Wade Cockfield is the owner of Wade Cockfield Executive SEO, a digital marketing agency that operates around Australia. He offers SEO and reputation management services for his clients, and helps them to reach the top of search rankings and improve their sales.
Wade, what is your background in SEO?
I’ve been working in Digital since 2006 and specialising in SEO since 2009. First I was an employee at some established Web Design and Internet Marketing firms before deciding to go it on my own in 2009. I decided to specialise in SEO because I was seeing that was the central pillar of my clients success.
Paid traffic was great but not many people trusted clicking on ads and Web Design is important but also subjective with the goal posts also being moved. Back when I first started it was pretty easy to rank for keywords as the main indicator was how many backlinks the site had with the direct anchor text. After that Google released Panda, Penguin, Rank Brain and a range of other updates and now the algorithm is a bit more complex.
What we are seeing now with the latest core update is that google is trying to push brands that established themselves on the web, have customer traffic and good reputations. I’ve recently been able to generate some good results in hard niches by focusing on tying up the brands entities and making them trusted in Googles algorithm.
What made you decide to start your own firm?
Back when I started in 2006 the company, I worked for had a very good SEO team and sales process and due to that in many local services they had all 10 front page spots on Google ranking for 10 different clients.
This meant that although every one of those 10 wanted to be No1 for the search we actually couldn’t do it because the other 9 also wanted it. To me this was unethical so I decided to go on my own and have a system of only one client per niche / location. This enabled me to focus 100% on the client an although it’s more expensive to do because you can’t share resources / templates across clients in the same vertical it is more effective for the client.
Right now there would be 1000’s of businesses across Australia who are in the same predicament by using large agencies for SEO but they just don’t realise it.
Do you have clients outside Australia?
Yes we take on clients outside Australia as SEO is an online job and location doesn’t matter so much. Actually when it comes to ROI, one of the main factors is search volume which can be directly tied into demographics. In places like the Unites State the value of ranking well for keywords can be 10 times that of ranking the same keyword on google.com.au.
Can you give us an outline of your process?
When we take on a client the first thing we do is to look out how well the site is ranking for keywords and to see if there are any quick wins we can do but fixing up the technical aspects of website. Often large sites have the power, trust and authority in Google to rank but are sitting on page 2 due to technical SEO issues. The onsite review and technical audit is followed by in-depth keyword research where we look at all the phrases the site gets traffic for. Google often test websites for different keywords which will show in Google Search Console and this is one of the main sites where I spend my time.
The keyword research then extends to the competitor analysis to make sure we haven’t missed any opportunities and there are a couple of really amazing tools for this like SEMRUSH and AHREFS. The 4th aspect is looking at the health of the website and its link profile, with Panda and Penguin penalties this is making sure that only healthy sites are linking to us and trying to remove or disavow bad links which may have a negative impact. The next step after this is promote the website with good content and relevant traffic.
In many cases the page the client is trying to rank can be improved by upgrading the content on the page with increase the page usability and relevance. Then to promote that page creating and sharing additional content on trusted sources is what we advise. The final process is then to track and monitor the results and make the appropriate change by analysing the results. Throughout the year these 6 activities would be repeated to ensure we are getting the best results possible.
What is reputation management?
Reputation Management is simple terms is trying to promote people to leave you a positive review online. It has been confirmed through various studies that in customer journey from research to paying client that online reviews make a big difference in the perceived value and trust of a business.
Helping a happy client to leave a positive review online can help prospective clients to make the jump and make contact whilst responding well to negative reviews can also help minimise the negative effect of an unhappy customer. It’s unfortunate but in some cases reviews aren’t always true and a falsely created negative review can really effect a business.
In advanced reputation management trying to make bad reviews to be less visible can be an option to consider but for the most part responding well to negative critics, improving the business operations so that your business doesn’t get bad reviews and promoting happy clients to lead a good review is the best solution.
Are there any kinds of clients that you would refuse to take on?
Over the years we have had a few offers to promoting services which are ethically questionable, and which could be seen as negative to either society or personal health. In these areas we prefer to say no. Our ideal clients are invested in their clients and provide a wholesome quality service or product.
What would you say is the most important part of SEO?
The most important part of SEO is proving to Google your page or business is the best resource for fulfilling the intent of the search query. Unfortunately Google is the Judge, Jury and Executioner of SEO so you have to know what Google is looking for and sing to its tune.
Thank you Wade for sharing your thoughts!
You can follow up with Wade Cockfield at www.wadecockfield.com.au