Archives for October 2012


Ep#14: Google Shopping – Products in the Search Results

Google Shopping – products within the search results with Tony McCreath from Website Advantage

Google ShoppingIn this week’s episode* is my fourth and final chat with Tony McCreath from Website Advantage. In this interview Tony and I discuss Google Shopping which is a feature that allows you to get your products showing up in the search results with useful information such as prices, brands, descriptions and images rather than just the regular search results.


  • What is Google Shopping?
  • How is it different for the organic results?
  • What are the benefits of being in Google Shopping?
  • What is the process for getting in?
  • How can you improve your Google Shopping rankings?


*I got ahead of myself in the introduction and introduced this show as #15 when its actually only #14. Tune in next week for episode 15 🙂

[spoiler title=”Click Here for Transcription” open=”0″ style=”1″]

Nick: Welcome back to Episode 15 of theWeb Marketing Adelaide Podcast. This week, we’re talking about Google shopping and this is the fourth segment of 4 of an interview that I did with Tony McCreath from Website Advantage. I did this interview with Tony after a Flying Solo Meet Up event at the Hackney Hotel. It was a little bit windy that day and I apologize for a bit of wind nose in the back ground but you should be able to hear the content just fine. I’ll also put links in the show notes to the other 3 episodes where I featured segments talking to Tony about various things to do with search engines and SEO, that’s Search Engine Optimization.

Before we get started, I just wanted to say a big thank you to Tony for coming on the show and sharing all the great tips he has with us over the last 4 or so episodes we’ve chatted to him. There’s some really great tips in there and big thanks to Tony. If you want to check out his stuff, his website, it’s He’s a Search Engine Optimization Specialist from Adelaide and he’s got some really great content up there, articles and tools and stuff which can help you to improve your search engine optimization locally and on a broader scale as well. So, definitely check those out and now let’s go to this interview.

This week we’re talking about Google Shopping for e-Commerce websites. So, let’s launch right in with what is Google Shopping, Tony?

Tony: Probably the best way like I always try to explain it is how you perceive it as a user. Google shopping is when say, you type in a product name and you search, you quite often see a set of results with pictures and product prices, and that is what Google shopping is. So, you might see 4 products in a row near the top of the search results. You might see pictures of products up in the advertising section and you can also link on a shopping link on the left side to get exclusive results from the Google shopping network. So, it’s basically a way to put products into Google search results.

Nick: Great, and for the people who are actually advertising their products, is it paid or is it free?

Tony: At the moment, it is a combination of paid and free. So, the stuff showed in the search results directly is free and the advertising section in paid, but Google has already dropped the free option in America, so we can expect it to be dropped in Australia in the next month or so.

Nick: So that’s built as a paid inclusion model. Is that right?

Tony: Yeah. It’s actually linked with Ad Words, so it’s the same payment system as with all of Google Advertising that you, as a pay-per-clip, businesses will pay to get into the search results and they may cost from anything to $0.10 to $10.00 if you click on their advert.

Nick: Right, and can Google shopping search results, can they appear in the main results sometimes as well?

Tony: Well, the free stuff is actually embedded in the normal organic results at the moment. From what I’ve seen, that won’t change too much, it’s just that you’ll have to pay for it. So, there’s a bit of a ho-ha about the fact that this is Google advertising within the organic section, so, we’ll see how clearly they say that this is advertising and not actual natural results.

Nick: Because in the past, I think, even in their original IPO report, Google had said they’d been prior, that they didn’t have a paid inclusion model for the regular searches but now, they’re sort of changing the terminology and changing the language a bit.

Tony: Yeah, they like to re-write their documents and that’s interesting because that was an original thing, I think against Yahoo or one of the other search engines, which was putting paid results within the search results. So, now Google is kind of digging it in a stealthy way of slowly, they put it first for free and now you have to pay for it.

Nick: Yeah, just to clarify, this is definitely, this is separate from the normal organic results. Normal organic results for regular search, when people go to Google and do a search, that’s still free.

Tony: Yeah, so the 10 glue links or 7 or 15, depending on what they’re doing, is still organic and it just gets plopped in the middle of it and it doesn’t use the same Adword, it’s a different system altogether, and when it’s paid, the algorithm is how much you’re going to pay.

Nick: Great. What are some of the benefits of being in Google shopping for a business owner?

Tony: I guess, you could put it the other way, what are the disadvantages if your competition’s in there and you’re not, you’re missing out on potential business. It is also a good way to actually get your products out there and the organic results, it’s quite hard to actually promote individual products and you’re more promoting your business and subject, categories and the results, even if a product shows up, is just a title and a description, whereas these have the photo, the price, a formal description and you’re in there with the competitors, you’re side by side. It is a comparison system, so you do have to be competitive to do well in it.

Nick: Well that leads me to my next question which is, does Google shopping make it difficult for people to differentiate themselves? It’s seems like it’s really a price oriented system.

Tony: It is like, people can filter by brand, price and the actual product type and all the things like that. So, it does kind of push towards all that sort of result but you still have control over what you call the product, the title, the picture you use for the product and how you describe the product and I believe, with the advertising, there are ways to also put a little bit of a marketing slogan on your results as well to promote it. There are ways to differentiate and in fact that’s probably one of the best moves, is don’t use generic product descriptions, and look like the others, just be creative.

Nick: Great. And what’s the process like for getting into Google shopping?

Tony: The main process in you need to register with Google Merchant Center and once you’re there, you have to create a, what’s called a shopping feed or a product feed. That might require you to get your developer to construct that sort of feed and it basically contains all the information about your products in a structured way, so that Google can pick out the name, price description, thumbnail.

So, once you’ve got that feed working, oh and actually some CMS’s already support the feeds because it’s Google. Some of the bigger shopping carts will actually have a plug-in or built in support for the Google feed. So, once you’ve done that you link your feed with the merchant center and sit and wait. Google will crawl the feed and hopefully if it’s all okay, you start showing up in the results.

Nick: Great. Is there any way to improve your Google shopping ranking, similar to your regular rankings?

Tony: Apart from what I said before, is make yourself unique, make yourself stand out, make sure yourproducts actually contain at least the words that describe what the product is. Don’t assume that people know what your product’s about and just do it. Two words fully describe the products with titles.

Adwords is also, once you link and pay for it, Adwords gives you a lot more control over how much you pay for individual bids and as I’ve said, you can actually do little slogans on top, all different ways to slightly improve it.

Make sure your feed is completely error and warning free. A lot of feeds, or people who don’t put it brand information or what we call the SKU, your bar code, and without that Google can’t put you in the comparison section, and if you’re not in the comparison section, you’re missing out on a lot of potential. So, make sure you fill in all the details and clear out the warnings that the message center gives you.

Nick: This again sounds fairly complicated. Is this something you should find an expert to help you with or can you sort of work it out for yourself?

Tony: Ideally, it’s a content management system that does it for you and then looking to, you probably might want to get a guy to actually set it up, but after that, it’s all your products from your website are automatically plugged in, which is a great thing because you can say, you can have it updated daily so your prices are always up to date and you only have to put your products into one system. So, if your content management system is good at that, you just have to remember to put your brand in, put your bar code in and it should work smoothly.

Nick: Are there any kind of content management systems that you know that have that feature?

Tony: I’ve got experience with Big Commerce, which is a hosted one, which I find quite good on the SEO side, so, I recommend it quite a few times and it has the feed built in, and it’s quite, it’s got a good system to edit your products. You also need to make sure you categorize them correctly with Google and this one has a nice way to take your captchas and link them with the Google captchas. So, that’s a good one, but quite a few of the content management systems have plug-ins to actually set these things up. So, it might be that you want a developer to set it up, and then you do the data.

Nick: Great. Wow, that’s all I had on that topic. Do you have anything else to add there, you think?

Tony: No. I think that’s about it. Shopping is a new thing for Australia, so it can be a good one to get into because not many businesses have set it up yet. It’s currently dominated a lot, by eBay unfortunately. It is showing that the people on eBay, in fact the eBay system is doing it for them. So, it’s showing that there are very few real businesses and most of them are the big ones and so you, as a small business, can sit there side by side with the big ones, on the comparison stuff, so if you’re competitive, I’d get in there.

Nick: Any guesses to how long it will be before the paid system comes to Australia?

Tony: I would guess, months. This sort of thing, this is Google making money, so I think they’ll want to test it in America and once they’ve found its stable enough, they’ll probably do it very quickly around the world. So, you’ll have to get your Adwords account set up as well.

Nick: Alright, Tony, well, thanks very much for talking to us about Google shopping and e-commerce.

Tony: Cheers.

Nick: We’ll, see you again around the traps.


Ep#13: Challenges Facing Small Businesses Today

An interview with Adelaide’s own Action Coach; George Koritsa about some of the challenges facing small businesses today

In this week’s episode I have an interesting chat with an Adelaide business coach; George Koritsa. When I first met George a month or so ago at the SME Association‘s free Adelaide networking event I didn’t really know what a business coach was so in the interview he straightens me out on that and then we drill down on some of the challenges facing small business owners. Make sure you stick around for George’s time management ideas and his tips for what business owners should be working on.

Some of what’s covered in this episode;

  • What is a business coach?
  • Some of the challenges facing small businesses today
  • Why is differentiation important for small businesses?
  • How should business owners go about differentiating themselves?
  • George’s top tips for what business owners should be working on


[spoiler title=”Click Here for Transcription” open=”0″ style=”1″]

Nick: Welcome back to Episode 13 of the Web Marketing Adelaide podcast. This week, we’ve got a great interview with George Koritsa from Action Coach. George is a business coach, now don’t worry too much if you don’t know what a business coach is exactly because I addressed that early on in the interview. So let’s go to that interview right now.

Good day George, how are you doing?

George: Hey Nick, how are you doing?

Nick: Good, thanks. Welcome to the show.

George: Thank you very much for inviting me, looking forward to it.

Nick: Great. When I first met you, I heard the word Business Coach, but I didn’t really know what a Business coach was, can you just explain to our listeners what a Business coach is and how does it differ from, say a consultant?

George: Great question Nick. A business coach is someone that comes in and looks at your business as an outsider.

Nick: Okay.

George: They’re going to come in and look at it the same way as a consultant who has a specific outcome that he or she wants to achieve. So consultants are always very much to come in and write a report for you or to do a specific task. A coach actually looks at it is a much broader entity and it says okay, how can you actually improve this business?

Now if you use the analogy of a sports person, why do they have a coach? Because they can’t see themselves hit the ball, kick the ball or whatever sport it is that they’re actually doing. They need somebody there that can guide them and also, the biggest part of a coach’s role is to hold you accountable. We all know what we should be doing, we all know we should exercise more and eat less but how many people actually do that?

Nick: Great, great. That makes a bit more sense actually, yeah. Does the word coach come from the sporting sense? Is that how the name came about?

George: Pretty much. Yeah. It’s the same as with working with a sports coach or any sort of coach. A coach is someone there to guide and mentor you and push you a bit further.

Nick: Great. It seems to make, it seems so obvious now that you’ve explained it, because I mean, from a customer perspective, they’re sort of coming at your business from a completely outside view, so you really want to be able to know what the business looks like from that perspective.

George: That’s right. You want to see what your customers are seeing and I find that a lot of people get what I call, store blind, whether we’re working in an office or in a shop or whatever. We just don’t see what’s going on around us because we’re just so used to it. We walk into a retail environment and the first thing you notice is the bin over flowing. The staff don’t see it because it’s always over flowing. So we just don’t see it, or you’re in an office building and there’s a dead plant on the receptionists desk, but no one pays any attention to it because it’s always there but your customers sitting there looking at it and going, oh, are you going to look after me as a lawyer or an accountant when you can’t even look after your own business?

Nick: Yeah, that’s kind of scary to think about, isn’t it? Because it can be so easy for a business owner to just get locked into the day to day work and not think about these little things, or what seem like little things.

Anyway, let’s move along. So, how does one actually become a business coach?

George: Okay. Becoming a business coach, I can only really speak about my own experience. I started with action coach, originally as a client. So, I was actually coached in my own business, and then, once I’ve got to the stage where I didn’t need to be working in the business anymore, I thought, hey there’s something in this. So, I approached a session coach and found out a bit about how you can become a coach.

We have a very extensive training program based in Las Vegas, so, it’s a 10 day intensive program that we do there and then we have an ongoing conferences and training. We’ve got weekly web analysis, we’ve got, twice a year, we have a regional conference and a global conference. So, our training is continuously being upgraded. So, really, of course a core criteria for being a business coach is someone who has experience in business, someone who operates their own business to start with and then following the actual coach system, which is a proven system that should train you in how to become a coach.

Nick: Great, great. It would seem like quite a lot of work to be able to stay on top of various different aspects of running a business and especially since you’re sort of looking at the whole business, rather than like an individual aspect.

George: Very much so. You’ve got to keep your learning up, you’re constantly reading, you’re constantly learning. You’re attending other seminars and workshops. You’re constantly improving yourself because that’s the only way you can add value to your client as a coach, is if you’re constantly growing and improving yourself. It’s the old adage, it’s different for a business coach or a business owner. Your business is either growing or it’s dying, it’s like a tree. A tree can’t stand still, it’s either growing or it’s dying.

Nick: Let’s get more into the meat of the episode with, you have some ideas of some of the major problems that are facing small business owners today. So what are some of those problems?

George: Sure, one of the biggest issues I believe, a lot of small businesses, specifically in South Australia, facing is lack of confidence. There’s a fear out there that the economy is going to go down. There’s a fear out there that people are not going to buy, and sure things are a little bit tough, but people are still buying, people are still shopping. I talked to retailers all afternoon and they’ll say oh you know, but people are going online and then I asked them the question, well why do you think that is, because the online product is not necessarily cheaper than what you’re selling it, plus they’ve got to wait for it to arrive and if it’s the wrong size or the wrong color, they’re going to have to send it back.

All this hassle when I could just buy it from there but one of the biggest issues I think, is they’re not training their staff on how to effectively sell the product, you know. We’ve all walked into a store, we’ve seen a product that we like, a price that we’re happy to pay, we walk up to the counter and the girl behind it, standing there, filing her nails going yeah, what do you want? And most of the time, I don’t really need to buy that from that person, so we put the product down and leave. Now, the retailer would go oh, he couldn’t afford the product, but no, we just didn’t like the service. So, it’s really important that we’re showing the people how to get the best out of your shopping experience with them.

And also, your service experience, how can we get better at what we’re doing? A lot of small businesses are constantly busy, they’re spending a lot of time chasing the wrong sort of things like… On every pool we’ll have a person that might always owe us money, who’s a bad payer, so we spend all our time chasing this person to get the money that he owes us and we’re ignoring the other 80% or 90% of our clients that pay us on time, that order from us regularly. We’re not spending any time working on them. We’d be better off putting that person out to a collection agency, let them worry about collecting the money and focus on contacting our good customers to find out who’s buying, what services they might need and keeping in touch with them. So it’s about modernizing our marketing.

A lot of businesses I think now are still stuck in some older style marketing. We’ve got to have an online presence now. We’ve got to be interactive with Facebook and other media like that, otherwise we’re kind of stuck in there. There are still people who are still advertising in the yellow pages. Unless your client base is very old, you’re really not in the right medium form. You’ve got to be looking at new media to market with.

Nick: Great, yeah. I think most of those things definitely make sense to me, from my experience talking to business owners and stuff. Speaking of a small thing you said there about business owners never seem to have much time. I’ve been thinking about this recently, do you think if as business owner feels like they really have no time to be spending on these, getting into the new mediums and sort of improving their business, should they sort of drop 1 or 2 clients to actually give themselves that time? Or how do they sort of get that time, when they just don’t have it?

George: Most of the time, it’s not about dropping clients. It’s actually where does the time go? A lot of business owners spend their time putting out fires, running around chasing up things that somebody else should be doing or they’re doing low end tasks. I remember working with a manufacturer a while back, and because things were tight, he got rid of his admin team, he got rid of the maintenance guy and he was trying to do all that stuff himself.

So, answering the phone, sending out the invoices even down to washing cups and mowing the medium strip. Now, when I came on board with him I said, okay how much would you be paying someone an hour to do that? Oh you know, you can probably get someone at $15 or $20 to do those job. He was not going to pay someone 20 bucks an hour to do that. He was able to go out one afternoon and sign out $80,000 to $90,000 worth of work because he was able to stop washing cups and sending invoices, and go out and speak to his clients.

So sometimes, it’s about changing what we are doing. Not necessarily stopping the productive stuff, it’s how much is this task generating for me this hour? I could have been paying somebody less to do it for me.

Nick: Yeah that’s a really good point and I think that the other thing to mention is that, with technology these days a lot of the sort of menial tasks can be sort of automated to some degree as well.

George: Yeah, absolutely. We should be automating, we should be outsourcing. Any sort of basic task that we don’t need to be physically doing as the business owner, we need to get it out of our hands and into somebody else’s. Is there somebody else in your team that would love to do that job? I’m sure we’ve all got jobs that we hate, but we do them and there’s somebody that thinks, God, I really wish I had that role.

Give it to them, look at who else in your company could take on a bit more responsibility and one of the most important things to actually manage your time. Actually work out how long you think this task is going to take. I’ve had a client recently do that, where he makes a list every day of the tasks he’s going to do, and how long he thinks each task is going to take and then he records his time against that and what he’s finding, he’s dropped from a 80-hour week to a 40 hour week because he’s now focused on, okay I’ve got 3 hours to complete this task, that’s it.

Nick: Yeah and the other thing, by having the list like that, like you mentioned, before you get kind of an idea of where your time is going, where if you don’t keep track of it, you can seem to waste the entire day without getting anything done, I find anyway.

George: Absolutely, I find that quite often, Nick, with lots of different business owners. We all get caught in that. We sometimes get busy with busyness rather than business. We just look busy , we’re doing stuff, we’re shuffling papers, we’re chasing our tails. We get hooked on for Facebook or Google and then all of a sudden, we’ve lost half an hour researching Tasmanian tigers, or something totally irrelevant to our day in business.

Nick: Yeah I can definitely relate to that. I’ll just put in a little thing that I’ve come across recently, it’s a tool, I do most of my work on the computer. So, there’s a few different tools you can get. One’s called Rescue Time, and there’s another called Time Doctor, where it actually sits in the background and tracks everything you do throughout the day, the programs you’re on. It’s a little bit scary to some degree but you can actually go in and look at reports at the end of the day where you can see where your time is actually being spent. So, I found that’s sort of a useful tool.

George: That’s a great tool. I do a similar thing with my clients with a Chess Clock. I don’t know if you’re familiar with a chess clock Nick, but it’s got, the idea behind it is when one chess player’s playing, he’s got so much time on his clock. I use it somewhat differently. I set both timers to 8 hours a day, and then you click side 1 when you’re being productive, you’re doing your job and side 2 when you’re doing unproductive stuff, other people’s work. Now, I’ve had a client actually throw that clock through the wall at the end of the week when he’s actually figured out how much of his day is taken up with unproductive, time firefighting, time wasters, meetings and that kind of thing. So, it’s really, a great eye opener and it sounds very similar to what you’re saying with the computer programs.

Nick: Wow, yeah. I think actually that sounds cool as well, even as well as the computer programs, I might actually have to follow up on that one.

Great stuff. Well, let’s move along. In preparation for this episode, we were talking about differentiation for businesses. So, that’s what the next few questions are going to be about. So, why is it important for a small business to differentiate themselves?

George: We need to actually stand out from our competitors, you know. What makes you different, why should I buy your product or service? A lot of people and a lot of ads will go, oh we give good service. Nick, can I ask you if you’ve ever seen anyone advertise bad service?

Nick: I don’t think so.

George: No, but have you ever received bad service?

Nick: Plenty of times.

George: Yeah. So, we can’t just say, we give good service and also, if we differentiate yourself purely on price, then we’re really open to abuse because anybody can come and drop their prices even more, and then you’re always chasing the bottom-end spender but if we say, okay, we’re the business that does this, we’re the business that guarantees that. I was recently side working with a nursery, and the guarantee that we’re putting into place, the unique sale proposition for that nursery is that we will replace that plant if it dies, no questions asked. So, why would you go and buy a plant somewhere else?

Nick: Exactly. Yeah, that’s a good idea, you’ve got.

George: Yeah. I worked with a car tinting business who had another opposition, more or less across the road from him and they were both trying to compete on price you know. One would go out for $200, the one across the road would drop it to $180, so you’d be at – none of them was making any money. When I worked with him, one of the things we differentiated with him was the quality of the brand and the product that they were selling and we put a lifetime guarantee on the glass. So, you already got your 1 year manufacturer’s one year warranty, but if you scratch a panel, you scratch a tint, we’ll replace that panel and we sold lots and lots and lots of tints on the back of that guarantee, but in the last 5 years, we’ve had zero people come back and take up that guarantee.

Nick: Right. I think that’s something you’d really like with guarantees often, is the idea of having it, we’ll sell people on them and then you may not necessarily even get them, people returning it, especially if the product’s good then there’s no need to make use of that, just give that extra confidence.

George: Absolutely, it’s no different to taking out travel insurance. You’ll take it out and you hope you’ll never have to use it. You hope your bags will arrive, they don’t get lost or anything like that, but it’s just that surety that yeah, if something goes wrong it’s there. So, it’s just making a point at difference. What makes you unique? What is really different about your product and I have a system which we actually follow. It’s actually quite a big document, but it’s what makes you different and unique and what makes you stand out from not only your competitors but in your industry?

Nick: Right, yeah. My next question is about how should businesses go about doing this differentiation process? So, I guess that’s sort of what you just said there, leads into that. Is it about finding the point of, what’s different about your business, basically?

George: Yeah. That’s right. What makes you special? What makes you different? What can you offer? Could it be the amount of time that you’ve been in business, the awards that you’ve won? Could it be that you have a specific range that isn’t available elsewhere? Is it that you’ve got someone who specializes in, you know, you might breed a specific plant, or you might have access to something that’s imported but nobody else has got. So, you’ve got to really stand out. Also you going to differentiate some of this tangible. Give me a guarantee, we give you the best service or we give you the … That’s it, intangible. Your opinion of service and my opinion of service are two different things. So, we’ve got to give them a real tangible difference.

I can really see that you say this is the best product for me, and build the confidence. Otherwise, we’re just competing on price.

Nick: Yeah, definitely. I can actually see what you’re saying with that. Is this process of coming out with a differentiator, is this something that you find that business owners can do themselves? Because obviously, there’s a lot of people out there who are not particularly doing it that well, or is it something that they really need some outside help with?

George: I believe they really do need some outside help with, because it’s very hard for us as business owners because we’re very passionate about our businesses and we see all the good things and all the bad things about our businesses, but we’re not always good at pointing that out to our customers and some of the things that we take for granted, are really important to our clients. Like a plumber or an electrician, being on time every time is really important to the customer. The electrician may well be on time every time, but if he’s not pushing that as his unique selling point process here, what does that mean? He’s not likely to get an advantage from it?

Nick: Right, yeah. I see what you’re saying. Sorry, did you have anything to add to the differentiation point?

George: I think it is really important that they do look at it and keep modernizing and changing and a point of difference because once you get a good point a difference, you also find that your competition will start doing it.

It brings to mind the story of Budweiser beer, who as a US beer, was going downhill quite rapidly. The sales were dropping, yeah. Things weren’t going great for them, so they got somebody in to look at what makes them different and one of the processes that they do is the double filtration. So, their beer is filtered twice so they took out the marketing again, educating customers that their beer is twice filtered, so it’s a smoother, cleaner beer.

Now, anyone who knows anything about beer making would know that all beers are double filtered. So, there’s really nothing unique, but they were the first ones to go out and say, hey we double filter our beer. Now, anybody else that comes on and say, oh we double filter, it’s the me too guy isn’t he?

Nick: Yeah, and also from the consumers perspective. I don’t know how consumers know about brewing beer, but I didn’t know that beers were double filtered, so from my perspective, it seems like an advantage to have that.

George: Yeah. And that’s the difference. Sometimes it’s just something that we’re already doing. It could be a compulsory guarantee that might be in your industry, that you have to do it because that’s the industry standard, but are we letting our customers know that we’re doing that? Because again, if we’re the first one to actually bring that out, then we’re the ones that people think, oh wow, you started it and everybody else is copying you. So, you can set out your unique selling proposition quite easily once you figure out what makes you different.

Nick: Great, and it pays to be sort of the first to get there, especially if you have perhaps something like the example with the beer, something that other people would do, if you can be the first to sort of trumpet that out and make it obvious, then you can take an advantage from that.

George: Yep, absolutely. And that’s that you want to do, is make your business stand out.

Nick: Perfect. Well, let’s move on and finish off the interview with, you’re going to give us five things that you think business owners should really be working on at the moment.

George: Thanks Nick. I think the top area that they really need to be working on, there’s a few things, but probably lead generation. It’s where their marketing is coming from and how are they getting returns on their investment. A lot of business owners spend a lot of money on marketing. I know when I first started out in business 15 odd years ago, you get the Newseek Journal and the Places Gazette and all these marketing ploys out there and you think, yeah, well market for me and you end up spending a whole lot of money.

I’m not getting any return for them. So, it’s important that you are measuring your marketing. A basic rule is $1 out, $2 back, or otherwise, don’t do it. You’re better of spending a little bit of money seeing if something works, and then investing more in it, rather than going out and spending lot of money on marketing without some measures in place.

And if you are committed to a marketing campaign, can you change it? Can you test out a new ad? You may have bought some newspaper space, well that’s fine. Can you change the ad? We did that with a bakery a few years ago where they had committed to a 16 week, weekly ad and they’ve been running this ad with no return whatsoever. So, we said to them, how can we change that for you? So, what’s a cheap product for you to make? I can make éclairs for about 30 cents. Great, so let’s give them away. So, we changed the ad, where anybody bringing that ad in, got a free chocolate éclair. How many people do you think turned up looking for a free chocolate éclair?

Nick: A few. I’m sure I would.

George: Quite a few. People were queuing at the door for this thing. Now, most people, bought a sandwich, or they bought a can of Coke or they bought something else with the éclair and sure, you got a few that just took the éclair, but they’re all related anyway but you always got a few people like that, but most of the people bought something else. Most of the people got the opportunity to try out the bakery. So, sometimes, it’s not about the medium that we’re using, it’s make sure that the ad works.

Nick: Great and I think one of the advantages of web marketing is that it’s so easy to measure what’s going on with your – where your money is going and measure your conversion and match the two up, so you can actually get the data to be able to make this decision about what works and what doesn’t.

George: Absolutely. It’s a great medium to get out there and get your product out to a variety of different people and really check and balance it out with the return that you’re getting versus the investment so, absolutely.

The other thing as you mentioned there is the conversion rate. A lot of businesses just keep chasing more and more clients but they’re not actually selling to all of those that they’ve already got or those that have enquired. So, if you’ve got a 100% conversion rate, why would you be spending more money on marketing? You need to know why you’re not selling to the people that are already inquiring about your product or service?

The next thing is to get those that are already buying from you to spend more. What are your fries? What does McDonalds do really well? They upsell, they will have a different price points, they’re constantly changing and evolving as well as a company, but they’re very, very good at adding fries. Do you want fries with that? And what are your fries in your business? What can you add on? What are the little bit extras that you can get? So, different to why do you think they put chocolates by the checkouts in the supermarkets? So you can grab that last-minute add-on sale.

What are your chocolates? What are your fries? What are the things that you can add on to make it a little bit more?

Another thing to look as is the frequency of people shopping with you. Is your product or service a weekly or an annual product? Is it something that we can get people to come back again? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same customer, but could it be their family or friends? How are we setting up a referral program? Does she help them grow the frequency of their shopping?

And the last thing I really want to comment on is profit margins. You’ve got to be doing things that are profitable. I’ve worked with a motor mechanic and he was busy, but there’s no money at the end of the week. Now, when I worked out his pricing and I worked it out properly to what his customer’s – every car he was servicing, was costing him $4.50, more than he was charging. So, you know, we didn’t need to service more cars, we just needed to charge more. We also changed that in there.

Now, we have a formula with an action coach, working on those 5 areas which will give you a guaranteed 61% increase to your bottom line.

Nick: Wow, that’s pretty good.

George: It’s about really following a system that’s proven. Action coaches itself is in 45 countries now around the world. We’re an Australian company, got over 1200 coaches, so, when you’re working with an action coach, you’re not just working with one person, you’re working with a group of coaches around the world that we can actually jump on, assist and say, hey who’s working with a plumber in Sydney, in Kuala Lumpur, or London or wherever else? And we can take some of those learning and ideas from there and bring them back into our Adelaide market.

Nick: Wow that seems like a great way to leverage the knowledge of the network, as opposed to just your knowledge.

George: Absolutely.

Nick: Well, thanks very much for coming on the show George. It’s been was really insightful and some great tips in there. If people want to find out more about you and your business, where can I do that?

George: Good. There’s a couple of ways, you can jump on my website, which is, now Koritsa is k o r i t s a. I also have a Facebook page, georgekoritsaactioncoach, again they can find me through that or on the phone, 04-03-575978 and my email is Now, I do offer everybody the opportunity to spend an hour of no obligation with me, to actually see how a coach could help them grow their business and enables me to find out a little bit more about them and give them some tips. So, it’s a great way to actually get some value, out of – now, it’s your time to catch up, have a coffee, and you’ll walk out with some great tips, as well as the opportunity to move your business forward.

Nick: Perfect. Great tips and I’ll have those contact details on the show notes for this episode for my listeners to go check out if they didn’t catch it in the episode.

Thanks very much for joining us today George. It’s been a great chat.

George: Thank you Nick, it’s been really enjoyable and I hope your listeners get some great value and tips in there and I’m always happy to chat to anybody.

Nick: No worries. I’m sure they will. See you later.

George: Thank you very much.


Ep#12: 4 Website Usability Tips

4 Website Usability Tips that everyone should implement

In this week’s episode I chat with Sam, a year 10 student from Heathfield High School who has been doing work experience with us at Wicked Cow Marketing. We discuss four tips to improve the usability of your website.

The tips covered are;

  1. Friendly URLs – why are they important
  2. Breadcrumb links – what are they and how they relate to Rich Snippets (discussed in Episode 11)
  3. Sitemaps – the two different kinds and what they are for
  4. Custom 404 Pages – follow this tip to avoid losing website visitors who have already arrived at your site

Mentioned in this episode;

The featured photo this week was taken by Sam outside the Wicked Cow Marketing office in Crafers using an iPhone.

Wicked Cow Marketing Office in Crafers by Sam

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Nick: Welcome back to Episode 12 of the Web Marketing Adelaide Podcast. This week, we’ve got a discussion about website usability tips.

Before we get to that, I just want to give a shout out to Darren Standish. Darren has a business, Property Prosperity and he’s a Property Development Consultant. I’d met Darren at the Flying Solo event we had on Tuesday. The event was a great success. We had I think 21 business owners, which was the biggest event we’ve had so far. Darren came up to me and he said that he’d heard about the event from listening to my podcast last week.

So it was really great to hear that he’d been listening to the podcast and that he’d been able to come along to the event. Had a great discussion with him about his business and some really proactive stuff he’s doing with his marketing, so definitely go check out his website which is and I’ll put a link in the show notes as well.

And if anyone’s interested in attending a Flying Solo networking meet-up, it’s for small business owner around South Australia and Adelaide, head to the website and the show notes for this episode will have a link to the community where you can find out about upcoming events, and also chat with other people, business owners from Adelaide in there.

Now let’s go straight to our discussion.

Welcome back to the Web Marketing Adelaide podcast. I’m your host Nick Morris and this week, we’re talking with a special guest. We have Sam. Sam is a work experience student from Heathfield High School, year 10. He’s been doing work experience with us at Wicked Cow Marketing for the past 2 weeks.

Sam, welcome to the show.

Sam: Hello.

Nick: Thanks for coming on.

Sam: Thanks for having me.

Nick: This week, we’re going to be talking about a topic that Sam’s been researching throughout the week, which is website usability. We’re going to cover four tips, which are sort of basic tips that everyone should include in their websites, all small business owners. Some of them are things you can put together yourself and incorporate yourself and some are things that you’ll probably have to talk to your web developer about, or get a bit of advice from someone and those four tips are going to be: Friendly URL’s, Breadcrumb links, Site Maps and Custom 404 pages. So, let’s get straight into it. Sam, what is a URL?

Sam: A URL is a thing that web browsers use to find certain pages on the internet. You type into your web browser.

Nick: Yep, so that would be something like, that’s the URL for Google, or which is the URL for our podcast website and what do we mean by friendly URLs, as opposed to just a normal URL?

Sam: Well, often URLs on the internet will be, they’ll contains lots of hard to decipher codes and seemingly random bunches of numbers and things, and a friendly URL is a URL that has, that’s simple and easy to remember and contains words rather than numbers and the words relate to the content on the page that it links to.

Nick: Yep, that’s right. So why do we need the friendly URLs?

Sam: Well, it makes it a lot easier for visitors to your website, if say they want to come back to a certain page, they can type in the URL if it’s easy to remember and…

Nick: Yep, and it’s also good for search engines. They can use the words in the URL to try and understand a bit more what the page is about. If it’s just a bunch of numbers then it’s kind of hard for them to really tell anything about. The thing with a lot of websites, they’re built on what is known as CMS, which is a content management system, it could be something like WordPress or Joomla or these various other proprietary systems that are built by web developers and often, these CMS’s will automatically create URL’s that have lots of these numbers and stuff in there, and it’ll often be /? and then a whole bunch of numbers and that could be really long and impossible to remember and kind of annoying to look at.

So often, it will be standard developer, depending on the system, if you’re using something like WordPress, which is what we use for our business website at and also the website for the podcast. We use WordPress and it’s a simple process to go into the settings, the permalink settings it’s called, and just change it, set it to, usually set it to the URL to appear as the post name and then the name of the post or the name of the page will just appear in the URL. That’s a really easy way to get those key words in there and make it easy to remember like you mentioned Sam.

Alright, now let’s move on to our next point, that’s Breadcrumb links. So what is a breadcrumb link?

Sam: Well, a breadcrumb link is usually located near the top of a page on a website and whenever you go to a new page, breadcrumb link will record which pages you’ve been to and if you want to go back to a page that you’ve previously visited, you can just use the breadcrumb links to click back to the page that you were last on.

Nick: Yep, yep. So it’s a good way of thinking about it is to think about the hierarchy of your website. So for instance if you had an e-commerce website, like a shop where you’re selling things and you might have a category of products like shoes and then you click on maybe like children’s shoes and then children’s sandals or something like that, and then the Bread Crumb path, it’s the idea, it’s sort of like a path.

I think Bread Crumbs, I think it’s loosely related to Hansel and Gretel, where they left a path of Bread Crumb so that they could find their way back. So, the idea being, if you’re on this page, children’s sandals, you’ll see the Bread Crumbs and it’ll have Home, and the next link will be Shoes, which was the page you went to and the next link will we Children’s Shoes, which was the page you went to and the next link will be Sandals. So, then you can go back to wherever you want during that path you went on, to go down, sort of, a different path.

So yes, that’s what Bread Crumbs are all about and that kind of goes to my next question which is why they are useful, which is basically so that you can get back to where you’ve been easily and if you want to go down a different path, as opposed to having to go all the way back to the Start, all the way back to the Home Page and then do it again. Is that right?

Sam: Yep.

Nick: And another thing with Bread Crumbs and Bread Crumblinks, is that if you have them set-up correctly, this requires you to put a bit of code behind the scenes with your Bread Crumbs and your HTML, so you have your web developer help you with this. You can tell Google, hey this is Bread Crumb link over here and then after Google sees that page and sees the other pages with Bread Crumbs, they can put this Bread Crumb links in the search results themselves. So, if you have this internal page such as the one Children’s Sandals and if that comes up in the search results, you can actually have the Bread Crumb links at the bottom of the snippets, it called, which is what’s the result in the search results and that way, people can actually click one of the links in the Bread Crumbs from the search results and go straight to a higher page. This gives you more flexibility, more places for people to sort of visit during your website from the search results because there’d be a bit more chance of understanding what your website’s about. If you remember we talked to Tony McCreath a few weeks ago about Rich Snippets and Semantic Markup and that’s exactly that sort of thing there.

So, let’s move on to our next point which is Site Maps. Now, there’s two different types of Site Maps. What are they, what are the two different types, Sam?

Sam: Well firstly, there’s HTML Site Maps, which are ones that are mainly for users of the website to find their way around, to be able to navigate the website better and usually, it will be its own page and it’ll contain links to all different pages on your website or all the important ones if you have lots and lots of pages on your website. So it can be really good for finding your way around and also the other type is XML Site Maps, which is a special code that is used more for search engines trying to navigate their way through your website and …

Nick: Yep, so the idea XML Site Map is to help Google or help a search engine discover your pages. Now, in general, we’d want to set up the website up in such a way that they don’t need the XML Site Map so they find all the pages by themselves, which that’s how sort of Google finds out what the website’s about. They have special software programs, it’s called Roybots or crawlers often, and they follow the links throughout your website and try to discover all the pages, but if, for some reason, something’s hard to discover or whatever, they can go to that XML site Map and find all of your pages linked there, easier to find. So what’s the best way for someone to go and create a Site Map, Sam?

Sam: Well, an XML Site Map is probably difficult to do by yourself unless you have a lot of programming skills but you can just get on Google and look for a Site Map generator, which does loads of things, so, find one of those and that’s quite easy, actually.

Nick: Yep, that’s what you did.

Sam: Yep.

Nick: And we’re going to be creating an article and a video for this podcast and we’ll put some links and some screen shots in there to show you what that’s about.

Where you want to submit your Site Map, you want to do this anyway, there’s something called Google webmaster tools. This is a place where you can create an account and then you verify it with Google that the person that owns this account owns your website, so you do that by putting a bit of code on the website. You can also do that by using Google Analytics if you’ve got that added already.

This verifies that you own the website and you can make various changes to the website to do with, which location you’re targeting like specifically Australia, or specifically Adelaide versus you could be targeting the US or whatever. You can also submit your Site Map in there, your XML Site Map, so you can actually upload it or if you have it already on your website, you can just provide the link to them, and that’s how you sort of let Google know that this is the sitemap where you need to go to find the new pages, etc.

There are various other things you can do in there by getting statistics, you can get information about incoming links that Google has found. You can get information about areas of, if something goes wrong with your website and you happen to be away somewhere else, in the office or whatever and you’re not aware of it, Google can actually send you an email with your registered email address and tell you it’s having some problem here.

That can include anything from, there’s a large number of areas on your website, sort of indicate something’s wrong, or they could find malware, which is sort a type of virus which can get in your site. So, that’s something you definitely want to go and solve quickly because you don’t want your customers contracting any viruses from your website. So, definitely, absolutely every website should verify their Google Web Master Tools account, get the account, get in there, and get familiar with it. That’s definitely something everyone should do and we’ll have some links to that too.

Now let’s move on to our 4th and last tip, now this is Custom 404 Pages. What is a 404 Page?

Sam: When a user tries to get to a, tries to find a URL, a page on your site that doesn’t exist under your domain, they usually get sent, redirected to a 404 page, which will say, error, file not found or something like that and …

Nick: Yep, so that’s a 404 page and now, most people will probably experience this when you try to go to a website and maybe you found out that you typed in the URL incorrectly or …

Sam: Yeah, that’s usually what the problem is. People misspell something or it’s probably a page that no longer exists.

Nick: Yeah that’s another thing, which also sort of points to the fact that business owners should be careful if they’re changing their pages within their website. If they go and think, okay this page isn’t really useful and we’re just going to remove it and put up the information of this other page.

If you do that, you should always redirect the old URL to the new one or redirect it to somewhere so that people don’t get lost, don’t arrive there. You can’t account for every kind of misspelling in every kind of page and this is the problem, so a good idea is to have a custom 404 Page, right?

Sam: Yes, a custom 404 page is pretty easy to set up as well. There’s a good tool on Google you can use, which is like a 404 widget, which helps you customize your 404 page and put on a bunch of useful applications and things on your 404 page to make it easier for people to get back to a working page on your site instead of people getting a generic 404 message and decide, well the website’s not working, I’ll go ahead and do something else.

Nick: Exactly. So, this is like a really easy change you can make, depending on the system you’re using again, CMS. You can probably do it yourself or get your web developer to help you with it but you could, you’ve done all the work to get these people to come to your website and if they’re landing on a generic 404 page or a standard, not custom, standard 404 page, they’re probably not seeing any links there, they might think, as Sam said that the website’s broken.

So you’ve done all this work to get them there and they might just leave. So, definitely get on top of this 404 page creator or some other way of doing it and then you can put like a search bar in there or you can put some links just to other parts of website so people can sort of get back to the Home page and do a search or something to find the information they’re actually looking for.

So that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed those four tips. That brings us to the end of the episode. Thanks very much Sam, for coming on the show.

Sam: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: It’s been great having Sam for the past two weeks at Wicked Cow Marketing, helping us with various different tasks and hopefully learning a lot.

Sam: Yes it’s been a lot of fun.

Nick: We’ll miss him when he goes back to school next week. Thanks very much Sam and I will the leave the episode there and I’ll see you again next week.


Ep#11: Semantic Markup & Rich Snippets

Semantic markup and rich snippets in the search results in an interview with Tony McCreath.

In episode 11 I speak with Tony McCreath about Semantic Markup and Rich Snippets in the search results. These are things you can do to your website to make it stand out more in the search results and get more clicks. This is the third part of my four part series of interviews with Tony. You can find parts 1 and 2 in episodes 7 and 9.

Covered in this episode;

  • What does semantic markup mean?
  • What are rich snippets?
  • How can rich snippets benefit a website?
  • Is this something regular business owners can implement or will they need the help of a developer?
  • What is the future of rich snippets going to be like IYO?


The featured photo this week is a snap by our Work Experience student Sam taken near our office in Crafers.

Crafers, Adelaide Hills

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Nick: Welcome back to Episode 11 of the WMA Podcast. This week, we’re speaking with Tony McCreath from Website Advantage about semantic mark-up and rich Snippets in the search results. This is my third chat with Tony. The last few episodes you can find my first and second chats with him in Episodes 7 and 9 respectively.

I have to apologize that the sound is a little hard to hear at times because it was very windy when we were recording the interview, we were recording it outside but you should be able to get most of the information fairly easily.

Just before we head to that interview, there’s a heads up that we have for a Flying Solo Small Business Meet up event happening next week on October the 9th on Tuesday. That’s at the Hackney Hotel at 10 a.m. Head to the show notes at for a link to more information about that, hoping to get quite a few people this time, maybe sort of 10 to 15 or so, so it’s a great opportunity to network with other small business owners in Adelaide. Now, let’s go to that interview.

Alright, welcome back to Web Marketing Adelaide. We’re talking again this week with Tony McCreath from Website Advantage, SEO expert from Adelaide and today, we’re going to be addressing the topic of Semantic Mark up and Rich Snippets. Now, we touched on this a little bit in previous weeks when we talked about Google Plus and overshoot mark-up, but let’s just get started.

First of all Tony, welcome back to the show. Good to have you with us still. So, what does Semantic Markup mean?

Tony: Probably best to define what Semantic means. I’m not a semantic expert but the general idea of semantic is the meaning behind words. So, instead of just seeing a bunch of words, and they are words put together. Semantic is about understanding what the actual sentence is about and the subject matter. So, Semantic Mark-up is a way that you have the ability to actually enhance your website by defining the meaning behind sentences to help Google actually understand what a sentence is about or a paragraph rather than Google just guessing.

A good example, maybe your contact page, Google scrapes content pages to find out the business name, the address, the phone number and Google is kind of clever at that but it’s guessing, it’s looking for a series of numbers. What semantic markup is, you will actually say on that page, this sentence is my business name. This sentence is my business phone number, this is my street address. This is so on, that you can give all this information and you can say the page, as a whole is a definition of your business.

So, you can add all this information, to provide meaning for Google, so that Google doesn’t have to guess, they know and this all leads up to what Google is calling the Knowledge graph. Its pulling all this information together, and finding how they associate, so you might reference another business, so Google knows this is a business linking to another business and this is the author of the business, all these semantic knowledge that Google is pulling together to improve it’s search results.

Nick: And when we talk about semantic mark-up, that’s happening in the code of the page, this isn’t something that people will see on your website, it’s actually happening behind the scenes.

Tony: Yeah it’s hidden, it’s written as part of your HTML. A good source for learning about it is, which you’ll put a link to. This is the officially endorsed version of semantic mark-up, of Google, Bing, maybe Yahoo if that’s still around, have endorsed. They currently support some forms of mark-up like business names, people, product reviews, videos, and that will enhance in the future.

Nick: And what are rich snippets?

Tony: Rich snippets are enhanced results we talked on an earlier episode at the start about the offered pictures, so that’s a rich snippet, where your mug shot is added to the results, the search results in Google feed. Your normal search results consists of a title and what we call a snippet, which is a paragraph about the page and a link of course. Rich snippets are things like pictures, if it’s a reviewed page, it might show star ratings and the Youtube videos might cover a thumb shot shown on it. Another big one is if you’re branded really well, you might get what we call, site links, which is secondary links within your entry and sometimes that can take up a whole chunk of the search results.

Nick: You might often see this when you make a brand search, and you’ll have links to the about page and the contact page as well as the main website.

Tony: When Google thinks the search is very specifically about a particular website or business, they will give you a very enhanced result.

Nick: So all of these extra things in the search results are all rich snippets?

Tony: Yeah, anything that’s kind of enhancing the result is classed as a rich snippet rather than a normal snippet.

Nick: Right, so how can a rich snippet benefit a website?

Tony: It makes you stand out more. So, your listing may get a little bit more real estate than the one next to you. It also provides more ways for people to actually go to your website, like site links, will have things like people can go straight to your contact page or your product page and it also creates trust. If there’s a picture there, people tend to trust that more than the one next to you, that’s a quite anonymous little normal snippet.

Nick: Yeah. Great. Now, is semantic mark-up and rich snippets, is this something a regular business owner can do on their own or is this something that you really need a web developer to do?

Tony: Most cases, a web developer, and in a lot of those cases, the web developer will have to go to someone and learn how to do it.

Nick: Right, an SEO person.

Tony: It’s enhancing your HTML, so whoever does it has to know the stuff and they have to learn an extra language effectively, on how to do it. There are plug-ins on WordPress, and a few content management systems are starting to build it in, but it’s very immature at the moment and hit and miss. So, even if you use the WordPress plug-in, it might not actually work.

Nick: Right, but it’s something that people should think about doing, like it’s worth it?

Tony: I’d say it depends on your business. If you have reviews on your website, having those star ratings will make those reviews look better, although rich snippets are recipes. So, if you’re a cooking website, it’d be really great if you could get a picture of your recipes with I think, it also sums up cooking times and things within the rich snippet. So, if a certain recipes or pictures suits your business, it can be worth setting those up. It’s basically down to what benefits you will personally get from it. All of three are probably one of the easier ones to set up, it’s more of working out your Google Plus account. So, that may be quite an easy one to get going.

Nick: And what is the future of rich snippets going to look like, do you think? Is there an option to keep adding more and more information to the search results, or are they still experimenting?

Tony: They’re always experimenting. I never realized that – hope you can still hear me, the breeze kept blowing away…

Nick: It gets blown away in this lovely Adelaide weather.

Tony: I would say, more as a whole, not just the rich snippets but the search results are revolving all the time. We’ve got the Knowledge graph, which is adding stuff to the side of the results. We’ve got Google shopping, which is adding products information, which look like rich snippets but is a separate system, and they are going to start supporting more types of rich snippets. At the moment in Australia, I don’t think we’re seeing product based rich snippets yet but I believe they have them in America. Same with things like maybe music, more different types of iTunes will start appearing, and the idea is Google gives people a better view of what they’re looking for, a better search experience and again, it means they get more people coming in, clicking on the adverts and in fact, on their adverts are also getting more sophisticated.

It wasn’t long ago that we started seeing pictures in adverts here. If you look at American results, the adverts take up a lot of the search results now and they have everything from maps, reviews, Google Plus segments, the advertising results are getting a lot more sophisticated.

Nick: Yep, and so you’ve mentioned America a few times. America’s a good kind, I guess what’s going to come down in the pipeline to Australia by looking at what the Americans are doing.

Tony: Yeah, you’d probably see the same. If you follow American SEO’s they talk about a lot of stuff and they go, oh we don’t get that yet, and it can be months or years before it actually arrives in Australia, things like the Knowledge graph is probably 6 months before, Google shopping I think just appeared this year and it’s been around for years and years in America and the UK, so, we are a bit behind. It means that if you monitor it, you know what’s coming.

Nick: You know what’s coming, sort of an advanced warning.

Tony: Yeah.

Nick: Great. Well thanks very much for talking to us about semantic mark-up. Did you have anything else to add to that topic?

Tony: No, I think it was covered. You can always do research on it, as I say, is the place to go to learn about the technical side of it. Google provides the tool to actually test whether you’ve got it right, so when you get your web developer, you can confirm that they’re doing the right sort of thing and it’s going to get more mature and probably easier for people to do in the future.

Nick: Great. We’re going to be talking to Tony again in the next few episodes about Google shopping and until then, nice having you on the show.

Tony: Cheers, nice to be here.