Published May 2022
“A business is a machine, each part has a purpose,
time and quantifiable value and
return at its functional time. JPMK”
Let me start off by saying I have achieved top positions on search engines for my own businesses and clients. This already sets me apart from thousands of other service providers who can’t say the same. With that said, my SEO or Web marketing methods are my trade secret, which leaves me with a challenge when explaining the service to a Client. I know most people haven’t the foggiest idea what SEO is all about or the desire to fully understand this technical and often boring service. For this reason, there is a trend ‘they’ go with a service provider who is less costly and offers a simpler explanation, or one that lies and guarantees positions.
So how do I explain to the ‘SEO Naïve’ how I do SEO without giving away my secrets or confusing my poor client to death? Simple, I write an article with seven easy to consume points.
I own and manage nearly 200 of my own business websites. At any given time I am responsible for around 600+ other active websites (clients and companies) directly or indirectly. I manage and own some of the most valuable websites in my field and they are all on the 1st page of Google for their primary search phrases. In total, all years added together, I have been involved with over 15 000 online projects in some capacity or another. I do not know of anyone in Africa (and I have travelled to over 50 cities World-Wide) that comes close to my references as an independent Web Marketing Specialist.
SEO explained in a paragraph. SEO is the ‘manipulation’ of a website to achieve natural (unpaid results and clicks) positions on search engines using technical and theoretical methods. ‘Theoretical’ because no one knows Googles actual algorithm (the way ‘they’ digitally prioritise search results). ‘This’ is a closely protected secret to prevent abuse. Therefore, ‘nerds’ such as myself, have their own theories. Which nerd’s theory is better? I will only speak for myself, refer to point 1 on my references. In the very best SEO strategies you will always find behind the scene someone with a good technical understanding but also someone with common sense, street smart and an excellent understanding of business at a macro level.
Prices. There are four categories of costs when you really want to do well with SEO and achieve top positions on search engines.
If you buy a ‘once off’ or ‘packaged’ SEO product, you have been scammed or dumb sold. There is no such thing as a set SEO fee or set package that works for your business, ever! Let me explain why in the next point.
Go to Google and type in the search phrase “cup cake for sale”, Take a look at your results and then take a look at my images below.
‘Search 1’ was my result at the time and location I did the search: 76 million web pages competing. Moments later we have ‘search 2’ with over 300 million results. Notice please I said TIME and LOCATION. If you wait any length of time, or even move to another location (suburb / city / country), the search result will differ. If you change the order (as I did for search 2) of the words or add one single letter different, the results will change. Google could of course also update its algorithm, and that will change results as well. Google is alwaysupdating its systems.
My point being, the internet is extremely dynamic, it is always changing. The moment a minute goes by, or if Google picks up that you are in another location, or recalls your post search trend, or if a competitor launches a new site competing for the same search phrase, or / and / etc x 100~infinity … the search result changes.
Roughly 250 000+ websites are launched every day.
Paying once off for SEO and believing you can compete is like thinking that the free tank of fuel that came with your first brand new car will last forever. You are only going to get so far on that tank, and then your competitors will overtake you. So how do you beat them and what will it cost? Before I move onto that answer, I want to quickly admit that I know free tanks of fuel with a car are rare now a days, but I hope you appreciate my explanation here. Onto the answer. How to do better!
You are going to have to use a better grade of petrol, fill up a little more frequently, service your car more often and decide how aggressively you want to drive. You are in a race, with many competitor websites. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be a custom plan and service for you. Move onto point 5 now.
Aggression. This is a subject most Clients stumble on. I ask Clients ‘how aggressive do they want to be?’
This is such an important question because ‘the faster you drive a car, the quicker you use fuel’. You will get to the destination faster but fuel costs more because the faster you go, the faster you burn petrol. Or, you could go a little slower, use less fuel and take more time to get to your destination.
SEO, takes between weeks and years to achieve results. Each search phrase needs its own strategy. Refer to point 4 again to see how changing a search phrase (even a little) changes results.
You need to know what your destinations (search phrases) are and how quickly you want to get there (weeks / months / years). If you have an idea of this, you’re travelling (SEO) costs can be determined. The more destinations (search phrases) or faster the trip, the greater the cost. There are many ways to make SEO more costly, and the reason you use an expert like me is to keep costs lower and achieve results sooner.
As a Business Owner you must take a moment to think about what search phrases you want to compete for. Ask yourself ‘what do your billable clients use on search engines to try find the product or service you offer?’, ‘What are your competitors using as search phrases?’ Then decide how quickly you want to kick your competitors butt! If you can share this information with me, then I can quote on the spot for all four items per point 3.
If not, and in most cases, Clients have a budget in mind. This is perfectly fine. 99.999% of us have budgets. The route to go then is for me to take that budget, and design a strategy within a preferred spend. I then can advise on which search phrases we can work with, how quickly we can achieve results and what tasks we will do and when. If you don’t have a marketing budget for your company… I unfortunately cannot help you.
Well done for getting so far in this article, almost complete.
I only work with a few Clients at any given time. I have my own staff and a wonderful team of colleagues who execute the steps I advise.
Step 1. We always do an assessment of your primary search phrases and web competitors. My team actually works out who they are on the web, what they are doing well, and therefore what we need to do to be doing better than them to LITERALLY BE BETTER THAN THEM! Websites can range between R2000 and R200 000, depending on if you run an SMME or a large corporate. If your website is ‘less than’ your competitors, engagement is lower, so you get people to the site, but they don’t bother to engage. Search engines prefer newer, safer, and modern websites. Looks and function do matter!
Step 2. Laying the foundation: all the technical SEO things. This might include upgrading your website code / function / content, but certainly employing all the ‘technical tricks of the trade’ required to kick start your website onto search engines. A foundation for me can have up to 40 steps, and take about 1-3 months to complete. The cost can range between R3000-R15000 depending on your business size and of course how aggressive you wish to be.
Step 3. This is where we work over weeks and months, on those repeated tasks. There can be between 5 and 20 tasks we work on frequently over a period of months. This phase can costs as little as R1000 a month or as much as R50 000! Again this depends on the level of aggression a client desires and the size of their business.
We normally work for 6 months, do an assessment, and then continue. ‘Rinse and repeat’.
SEO is one of three types of Web Marketing. PPC (Pay per Click / Adwords) and Social Media are normally also part of a bigger plan, and sometimes more important tools than SEO. However, most businesses will use a variety of these in different proportions. If you would like to find out more about the actual tools / tasks I take / do within my SEO service, and perhaps take a peek at the Independent SEO log and certificate I developed, please feel free to make contact. I genuinely enjoy helping businesses do well on the internet. My hourly rate for consults / workshops is R1500 + vat.
(Prices and details within this article are subject to change, please refer to my website, services tab)
‘A Future Thinker’
The Business and Environmental Technologist.
Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline is an entrepreneur who runs several online businesses. He is a published Author who researches, consults and facilitates strategy sessions about the most important matters affecting our generation and the changes to technology, business and the environment.
Published May 2022Read more articles