How we became an award-winning SEO agency

Australian Web Award SEO Winners 2021
How we became an award-winning SEO agency
Time to read: 7 minutes

Turns out our SEO is as effective as we thought! The team at Excite Media has taken home an Australian Web Award for SEO Effectiveness for our work (and success if we do say so) for our client, Pet Express.

Pet Express is a pet transportation company that ships pets internationally. The United States-based company was primarily targeting US-based keywords surrounding pet shipping.

As well as the SEO campaign though, they wanted to position themselves as a trusted online brand — the go-to team you’d trust to ship your furry friend.

And as you may have guessed, they wanted to boost sales through this new SEO campaign.

So, we kicked off a campaign 📈

In July of 2019, we launched an SEO and Google Ads campaign with Pet Express. They came to us wanting a marketing campaign. So we kicked things off with an initial audit of their website and SEO — to see what we were working with.

We looked at all the technical aspects of their current SEO. We assessed which keywords they were ranking for, close to ranking for, and which keywords would be even better.

Our team looked at Pet Express’ content, site structure, and – just as importantly – their competitors.

award winning seo agency

Then COVID-19 hit

ICYMI: the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in March of 2020.

The Pet Express campaign was well and truly underway but the pandemic had brought a new and improved set of challenges.

We hate to point out the obvious but COVID-19 was a bit of a downer, particularly for the travel industry and basically any flight-based businesses.

It meant that, despite our beautifully crafted SEO campaign, Pet Express was in a tight spot.

By April, the budget for Pet Express’ campaign had been reduced to lighten the blow from the pandemic. This meant we had to scale back the services we’d originally outlined in the campaign.

Our SEO team worked together to optimise the campaign for the budget we now had to work with.

Here’s how we did it, stage by stage.

So, how’d we get from the lows of a global pandemic to an SEO Effectiveness Award?

Well, read on…

“You guys deserve more than an award for what you have done for us in this rough time!! Your commitment to seeing us succeed, your empathy and genuineness is something that we truly value. We look forward to taking everything to the next level over here and rapt that you and the team are on our side!”

Yes. We blushed.

SEO Foundations — Getting them right

As the word “foundations” suggests, this stage of the SEO campaign is all about laying down a base, finding the footing of the project.

We needed to create a solid foundation of a quality website for this campaign to build on. We audited the website, we worked out exactly what Pet Express’ competitors were up to, we spotted (and fixed, obviously) any technical or on-site issues.

award winnign seo agency

We analysed the content on the website.

Was it all optimised? Could it be tweaked to rank? What else could we create content around?

We analysed the links as well. Were there any subpar or spammy backlinks bringing the site down?


This laid the correct foundations for the project, ensuring the website was set up as best it could be to get those SEO results.

We managed an SEO score of 99% in the Google Web Dev Audit.


A weak, dodgily-crafted website isn’t going to thrive just because we started a baller SEO campaign. The website needs to be built well, with Search in mind from the get-go to ensure success.

Remember: No SEO campaign is built the same. Sometimes the foundations are already there and sometimes there are bigger opportunities to chase before we fiddle with audits.

This stage of the campaign doubles as the research round. Are we focusing on the best things for the client? Have we set clear objectives and expectations for the client?

Build Trust & Engagement ⏱

Pet Express wanted to see more success from that coveted Google Results page. But they knew it was only worth it if they were engaging website visitors and actively building trust. The sort you need to leave your cat or dog with a stranger for an international flight.

Luckily, this quality, comprehensive kind of content that answers burning questions and provides a quality experience for the user is also the kind of content that ranks on Google.

So, we improved the website content and optimised it for the robots at Google and the humans with pets that have somewhere to be.

We optimised the cat shipping page, the dog shipping page, and we dropped new and improved keyword-optimised content around the website.

Then, we targeted questions we knew had a high search volume in the search engines. We laid these questions out on an optimised FAQ page.

One of the biggest questions we found in our research was surrounding the cost. Which look, fair. We created two different blog posts, one addressing the cost of cat shipping and the other for the cost of dog shipping.


This stage was what saw that ball start rolling. Pet Express had moved from 17th position for their primary keyword “international pet shipping” to 4th position in January of this year. This was of course based on the US database, as it’s where Pet Express is based.

The query receives around 1.2K global searches per month.


We wanted to build engagement and trust through content. By answering questions we knew users were asking and by providing informative content, we were able to meet these users’ needs and position Pet Express as an authority on the matter.

By answering questions — especially around the cost of the service, we were able to build authority and trust in the brand. Aaaand as a double benefit, answering these commonly googled questions offers a new opportunity to nab rankings and traffic.

How good’s that?

Create quality, valuable content

We touched on it before, but Google loves quality, valuable content. So, we made sure Pet Express had plenty of it.

The Search team achieved this with the aforementioned two content pieces tailored to those dog shipping and cat shipping keywords and optimised posts around shipping pets to specific countries.

award winnign seo agency

Then, we targeted featured snippet opportunities on Google with this content we’d created. To do this, we had to optimise the content so it was as clear as possible for Google’s bots.

This is where structured headings throughout the content pages and schema mark-up come in. By implementing these structures and the code on the page, we made
sure Google could find the answers to its users’ questions.


This optimised content saw Pet Express nab 1242 keywords and the pages we focused on are now generating the most organic traffic on the website. We took home a featured snippet on Google and scored some ‘People Also Ask’ links for high search volume queries. This brought on a bunch of traffic to those cat and dog shipping pages.


It’s so important to understand what Google is displaying for certain keyword searches so you can tailor your content to rank for these. Firstly, it means you’re taking up more real estate on the results page. The first page of Google has the standard 10 links, if you rank on Page One, that’s a (sort of) 1 in 10 chance of getting the click.

If the results page is also displaying a ‘People Also Ask’ section and a featured snippet, and your site is displayed, then your chances of a click have increased.

The more spots you appear on that results page, the higher the chance of a click.

All of this optimising came with multiple benefits: boosting the likelihood of a featured snippet, helping core website pages rank better, and providing an amazing experience for each and every visitor.

Build authority 👮

The last thing we needed to do to give Pet Express the best shot at boosting business via the search engines was to build their authority. Yeah, we already created that authoritative content for the brand but we needed to boost the website’s authority.

To do this, we created a strategy to help us acquire high authority backlinks. Then, we audited their existing backlink profile, cleaning out any “toxic” links — the sort that gives the opposite of authority.

The last thing we needed to ensure was that the NAP citation inconsistencies were corrected. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number and it’s important to Google (and humans too) that these are consistent.

Inconsistencies will create brand distrust. These should be uniform across all platforms — your website, Google My Business, social profiles, and any other directory you’ve found yourself on.


Honestly? No result can really be attributed to this. Building this authority to the website improves the results in all other aspects of the campaign.


Links give Google a lot of information. The anchor text: the words that the link has been placed on, gives context to the link. The page’s content has already told Google what it’s all about, but the anchor text on a backlink will back it up.

A link is also how we reference information. So, if a page is getting plenty of backlinks, then Google can assume it’s a useful resource and might be more likely to suggest it to people researching its content.

Where is Pet Express today?

Pet Express is still an Excite Media client and recently recorded their highest amount of organic traffic and tracked conversions ever received in a month.

seo graph

Get in touch with our team to chat about how we can help you stay ahead of your competitors in the search engines. Contact us today!

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laura english

Laura English

Head of Copywriting

Laura English is the Head of Copywriting at Excite Media. She has worked in the communications industry since 2015 across copywriting, content marketing, public relations, and journalism. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism, minoring in Creative Writing. Laura is a big fan of the written word and loves combining creative writing with the persuasive.

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