James Richardson started his online career running online Sports Fan sites, with the pinnacle being a write up in the Sunday Herald Sun ‘Wired’ column. His professional career began at ASX listed company Melbourne IT where he held various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams, before deciding to venture out on his own. Running several successful online websites and businesses himself, he is well placed at understanding what your business needs.
Mike: James, you founded SEO.com.au. Excellent keyword domain to say the least. How does .com.au compare to .com?
James: com.au is the primary domain name used by Australian businesses. As we are mainly focused on the AU market – this work great for us and conveys trust to our customers. In the au market, as a general rule you have to be a registered business to be able to register a domain name, and you must also list all your details publicly, so with that comes an element of security.
You get all the benefits of a great .com domain name, but obviously a slightly smaller market!
Obviously when we are talking about value, it doesn’t compare to the .com which sold for $5 Million in 2007, but the domain name still carries some great value in our smaller market from a resale perspective.
Mike: Tell us what you do at SEO.com.au.
James: SEO.com.au is as the name suggests, an SEO company. Our main brand is Optimising.com.au, and we use SEO.com.au as our higher level brand.
We’re focused on high quality in house SEO, with a big focus on technical audits. At the moment the website acts more as a lead generator than a stand alone website, but we have plans to expend the brand more fully in the future.
Mike: In your experience as an SEO expert, how important is a keyword domain to a businesses success?
James: Google has rolled out lots of updates to curb the benefits of EMD’s, but we still see a nice bump from having one. In addition EMD’s are usually older domains with some good authority and history behind them which always helps!
I would not say it’s a deal breaker to business success, but its certainly beneficial. The domain creates a great ice breaker in conversations and also gives the impression we have been around for a long time to get such a great domain name.
Mike: Knowing that keyword domains have a high level of importance, explain how businesses based on brandable domains often do well.
James: I would actually say it can actually be more difficult to build your business around a generic domain name. It can actually make it more difficult to build a ‘brand’ as the domain name is not ‘unique’, the other issue you have is all the other in your industry using the term. If it is a dictionary word, it’s going to be tough to stop them using it and confusing your customers!
When we bought the domain, it had previously had an old website on it that had been up for about 10 years. When we took ownership we redid the branding, and created a website that better aligned with what our company was. The biggest benefit we see overall with using such a great domain name is its memorable. Clients can easily remember it if they meet you at an event, it’s say to remember when someone wants to mention it a a colleague, and it’s really going to stand out in any advertising we do.
Mike: What are the top 3 SEO tips you have for small businesses trying to get their sites ranked in Google?
James: The biggest thing overall is that SEO can be done by anyone, it just takes time and effort (I am talking about the basics here. There is so much business owners can do themselves so easily, but most do not even bother. People need to start really utilising their website, which is a huge potential asset as a marketing and branding channel.
- Build great content: Get great content on your website that visitors to your site would want, and expect to see. When they get to your website you want to ensure they can find everything they could potentially need to make a decision.
- Great code: Ensure that your website is built well, loads fast, and works seamlessly on all devices.
- Build great links: Links are still a HUGE part of ranking well on Google so ensure that there are other websites out there linking to your pages, and the great content you are writing.
Mike: How did you get the name SEO.com.au? Can you talk me through the process you followed to purchase the name?
James: We actually suited this domain name about 4 years ago when it came on the market. Myself and my business partner Daniel felt that it was an opportunity too good to pass up and one that only comes up once in a lifetime.
We had been talking to the seller for a reasonable amount of time before he sold it, and when he was ready to sell he came straight to us and we were ready to acquire it quickly.
Mike: What type of traffic do you see?
James: Without putting in any real effort, we see a few thousand uniques a month, which as you can imagine converts to a very tidy lead source for us. This comes through pure organic searches, as well as Google Maps. We have plans to expand the link building efforts and flesh out the website some more which would further increase organic traffic.