Web Design SEO Company Sydney

If your website design has not been designed and developed properly, then chances are that you are not getting the online SEO rankings that your business deserves. One way to test this out is to type your service or product offering into the search box in Google and see the results. Ask yourself these two fundamentally important questions: 1) is my business on page 1 of the search results and 2)  are my competitors on page 1? If you have answered ‘no’ to question (1) and ‘yes’ to question (2), then you need to take a good long hard look at your website and make some serious design and programming amends.

What could be the issue?

There could be a number of problems with your site, and some of these are listed below. If you recognise any of these, then please get in touch with your SEO web design company and have these corrected immediately. Don’t take no for an answer from them, and if you have to pay a fee to get this done then you should be a little concerned–as these are web and SEO basics that should be a part of each design and build.

  1. Many web designers know how to design and develop awesome looking websites–but unfortunately Google just doesn’t register them. Have a look at your site and check if there are moving or animated images; commonly referred to as Flash animation. All SEO website designers know that search engines do not recognise flash programming. In the past this was a common trend in website design as flashy, moving, colourful images were very eye catching. Many web programmers and designers ignored this negative component of flash as they were able to use other techniques to rank a site. Today with the many algorithm updates and changes, ranking a site is no longer as easy as it used to be and as a business owner having flash on your site will hurt your ranking. Get your SEO web designers to take down all flash animation and if you must have rotating images get them to program it in java or another SEO web friendly language.The sooner you do this the quicker you will see your rankings start to improve.
  2. If you are going to have images on your site and if it is going to be content heavy make sure that the site loads quickly. Users do not want to be waiting around whilst a site is loading. Having them wait will result in massive site exits, lost business as well as a poorer SEO ranking. Reason being, Google now looks at site bounce rates; that is people coming to your site and leaving quickly. The higher the bounce rate, the lower the ranking. A useful tip here is to keep image size small, say no more than 72dpi and if you must have animation, keep it in the banner area and to a minimum.
  3. Is the content on your website too thin? Are there just a few paragraphs on the home and and internal pages? If so you may need to start looking at beefing up content through out your site. Google love content so the more you have the better your ranking. If this seems like a hard task and you find that you don’t have the time or ideas its probably a good idea to get a copy writer on board like us here at Hopping Mad Designs. Copy writing is now the cornerstone of any (SEO) search engine optimisation campaign. People need to be engaged with your site and its only the combination of graphics and content that will keep users on the site and keep them there for a long period of time. The search engines now recognise this even more and reward sites that cater for this. If you are the kind of person that want to do things yourself then a blog is a great way to add content. In fact, there is no reason why you can’t write, say 1 article a week, that is industry specific. Most blogs a very easy to use your web designers should be able to install a blog to your site easily. Open source, free blogs such as WordPress will enable even the most non tech savvy user to start writing away. One important rule to note is that everything that you post on your blog has to be unique as well as relevant. Remember that people who come to your site or blog are there for a reason and want to be either entertained or leave with some handy information. Never bore them and never copy articles or content from other websites. This will be picked up immediately by the search engines and will not work in your favour.
  4. Try to limit the amount of links leaving your site. There are two reasons for this; firstly you do not want users exiting your site and secondly, external links drain your page rank authority. Its OK to have 1 or 2 links to external sites as this seems natural and organic in the eyes of the search engines but having pages of links might seem a bit spammy and will hurt your SEO ranking. Any web designer should know this and advice you against too many links. If you must link to external websites make them very industry aligned such as associations or organisations. A golden rule to remember is that once people leave your site through a link, the chances of them getting lost online and nor coming back to your site are very high. To maintain page rank authority to help with your SEO, try to get in bound links to your site from these associations. Generally speaking, they are perceived as sources of authority and a link from them can only help with your SEO. I know, as a graphic design company Hopping Mad Designs are members of AGDA (The Australian Graphic Designers Association) and have a link from their site pointing to our site. This helps immensely with our SEO. Just type graphic design into Google and you can see that we are on page 1 for this search query.
  5. Have your checked your webmaster tools account in Google yet? If not, do so immediately. A reason why you site might not be ranking as well as it should be might be because there may be an important message for you from the search engine that you have not seen. Google communicates to web owners through this account and if there are any issues or problems with your site they will let you know. Addressing issues will result in SEO rankings improving. Your web company should be advising you about this and act on any correspondence quickly.
  6. Install Google Analytics through out your website. This is a very useful tool as it lets you know site wide statistics and can be used to your advantage if understood. One main aspect of analytics is the number of site visits and how long they have stayed on the site. Poor rankings will mean site visits and a poorly designed site will result in high bounce rates. Addressing these 2 factors with your design team should see an overall improvement.
  7. There is a very fine line between web design and SEO. More often than not business people want to have as many visual and creative features through out the site regardless of how it affects their site indexing. Reining in the graphic a bit and focusing on site usability, navigation, user interaction and content are all necessary variables that now need to be taken into account for online rankings.Try not to get carried away with placing as many graphics, moving animated banners and images on the home page. Try to spread it out evenly so the site has a consistent look and feel. There is the tendency to cram as much information as possible on the home page but this will only result in the users getting information overload and existing the site. Keeping the user experience as simple as possible is the key to online success. You will notice that the websites that have the biggest names and brands are all designed in a very stylish and simple manner. Their interface is simple and buys/clients/customers are led through the site in a seamless fashion.
  8. Make sure that your URL’s, titles, and H1 headers are all consistent as well as relevant to the page that the user is on. For example if the web page is about about superannuation then make certain that the URL, title and header has the word superannuation in them. This is called site semantics and if they all line up correctly, then this will result in a higher ranking for that particular page. Make sure also that this page has well worded content of over 500 words. A warning however, never stuff as many keywords as possible into the content thinking that this will help your ranking. Sure, it used to work about 10 years ago, but keyword stuffing will only result in a page penalty by Google.
  9. If you are going to engage a web firm to implement your SEO strategy, be realistic about how much things actually cost. If you are promised super fast rankings at very cheap rates then you must be careful about what is on offer. Generally speaking, fast rankings mean that ‘black hat’ non compliant SEO techniques are being used and this will result in future ranking suppressions. To be properly ranked you must use SEO techniques that take time and use a fair amount of human resources. Depending on the competitive nature of the keywords being targeted you might be looking at around 10-20 hours work per month per website for say 4-5 keywords. If your web designers also offer a SEO service its best to use them and keep everything under one roof. But remember, cheap and quick SEO rankings are no longer an option and are no longer able to be achieved. Algorithm updates by Google will see any unusual spike in activity and this again will result in your website being suppressed. SEO is all about the ‘long term’ and it is these companies that are prepared to partner with their web designer and pay for this premium service are the businesses that will see all the benefits.
  10. If you are business owner and are very concerned about getting the very best possible ranking for your website and SEO is something that matters a great deal, then you really must use a web design company that has experience in this field. Choosing such a company can prove very difficult and making the wrong choice at this early stage in the design process can and will lead to issues once the site is deployed. If you follow these 3 simple rules you may just end up making the best marketing decision of your career.
  • Choose a company that has a good ranking themselves. You can do this by checking their ranking and if they are on the first page for the keyword graphic design, then you are on the right path.
  • Use a web design company that can prove that they have not only designed many great looking sites in the past but have also been able to rank them. Ask for some testimonials and do your phoning around. Don’t just believe what you are told. Clearly web companies will only give you the best references but call a few from their online portfolio that they haven’t provided.
  • Use a company that has experience and longevity in the industry. The barrier to entry for web designers is very low and any person with a Mac and a bit of programming skills can claim to be a designer. Avoid these people like the plague. You might pay next to nothing for your site now but you will end up having to go through the whole exercise again once you see the final result. Believe me, I have had people call me up in tears, having been ripped off by these so called web designers. What they do is quote so low that you think why not give them a try. But, once they have your deposit you are left hanging. What follows is scrappy, poor design with no regard to your business or SEO. Plus customer service is generally non existent. They are super friendly to begin with but will soon turn cold once you start asking some design questions. Pay the bit extra now by using a credible and professional design team and you will start reaping the benefits immediately.


Website testimonials are no good anymore. Reviews are the way to go.

They generally read like:

‘Awesome web work ‘ Sharon B
or even better

‘ You guys rock!!’ Michael G

Here in lies the issue with these types of testimonials. They look staged and they look unbelievable.

I cannot tell you the amount of times people have come into the office here looking for a web site design and have had to call our clients for verbal testimonials rather than believing what they read on the website.
I have never in my life put anything fake on our website when it comes to testimonials but the issue is that they are just so common place that they have become unbelievable. In fact, if you any testimonials that look even the slightest bit dubious, then they are going to work against you.

Look at some weight loss sites for example, where testimonials are used to underpin the value of the produce. For example: ‘ Jenny lost 8 kgs in 1 week’ and swear by the product.
It is the overuse of these kind of testimonials that have systematically lowered the value of testimonials and what people believe.

So how will all this affect the web industry moving forward.

Websites that offer the user the ability to write reviews are more believable to sales testimonials and are now the future.
If you go onto websites like trip advisor you will be able to see a whole lot of reviews for hotels. It’s an honest, open review system that encourages people to post reviews and rate hotels based on their experience. In fact on a recent trip overseas I did see a Trip Advisor certificate in full public view in reception sating that this particular hotel was awarded a great review status on Trip Advisor. The impact that this has is huge. People no longer want to read testimonials placed on websites by hotels themselves as they are perceived as staged, biased, cherry picked and most importantly unbelievable. Internet users will now only believe what people post as reviews online on review sites like trip advisor.

I did note that the hotel I was staying at was very customer service focused, perhaps they were scared any stuff ups would be noted and posted on trip advisor.

Moving forward, this means that people will now place a huge emphasis on review sites over what is written on their own site. Whether you like it or not, this is the future and this is how people are going to determine where they will stay on their next holiday, which insurance company they are going to use, which real estate agent they will go with to sell their home, which doctor they will go to or even which airline they will fly.

People love to write about their experiences, whether good or bad and this market will only get bigger in the future.
This is why ecommerce websites or for that matter most websites should introduce a review and rating system. This will lend so much more credibility to the website. Sure, you are going to get some negative reviews but these are easy to counter act if you feel that these are have just been placed for malicious reasons. If you know you have a great product or service and are confident in its execution or delivery, then you should be getting many favourable reviews and ratings, which are far stronger than boring old testimonials. Internet users and the public in general are have become de sensitised to what is written online so having these kinds of reviews as testimonials will have a greater impact on your website and in turn on your business. Handpicked testimonials are a thing of the past and it is wise for business owners or marketing managers to wake up to this fact. The sooner you embrace this new marketing medium, the sooner you will be able to use it to your advantage.

If you want to use handpicked testimonials then here are a few tips:

Keep them current – if they are more than 1 year old, think about an update – also make sure that there are a lot of testimonials. Two or three randomised testimonials are not going to cut it anymore. In fact they might just do you some damage.
Perhaps introduce a rating system for these testimonials to show that they are not contrived or made up. This will lend a bit more credibility to them.

So where to from here?

The internet is changing so fast that these review style sites have kind of snuck up on us. In a way it’s a good thing as it keeps businesses on their toes, fearing that they may receive a bad review posted by a disgruntled customer online. For all professionals this may spell the end of bad customer service as more and more of these types of review sites pop up. To counter act this fear, the best form of defence is in fact attack. Be on the front foot, embrace what is surely the future and allow customers to be able to write and rank your product or service on your website. If they don’t do it there on your website then it will certainly go on another review type site.

If all this sounds far too hard then ensure that the testimonials that you have on your site are real and credible sounding.
Make sure that full names are written and the company they cam from is fully documented. If the review is from a social media site like Facebook, make sure that this is included in the title. Adding Facebook/Twitter/Google+ icons adds impact and therefore credibility to the testimonial as users are less likely to post fake reviews on their own social media page.

Balancing Web Content and Website Graphics is Not So Easy

In order to avoid clients becoming overwhelmed with too many graphics and too much content, it is paramount to the success of your website to have a fine balance between web content and website design.

Too much of one will annoy the users and alternatively too much of the other will just be boring.

The fine line that must be walked should be handled by a web company  Sydney that is experienced in this field and has many sites under its belt.

Obviously, the home page or the landing page is the most crucial part of the site and needs to have the most attention focused on, but this careful attention should also be carried throughout the balance of the sites internal pages. Failure to adhere to these strict design and content guidelines will only result in users making a mad dash to exit the site and perhaps look elsewhere for your service or product offering.

Balancing Website Design Elements

Internet-savvy users are generally online ( if they are not looking at educational sites), are really searching for a good or service which they can buy. If the website hinders this process, either through; large graphics ( which take forever to download) or small hard to read the text then they are not likely to hang around the site.

People are really fussy and are over the internet noise online, so if you cannot satisfy their requirements fairly quickly then you can kiss them goodbye.

Avoiding this type of issue is not that hard and if you do engage the services of a web design studio like Hopping Mad Design, issues like this will be mitigated early on in the piece and completely avoided altogether. Our web designers have the necessary design skills and web copywriting experience, to keep potential users on your site and keep their interest maintained whilst they are within the subpages. Called conversion rates, it’s a critical element of the design process as you want to eliminate as many of the buying hurdles that buyers face on some sites.

Important Search Engine Facts

Having a website that loads quickly will help with your online rankings. Having a web page that is overstuffed with large text and graphics will hinder the ranking process. Your competitors might have sleeker, faster sites that load much more efficiently, meaning a better user experience and therefore a much higher ranking.
Well written content married with clever design, plus correct site-wide semantics will also aid the search engine spiders in their indexing. If for example, there is a page on your site about a particular service offering, the content and graphics must gel nicely to maintain readers and SEO. Ask your potential web company if they can show you an example of how they have managed to get a site ranked with the combination of web content, whilst at the same time not boring the pants off someone.

Correct page style sheets are the best for your site in the eyes of the engines. Keyword stuffing with many phrases that relate to your business dotted throughout your site will not be looked upon favourably, plus your site will end up looking odd and not very appealing for the user.

Over Use Of Flashy Graphics With Minimal Text

This is a favourite amongst architectural and design companies, that have large moving images on their homepage, looking to highlight their portfolio of work only. These images are generally hero shots and on some sites, there can be many images. In some cases, the content is very minimal and the text is absolutely tiny. For some businesses with an extremely high profile and very well established client base, this may be fine, but those looking to get into the market and get new clients on board need to have not only strong visual text and graphics throughout the site but will also need well-articulated content on each page.

Without this potential customers are not going to know enough about the firm and its services and will not likely contract them. Copy is now just as important as graphics and should be considered a vital and important part of the marketing mix. Utilising the services of a website design studio that has an in house content team is an added bonus.

Ask your web team if they have someone internally and if not, see if they are able to outsource this to a credible copy person. One point to note of interest is that Google does not read flash animation and it is, therefore, inadvisable to implement any flash graphics on a website.

Avoid The Temptation of Too Wordy Pages

There is the temptation by some design studios to cram as much content on a page as possible. The rationale for this is twofold. Firstly that a wordy, text-heavy page will rank in the search engines and secondly, giving the user as much information as possible for fear of missing out on something. Both philosophies are bad and will result in users deserting your site in droves.

The best way to tackle this is to have anywhere between 1000 – 2000 words per page, with images that are related to the topic. Most business owners I know will struggle with the concept of writing this many words and this is why a copywriter is an essential ingredient for the web project. Images relating to your topic should be relatively easy to find online through the many photo libraries available.

Simplicity is the Key To a Well Designed Page

Keep it simple and straight to the point. Make sure that the design interface is very intuitive, easy to use and all navigation points are easily identifiable. Ensure that all content fits in nicely with the photos and that images are appropriate for the text. If you are going through an image library, try to get royalty-free images to save on the costs. As an example, if you are looking at images for a law firm, it’s best to look for photos with a more conservatively edge. These are abundant online and choosing a suitable image should be easy for your web designer. Content that works well with that image is the job of the copywriter and if this is facilitated correctly, the end result will be a site that people understand, relate to and therefore will stay on.

Integrate Social Media with Your SEO Strategy

Late last year the search engine Google started to place a huge and very important emphasis on social media, especially on Google+. Facebook and Twitter to a lesser extent, but still these social media platforms, if handled correctly will help with a businesses online rankings.

Most website we are commissioned to design now have the mandatory social media icons at the bottom of each web page within the site. All business owners now agree to this and are actually encouraging this without my prompting. Go back two or three years and no one would have wanted this, but no it is a huge must. The question is, how to integrate all these elements, such as web design, social media and SEO to form a powerful sales tool for your company. Following are just a few simple ideas to get you started and get you thinking about the best course of action.

1. Register your company for most of the well known social media platforms and commence your campaign.

Determine which social media platforms are best for your business and your target audience. For example, if you own a restaurant or pub, you might like to go down the path of Facebook, but if you are a law firm you may choose the LinkedIn option. You have to be very careful what platform you decide to go with as the wrong decision may cost you lots of time and wasted marketing dollars. Your web design team should have a strong handle on this and be able to advice you on the best course of action. Be very aware of their response as their age and work culture may skew their answer. If they are a younger bunch of designers they are bound to favour Facebook, but if you are in a corporate design environment they might go with Google+ or LinkedIn. At the end of the day its your call but be careful about your online positioning when it comes to these platforms.
In terns of SEO, Google+ and registering a +1 in the search results will have an impact on your website if content is posted regularly. The more content you get out there with relevant active links back to your website, the better your online rankings will be.

On top of this, the idea is to generate as many followers as possible so that each time you do post content, this will be shared and discussed amongst your followers as well as across differing channels.

2. Write shareable and exciting content

This is a huge area and needs to be discussed in detail. Google basically loves content. the more web copy that you are able to publish the better it will be for your online rankings. On top of this the better the content and more interesting and topic specific it is the more likelihood there will be of people sharing this content in the social media sphere. This again is great for SEO. Google absolutely loves anything natural and if your content is zooming around the various and many social media platforms in a natural fashion, this will be deemed by the algorithms as natural, therefore increasing the authority of your articles, which in turn will rank them higher. Its a win win situation. All you need to do is have fabulous, well articulated content published online and the rest will take care of itself. Consider, one to two well thought out industry specific articles being posted on your blog every week and see what happens. Once you become an authority in your field, you will find more and more users coming to your site searching for information. They may even be anticipating your posts, which is a great thing. If they go viral, then it is a huge success and you are assured of huge volumes of traffic through to your site.

3. Get more of that great content across as many social media platforms as possible.

Design large and very visible call to action buttons on your posts so readers are encouraged to share them with friends. Be sure to add those big share icons on each post and blog that you write so that people can easily share the posts. The more that your content is out there the better it is. A great idea for your blog is once an article is complete you should be able to tie your blog to your social media platforms, so as soon as you have written the blog is will automatically publish on all channels you have. This is really the best way for Google to index your content on these platforms as well as spreading all your new juicy information online.

What is the benefit to you, the business owner?

Creating online social media content and sharing this can and will over a period of time generate backlinks, which is great for SEO. Although these are not going to be high page rank links that are needed to surge your site up the rankings, none the less, it does show a natural linking profile to Google and hence will be a contributing factor in your online rank. Google absolutely loves this and the more natural your linking profile, the better you will be perceived in the eyes of the engines.
Up to say 1-2 years ago, the mere mention of the words social media to business owners would have been met with odd looks and an ‘all too hard’ attitude. People overall were afraid of this, basically, because they just could not get their head around the whole social media thing. The saw their children on Facebook and for that reason they were unable to make the connection between this type of platform and their business. They felt that because their kids were on it, it was just used for social networking at a teenager level. Fast forward to this year and people are scrambling to become part of this phenomena. Mention social media and people raise their eyebrows and ask how they can now use it to their advantage. Basically, if you are not on this boat, then you will be left behind and your business will suffer.

Embracing these new technologies may seem like a difficult task, but if you have the right people to work with, like the we designers at Hopping Mad Designs, we can help you navigate this not so complicated path. Please call us on 02 9360 8514 to learn a little bit more about this and see how we are able to integrate social media with your web design to enhance your SEO rankings.


Web Design Darwin



At Hopping Mad Design we work with clients all over Australia, INCLUDING THE TOP END.

We are able to DESIGN AND BUILD a new website for your business that simply WORKS!

As an Australian web design and digital marketing company that has worked with well over 1,000 businesses, organisations, NFP’s and Government Departments generate real and PROVEN results online we’d really love to help your business GROW.

Whether you are wanting a website specifically designed to generate sales leads and BOOST inquiries, or simply a e-commerce/ shopping cart solution to DRIVE sales we are the company that businesses turn to.


We Are Web Design Experts.

This means that we know how to get the best web site design brief from you and implement a customised web design that will set your business apart – PLUS we know how to rank your website on Google! This means we can handle all your online marketing and web design requirements!




This means that if you are trying to get business, using Google as your main marketing tool, we have the PROVEN techniques to help you get to page one of the search engines and keep you there.

We have all the right ingredients necessary to DESIGN, DEVELOP AND WRITE the content for your website that will boost you to the first page of Google, keep customers engaged with your website as well as drive sales and improve your bottom line.



We Take Care of Everything.

From website domain name registration, through to hosting, email support and set up we can do the lot. Our secure servers are located in Sydney + Darwin meaning that you data is secure and backed up 24/7.

We Are Surprisingly Affordable.

We can compete with any web design firm in Darwin on price, whilst never compromising on design quality. Give us a call and see just how competitive we can be.

Every website that we produce has the Hopping Mad edge, meaning that we put 100% into the creative process.

All our Websites are very SEO friendly and are built on an open source CMS WordPress Platform – so you are not locked into nasty long term contracts.

We will fully train you in how to update and maintain your website – giving you full control and ownership of the website.

Responsive Web Design

We ensure that all our programming is mobile friendly, meaning that you are not missing out on business from this huge mobile market.

If you have a website and want it converted into a mobile version, we are also able to design and develop this for you. Called Responsive Web Design, your website will now work and look fantastic on all hand held and mobile devices including tablets as well.

We Can Handle Your Social Media Strategy

We are able to advice on a social marketing strategy that best suits your business and come up with new and exciting ideas to generate followers. Being based in _890_http://www.hoppingmad.com.au/media/image/round_social.jpg Darwin, does not mean that you have to focus all your marketing in the NT.






Google Penalty Help

Has your website been penalised? Have you lost all your online rankings? Are you finding it hard to get a straight answer from your current SEO agency?


We  are able to help you get your GOOGLE rankings back by cleaning up your SPAMMY backlinks & quickly correcting any Google Penalties your website has in a 100% completely Google compliant manner. This is a very serious business and if your website has been subjected to a Google penalty then you need to act quickly.

What is a Rank Suppression or Google Penalty?

Search engines maintain a set of guidelines for use. These guidelines, when followed carefully, will prevent your website from falling foul of the search engine itself, in terms of its filtering and categorising tools that essentially decide whether or not your website is a legitimate website, which they are happy to include in their search catalogue.

Businesses have come to recognise the importance of search engines as a means of obtaining new business. Where telephone directories were once used, search engines now are; especially Google. But unlike their predecessor, your listing does not simply appear in a search engine in alphabetical order—it all depends on your SEO.

A great looking  website, with careful attention to the principles of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), will assist the search engines in correctly identifying and indexing your website, so that when users search they will find appropriate and legitimate websites that respond to their search query.


Unfortunately, there are simply too many SEO providers who don’t ascribe to such ethical practices. If your SEO provider engages in practices that are outside the official guidelines supplied for the use of search engines, your website may achieve high-rankings to begin with, but when the search engine becomes suspicious it will suppress your ranking, and in so doing making your business invisible to searchers.



How do you know when your website has been penalised?

There are two ways to find out whether or not your business is subject to a rank suppression or Google penalty. The first indication is a significant drop in your ranking, which can be measured by looking closely at your website traffic statistics.

If there is a sudden or noticeable drop that remains consistent, this can be an indication that such a penalty has been applied. If your drop in ranking is gradual, or there is evidence that it is temporary (meaning you drop, but later regain, traffic) it may just mean that the search engines have altered how they categorise your business, or it may be time to review your website content for freshness of material.

The second indication is receiving a communication regarding a penalty. If you’ve received an email to your Webmaster tools with words to the effect of: “We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.“—You can be fairly certain that your website is in trouble.

The key is to act fast. If you have received this email, or a similar communication, and you remain unsure about its authenticity, our team can assist you in determining its legitimacy and directing you towards your next steps.

Why has my business been penalised?

When it comes to manipulating search engine results, businesses are becoming more active in their SEO. When this activity crosses the line between what we call ‘healthy’ optimisation, and ‘unhealthy’ optimisation (or cheap tricks that fall outside the search engine’s guidelines), the search engines themselves will respond by suppressing your ranking or by applying a penalty.

Like all forms of online strategy, SEO is an evolving art. As the search engines get wiser to SEO techniques, they respond with better monitoring. Unfortunately not all SEO providers are as quick to adapt; leaving some whose practices may have been acceptable in the past, now veering dangerously towards suppression penalty territory.

How could my SEO have caused this?

The fact of the matter is that many SEO companies still use out dated SEO techniques  – they are not up to date with the latest Google algorithm changes, and this is why your website has been penalised – simple as that. Dodgy back linking practices are one of the main reasons your no longer ranking. In our experience I would say that roughly 50-70% of SEO agencies still implement out dated, non compliant techniques.

While many businesses desire to engage the latest forms of marketing, sadly there are those, like in all areas of business, who operate SEO services without due regard to the guidelines. The guidelines that apply to search engines are there to prevent illegitimate companies and websites from achieving high rankings. If your SEO supplier has failed to comply with these guidelines, your legitimate business may be deemed to be illegitimate or ‘spam’, and will be treated accordingly.

Many SEO providers have short-term thinking. SEO has become a hot area for online marketers, and as such has attracted with it the good and the bad. The shape of SEO is also constantly evolving, and while the best providers will stay ahead of these changes, many are left operating as before, and hoping their clients won’t be the first ones to be penalised.


The SEO Culprits

In order to achieve rapid results with little cost, many SEO companies engage in the following techniques that can be highly detrimental to your website and make you a penalty target:

Link Schemes
Search for websites that are willing to sell ‘links’ and you will find many—none of them reputable or the type of sites that you would like your business associated with. As your SEO company may have told you, increased links to your websites from other sites will improve your rankings, but if the sites and volume of links is suspicious, Google and others will regard it accordingly.

Ask your SEO provider whether links have been purchased for your website. If the answer is yes, ask them for an audit of the websites currently carrying your links.

SEO has taught us many clever tricks to achieve higher rankings, but take those suggestions to the extreme and again you will be deemed suspicious by the search engines. The aim of SEO is to make your site easily identifiable by search engines. When the steps taken to improve the ease of this classification begin to manipulate such, trouble becomes inevitable.

Search Engines provide a great service. But part of their business model is to ensure that the end user is able to obtain the most relevant results from their search. If SEO is causing these results to affect the correct identification and ranking of a website, then the Search Engine’s reputation is going to suffer.

It’s about finding a balance between what will reasonably assist the search engines regarding the ranking of your site, and what will cause them to wonder whether the content is legitimate.

Duplicate Content
When it comes to maintaining your search rankings for a sustained period of time, updated and fresh content is king. But the content must be unique. If your SEO company has purchased content for your site, that has also been sold to hundreds of other sites, it is likely that the search engines, such as Google, will regard this duplication as a clear sign of foul play.

To avoid content duplication, all new content for your website should be written in house or by a professional copywriter, who can provide unique content that is relevant to your business. To ensure you are getting this, ask your SEO provider to provide you with copies of any articles written on your company’s behalf, and search key paragraphs to check that the content is unique. If you find your article elsewhere, or in multiple places, you can be pretty sure you are being sold duplicate content.

Hidden Text
One of the older tricks in the SEO book is to include ‘hidden text’, or text that is built into the background or non conspicuous areas of your website. Typically done during the design phase and brimming with your key words, this type of practice is frowned upon by search engines and sits well outside their guidelines. What was once considered a clever way to exploit the system is now a quick way to find yourself excluded. Talk to your graphic designer about whether this has been included in your website design. Sometimes SEO providers might make such requests to your graphic designer, and like all areas it’s particularly important that you are communicated with.

Keyword Stuffing
Your content should be rich with relevant key words in order to assist the ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders’ (the little guys from the search engines who rank websites) to correctly identify and categorise your website. But like most things, there’s a balance between content rich in keywords, and content that is stuffed to the brim with keywords, making it unnatural and suspicious. Apart from the damage such content may do to your brand and reputation, it is a quick way to attract the wrong side of Google.

While you might think the more the better, it is often the placement of keywords that is ultimately more effective. Your website copy is also an important opportunity for you to reflect and build your brand, leave an impression on potential customers, and differentiate yourself from the competition.

Automated Redirections
A simple way to achieve hits that enhance the perception of your website as a popular site is automated redirections. While redirections are an effective tool for user navigation when applied appropriately, if these redirections appear unnatural or are there simply for the purpose of elevating the popularity of your website (on false pretenses), don’t expect that Google and the like will
view your popularity with the same degree of kindness.

As with all areas in business, we have to be careful that as business owner practices reflect the integrity we want associated with our brand or product. Who we select to work with in new areas such as SEO can be challenging, but the same degree of research and accountability should apply.

If your SEO provider is reluctant to share their strategy with you, or to make you completely aware of what they are doing to enhance your rankings, it’s a good indication that they are not being entirely forthcoming for a reason. Google, Bing, Yahoo and the like, are world leaders in online technologies, and if they haven’t already, they will soon find ways to counter each less-than sound SEO practice. The benefit of being listed on a Search Engine far outweighs the risk of attempting to unfairly rig the system.

Suspect you’ve attracted a penalty…What can I do?

It’s important that you address your ranking suppression as soon as you can to limit the damage a low-ranking search can have on your reputation. The first step is to review your SEO practices. Contact your SEO company and let them know that you are concerned that you may be subject to a Google Penalty or Search Engine Suppression. How they react will give you the first indication as to whether their practices may have had something
to do with the penalty.

What happens if your SEO Company is at fault?

If your SEO company has been using practices that have increased your chances of attracting a penalty, we recommend you cease your contract with them immediately, request a refund and engage the services of a more reputable provider. This has to happen fast – the more they continue to work on your website, the more damage they can do.

Can I get my money back?

While we can’t give advice as to what legal recourse may be available to you or your company, as each situation is different to the next, we would suggest locating and reading the terms of your SEO agreement, or consulting a lawyer to find out whether your circumstances give rise to a cause of action against the SEO supplier.

How can I avoid dodgy or risky SEO companies?

If you are yet to engage a SEO company, it is important to do your research. We recommend you visit the company or provider to ensure they operate a legitimate business. Ask for a complete SEO strategy report for your approval, which will state how they aim to achieve your rankings.

Pay a fair price. SEO can be a highly effective form of marketing. It’s worth investing in if you want your website to be found online. Like all quality forms of marketing, it will require some financial investment, so be prepared to pay and demand transparency from your provider. Don’t ever go with the cheap n cheerful option – yes, it is highly tempting BUT this is probably the main cause for your SEO penalty.

Please note this: Any SEO company that promised guarantees or pay on performance gimmicks, avoid them at all costs. These are the very worst type of SEO companies and are there to just scam you out of your money. If you want to avoid really dodgy SEO agencies avoid these people at all costs.

Rectifying the Damage – WE CAN HELP!

The quickest way to stop the damage caused by a penalty is to engage an expert to assist. At Hopping Mad Designs we have helped businesses throughout Australia get out of their Google penalty. In some cases this can take a few weeks – but be prepared to wait at least a couple of months – this will depend on the severity of your penalty and the damage caused by your previous scam ridden SEO provider – so if you are in penalty get in touch with us now so we can start the process for you.

What we offer:

Our services include penalty determination and cause assessment, assistance with your application to be reconsidered by the search engine (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing) as well as post penalty SEO assistance. We have done this for many businesses in Sydney and throughout Australia – AND OUR SUCCESS RATE IS NEARLY 100%

Penalty Determination
Our team will examine your current SEO practices and identify areas that fall outside the search engine’s guidelines, or are likely to place your website at risk. This includes assessing your ‘link profile’, website content, back links and other factors that may be influencing how the search engines are characterising your business. Once identified, we can work with you to ensure these practices are ceased immediately, and provide a report to that effect in support of your reconsideration application.

If you have received any notices regarding a penalty, we are also able to confirm these notices and assess their authenticity. What you may first consider to be spam may in fact be an official warning and the best opportunity to act.

Application to Reconsider
Our team can assist you by documenting the steps you’ve taken to address your penalty, and by preparing your application to be reconsidered. We have a thorough understanding of what the search engines require to feel confident that your website is legitimate and that you’re willing to comply with their guidelines.

If you would like to prepare this application yourself, we offer the following advice:
• Be honest, succinct and transparent: Google and the like do not view kindly those who endeavor to shirk responsibility or conceal questionable practices.
• Provide a summary of the actions taken to correct the problem, including the names of websites and dates that links have been removed, changes in your website content or graphic design elements, copies of notifications sent requesting the removal of automated re-directions; give complete disclosure on your SEO supplier and provide easy and reliable contact details should they need to confirm anything.
• Be patient. Google and other search engines have many applications to process and will likely take some time getting to yours.

Rebuilding your SEO Strategy

Once you’ve overcome your penalty, you will no doubt be keen to regain a high SEO ranking. By engaging our expert SEO service, not only can you be confident that you will remain within the guidelines (and away from search engine penalties), but that you can achieve great SEO results without compromising them.

Like all business products, your SEO is a valuable tool that requires professional guidance and implementation. While we’re sorry you have fallen victim to unethical SEO practices in the past, we hope that by working with us, we restore your belief in a quality SEO product.

Let’s Repair the Damage

If you believe a Google penalty or Search Engine Suppression Penalty has happened to your website – get in touch with us now on 02 9360 8514


Search Engine Optimisation SEO Truths

The following conversation will hopefully enlighten you about SEO.

Me: Hello
Client: Hi, I am wondering about how to get my web page on the first page of Google.

Me: You mean you want to get your website ranked on the first page of Google and you are wanting our help?
Client: Yes, that’s why I’m calling you……I have been speaking to a few different companies, I think they call themselves SEO companies and I am getting some different answers from each person and I’m getting a bit confused. I mean all I want is for my website to be on the first page of Google and no one can give me a straight answer.

Also Read: 20 Questions Your Potential SEO Partner Must Know

Me: Why are you confused??

Client: Well I spoke to this one SEO company and they said they could get me to the first position in 2 weeks and then I spoke to this other guy who said it would take 6 months. The prices varied so much that I don’t know who to believe and I do not fully get the timing difference.

ME: Uh ha….is that all?
Client: No, one of the SEO companies wanted to lock me into a 12-month contract that he was really pressuring me to sign, whilst the other guy said that that he was happy going on a month by month agreement. To be perfectly honest with you, I am not particularly comfortable signing anything long term but the guy trying to get me to sign said that this was common practice and that an SEO contract was needed as a lot of the work was done upfront and it was not fair to him.
Do you put people on contracts?

Me: No we don’t and having a long term SEO contract is a big mistake. At Hopping Mad Designs never lock you into any type of contract, however, we do feel that SEO is a long term partnership and if you are serious about getting your website ranked on the first page of Google then you have to have a long term digital strategy as well as a long term search engine strategy. There is really no point committing your business to a project like this if you are going to give up after 1 month. You have to be in this for the long haul and be prepared to watch your ranking fluctuate a bit until they stabilise.
Client: That’s what the other guy said to me and I feel a bit more comfortable going down this path. What do you charge for something like this?

Me: Well, that all depends on your keywords, and how competitive they are. The more competitive the search term the longer it will take to rank and the more resources we need to invest into this project.

Client: The other SEO firm told me that they could get me to page 1 for $99.00 per month and he guaranteed me this result within 3 months.
Me: Mate, did this guy speak English? ( trying to imply that he was from the subcontinent)?

Client: Yes he did and very well. But, when I did want to meet with him he said that he was very busy and preferred to do things via phone and email.

Me: Well that’s not good. You really cannot start your SEO strategy or implement any type of SEO campaign without first meeting with the client and discussing things thoroughly. At Hopping Mad Designs we really encourage you to come into our studio to meet with one of our search engine experts to work out a proper campaign to get you started. Are you based in Sydney? I always tell them at this stage that even Google recommends meeting their prospective SEO agency and to never believe fake ranking guarantees.
Client: Yes

Me: Well, why don’t you make a time to come in and we can go over everything needed to get you started?

Client: Sure would love to, but I just want to ask you a couple of more questions.

Me: Surefire away.
Client: Well firstly, I have a budget of only $1000 per month and was hoping that this was enough to get me where I want to be and secondly can you show me exactly what you have done for other companies in my industry.

Me: The budget should be OK but again we really need to look at the keywords and work out a strategy to fit within this budget. Secondly, no problem, I can show you the ranking for about 10 companies that we currently work with who are on the very first page of Google. They are all doing really well and we have been working with them for many years. As I said before SEO is not an instant, flick the switch and you are on page 1. You have to have patience and be prepared for the long term. If you want a quick fix then we are the wrong company for you.

Client: Why does it take such a long time? I mean the other SEO guy was showing me companies that he ranked within a couple of weeks. I want instant results as I need the business.

Me: OK, firstly, don’t believe everything that that you hear from guys like this. Remember they are there to sell you a service and they are probably under heavy pressure to make the sale and get you to sign on the dotted line, so they will say and do anything just to get you on board. Once signed, watch out, this is where the real fun begins.

Client: What do you mean?

Me: Well this is where you have committed your business to a contract that you cannot get out of so they really do not have to perform that well. Sure they promised quick results but you have to ask yourself this one very important question. How on earth are they going to do this? As far as the rest of the online world is concerned SEO takes time and if these cowboys are promising fast results then they are using what is termed ‘ black hat’ techniques. Sure they may rank you quickly and you may see quick results but once Google gets a whiff of this then you are gone. They will punish your website and give your website a penalty. Yes, a penalty!

I have seen this happen many many times before and if you think that your new SEO company can keep your ranking on page 1 after getting you there in a couple of weeks then you are mistaken. The only real method of ranking a website comes from many factors not just limited to ‘dodgy back linking’ practices.

Once your site has been punished it is very difficult to get out of this.

Client: Wow, this is all so new to me. This is why I am getting so confused and don’t know who to believe. I mean you are now sounding so convincing that it’s just making matters worse.

Me: I am not trying to sell you anything. I just want you to be fully aware of what SEO is and how the whole search engine process works. There is no point in starting something that you do not completely understand.

This is why entrusting your SEO with a company like Hopping Mad Designs is the best move you can make. We have been doing this for many years and we are not a ‘fly by night’ start-up company looking to rip you off. All our work is ‘ white hat’ meaning that all our SEO techniques are well within the very strict guidelines of Google. We make sure that we do things on a gradual, organic basis so we do not trigger any alarm bells and have a team of SEO specialists that really know their stuff.

Client: This all sound very promising. One other quick question. Does your company just do SEO or does it do web design as well? If so, I really need you to have a look at my website as I had it designed and developed about 3 years ago by the same company who I was speaking to about my SEO and I have never liked the design and think that it’s time for a complete change.

The problem is that every time I ask him to do something on the site it takes weeks to do and he charges me an absolute fortune.
Me: And this is the guy you want to handle your search engine optimisation campaign?

Client: Yes, but I am starting to make a connection now and see a bit clearer.
Me: Totally! Why on earth would you get this guy to work on your marketing if he, firstly can’t design and secondly is terrible at customer service?

Client: I did not tell you this but he is a friend of mine and I do not want to hurt his feelings. I went to school with him and he has been working on the website since we started the business, but now I really feel it’s time to move on.

Me: Good move. Working with friends or relatives is a recipe for disaster. I’ve seen this many times before. Listen to me carefully, if you want to succeed online, then you have to firstly partner with a company that specialises in this type of marketing and understands how to get a ranking and secondly you must pay a fair price for this. Skimping on your marketing and SEO budget will not work out for you.

If you want the best outcomes for your business then you have to be prepared to pay for their service, advice, guidance and expertise. Dodgy, cheap, companies will only get you into hot water and at the end of the day, you will be contacting a company like us to rescue you. Only this time, it will cost you a whole lot more money.

Client: OK sounds promising when can I come in?

If you have read this and it sounds familiar then you should take this advice very carefully, as I have to repeat myself on a daily basis to people who have no idea about SEO, online marketing, web design or about rip off companies looking for suckers who will part with their money.

Golden rules that will come in handy if you are on the lookout for an SEO Firm

1) Never believe what you hear

These people do not care about your business or about your ranking or even understand what they are selling. How do I know this? It’s because they actually cold call me daily. Yes, can you believe it? I get cold-called by SEO salespeople wanting to offer me SEO.

2) Never ever do all your marketing in the virtual space

Personalise it a bit and make sure you meet face to face with the people that will be handling your SEO. If they are reluctant to meet with you then walk away. Simple as that. If everything you do is in the virtual environment then if things do not go according to plan they can be less accountable. Go into their office and get a feel for who they are and the kind of company they represent.

3) Make sure that they mention the following words: ‘on-page optimisation’

If this is never brought up then this is a bad sign. On-page optimisation refers to the work that will be carried out on your website. SEO is not all about backlinking. It also requires a lot of work on your current site to ensure that it is search engine compliant. This comprises around 50% of the work so any credible SEO company wanting to do business with you should have a good grasp of this side of things. On-Page optimisation is a crucial part of your SEO strategy and you will never rank if your website is not completely Google compliant.

4) Ask to see some of the previous websites that they have worked on

Ring up a few of their past clients or clients that they are currently working on to get an idea of their work ethic, standards, customer service.

5) Pay only on a month by month basis

Never sign lengthy long term contracts longer than 1 month. You want the flexibility of being able to test a few companies out to see which one fits your corporate personality best. If you find that you have started with one SEO or Web design firm that simply is not working out, you need to be able to get out of the arrangement fast.

6) Try not to take cold calls from SEO companies

Be proactive and make your own calls. If they approach you, then you are probably getting calls from South East Asia and this is where your SEO will be carried out. Not a good move or a positive start.

I have been working at Hopping Mad Designs for over 18 years and I am writing this article to protect business people out there from getting burnt by SEO companies.



Digital Strategy Agency Based in Sydney

Many businesses regardless of their size, are unaware of the huge potential available to them in this new digital space. They might be using some social medial platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, but they might not fully understand the enormous potential available to them by really working on their corporate or business digital strategy.

How to find the best digital strategy agency in Sydney

Finding the best digital strategy agency in Sydney can be a difficult task. You will need to really look around, do your homework and find the best solution for your company. This search generally starts with a quick Google search which will reveal a multitude of companies all offering relatively the same thing and in some cases, they may be saying the same thing. It can all get very confusing for the general business community, so finding the right digital strategy agency could prove the difference between digital success or failure.

Following are a few points to keep front of mind when doing your research on finding the best digital strategy agencies in Sydney.

Your website is your main advertising arm. It is what people refer to as the first port of call after they see you or visit you in person. The way your website looks and the way in which users interact with your web page will speak volumes about who you are and what your business is all about. Internet users will expect to be dazzled by visually strong graphics that captivate them and drive them through your site with a minimum of effort. Your website is the foundation of your digital strategy and should only be designed by a company that can show you a long list of past clients as well as referrals.

The digital strategy agency Sydney should be able to offer a web copywriting service as well. Well articulated copy will keep visitors on your site and keep them engaged. Time poor people want to get to your site and be able to make a buying decision quickly based on what they see. If your content is inviting as well as sales driven, it will help facilitate this process. On top of this you will need a copywriter to handle your online content for all social media platforms . If you intend to publish content as part of your digital strategy and are looking to become an authority in your field, then you need a company that has the copy team that can integrate content into all your social media. For example, if you are a professional outfit you may like to target Linked In as an avenue to showcase your industry knowledge and attract followers. This is a great way to get your name out there to a new wider audience, and the better content the better your reception will be. People love new content and if yours is a good read then they will also forward this onto their friends or followers which is another awesome way to help you get your name out there.

With the absolute explosion of mobile phone usage your digital strategy company should be able to help you convert your current website into a mobile friendly website that is viewable across all mobile phone technologies; including iphone, ipad and android. Business now need to really embrace this new technology and this now must be an essential component of your digital strategy. Internet search on tablets and phones will surpass the standard office computer, so if your business has not embraced this new phenomena then it will be left behind. Try to find a company that is able to offer this service in conjunction with your web design. If you have an existing site then see if they can carry the design style through to the mobile web site. Again, look for a digital design studio that has a strong graphic design background similar to what we can offer at Hopping Mad Designs.

Once you have your website, you need it to be found on Google and this is known as SEO and should be part of your digital marketing campaign. Speak with a few agencies but be very aware of going with the cheapest option. This industry is full of outsourcing to third world countries where labour is cheap. But, along with htis cheap price tag comes shoddy SEO practices which will land your website in hot water once your SEO digital campaign commences.

Digital strategy is all about maximising what is available in the digital world. This can also encompass the very new trend of app design and app development. This is a relatively new field and businesses are just starting to embrace this, take it on board and use it as part of their digital marketing. Cool looking apps that actually do something are a great way to get more people to learn about your brand or interact with your product. Your digital design agency should be able to provide you with a couple of app ideas or at least be able to point you in the right direction of app developers that they have worked with in the past.

You will find that working with a digital company like Hopping Mad Designs means that you are covering all your basis across the digital divide, including apps. This is a rarity in todays online world where you will find that businesses tend to specialise in certain areas. Being able to offer an array of digital design and development solutions means that you, the business owner, can only benefit by having all your digital marketing handled by one company, all in house under one roof.

Advantages of working with one Digital Strategy Agency

Working with one company, whether it be your web design, social media,, app development, search engine optimisation or even video production has its advantages. Working with one agency means that:

– they become extremely familiar with your brand, thereby avoiding any chance of misunderstanding your business or target market. Knowing your business intimately will ensure that your design team know the evolution of your product or service. This saves you time and money without having to educate separate agencies.
This saves you lots of money as you will be in a better bargaining position if you will be giving the agency lots of new work on a continual basis.

– you reduce the chances of crossed wires when it comes to delivering a brief. If all stakeholders involved in the project are present from the beginning, things falling through the cracks as well as mistakes are able to be reduced.

– working with a digital agency in Sydney means that if you need to have a quick face to face meeting, this is possible and easily done. All players involved in the campaign are present and things can be sorted out quickly. Too many fingers in the pie will just lead to issues down the track and getting all separate parties together in one area can be quite difficult to organise. This is why you should choose one digital agency and make this decision very carefully.

Think Hopping Mad Designs when you want a digital strategy agency.

Ideally, you want to be partnering with a agency that has a few runs under their belt. They have been around for a while and have a thorough business grounding. They should be able to rise to any challenge put in front of them and be able to offer constructive solutions based on previous projects. You want to work with a mature firm that speaks your language and is not a ‘yes’ type of company. You want them to be able to offer alternative options and challenge your digital marketing philosophy with alternative strategies and alternative actions.

Hopping Mad Designs fits this mould specifically. If you are wanting to work with a digital agency that is able to maximise your return on investment then please call 02 9360 8514 or email info@hoppingmad.com.au