I'm an NZ SEO expert, doing SEO in New Zealand

by Peter WM
SEO Expert NZ

My first job in search engine optimisation was in 1997. So much has changed - SEO is more nuanced than ever before, with every character, every comma having an effect.

In addition to writing about SEO and speaking at various conferences, I enjoy actioning it myself too. There's nothing quite like sending a client a graph showing their organic traffic skyrocketing - without them having to increase their monthly spend.

SEO NZ sales funnel
by Peter WM
August 13, 2018

One of the nice things about entering a new market (we’ve only just started offering our services in NZ) is you get to play with your marketing systems.

Right now I’m working on an SEO specific sales funnel for New Zealand, with benefits for all campaign clients that grow until they get a 100% free service.

We’ve built a really strong SEO marketing presence in the UK, but would love to dominate Aotearoa.

These days though it’s not enough to be great at what you do. You have to present it properly to get it taken up – and that’s what this plan is all about.

I’ve written a new post on Purple Web Marketing NZ about best practice for sourcing images for your site, including some specific links to useful sources, and basic licensing information.

It’s also got a very brief section on image use and SEO, along with a fun story of that really fun time a copyright troll tried to sue one of my clients.

It’s a comma, and…?
by Peter WM
August 8, 2018

The Oxford comma. A comma before an ‘and’, but also incredibly divisive.

But there is one place the Oxford comma never belongs – in your meta tags. In my work in SEO I see a bunch of people using them in description tags in particular.

But as a rule of thumb, the more commas in your SEO meta tags the worse off you’re going to be. Search Engines (and Google is pretty up-front about this) see commas in light of the old keyword meta tags – as a way to list keywords in a list.

Description tags are really meant to be in sentence structure. And the more commas you have the more likely your page is to trip search engine’s keyword stuffing alarms. 🚨

However you feel about the Oxford comma, it has no place in your search engine optimisation.

My First Gutenberg Post
by Peter WM
August 7, 2018

I’m writing this post in the new Gutenberg editor for WordPress. Currently it’s just a plugin, but come WordPress version 5 (and we’re currently incredibly close to that at 4.9.8) it will be the standard system for editing.

While I’ve been looking into how it might work with backwards compatibility, how new fangled ‘blocks’ will be programmed (rather than relying on plugins for things that impact content), at this very early stage I’m considering what Gutenberg is.

It’s not just a page builder replacement or anything like that, rather it’s intended to change the way we create content.

With Gutenberg, WordPress is wanting to become the place you create content. Not just copying and pasting from other documents, but creating your content (and eventually, with future releases, your layouts too) directly within WordPress.

You may have been doing that already, but the majority of my clients and I work collaboratively on cloud-based document software that I then stick into their posts & pages.

When you first look at the blocks built in to the current plugin version there’s a few surprises in this regard – each paragraph is it’s own block, each headline – even bullet points are a block type of their own.

But the blocks flow freely from one to another – right now I’m typing paragraphs and just hitting ‘enter’ after each automatically starts a new paragraph block so I can continue typing without clicking to create a new paragraph each time.

There are a few default formatting blocks too which should be useful, one of which is the old style Tiny MCE editor, which I assume is mostly there for backwards compatibility but should also help a fair few developers breath a sigh of relief – this whole Gutenberg experience can be much more of a transition rather than a ‘line in the sand’.

Personally, with my very limited experience thus far, I think it will ultimately be a good thing. But we’re all going to be changing a lot of our internal processes, plugin/block libraries etc. to accommodate.

Dear Peter WM:

I don’t know if you can help me with that but my team and I noticed that emails we send from our server go automatically in Spam on Gmail.

That email issue is pretty common actually. All receiving email servers have different rules about what counts as likely spam or not. Gmail is particularly strict.

It pays to do everything possible to keep them happy, which includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • DNS records (both DKIM and SPF – sorry for the acronyms!)
  • Don’t use a different ‘from’ address to the ‘return-to’ address
  • If possible use a real email address to send, which might require you add an SMTP plugin for sending them on WordPress

And if nothing works, then consider using Google Suite for your own email. You can get plugins that will actually send email out from your site via your own Google Mail account, which is pretty fool-proof. That’s what I do myself.

Email, basically, sucks. It’s 30 years old and has barely changed in that time. It’s just levels of geekery added on top of something that was already hella nerdy.

Is RSS dead?
by Peter WM
August 1, 2018

I named this post for the first autofill result I see in Google when searching for “is rss”.

Yesterday I added an RSS link to this site’s menu. I’ve long been a fan of real simple syndication, because it really is a simple way to share ideas and posts.

People have been saying RSS is done and dusted since the late 00s, when a post called Rest In Peace RSS started doing the rounds. The argument it made was that social networks essentially make it redundant.

Well, although I use social networking a bit (Twitter, and Facebook when I have to for work) I’ve always liked to do technology on my own terms; make my own sites, my own programs, from time to time even my own content management systems. And RSS is simply a way to blast out information. Other people can get my feed however they like, and I can similarly choose how to interact with the RSS feeds I subscribe to.

It’s not dead in 2018. But I’m not 100% sure it’s fully alive either.

But as more people turn from Facebook and the other major networks, maybe it’s becoming happily undead.

Heading tags are often really poorly used on the web. It’s easy to think of them as an easy way to set your font size, but you’d be making a mistake if you did.

I’ve posted a blog to Purple Web Marketing about heading tags and SEO, have a read.

The tl;dr version is really simple. First and foremost heading tags should be approached with SEO in mind, but there’s nothing wrong with playing around with your font styles to make sure your key text is used as headings – even if it’s not your largest text.

Here’s a blog over on Purple Web Marketing about the time I halved a website’s loading time by simply removing four lines of CSS code.

This isn’t a copy and paste solution, but helps illustrate how paying attention to every aspect of a project can really make a difference.

Why am I an on-site SEO specialist?
by Peter WM
July 26, 2018

What about off-site search engine optimisation?

I don’t do off-site SEO at all. Put simply, off-site SEO essentially boils down to making backlinks – they might be directory listings, or citations – in practice it’s all pretty much the same thing.

Links are helpful if they’re real – which means legitimate – someone values your post or site enough to link to it. Manipulating your link profile yourself is definitely against Google’s rules – and they’re very skilled at finding out and penalising people for the practice.

I blog about this quite regularly – you can peruse some of those posts if you’d like more info:

My own approach to SEO is completely Google friendly, I believe very strongly that the proper thing to do is to focus on their ethos, and fulfill all their recommendations and guidelines.

And I’m very pleased to say the data backs me up on that too.

I do have suggestions for leveraging your real-world contacts to get legitimate links – but it’s very different to just using some automated tool to create link spam.


(PS, if anyone gets the joke behind this post’s image, we should probably hang out.)

Add NZ for New Zealand Search Results
by Peter WM
July 23, 2018

I’ve done SEO for companies around the world, and there’s one little oddity of search here in New Zealand that I’ve just not found anywhere else.

Basically, if you don’t add ‘nz’ to the end of your searches you’re likely to get a string of results from abroad, in particular Australia. This seems to happen even for really location specific searches, like hardware stores and that kind of thing.

Living in New Zealand you probably don’t even notice it because you’ve never known any different, and it’s entirely possible you already add ‘nz’ to your searches without even thinking about it. But in every other country I’ve optimised for, results are always much more local without having to add a country name.

I can’t find a good technical reason for Google to behave this way. I can’t even think of one – we know their concept of ‘location’ includes a country field, and they definitely know we’re a country.

I’ve seen their map and we’re on it.

But nonetheless, this is something to take into account with your SEO for NZ sites. Be aware that not only do you need to do all the location work imaginable, but bear in mind many searchers already assume your site will be optimised for ‘nz’ as a key term.