I met up with Bruce Jackson, founder of SEO Coach in Vienna, Austria. Originally from Australia, Bruce has been living in Vienna for 15 years. We met up in the Australian Pub in downtown Vienna to discuss search in the Austrian market.
How long have you been in SEO for?
I have been working with the internet since 1998. I was a mobile software programmer and a website designer for years. Just over a year ago, I moved into SEO.
What does your company do? What is its USP?
The company is called SEO Coach and our USP is bringing value to the customer. I work with doctors, dentists. I work mostly with local businesses and therefore local is very important to them.
How do you find working in Austria?
I love it. I have been here for 15 years and I really enjoy it, the market is not as competitive as the UK or Germany.
What are your KPIs?
The KPIs are dependent on the client. Most clients just want to improve their rankings. In my mind, the KPI is new customer contacts, getting a telephone number and an email address and working with them to meet their objectives.
What type of clients do you have?
I work with local businesses such as doctors, dentists and lawyers. I do not have more than 2 clients from each field per city.
Do they understand SEO and PPC?
They do not understand PPC which is good for medium sized businesses. It has been sold into a lot of businesses here but my clients are smaller and local businesses and therefore SEO is better for them. However, it is hard to get clients to realise how their customers can interact with their website to make a sale or contact them. I help my clients with their website design and how to improve it for the user.
What is search like in Austria?
It is much easier to get a client ranking as there is little competition. The market is very small and many people do not know the value of Google or the significance of SEO. It is hard to bring across the value of SEO, but I can improve rankings for clients within a week. This is much harder to do in another country.
Have you been affected by the Google updates Penguin and Panda?
No we have not been affected but we have by Google+ Local update a few weeks ago. Now everyone has to have a Google + account to leave a review for my client’s site. Some people do not know what Google+ is and therefore cannot leave a review which means my clients will miss out on many reviews in the future.
What is your main form of link building? Has this changed over the past year?
I use directories as a form of link building. I may also put a couple of links in some forum posts and engage in niche-related link exchanges. The market is underdeveloped here, which means we do not need to carry out more sophisticated link building as in other markets.
Do you attend search marketing events in Austria?
There is a great conference, SEOKomm in Salzburg that takes place once a year but it is just one day and costs the same as SMX London. It is the best way to meet other SEOs in Austria. The SEO community here is very spread out and is tied in with online marketing.
What are the different SEO products you offer your clients?
I offer on page optimisation, google local and link building.
What SEO tools do you use?
I use Xovi which is a link analysis and ranking tool. It is mostly for the German market which covers Austria and Switzerland as well.
What reports do you do?
Every month I send a report to my clients covering at least the rankings and check where they are appearing against their competitors. I also include the work I have done for my clients each month along with analysis of the traffic month on month.
What do you see as the future of SEO?
SEO will never disappear. It will become harder, dependent on the market you are working in. I love SEO and I know Google introduces a lot of updates but we have to find a way to work around these updates.