Know Your SEO Numbers

know your SEO numbers

Over the years that I’ve been doing SEO for small business it has become obvious that many small business owners equate a first page ranking for important search terms as a gateway to wealth. In their thinking, if you’re at the top of the first page then you can’t help but make money.

Now that might be true if you’re selling a product that can be shipped anywhere in the country … or the world … because then the number of people who might buy your product is huge.

But what if the product that you’re selling is limited by the area that you can service or the size of the population that you can service.

What are your real SEO numbers

To help make my point let me tell you about a mechanic that we built a website for. He was a little unhappy when he realised that he wasn’t getting a huge number of visitors to his website even though the basic SEO that we had done on his website meant that he ranked well in Google.

So we sat down and talked about it with him and I outlined to him basically what you will read below.

In most cases people who want to have their motor vehicle repaired or serviced are not going to travel large distances to get to a mechanic. They are going to be looking for some close by … in their own town or suburb and, after some discussion, our client understood that the number of people who were looking for his service was limited to the number of people in our town.

And because our town is not really compact but tends to sprawl along the coastline there will be some people who might only take their vehicle to a mechanic at their end of town.

So right there are some limitations on the number of people who are going to visit this client’s website.

Then there are the people who prefer to take their car to the dealer who sold them the car. Rightly or wrongly these people think that warranty work, servicing and repairs are best done by the dealer who sells their brand of vehicle.

Those people are not going to come looking for our client’s website because they “know” where they should take their vehicle.

There are also the people who have used another mechanic in the past and were happy with the service. Those people are going to go back to that mechanic and are unlikely to visit our client’s website.

Others may have seen a mechanic advertising on TV or they have asked a friend or acquaintance for a recommendation and those people are unlikely to visit our client’s website either.

And finally there are the people who just don’t need a mechanic right now. Their car is running fine and who wants to go looking for a mechanic when there is nothing wrong with their car.

So, when you take all those people out of an equation that starts with a population of say 80,000 people you don’t have all that many people left who are looking for car repairs on any given day.

Should you forget having a website

But does that mean you don’t really need a website if you’re running a service-based industry that is limited by geographic restrictions?

Absolutely not … you still need a website because, while the numbers might be low on a daily basis, they can quickly add up to quite a few when taken over a longer period of time.

Knowing your SEO numbers can save you money

So thinking about the numbers is very important when it comes to SEO. Don’t be fooled by the thought that a website takes your business to the world. Of course it does but the world isn’t looking for your business.

When you’re thinking about going beyond basic SEO you need to consider the cost involved and balance that with the genuine returns you might get on your investment

By |June 18th, 2021|Search Engines|Comments Off on Know Your SEO Numbers

Google and EAT for Small Business

Google and EAT for Small Business

seo for small business

Just when you start to think that you’ve got a handle on what makes Google happy … you know, keywords, links and all that stuff that the scammers who want to sell you search engine optimisation tout … Google goes and throws an acronym into the mix just to disrupt things.

EAT … or more correctly, E.A.T. … is an acronym for Expertise, Authority and Trust and that’s something that Google wants to see on the websites that it shows to the people who trust Google to show them the sites that are right for them.

Is EAT for small business?

Now I should say here that there are some experts who will tell you that EAT is not important for every website … they suggest that the only sites where EAT comes into play as any sort of factor is in what is often referred to as YMYL websites.

Yes, another acronym and this one stands for Your Money Your Life and these are sites that offer things like health advice and investment advice.

So you’re off the hook? Even if you’re website isn’t a YMYL website then don’t run away just yet because I think that there’s a bit more to this story.

Yes, I am sure that Google does apply EAT to YMYL websites but I’ve also seen enough “evidence” to make me think that EAT can also be applied to ordinary small business websites and, even if Google isn’t thinking about EAT for your website, then your customers or clients probably are … subconsciously.

So what exactly is Google looking for on your business’ website when it comes to EAT?


When it comes to expertise how much have you to say on your website about your experience. For example, if you run a light engineering business specialising in custom-build vehicle bodies what does your website say about your past experience?

Does your website talk about previous projects, do you display images of the vehicle bodies you have previously built and do you talk about how those bodies met the design criteria?


Are you, or your business, recognised as an authority in the industry that you’re working in?

Are you or your website mentioned on industry sites or in industry journals?

Are you displaying genuine signs of membership in industry bodies and are you affiliated with other groups within your industry?


This one is a little different to the others because there are some aspects of Trust that most people may not even notice … and in some instances can’t even see … but Google can.

For example, does your website have an SSL certificate associated with the domain name?

Does your website have security headers to protect visitors?

This is one of those things that visitors to your site won’t even see but before too much longer it will be right up there with the need to have an SSL certificate.


Is EAT a ranking factor for your website?

Google says that it isn’t a direct ranking factor. Do I believe Google? Not entirely because Google has been known to tell untruths and there are times when it’s right hand doesn’t know what it’s left hand is doing.

And some of those EAT factors are going to impress you potential customers and clients so …

It won’t hurt to make sure that you have the E.A.T. bases on your website covered.

By |June 1st, 2021|Search Engines|Comments Off on Google and EAT for Small Business

SEO and Small Business Keywords

SEO and Small Business Keywords

seo for small business

In this post we are going to be looking at SEO and small business keywords … and keyword phrases … so first, let’s look at a couple of definitions so we’re all on the same page.

Keywords are the words that people may type into Google when they are looking for you, the service you provide or the product you sell. In the early days of the Internet most searches were for single keywords but over the years people’s search habits have changed and now keyword phrases hae become important because most people search in two ways.

  1. They search for a keyword but add modifiers … e.g. ‘buses near me’ or ‘the best coffee in Hervey Bay’
  2. They search for a keyword phrase that helps narrow down the results they will get back … e.g. ‘black widgets or ‘budget home builders’ or ‘Australian native nurseries’.

Your customers can tell you

So how do you know what keywords people use when they search for your business?

Obviously they’re going to search for the products you sell or the services you provide so there are the keywords or keyword phrases that you should focus on … but if you’re still not sure then think about what people ask when they first contact your business by phone.

“Do you sell (insert the name of a product here)?”

“Do you provide (insert the name of a service here)?”

“Are you the local (whatever it is that the caller is looking for)?”

Those are the keywords and phrases that you should be targeting because those are the keywords and keyword phrases that you potential customers or clients are searching for.

Don’t pluck keywords out of the air

Don’t pluck keywords and phrases out of the air because you think that that’s what people might be searching for … that can quickly turn into a major waste of money. Just last week a client of ours who thinks that he knows all about keywords asked me to target a particular phrase by adding a new page to his website that focused on that phrase.

He had no evidence that people were searching for his services using that phrase but he was sure that it had to be popular and he was prepared to pay me to add a new page, write the appropriate text and do the SEO for the new page.

I’m always a little sceptical of his ideas so I did a little research of my own and discovered that no one was searching for that term at all. Sure there were some websites that were ranking for that term but there was absolutely no point in spending money to rank for a term that no one was looking for.

I pointed out that there were several other things that he could spend his money on that might provide a better return on his investment but he remains unconvinced and I don’t want to waste his money so we’re still discussing it.

Finding the right keywords

There are lots of very expensive tools out there that can help professionals, like me, find the right keywords for clients. But for you and your small business keywords there are a couple of simple tools that will give you the information you need … and they cost nothing.

If your website is hosted on an Apache server … and if you don’t know what that is then talk to your web designer or the company that hosts your website … there is a little programme running on the server called AWStats.

When you find your way into that you will be able to see the keywords and phrases that are bringing people to your website.

There is also an app out there that you can access online called Uberuggest and you will find it at You don’t have to sign up for an account but it will give your more information if you do.

A basic account is free and the basic account is all that most small businesses need.

One very important keyword phrase

There is one keyword phrase that I know is very important for your business without even knowing what you do … that is the name of your business.

People will search for the name of business because someone has told them about you … or they may have seen the name of your business in some advertising that you have done … or on the side of your van or truck.

They have seen your name but they don’t know the URL … the domain name … that will take them to your website so they search for your business name.

Make sure that you are targeting the name of your business on the front page of your website. If you don’t then people who search for your business name may never find you.

Getting the right small business keywords for your website is very important … getting them wrong can cost you a lot of money.

By |May 31st, 2021|Search Engines|Comments Off on SEO and Small Business Keywords

SEO for Small Business

SEO for Small Business
seo for small business

So, you’re a small business and you think you know a bit about Google. You know you have to target keywords, you have to get links to your website, you need all the exposure you can get in Google because you know that will ensure the success of your business.

You know that Google loves you because you have the best-looking website ever and they are going to send a lot of traffic to your website and all those who come are going to buy what you have to sell.

Regardless of whether you sell a product or provide a service you know that the success of your business is going to depend on great rankings in Google.

You’re a target

My friend all you are is a target for all the conmen that the SEO industry has spawned and continues to spawn.

They are out there just waiting to take your money as they sweet talk you into a deal that leaves you broke and with a website marked by Google as one of little value to anyone and definitely not one that Google wants to show to its users.

And right there is the secret to good SEO … it’s all about providing a good user experience for the people that Google sends to your website.

What would I know?

But wait, I know what you’re thinking, this guy doesn’t have a clue … he doesn’t know shit about SEO because everyone knows that it’s all about keywords and getting a gazillion links from every website on the planet.

Everywhere you look “experts” are talking about keywords and links … that’s what it’s all about … it’s not about this BS user experience.

How do I know what you’re thinking? I’ve been doing SEO since 1998 … yes, I was doing SEO while some of you were still in school.

No guarantees

In that time I have seen the Search Engine Optimisation industry become a haven for crooks and shysters who will happily take your money, feed you a lot of rubbish and then convince you to give them even more money to fix the problems that they have caused.

It’s easier to listen to and believe someone who makes big promises than it is to someone tells it like it really is and who offers no guarantees … because there are no positive guarantees to offer in this industry.

The only thing in this industry that we can guarantee in this industry is that Google will slap you down if you do the wrong thing while the crooks and shysters are only too happy to guarantee you total success even though they can’t produce the outcomes you want.

There are no fairy godmothers in this industry

But many small business owners want to believe that anything is possible. They fork out their money till they have none left and then come to people like me with the expectation that we will rescue them because we must have some obligation to do so … oh and of course they’re too broke to pay us much because the crooks have taken all their money.

Sorry, it doesn’t work like that … the fact is that we are under no obligation to help you if you can’t pay for our services. And fixing the mess that others have made is a long and costly business. Sometimes it’s even more cost effective to ditch your old website and your old domain name and start again.

And here is another fact … Google is under no obligation to list your website in its search engine you can spend a lot of money having people like me fix your problems and Google it won’t change a thing.

And yet another fact … Google offers no guarantee that it will ever list your website and it doesn’t have to give you any reasons for why it doesn’t like your website.

So, if you have already fallen into the clutches of the crooks and shysters in this industry and you have burnt all your money then it sucks to be you. We understand that and we would love to help but we like to eat so we will charge you a reasonable fee for the work we do.

If you haven’t handed all your money to the crooks and you want to know what you should be looking at for effective SEO then here are a few tips.


Keywords were very important many years ago … now not so much and becoming less important as time goes on. Google is now using AI … Artificial Intelligence … to look at a page on your website and understand what that page, and your whole site, is about.

Sure, a keyword or a keyword phrase that is important for that page … and meshes with the content on that pate … is worth using once or twice but the days are long gone where you would try to have that keyword or phrase appear in every paragraph.

Also gone is the idea that you need to use your target keyword a set number of times on the page based on the number of words on the page.

The “experts” who wanted to sell you on that idea were quite happy to write text for the page that made no sense … the only thing that mattered to them was that they had used the target keyword the “right” number of times.


Inbound links were important for a time some years ago. Back then Google used inbound links as an indication of how important your website was. The more websites that linked to your website the more important your page must have been.

The crooks in this industry just loved that idea because they could offer you thousands of links from sites all around the globe … but then Google changed things slightly.

Instead of indiscriminate links Google decided that it only wanted to see links from other relevant and trusted websites and all other inbound links would have a negative effect on your rankings.

So before Google changed the game a general store in Nowheresville could rank well because it had links from sites like sites in other countries that were simply set up to provide inbound links. Under the new system Google didn’t want to see those links. It wanted to see links from other businesses in Nowheresville and surround areas.

It wanted to see links from suppliers and customers and it wanted those links to come from sites Google trusted.

So how did the crooks get around that one? They kept on pushing the inbound link thing hard … they just forgot to tell their clients about the need for those links to come from relevant and trusted websites.


You don’t hear an awful lot about citations being part of search engine optimisation but citations are important.

As far as Google is concerned a citation is a mention of your business somewhere other than online or maybe even online but without a link pointing back to your business.

User experience

Google has pushed the idea of user experience for some years now but it’s a concept that can be hard to explain to website owners and it doesn’t quite fit with the story that the crooks want to tell you as they take your money.

User experience is hard to explain to website owners because it involves things that they may not be able to see. While there are some parts of user experience that are apparent on a web page or on a website as a whole, and are obvious to a site owner, much of it happens in the backend of a website.

It happens back in the code area where most website owners don’t want to go. People who work in this area use words like ‘minification’, ‘caching’, ‘security headers’, ‘render-blocking’, ‘time to first byte’ and other strange terms that may sound like a foreign language to you … and to many so-called “experts” too.

These terms all refer to things that need to be addressed on your website if you want to give your users the best experience and keep Google happy.

User experience is important to Google because it doesn’t want to send its users to a site that doesn’t meet their expectations … that doesn’t provide the information that they want … and that might make them never want to use Google again.

But is Google the place that you really need to be and what will the ROI on the time and money you spend on SEO?

By |May 30th, 2021|Search Engines|Comments Off on SEO for Small Business

Ten Facts About Google

10 facts about Google that beginners don't know or understandUnderstanding how Google works can be a challenge so here are ten facts about Google that may help you understand it better.

These ten facts about Google are just some of the things I’ve learnt about Google while working in SEO for the last 18 years.

1. Your new website is not going to immediately appear in Google. Even if your web designer has done everything right it could still take anything up to a year or more for your website to appear.

2. Google is under no obligation to list your website at all.

3. If Google does choose to list your website, it will rank it against a complex set of factors that are mostly kept secret.

4. Even when your website does start to appear in Google it is not going to result in a deluge of new customers. There may not be that many potential customers searching for your service or product.

5. Google adjusts that set of ranking factors mentioned in point 3 on an almost daily basis so there is no guarantee that, if you have achieved a good ranking, you will retain it.

6. Google will look for mentions of your business in other places besides your website. It will look for links to your website, talk about your website from satisfied customers, mentions in newspapers and other places too.

7. No website should be ‘set and forget’. In many industry verticals Google seems to pay more attention to websites that update frequently.

8. We mere mortals have no guaranteed control over where, when, or what page of our website appears in Google.

9. Google sets the rules and if you try to bend or break those rules Google will punish you and may go so far as to drop your site from its listings.

10. Anyone who claims to have the ‘secret sauce’ to be able to achieve top of first-page listings in Google for your website is telling lies.

Three more facts about Google.

1. Any attempt to improve your rankings will be expensive, it will take a long time and there are no guarantees that the attempt will work. The cost of hiring a reputable search engine optimisation business can be as high as $40,000.

2. A good listing in Google is much harder to achieve for an e-commerce site.

3. Never rely on Google when it comes to the success of your business. Those small businesses that do often fail.

If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Total Website Management. We are always prepared to help you with basic SEO advice.

By |April 20th, 2018|Search Engines|Comments Off on Ten Facts About Google