Frequently asked questions

What is SEO & Organic Search?

Organic search results refer to the websites ranking on a search engine that are listed freely. The “terms” used when conducting a search are called “keywords”. Unlike the Google search results that are listed with “Ad” that appear at the top and bottom of search results and queries, organic results are determined by Google’s ranking algorithms.

By focusing on core ranking factors that determine the rankings of a website in the Google search results, we can in turn influence the ranking of your website in the search results.

We work closely with you to determine your key focus services / products as well as the location(s) of your target audience. Once determined, we establish a set of campaign keywords and terms to actively target to improve your organic rankings in Google.

Why is SEO important?

Organic traffic is natural in the sense that it is earned rather than paid for, but to be successful, you still need to invest a lot of time and resource in SEO. Search engines have got better at identifying the intent of search queries which makes choosing the right keywords to drive traffic even more important.

Because organic traffic is not paid for, once an SEO strategy takes effect and visibility increases, a website will see growth in this channel. More visibility = more traffic = more potential customers = more potential revenue.

But it’s not just about getting ANY traffic to a website. If it’s not good quality traffic, there is no value in it. So don’t ever pay anyone who claims that they can deliver thousands of visitors to your website overnight!

Does traffic affect rankings?

Sort of.

Again, algorithms will determine what has caused a spike in traffic before assessing whether this is a signal that your site has something users are finding to be valuable. Did an authoritative site share a piece of content you created which resulted in a bump in referral traffic? Or was it a load of bots or spammers that have been paid to Google your business over and over and over again and click the result to artificially inflate the traffic to your site?

Exactly how much traffic affects rankings will never really be proven, but there are a few case studies out there that suggest there is perhaps some correlation.

What is Local Search & Google My Business?

Google My Business is a tool provided by Google to allow business owners to list their business online for free. Unfortunately, getting listed is only the start of the process, having your business appear for search terms is where search engine optimisation begins.

Google Maps provides tailored results for users examining location of the search user to then provide business listings, location, reviews and directions. On mobile devices it provides click to call functionality straight from the search results.

Currently, it is estimated that over 75% of all voice search results that are initiated on voice device such as Google Home are based on the top 3 search Google search results (desktop/mobile).

Whether on foot or using in-car voice activated searches, ensuring your Google My Business listing and website is optimised for local, mobile and voice search is essential.

How are SEO results achieved?

Search engine optimisation is an on-going process that focus on two key areas. These are referred to as, “on-site” and “off-site” factors. On-site factors refer to on-going technical optimisation of your website. Off-site factors refer to factors that influence your organic search results and domain authority.

This may include your Google My Business listing, business listings & citations as well as links from other websites to yours, often referred to as “backlinks”.

Our specialist team will examine and optimise technical elements of your website and known search ranking factors. This include, page speed and performance, content quality & relevancy, site architecture and structure as well as dozens of other elements that influence organic search results.

Who will be managing my SEO campaign?

Your campaign will be managed by one of our dedicated digital marketing specialists. Our campaign managers are here every step of the way to ensure we understand you and your business, goals and target audience. From your initial call and through the growth of your business, our team is committed to providing expectational customer service and management.

Your campaign manager will coordinate and project manage resources, key deliverables and timelines to ensure campaign goals and milestones are achieved.

Our team will provide you with a monthly performance update (phone) by taking you through key performance metrics and achievements. We also provide dashboard reporting that enables you to review your campaign performance online 24/7. Your dedicated campaign manager will always be only a phone call or email away.

How long does it take to rank keywords?

There are many factors that influence and determine your digital performance, campaign success and timeframes to achieve your goals. For organic search (SEO) these can include; technical elements of your website, domain authority, competition level & geo-targeting, user behaviour & engagement factors, links and social signals.

SEO results with Clearwater can occur within as little as 4-6 weeks.

Average timeframes SEO campaigns to see significant improvement in organic rankings & traffic is 3 to 6 months.

Why are keywords important?

Without the right keywords, you’ll really struggle to drive valuable traffic to a website!

However, choosing the right keywords can be difficult, especially if your business operates in a competitive niche. This is why keyword research is so important. Any SEO agency worth its salt will use multiple tools to identify target keywords, assess how competitive they are, and make suggestions of which pages target keywords should appear on.

Not all keywords are created equal. While a high volume, generic term like ‘books’ might seem like a good keyword if you sell books, realistically, it’s going to be very difficult to rank for a keyword like that, especially when you’re up against e-commerce giants like Amazon. ‘Buy books online’ might have lower search volume, but it’s far more relevant to your offering.

Now, ‘buy books online’ would be one of your ‘money’ terms (the search intent of the user is to purchase a book), but consider how many other searches users might make when researching what kind of book they want to buy.

This is where ‘long tail’ keywords come in. Made up of a number of keywords, often in a phrase or question, these keywords can be useful in driving traffic to deeper pages of your site, including FAQ pages, or a blog post. A good example of this would be ‘best selling horror books for 2019’ with all of your recommended books from this genre on a landing page, or a blog post ‘top 10 horror books’.

Why is site speed important?

How long would you wait for a website to load? 5 seconds? 3 seconds? Less?

When it comes to expectations for site speed, did you know that:

  • 47% of people expect your site to load in less than 2 seconds
  • 40% will abandon it entirely if it takes longer than 3 seconds

Most people have short attention spans when searching online, so it’s important to deliver the information they are looking for quickly. Not only is it important for users, but it’s also important to search engines, because they want to deliver high-quality search results – fast.

There is no point in ranking a site highly if users are clicking the result, waiting for 5 seconds for the page to load, and when it doesn’t, clicking straight back to search results. Low time on site and high bounce rates (when a user visits a site and leaves without visiting any other pages) sends signals that user experience is poor.

Plus, if your page load speed is really slow, search engines might not bother crawling and indexing some pages at all.

According to Google:

“Google will reduce the amount of crawlers it sends to your site if your server is slower than two seconds.”

This means that search engines are less likely to discover your latest landing pages, blog posts or other updates.

While shaving a few milliseconds off page load time isn’t going to make a huge amount of difference on a site that already loads quickly, doing what you can to make search engines increase crawl activity is always going to be positive.

How much does SEO cost?

The cost of a campaign can vary due to several key factors. This includes, the competition within your industry, the scope of your locale targeting such as local, metro or national, your current domain authority and the time and investment of previous campaigns. We work with you and your budget requirements to provide effective SEO campaigns that deliver the metrics that matter, that is, the growth of your business. In a nutshell, the core factors that will determine the cost of an SEO campaign are: competition love, targeting scope & your domain authority.

Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks effectively pass authority from one website to another.

Page rank is a long-dead metric that used to indicate how ‘powerful’ a page or domain was, and therefore, how valuable a link would be. Since that’s been scrapped, many people now use Domain Authority as a guide. Domain Authority is a ‘search engine ranking score’ which is a ‘best guess’ number out of 100 calculated by Moz and is used to determine the quality of a website based on a huge number of signals including the number of links, and the quality of links that point to the domain.

The BBC News website is very authoritative. It is part of a well-known brand, uses trusted sources, is updated frequently, and has lots of visitors who engage with, and share their content on a daily basis.

With all of this in mind, a link back from the BBC News website would be considered a fantastic link. However, the chance of getting a link from the BBC News website is pretty slim!

The good news is it’s not just about the authority of the sites linking to you. Relevancy is also an incredibly important factor.

Using our totally made up online bookstore, as an example, let’s imagine that they create a really good piece of content that helps people find out which Hairy Plopper squad they belong to. This ties in with the release of the complete box set.

This content could appeal to:

  • Media and entertainment publishers
  • Sites that review books
  • Sites that cover fantasy fiction
  • Hairy Plopper fan sites
  • Blogs about books

Websites within these niches will vary in terms of authority – but they are all relevant.

These sites will be more likely to cover the content has created as it will appeal to their audience – they are not interested in the fact that your site will be stocking the box set (so will thousands of others). As your content is covered and then shared, it starts being picked up by people you haven’t even contacted generating natural links back to your site.

While all of this might sound easy, it isn’t. These types of links require a huge amount of effort to acquire – which is why good backlinks are so valuable – and so important.

What is a technical audit?

A technical SEO audit identifies issues with a website from a search engine perspective and provides recommendations on how to implement fixes that improve performance. The audit will look for any issues with the website itself (both on page and in regards to external factors, such as hosting), and also assess whether links could be the reason that a site’s performance is being hindered (off page).

There are many, many elements to check when conducting a technical review of a site, as data is compiled from multiple sources, including paid SEO tools, to ensure that nothing is missed.

What are your performance metrics, do you offer SEO guarantees?

We understand that your campaign goals & objectives are unique to you are your business. We work with you to determine what your digital goals and ensure that our performance is measured on the metrics that matter for your business.

We do not apply and do not believe in blanket performance guarantees and milestones for our campaigns, each marketing campaign is tailored to your business goals & objectives. We will work with you to determine what your goals, expectations and performance timelines are.

Our approach allows our team to be agile and provides the ability to pivot quickly if required. We will work with you should your requirement changes to incorporate newly identified opportunities, pivot tactically and adjust strategically.

Can you reverse Google penalties?

Yes, we have extensive experience and success rates in reversing penalties. There are essentially two forms of Google penalties as they are often referred to algorithmic and manual penalties.

Algorithmic penalties are recognised and put in place by the Google algorithm which in turn can result in anywhere from minor drops to major drops in organic keyword rankings and traffic. Typically these penalties can be quick to reverse as once the issue(s) causing the algorithm to penalise the website are correct, organic rankings and traffic should return.

Manual penalties can be more difficult to reserve as these penalties are the result of someone at Google manually reviewing your website and activities. These are referred to as Manual actions and can range from simple fixes to larger and extensive measures to reverse any penalties that are in place. Once factors that have resulted in Manual action(s) have been resolved, a reconsideration request is submitted to Google for review and assessment for manual actions to be lifted.

How do you report?

Our reporting tools and dashboards are integrated with all major analytics and data applications and tools. This allows us to create reports that provide both top level and key performance metrics that can be customised to your business needs. We do not believe in a one-size fits all approach, our reporting is tailored to your business goals and objectives, providing clear and easily to understand campaign performance reports.

We also provide live reporting via an online dashboard as well as emailed monthly reports from our specialist team that deep dive into your campaign to provide key insights and performance updates.