romaine on

      G’day Bo,
      Thanks for posting such a detailed reply mate.

      You’re right about PPC being much more stable, however at this time I don’t provide services accommodating paid traffic.

      It’s definitely something I want to investigate in the near future, as that combined with other forms of inbound marketing can be super powerful.

  13. Peter Watson on

    Great article John!

    Someone recently informed me that Penguin has been worked into the algo and now rolls out unannounced on a weekly basis. Not sure if its true or not, but from what I can see, I seriously doubt it!

    And once again, from the current search results, there are a hell of a lot of sites kicking ass using exact match anchors (huge % of the profile), non relevant links, site wides, etc, etc and when Penguin rolls out next, there will be a lot of sites that will disappear from the serps.

    If I could ask Matt Cutts a question it would be, ‘why does Google let spammy sites using spammy techniques dominate the serps for the entire duration from one Penguin roll out to the next, which is months and months!

    Legitimate sites are suffering big time!

    I know Google preaches ‘do good things and you’ll get rewarded’, but is there anyone out the who can vouch for this?

    Show me a site that ticks all of the boxes and is not being outranked by a site in a far worse condition.

  14. Mark Debono on

    Excellent article John. I do so feel your (and the clients’) pain. Hopefully matters will shift and settle in future and the snake oil salesmen will get skimmed off the top.

  15. Kalite seo hizmeti on

    Hi John
    Reading your article about local seo, surprise me a lot. But after seen the pictures and the word ” Sounds load of crap to me” made me relief what I was thinking.
    I had similar issue on e commerce site and achieved pretty good results,
    But how ever your sample above is not a e e commerce site at all.
    So how you going to do it ! Let’s say you want to use blog with nice article to create those particular on earth you can write that many different articles or content for the sake of suburbs names right!

    Well I had same issue with non ecommerce site like limo hire you show above as sample.

    Mine was a plumber and covers almost hundreds of suburbs..So I did this

    I created particular category ” Plumbers services in Istanbul”
    Than quick short description..
    List all the areas with bold title
    Than provide phone number , contact.ect…
    Than finished with nice main keywords like” we are available for all suburbs of Istanbul just give us a call”
    That was a consulting work I was doing for the seo firm in Istanbul.
    Less than a week they are start to pop up with the keywords they were wishing for.
    But in my opinion it is not good enough just one page to list those suburbs. But mention few suburbs names in related articles as well works fine.
    But as you know yourself after Hummingbird changes we can’t write a different article for each keyword especially if the topic is same.
    For the Limo hire. I would go with nice content to explain why you should hire us kind of caption then wrote few stories from each suburb clientele what a wonderful experience they had kind of..

    I am sure few articles or content would be enough to cover all suburbs in Sydney especially with nice touch of footer link.
    No double tag, content and free of punishment from Google zoo.

    These kind of things works very fine with ecommerce site but not with plummer or Limo hire is it!
    E Commerce sites has many categories and products and it much easier to rank every single word as you wish if it is done properly.

    Thanks for the interesting article and sharing with us.



  16. Steph Riggs on

    Google Penguin was the big crack down against spammers which forced people to move attentions upon natural ways for generating backlinks and attaining top position. Now after the introduction of Hummingbird update, now it is very important to write quality contents on the basis of your readers. Its pleasure to read your post about Google Penguin update 🙂

  17. Byron on

    Hi John,

    We spoke briefly last week when I called about mentorship. Firstly I wanted to say thanks very much for writing such a well informed article. For something of such length I would have typically fallen asleep after the second paragraph but you captured my attention for the entire piece.

    This is exactly the kind of information I was searching for and I feel that your approach on conversion, sales and leads sets much clearer goals. There is an industry understanding that more traffic brings more business however your example clearly shows that much greater work can be done with on site optimisation and improved conversion rates to provided better return on investment.

    Thanks for the informative post and thanks for the chat the other day. I really got alot out of it and you’ve had my brain churning ever since.


    • John Romaine on

      Hey mate, cool. Glad you got a lot out of it.

      If you enjoyed this one, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, as I’m going to publish another one this weekend that I think you’ll get a lot out of.

      Thanks for commenting.

  18. Toby on

    Hey John nice video! I love your analogy of the seo hungry client and the Junkie! Classic! I like how you cut through the mumbo jumbo and explain things in a clear direct manner and no geek speek! Cheers!

  19. Holly Pedit on

    Hi John,
    First post of yours I came upon. Spot on.

    I cater to small business owners locally and they are so confused about SEO. Much of what you have here illustrates my frustrations. I will not go thru point-by-point because my response would be as long as your article.

    However because I work only with local businesses, I control that uncertainty with in-person interviews. At this point, I can demonstrate what goes wrong when they hire say someone who calls them from Florida and offers them SEO. (am in WA) Worse, how their SEO is diluted by [phone book] companies using a different telephone number for every listing so they can spot the search channel. Yeah.

    I separate On Page and Local. Some have great sites already. Most do not. I work with Sole Proprietors (Yes I know I will not become wealthy) and they can only afford incremental steps.

    SEO is still relatively new
    Oh my, so many doubters. But with whom I deal with (local sole proprietors), they have “heard of it” and may have researched it (Dangerous) and know they need it.

    Many SEO agencies thrive on clueless business owners
    Many of my clients have “relationships” with directories like Dex, who insist on separate telephone numbers for tracing results! I look at them and say cancel it NOW! I call Bologna.

    Others who have web sites claim their “Webmaster” has SEO’d their site. Um okay let’s look. My answer is usually “Not only is your content bad, but your site being SEO’d? Not.

    In re – SEO getting bad rep? Well duh, they are ripping people off! I have clients that tell me who their SEO Companies are and research? Wow. Good for me I can show it and claim a new client!

    Thanks for articulating what we see and feel in the field.

    Great post! Thanks!

  20. Matt on

    Hey John,

    This really is some useful information you’ve given. And I know this for a fact, because as I read, I notice that the “gold” of this article are techniques you apply to your very own setup.

    Embedded Videos, Transcripts, Email Marketing, among more!

    Not limiting yourself is key.. And I’m coming to realize that it’s really the art of learning the balance (when and where to spend your efforts and/or outsource, etc.)

    That’s what I’m finding most difficult with my new online marketing business. There are so many avenues to cover when Part-Time is only a reality.

    Anyway, I’ve been a long-time subscriber to you among others and now I thank you for helping push me to start. You can read all you want, but I get the fact that you truly learn all of this by trial.

    That said, do you have any articles you can link me on the subject of split testing? Keep it up!

  21. John Romaine on

    Hi Matt, thanks for kind words mate, appreciate it.

    I don’t currently have anything on the subject of split testing, however, I’d be happy to put something together that would benefit everyone. What were you after exactly?

  22. Matt on

    Hi John,

    In my industry, what the pros seem to do so much well is to track everything they do. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. In theory it makes sense.

    But how does one go about setting up a “campaign” like this. Which variables should be tested & how to go about doing it?


  23. Jono on

    Just stumbled upon this site while searching for ideas for a client who asked me how to rank for specific suburbs. I really like your blog! Good food for thought / ideas, presented in a straightforward, honest and humourous fashion. Great stuff. Bookmarked.

  24. Kevin Tambling on

    John, I’ve been following and enjoying your posts on G+. You’ve really hit it out of the park with this one. I had confidence in you before, but now I really know you’re the real deal. I would work with you, or send clients your way without worries. Powerful writing, very helpful. Except that whinging isn’t a word yet.

  25. Naveen on

    Awesome article and it’s nothing short of naked truth. Yes here in India we have countless number of SEOs who do this for even $49 which is laughable. Even they in boxing me and tired of it. Yes the SEOs prices which differs to other vendors makes confusion on business or site owners.

  26. Dermot Gilley on

    I would say that Google and its spokesman Cutts were wrong and Hispanic Networks are a form of SEO strategy (whatever for). While Google’s patented page rank was essentially flawed in that it treated all links equally, the “correction” of this flaw is not equally as easy. While it might be easy to see that promoting a Ford family member (always) to the top position of CEO need not guarantee best results, knowing that does not tell us who else to hire! Likewise, knowing that there are irrelevant links is like knowing a doll might not be the right present for a boy (in most cases), but to know what else to buy instead requires intimate knowledge of the kid. And there are lots of sites that deal with lots of subjects (like e.g. a site that might have a “the biggest …” theme – one day it’s the ten biggest criminals, next day the ten biggest geysers, then the ten tallest people, the tallest mountains, the longest wars etc. – how are you going to determine the “relevancy” of a backlink in those cases?). Google is throwing its weight around too much of late.

  27. Vance on

    Hi John, this ones an interesting topic. My first site we built I did exactly that, built thin suburb pages but only some sit on the front page of google while others on the second and third. Just built my second money site and am doing research about how I’m going to build local suburb pages and I think this may be the key.

    What I’ve found in the past while doing this (building posts not pages) is that google will rank that post rather than the home page but wondering how this will go if you continue to build posts about the same suburb? Which post will rank better? Do you build links to those posts or to the main page when targeting that particular keyword/suburb? It’s a tricky situation the whole local seo.


    • John Romaine on

      Vince, I don’t build links to suburb specific pages. You’ll probably find that most of them have low competition and rank easily.

      If you apply my suggestion above, over time you will own every suburb in your space.

      The problem is, most people are just too time poor or lazy to do it.

  28. Paul on

    Hi John,

    Great article, thanks for posting. I will be implementing the Blog idea with appropriate page titles – before, during and after pics are always compelling content that assist sales efforts so there is even more reason to follow your formula.

    I have seen examples of the Limo type sites that rank really highly for every suburb but I am loathe to go that way due to not being able to produce different content for each page.

    I am with you, I think Google will destroy those sites at some point because it is clear that the only reason the suburb specific pages exist is SEO.

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Paul,

      Yes the blog strategy is one that is completely safe and can help drive customers, leads and sales, because you can demonstrate your work and expertise.

      It does take a bit of work, but will be much safer than building out near duplicate pages, which will get hammered sooner or later.

  29. Toby Balsiger on

    Great explanation of SEO and what the hell you get for $1000 a month! Ha!

    I love when hosting companies like Godaddy say they’ll do SEO for less than $100 a month! Or that they will ‘optimize’ your website… what the hell does that even mean? You for sure aren’t showing up on page 1 for 100 bucks.

  30. Adam Hanegraaf on

    Hi John,

    I just stumbled upon your podcast, this is some really valuable information for those small/medium businesses who are considering implementing an SEO campaign.

    Many of my customers ask me if SEO is simply a scam, and this podcast answers that question so I’ll be sharing it around!

    Thanks for the great content.

    Adam Hanegraaf.

    • John Romaine on

      Cheers Adam!
      I can understand business owners thinking the SEO industry is a scam. Unfortunately it’s not regulated in any way. Hopefully this changes in the future. Be sure to subscribe, as you’ll be notified as new episodes are released. Typically we do them every Wednesday.

  31. Sofia Brooks on

    Hi John,

    I read your entire article on 301 redirection from penalized domain to newly created website. It was really amazing article. And here I am not trying to get any kind of link. Actually my site was penalized in October 2013 and could not recovered till now. We were ranking with almost of our targeted keywords.

    Although we tried a lot to recover from this penalty. We removed our Spam links, pages, articles and guest posts. Even disavowed those links which could not be removed from the directories/websites. We disavowed spam links in GWT more than 3 times in a year. But still could not recovered from the penalty.

    So, now we have decided to create a new site (almost 90% completed) with new design, new content.

    our penalized domain name is AddictiveMedia {dot} co {dot} in (India based). And now we registered a domain with the same name (just missing “co”) AddictiveMedia {dot} in (India based).

    Actually. we are thinking to redirect old domain to new domain with the help of 301 redirection. What will you suggest.

    what would be more beneficial :

    1) Should go for 301 redirection from the penalized domain to the new one ?
    2) Should work on the new website without 301 redirection
    3) should work on the already penalized domain and fix the problems

    Eagerly waiting for a positive response from your side.

    Thanks & Regards
    Sofia Brooks

  32. Michelle on

    Hi John, great article for some one like myself that is trying to do it all with not much knowledge on SEO or web building skills.

    I have used a self serve type website builders.

    My question is, if you can help me please , as a cleaning company that covers many suburbs and country towns does parking domains such as and cleaning have any value in directing traffic to my website.

    On the advise of someone who seemed to know about website building i have purchased many domain names ( 78 in total) with all the possible combinations.

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Michelle,
      No you should avoid buying keyword rich exact match domains. You’re wasting a lot of time and money by doing so. You should always build out one site – and build it out well. Essentially, you will want to build site AUTHORITY, and the only way you can do this, is to put all of your efforts into one site – not 78.

      There’s no way in hell you can effectively manage 78 websites. That is a total headache.

      You would be much better off, doing something like this… OR at least something similar. If you follow my advice and build SITE AUTHORITY, you will rank PAGES, not DOMAINS, simply because they are EMD (exact match domains)

      The other issue you are faced with is the loss of “link equity”. When links are being pointed to a large number of sites, instead of 1, you are essentially watering down any potential link juice that SHOULD be pointing to ONE site.

      I hope this helps.

  33. Magnus B. on

    Google is already useing BR, CTR and time on site as ranking factors. But you can also manipulate with that.
    I think that links still will be important in the long run.

    • John Romaine on

      I am aware that they might be looking at those metrics, but to what extent, I’m not sure. I disagree however that links will be important in the long run. There are already signs that links matter much less than they used to.

  34. Rabbits on


    Splendid and interesting article on backlinks..In fact, I have also seen that most of the websites having a higher rank in websites, are deriving backlinks from the sites they own personally. I am confident that this type of practice can be stopped by google in near future..

    Team Rabbits

  35. Rakesh Ojha on

    Matt did say after turning off the back links factor, the results were unsatisfactory. Besides if the relevancy of back-links is turned off, how would we know what site is authoritative? Just as in real life, it matters who you know and connected with, I’m sure Google would come out with ways to differentiates between back-links.

    Content is king but what happens if we publish real good contents on different platforms but the reference to the main site isn’t counted? What is the purpose of publishing great contents if the back-links won’t be valued? Will the contents be just concentrated to the site itself?

    It will be interesting to see the outcome!

    • John Romaine on

      I’m not sure what you mean by “what happens if we publish real good contents on different platforms but the reference to the main site isn’t counted?”

      Are you referring to using multiple domains for one business?

      If so, that’s a strategy that might get leads short term, but never works long term. You’re also diluting your link equity, which makes ranking any of them much harder.

  36. Nizaar on

    I do not think that Google will drop back links anytime soon it may reduce its importance, but to completely remove it from being an important algorithm factor would be too chaotic! On the other hand it makes sense if Google starts rewarding sites with a low bounce rate to rank higher.

    • John Romaine on

      The problem with using bounce rates as a quality indicator is that that too, is somewhat flawed. I can quickly visit a site, get the information I need, and leave in a matter of seconds.

      Unless its continual pogo sticking, then that would make sense. Otherwise it could be a sign of a site that’s very efficient.

  37. John Doe on

    but let me try to answer, the idea of these domains is to pass manual review,
    so you want them to look like ‘real’ and ‘cared for’ sites. I personally get unique
    (quite cheap though) articles written for my PBNs, and then I post 2-3 articles to
    start with on each site and add a few pages like an about me, and some contact info
    (the about me can be dummy info).

  38. Jonathan on

    Very interesting, I’ve definitely heard user experience being discussed as the next big focus in SEO, which I find exciting. I know UX was a factor in the last Mobile-focused update, and a number of Google’s free tools now tell you how Google sees your UI/UX . Thanks for the in-depth look John!

    • John Romaine on

      Thank you John. Yes it’s all very interesting stuff. Definitely the time to start ramping up content efforts I’d say!

  39. Edgar on

    Great post John, Thanks for sharing wonderful techniques to get high quality backlinks. I will definitely implement all the tricks asap to my sites.

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Corryn!
      Thanks I’m glad you enjoyed it. You will LOVE my next one. I’m going to show you how to get the MOST out of your blog posts – total leverage!

      Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.

    • Stephane on

      I read some in some blog that we should risertct backlinks creation 3 to 5 links per day ? If we create more backlinks what will happens. Ideally what bothers google ? I Am not doing any automated backlinks. I Am genuinely writing articles and creating backlinks. So I believe google should not worry about it. Your tips are really helpful. Thanks for Sharing. I am a new blogger and trying to succeed in blogging.

      • John Romaine on

        Stephane, you should be thinking about creating 10x content that your readers will love, share and link to.

        You certainly shouldn’t be thinking about creating “x number of links per day”

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Corryn,
      Yes there definitely seems to be demand for it. From what I’ve experienced so far working with many business owners is that most are time poor, making it difficult to not only create the content, but promote it. As you’re probably already well aware, creating and publishing content takes a considerable amount of time. This article took me about 16 hours (not including promotion which I’m still doing now) so it can be very time consuming.

      I haven’t looked, but I’d be confident in thinking that there may already be a service like this around? Is there?

  40. Jesse on

    Your LinkedIn title is miss leading. You said Google is going to get rid of backings eventually but you are speculating.

    Backings will always be a major ranking factor.

  41. Alyssa Craft on

    Great post, John! I asked for a link a couple days ago on a DA 74 blog in the niche I needed and they said yes… I nearly fell out of my chair. So that’s one of the big takeaways I have from my link building efforts… you never know who will say yes if you simply ask but if you don’t ask then the answer is most definitely a no 🙂 I’ve also done roundup posts where I link out to 10 other bloggers or so and when I send them the post and let them know that I’ve linked to them, frequently they will share the post with their audience. That’s a great reminder to give first rather than focusing on ME ME ME. It’s all about the law of reciprocity, right?

    • John Romaine on

      Absolutely Alyssa!

      I think one thing that I’ve learnt is that if your site demonstrates quality, then the chances of you building relationships and obtaining high quality links (as part of your outreach efforts) are much more likely.

      Thank you for commenting. Be sure to subscribe, I have many more great articles coming.

  42. Phil Shirley on

    In the adult entertainment industry (where backlinks remain a major area of resource investment) we are seeing user experience factors – time on site, bounce rates, engagement, page views, click through rates – have a massive impact on SERP.

  43. Eveline Vinet on

    Tout à fait. I agree perfectly with your analysis which totally makes sense. I would add to stay away from words that your competitors are very well optimised on as a primary focus. Thanks for sharing! I will add you to my favorite blogs 🙂

    • John Romaine on

      HI Evelyn, thanks for commenting.

      I think its always worthwhile reverse engineering competitors on terms they rank for to get a better idea of existing opportunities that you may have overlooked with traditional keyword research.

  44. Rolando Valdes on

    Wow! That was quite an informative read. I especially got a lot out of using themed keywords to build a site. Long gone are the days when you could stuff keywords in your head tags and rank. LOL. Now it’s all about great quality content and keyword variation. It’s a good thing though makes the web much better for searchers who are actually looking for information. Hate it when you type a keyword into the search bar and land on unrelated content. Thanks for a great read!!

    • John Romaine on

      Yes things are changing – and for the better. Google is getting much smarter at showing much more relevant and USEFUL results. They still have some way to go yet.

  45. Mick Edwards on

    Absolutely agree. Then of course having that theme and batch of keywords goes some way to help formulate the more natural content, rather than a fixation on a single or two keywords and how many times they must appear. I think the grouping can also sometimes help brainstorm a new or better idea for the content.

    • John Romaine on

      Absolutely MIck.

      Its amazing though how many people are still banging out single phrase term pages. I’ll be glad when that crap is long gone completely.

  46. charles on

    what a post the information mentioned in the Article on keyword research are real Gems,
    Thanks for this Wonderful Article


  47. Clay on

    hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this site, since I experienced to reload the website many times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and can damage your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective intriguing content. Make sure you update this again soon..

  48. Robert Huber on

    Thanks for sharing this great insight. It absolutely makes sense and is also a way to rank better without hundreds of pages, which is for the user really bad.

  49. Lorel on

    I tried the code you offered above for the htaccess file and got this error for the last line when trying to save it:

    The character “–” (unicode 0x2013) cannot be represented in the “Western (ISO Latin 1)” encoding

    Is there another way to write the last line?

    • John Romaine on

      Steve, go to Google’s keyword planner. Select “find new keywords” then enter in your competitors URL where it reads “your landing page”

  50. Geoffrey Lenart on

    In the article, you make the following statement:
    “Google hates this stuff and is constantly looking at ways to get rid of it.
    (And yes, this includes business owners that buy heaps of keyword focused
    domain names!) I also believe this may have been why Google pulled
    Google Analytics keyword information and replaced it with “not provided”.

    The last sentence is of interest. In our Google Analytics platform, we are getting very
    little info on SEO keyword tracking. We have a handful of branded keywords that show
    up as ranked in our Google Analytics system but the vast majority of keywords have
    not been called out. INSTEAD, the results have been stuffed by Google into a category called
    “not provided” which is what your article is saying. What can we do to fix this? It is hard
    to design/fix an SEO program when your GA system does not report on the SEO keywords which
    are doing or not doing the job.

  51. Kent on

    Hi John,

    Thank you for the very informative article. You make a great point to not stick so rigidly to the “one keyword per page” concept. and, if you are truly providing content with personality they the article will both valuable and entertaining without the rigid keyword orientation. At the end of the day, we need to target fewer keywords with better content and the traffic will take care of itself.

    Also, please mention the use of Webmaster Tools or “”Search Console” data as a way to see keyword performance in Google.

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Kent,
      Yes mate, I think the days of building single phrase pages are long gone – thank goodness!

      As for Webmaster tools, I need to remind myself that its now called the “Search Console” (force of habit)

      Thank you for commenting.

      PS – Don’t forget to mash your keywords!

  52. Anant on

    I really like when i have to find the competitor on page seo Parameter and also my client site . Most of time this site is not much accurate when we are talking about Backlink . However its best tool for ON page SEO checkers .

  53. Ashutosh on

    You have presented a very good basic (read base) perspective of starting SEO work on a set of keywords. By following this strategy one can get very high quality pages developed on it’s site. And a lot of long tail keywords can start ranking using this style. Plus a highly detailed long posts will have a scope of resisting any tough SEO weather change coming in the future. Thanks for sharing!

  54. Andrei Ionita on

    Great, up to a point.

    It’s just that mod_rewrite only blocks webserver traffic. Many spammers just never hit your wesite. They just make javascript calls on the GA code using your tracking ID.

    Unfortunately, the guys at Gogle didn’t find a way to stop this.

  55. David Thompson on

    Great article . This information is definitely valuable for any business online trying to out perform the competition. One of my mentors always talks about reverse engineering the competition sites to see what is working best. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more great tips and tools.

    • John Romaine on

      Thanks David.

      Yes, reverse engineering is a solid strategy because it only makes sense to implement what is already working (and improve upon it if possible). Be sure to subscribe mate.

  56. Kristin Perry on

    Informative article . This data is without a doubt important for any business web attempting to out perform the opposition. One of my guides dependably discusses figuring out the opposition locales to see what is working best. Much obliged for sharing. I anticipate more awesome tips and devices.

  57. Matt on

    Hey John

    The latest version of WooCommerce does not have integration built into, you need to install the plugin “WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration” to enable integration settings… great piece of content by the way, thanks for putting this together…

  58. Norman Risner on

    I was reading alot on Silo site structure and was wandering if you have any comments on this? Some articles say it’s inefective and some say it’s the best method for infrastructure linking.

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Norman,
      I just follow the principles I’ve outlined here, using logical categories and filing everything that relates to that category – under that category. I also interlink where I can between pages. Really not sure about “silo-ing”. I’m yet to be convinced.

  59. Deepika Singh on

    Nice article. AHREF is a good tool. But it gives limited info in free version, only five links detail. Ia m using Open Site Explorer from MOZ that is quite good in free version.

  60. Michael on

    Hi John,
    Thanks very much for making this blog. Some questions for you please??

    I love the idea of making a blog and stating the suburb where I am working. I already submit a lot to facebook and instagram, almost daily, however I’m yet to transfer these on to my website due to them being time consuming and the inability to find an ‘automatic post app’ that looks good enough. I do however have the Facebook Page feed on the ‘Social’ page on my website- WOULD this count and be useful in the same way as a website-integrated-blog would be? Of course I’d have to start naming the suburbs with all my posts first…

    Secondly, would it be a great idea to go through all the images on my website, and update the short descriptions to name the suburbs I was working at? This would be a very easy solution if it is effective.

    Third, does having a text box (listing the suburbs) that is visible to googlebot but essentially unreadable to viewers because the text color matches the background or is hidden behind an element work??

    Forth, would it be a good idea to list the suburbs I will go as a section in my FAQ page?

    I realise this is a long post, any input is much appreciated!

    • John Romaine on

      Michael, always publish content on your own site first, then syndicate out across social media. Unless of course, you’re posting short updates and notifications. You won’t get the traffic to your own site, if the information is being published on Facebook or Instagram (it may filter across) but focus on your own site.

      As for images, they should be keyword rich. So if you’re targeting the following term “SEO specialist Sydney” then it makes sense to use an image with a filename seo-specialist-sydney.jpg or similar towards the top of the page.

      NEVER EVER use hidden elements ( text color matches the background or is hidden behind ) etc etc. Google frowns upon this big time and it could lead to a penalty.

      Lastly, listing suburbs on your FAQ page is fine, but avoid keyword stuffing. You probably want to build out something that looks like this…

      /service-areas/ (parent category) …then add in your suburbs as follows…


  61. Atinder on

    Well, First of all, it’s not an easy task to get to know, whether our blog is penalized or not, unless, we are experience. I faced the same problem, when i started my career, that time, one of my blog got penalized due to low quality content, but I continued working on it, without knowing that it was penalized, but with experience, I recovered that blog perfect and it started ranking well on Google after the recent Panda Refresh. But, One thing I should say, recovering from Panda or Penguin can take some time, considering how much low quality content we have on our site, so it took few months for me. So, I will advice to all those who are looking recover their blog Google penalty, work smartly and keep patience. It’s the best way to do so. Btw, a very well written Post. Cheers.

  62. Julie on

    hey hi,

    I am using woocommerce for my affiliate site. I was creating a goal and funnel for my website and after trying lots of stuff, still unable to achieve what I want. Here is a summary of what i need in google analytics Goal

    1. My final page/Goat is CHECKOUT page i.e.

    2. My funnel should be like this

    Step 1 = Product Url i.e.
    Step 2 = Cart URL = /cart/

    Can you tell me how to setup this ?

    When a person go to checkout, it redirects him to the other website.

  63. Perry Bernard on

    Over this side of the Tasman it’s no better. Clients are skeptical at any services you offer now due to bad experiences in the past where they paid, were kept in the dark and never got anywhere. To so many businesses the acronym “SEO” has almost become synonymous with “scam”, yet there’s operators like yourself who offer transparency and results but probably still cop the grief. My latest client was a victim of black hat SEO that showed a small gain with a high risk of Penguin penalty to follow. When held to account, the black hat guy refused to fix his mess. That leaves the client (and myself) hoping we can mitigate the penalty before it hits. 6 months of wasted fees paid by the client, to only end up going backwards if I hadn’t stepped in.

    • John Romaine on

      Hey Perry,
      Thanks for listening in and commenting mate, appreciate it.

      You’re exactly right and as we said in this episode, we’re “guilty” until proven innocent, which for us guys trying to do the right thing sucks. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve had a client tell me “This SEO stuff is a scam”. It’s hard to argue that point when there are so many jokers around.

      I’m not sure what the solution is to be honest.

      I’ll keep pressing on doing good work and hopefully over time, more people find me and realise there are good people working in the SEO space.

    • John Romaine on

      Gday Paul.
      Yeah whatever you’re comfortable with. I prefer the “card” system because you can easily shuffle and move stuff around. I find when I scribble stuff down I end up with a sheet of paper that looks like a chicken wearing ice skates ran over it.

  64. Debbie Scholem on

    Card sorting is a bit like working out the seating plan at a wedding function. Get it right and everyone’s happy. Get it wrong (e.g. putting family members that don’t talk to each other – next to each other) and you’ll hear about it later.

  65. Jonas on

    As I understand it from this article, it is possible to use all three of these plugins at the same time. Is that correct? If so, are there special considerations to make (for example, certain boxes not to check) when using both Autoptimize and W3 Total Cache?

    • John Romaine on

      Hey Jonas, As I said, set each one up individually, then test. Ive often found that Autoptimize conflicts with other plugins, so I leave that one disabled.

      The two most important are and W3 Total Cache.

      Work towards getting those two in place and you’ll be good to go.

  66. James on

    First of all, very interesting post. I’m going to start experimenting with this immediately. I’ll favourite this page and get back to you with results.

    I’ve been away from seo since 2011, and since i’ve returned 3 months ago I’ve been experimenting with multiple techniqes to see what works and what doesn’t, and here’s a trend that keeps repeating itself.

    If I build a page and start linking to it straight away, that page never ranks for anything. Literally ever!

    But if I wait a week or two until it starts to show search terms in search console, and then start linking to it, I can be extremely aggressive with backlinks and the page responds really well.

    Have you ever noticed this trend?

    • John Romaine on

      Hi James,
      I can’t say I’ve seen that, no.

      What I have noticed, (right across a number of client sites) are pages that seemingly improve without any backlinking at all.

      I’ve seen pages hit with decent links go backwards, yet other “neglected” pages go up.

      I think when it comes to manual link building, you’ve got to be cautious and implement links progressively. You should always aim for fewer links – not more.

      Ive found the best strategy is to push 1, maybe 2 links at a page at any given time, then wait.

      Ill often wait 2-3 weeks before I make a decision from there.

      That decision of course is how the page responded.

      Again, link building has changed a lot – especially since the release of Penguin.

      Long gone are the days of just being able to slam a page with a shit load of links and it ranks.

      Personally I think that’s a good thing.

      Thanks for commenting mate, appreciate it.

      • James on

        Thanks for your reply John.

        I’ll tell you what i’m noticing as well, which may correlate with what you’ve noticed.

        When I’m directly linking to pages, they don’t necessarily respond well immediately. It can take a month or two for google to give the page the benefit of those links.

        But the pages that the linked to page, link out to on the same site, seem to get an immediate boost. It’s almost as if google sandboxes the effect of the links on the directly linked to page, but the juice flows from it without a problem or delay.

        I’m trying to quickly rank an amazon affiliate page right now, which is reasonably low comp, and bearing what I’ve just said in mind, rather than linking directly to the page to get it to rank, I’m going to post a few related pages that link to the money page, and link to those instead, hopefully siloing the link juice without the sandbox effect.

        I’ll let you know how it goes.

        • John Romaine on

          I cant say that I’ve noticed that, although I don’t really follow the impact of links close enough to know for certain. Sure I build links for paying clients and monitor results, but I certainly don’t spend a LOT of time on it. For clients we do a lot of content, and outreach. Its purely white hat stuff.

          I’ll give you some advice – be careful about how much time you spend on “technical SEO”. Its important that you’re thinking about your readers, and PEOPLE.

          Sure, links are important, but they come naturally as a result of doing all the right things.

          Its funny. People often find me through my content and they’ll ask “John, what can I do to get more traffic and increase my rankings”

          I always answer “Just do what I’m doing. Create great content, and promote it”.

          But that sounds like hard work, and they continue on chasing short cuts.

          I see a lot of people waste years mucking about with technical SEO and neglecting what really matters – PEOPLE. Its people that link to you. Its people that share your content on social. Its people that become subscribers and customers.

          I know this response might contradict the article above, but Im seeing so many people wasting so much time worrying about links, disavows, indexation rates, Google penalties etc and they haven’t published a piece of content in 2 years.

  67. Jilly S on

    Love it John! Thanks for this great post, it has helped me prioritize my approach to content on my own site and will help me to give greater weight to my blog writing which doesn’t come naturally to me.
    I have written a few blogs so far and I don’t believe anyone has read them yet which is sad as I do try to write from the heart and make them personable (considering my market, a tricky angle). I intend to take what you have advised about making quality content and angling it so that “it’s link worthy, invokes an emotional response and gets people excited. Something that’s informative or highly actionable. Content that gets social shares, links and comments.”
    Great advice!

    • John Romaine on

      Thanks for the kind words Jilly, I appreciate it.

      Be prepared when you first start out to be shouting into an empty room. This is the harsh reality of blogging. You might find yourself spending a great deal of time creating content that doesn’t seem to get any interest, which can be incredibly disheartening. But youve got to keep going. Youve got to push through it.

      All of the big names in the SEO space started out in the same boat.

      Sitting up for hours on end, often late at night, blogging and creating content.

      It really comes down to this – the difference between winning and losing in this game is consistency and persistence.

      Most people are impatient or lazy, which is why they publish 5 blog posts then quit.

  68. Dan on

    Hi John! Great post indeed, Google continues to develop their algorithm, the best thing that we can do is to adapt to those changes. You have shared a good point here about fixing google rankings dropping and fixing it. Great job John!

  69. Audrey on

    Hey there, interesting post and I must admit I did laugh more than once at your ’emotional’ writing style. 😂 One point though, I thought that since penguin 4 rolled out that it wasn’t necessary to disavow. Your recent experience suggests that perhaps it still is and that negative SEO is still effective. Have you been able to recover the site? Cheers.

    • John Romaine on

      Hi Audrey,
      Yes I believe negative SEO is still possible which is a shame really. Google continues to suggest otherwise but thats not we see out on the field.

      Google should only reward good links and ignore the rest. That would save everyone a lot of mucking around.

      Once I cleaned up this particular sites link profile it came back, but it took time, and hasnt recovered 100%. Its close though.

  70. Richard on

    Awesome article. I’ve been looking for this sort of detail as I’m about to rebuild my local business website. Coming up with 100% unique content for the region and each suburb page is difficult. Any advice?
    Also I’m curious about the domain page. What is on that as you refer everything to etc?

    • John Romaine on

      Coming up with 100% unique content for the region and each suburb page is difficult. Any advice?

      You’ve got to work at it. Put in the hours. If you’re not good at writing, then hire someone. But it has to be excellent, high quality content, otherwise it just wont work.

      Also I’m curious about the domain page. What is on that as you refer everything to etc?

      What do you mean Richard?

      • Richard on

        Sorry John, I meant the Homepage. You only refer to the “” and “” pages. How do you use the homepage “”?
        Is it similar to the region/suburb pages in structure or do you design it completely differently?

        • John Romaine on

          Optimise the homepage for brand. Push brand links at the homepage. Dont push geo target links at the homepage.

          You want your main region pages to rank for the main areas/cities and your suburb pages to rank for suburbs.

          You want the homepage to do its own thing.

          Remember, most of your traffic is going to be coming in on inner pages – not the homepage.

  71. Rachael on

    Hi John

    This article is great. Very clear. However it’s not usable as the plugin mentioned by another commenter has been out of date for a while, as Woo stopped the auto integration. Would love to see how you would get round this.

    Thanks, Rachael

  72. Scott Bradbury on

    Hey John, nice share. By creating a good SEO structure it’s possible to gain good result in the search result. I really like the URL structure making process you follow. The notepad idea to make your own structure URL is truly nice.

  73. john on

    Its great info John. Target is to apply this 100 percent but its not easy to make pages unique – might be somewhat duplicate. Using some template would be the easiest but its bad. Might take more than a month. Was looking for such detailed approach to local seo for some time – had no luck so far. But this article is clear and easy to follow. Still unsure which suburbs and how many to target but starting right now from one region. But content is really tough.

    • John Romaine on

      Content can be challenging, but you’ve got to work at it. This strategy wont work if you get lazy and just start copying and pasting. If content isn’t your stronger point, hire someone, BUT make sure they’re not slapping up shit content.

  74. john on

    Thanks for the advice. Have been trying to follow the instructions since last few days. Finally got 1 region done which took a few days. Even if info is not copied from one page to the other, won’t the products or services offered or stuff about the business be same?

    • John Romaine on

      Your products and services are what they are, yes, but you can word them differently between pages.

      It takes time, but its well worth it.

      This is why 99% of people screw this up, because they get lazy and slap any old shit up.

      Then they complain that they copped a penalty.

  75. Robert on

    Hey John,
    Great article. I wanted to jump on the url structure, Would a structure like ‘’ be ideal?

    Wouldn’t mentioning your main keyboard in the url be beneficial?


    • John Romaine on

      Would a structure like ‘’ be ideal?

      No, you’re keyword stuffing your URL.

      Wouldn’t mentioning your main keyboard in the url be beneficial?

      No. its not necessary.

      Put your keywords in the page title, and meta description tags. There’s no need to keyword stuff the shit out of your URLs.

      So, like this….

      URL –
      Title – Plumber Subiaco – XYZ Plumbing
      Desc – Plumber Subiaco Perth by XYZ Plumbing. We provide high quality, professional and affordable plumbing services throughout Perth.

  76. peter on

    Great Article John. Just curious – If you have multiple services – eg lawn mowing business.
    You have lawn mowing, landscaping, garden maintenance ect as services.
    Would you recommend making
    1) to cover all these service on one suburb page.
    2) have a/suburb and repeat for each service. b/suburb
    Im thinking maybe the second option – this way i can use a specific keyword per service and location.

  77. Trevor on

    Thanks for an excellent post John. I’ve just been penalised by Google – I assume for duplicate content on my doorway pages – so I’m very interested in your article. I’m just rereading it and I’m wondering how many levels I need for Sydney (I’m in SW Sydney). I guess you’re not suggesting home/sydney/swsydney/padstow for example (which would entail 4 levels of content), or home/swsydney/padstow (3 levels)?

    This is going to take a lot of creative writing.

    • John Romaine on

      Trevor, you’re overcomplicating it.

      There’s no need to include South West Sydney at all.

      Just follow the instructions I gave in the article.

  78. Madhushalini on

    Congratulations for your great post about link building. I am a big fan of the broken link building strategy and have had good success with it. My favorite tool is the “Check my links” Google Chrome extension to check web pages for broken links. If I find a broken link, I email the webmaster and ask him/her if they would like to replace it with my link.

    I think the broken link building strategy is a great way to obtain new backlinks because you actually help fellow webmasters fix their websites and you establish a healthy relationship with them in the same time.

    With this one strategy, you get more backlinks, your website ranks higher on Google, and you help the Internet be a better place 🙂

    • John Romaine on

      It shouldn’t so long as you set correct redirects and ensure everything checks out in Search Console. Always test test test. As for dropped links, go back and assess the reason and fix it.

  79. George on

    Great article mate. Your 100% correct in what you say. I have seen many plumbers and electricians use this strategy and over 50% of their pages rank locally. The only thing I think you could have spoken more about was the relavence of citation building to make this work. But nice work and honest.

  80. fedup on

    i hope everyone here realises what 750 words mean.

    it borders on rediculous. No offence to plumbers, i’m a trades person too, but to tradies 750 is an impossible task.

    i’m not blaming the author of course, it’s just google driving everyone insane. wtf are you going to write about a freaking plumber call out that takes 750 words??

    on top of that, if you’re chasing suburbs, that’s like 20 times X 750 words each page unique 750 words.

    fair dinkum, if you could pull that gig off you’d not be digging holes as a plumber.

    and by the way, how far does some graphics go towards so called word count? if i have some graphics does it mean less words?

    i do have skills at writing. but i learnt to be succinct and get to the bloody point quickly because people don’t want 750 words to call a ffffing plumber or a carpenter. But google, run by god knows what sort of not of the real world people drive people mad with all these rules!

  81. db on

    thanks john for a well thought out article.

    but i am bit baffled why you don’t suggest a keyword url. Most other seo experts are in favour of a keyword url.

    i know my competitor is using kw url to great effect.

    • John Romaine on

      Because you don’t need to.

      So many people are obsessed with keyword stuffing the shit out of their URLs

      Why? Its stupid.

      Let your meta description tag, title tag and content do the heavy lifting.

  82. Marcus on

    Hi John,

    A question on the unique content aspect per the above examples.

    So for the 24 hour plumbing, free quotes, and give us a call today sections, are you suggesting that this has to be unique for every suburb as well? There’s only a few ways you could word that type of content rather than 85 times!

    Thank you!

    • John Romaine on

      Marcus do you mean within the side bar call to action or the headings? If its the sidebar, they can be the same, but you should make *some* effort to change up your headings. A few the same here or there won’t hurt.

  83. Sonia Walsh on

    Gosh I’m only discovering this article 4 years after it was written! What an interesting and enlightening article though. You explained Google’s algorithm in a fashion that helped me understand it a whole lot better. Perhaps now in 2019, that info is now outdated! I’m just a regular, simple blogger, and one of the very first things I was taught, was writing good, quality original content and getting back links to your site from authority sites with a page rank of 4 or higher. I would love to know what is Google currently doing about back linking in 2019?