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.

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:
https://peterwm.com/?s=backlinks

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.

Making WordPress Fast
by Peter WM
July 18, 2018

I’ve got a post over at Purple Web Marketing dispelling some of the myths I hear a lot surrounding WordPress and speed.

The tl;dr version is that it can be very fast, but ideally you need to have a professional sort that out for you.

The longer, full version however, is much more interesting and also a bit sweary.

The GDPR can seem like a bit of a beast sometimes. Personally, as an EU citizen (for now, at least) I love it. My personal data has more protections than ever before.

As a web developer it’s something of an arse. But having spent a lot of time studying it I can safely say the purpose if it is pretty simple, you should only hold data you’ve told people you’ll keep – and you need a legitimate reason to have it.

So you shouldn’t be including a household income field on your local community group enquiry form. That’s probably pretty obvious.

But I still am seeing (and have client’s asking me to action) opt-in tick boxes for newsletters that are pre-ticked. You just can’t do that anymore. The legislation itself is a bit of a pig to read, but auto-ticked subscribe boxes are something they spell out very clearly.

Google will optimise your images for you
by Peter WM
July 12, 2018

This is a goodie.

If you’ve ever run a Google Page Speed test and wondered what on earth the results actually meant, you probably didn’t end up scrolling all the way to the bottom of the report.

But right there, at the bottom, is the option to “Download optimized image, JavaScript, and CSS resources for this page.”

Within that zipped file is a folder with all the images from that page you just tested, optimised to Google’s required standard.

It’s sweet, but comes with a couple of caveats. One being it gives you all the images in a single folder and WordPress sites usually want them in a variety of folders by month, so that can take a bit of unraveling.

Also bear in mind Google’s compression algorithm tends to do terrible things to text in graphics. So best not use this method for any images with text in them.

But generally speaking it’s a really useful way to take “Optimize images” off your Page Speed to-do list.

An increasing number of sites are using Parallax Scenes, it’s a cool technique where you layer images on top of each other so they all move independently at different speeds.

You can see an example on the homepage of the New Zealand digital marketing firm I work with. I’ve made a fair few examples recently, often with several layers to good effect.

But in my work optimising sites and speeding them up I regularly come across websites that are unnecessarily slow loading with these. They’re always going to be pretty large because transparent images need to be in PNG format which is simply a much less efficient format than JPG.

But there are a couple of tips I have to really make them fly.

  1. Optimise your PNGs, using tinypng.com. You’d be amazed how much those PNGs can be compressed.
  2. This might seem like common sense but almost no-one seems to do it – the main background image in your scene layers does not have to be a PNG. There’s no part of it that needs to be transparent, so make it a JPG instead!

Using those techniques I was able to optimise the example I linked to above to be less than 400kB for the entire parallax scene, including the code for it.

SEO in NZ is in the past
by Peter WM
July 7, 2018

By 15 hours.

This image is the search engine results page for a post I made on our Purple Web Marketing site, 5 minutes after I posted it. (Yes, I manage to get new or updated content live on search engines almost immediately after they’re published. Behold my SEO!)

It’s the results from a search performed in New Zealand, on google.co.nz, for an NZ hosted website about a local company.

Yet it says it was posted 15 hours previously! I’ve mentioned this at conferences before, but Google really struggles with New Zealand as a nation (for so many searches if you don’t add ‘nz’ at the end of them you’ll see Australian results) but this seems like it’s just plain lazy.

Obligatory ‘new site’ post
by Peter WM
July 4, 2018

As most of my web presences get more professional (Purple Web Marketing, case in point!) it’s important I keep a space that, well, fits my bare-bones ‘look what I made on Notepad’ aesthetic.

Also I promised a bunch of people that in 2018 the two big design trends would be purple gradients, and tiny fonts. The first is demonstrably true, the second doesn’t seem to have caught on yet.

So I’ll have to lead the charge on that one myself. 🙂

By way of introduction I’m Peter WM, and I do a hell of a lot of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing.