21st March, 2018
A website is a big investment, and the key to making sure your site is the prime destination for your customers or industry is getting your SEO game right.
This is true regardless of where you are in the world, but if you’re looking to grow your website traffic in Australia, there’s a few things to be aware of.
You probably already know to optimise your page titles and populate your site with relevant, useful content, but what are the SEO factors specific to Australian business owners?
One of the biggest considerations any Australian business owner should take into account when launching their SEO campaign is that you’re likely to face some stiff competition.
The Australian digital marketing industry is thriving and though our population is small, the number of digital agencies is relatively high. Australia would rank high on a list of ‘Most Digital Agencies Per Capita’.
This means you need to set the right expectations for yourself and make sure your strategy is up to date.
You’ll be coming up against competitors who’ve spent years optimising their websites and building their authority.
Prepare yourself for the long haul, and study up or engage an experienced and knowledgeable digital marketing agency to avoid spending time on spammy or outdated tactics.
Why only ‘consider’ an Australia-specific domain and not take it as a given that your URL should end in .au? Because your top-level domain is like a billboard for your customers.
Firstly, Google do recommend having a country-code top-level domain name (ccTLD) in their webmaster guidelines and your TLD will factor into local search rankings.
But if you’re also looking to target a global market, a .com.au domain won’t help you.
In fact, overseas users may look at your Australian TLD and believe you’re Australia/Oceania-only, or that shipping to their location may take too long.
If you’re in an industry where being Australia-based is a plus, then a .com.au domain is more than just a ranking factor—it’s an opportunity to brand yourself as a true blue Aussie business.
Multiple websites? It’s time for some technical SEO.
Many Australian businesses maintain a New Zealand website alongside their Australian site, which is great, but they give their site a .co.nz TLD and leave it at that.
But Google also looks at things called ‘Hreflangs’.
Hreflang is an HTML meta element which specifies the geographic restrictions for a document. It may seem like we’re getting into the weeds here, but it’s important to consider these.
That’s because Google uses this element to make sure it’s serving the searcher with the most relevant page to them.
You should have relevant hreflang attributes implemented for all iterations of your website, regardless of whether the site has its own ccTLD.
There’s a rule of thumb when it comes to acquiring links: don’t do anything you wouldn’t tell your competitors about.
You probably already know this, but it’s best to avoid spammy link farms and Private Blog Networks (PBNs).
Instead, focus your link acquisition efforts on fostering real relationships with influencers and publications in your industry by producing quality content you’d be proud to have connected to your brand.
With links, relevance is as important as authority and you want to ensure any referral traffic is qualified and poised to convert, so do your best to keep things local and look for blogs and publications with an Australian focus.
Searchers and their queries are different in every country, even if they’re looking for the same thing.
For example, you may sell bedding products online.
You best-selling product may be a ‘comforter’ – but you may be missing out on a lot more Australian purchases because Australian searchers are looking for a ‘doona’.
Sure, Google is getting smarter every day and it’s gotten pretty good at linking synonyms and related terms, but consider the searcher who only knows your product by its most common Australian label—you don’t want to lose their business.
Knowing your local market and its habits and vernacular is important to not only ensure you’re targeting the right keywords (and the right searchers), but to ensure your users get the most relevant answer to their query.
It should inform everything from your content, to the way you label and structure product categories.