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This blog post is an adapted version of an email that I have the unfortunate task of sending out regularly as a direct response to many of the SEO enquiries we get.
Out of all the potential customers who throw their wallets at us for search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization (CRO) and/or pay-per-click (PPC) work, Red Giant probably only takes on 10% of those as clients. The reasons for this are outlined below.
Every time a person contacts me saying “I have a website and I want to rank No. 1 on Google,” I begin to worry. The reason I worry is because my response is usually along the lines of,
“That’s great John. Could you tell me more about your website? What do you want it to do for you? What goals have you defined for the pages on your site?”
Unfortunately 98% of the time the response I get to that ends up being,
“Well, I don’t know. I guess I just want it to make me money.”
Well then, John, I’m afraid I am not the one to assist you with your SEO. I’ve got hundreds of emails from SEO agencies in Asia that promise to get you to No. 1 in no time at all for $3 an hour – I’ll gladly forward them to you.
Defining goals is something that many people (unfortunately this is especially true for South Africans) seem to regard as unimportant. You couldn’t be more wrong.
I believe that it’s absolutely imperative to make sure you have a clearly defined goal for each and every page on your website. Once you have defined a goal for a page, the design of the page, the content and the SEO and CRO work must all be done so as to complement the goal you have set.
Your goals could be anything from getting a person to subscribe to your mailing list, to getting him to buy your product, or possibly even just to compel him to fill in your contact form. Maybe your goal for a particular landing page is just to direct traffic from that page to another (squeeze) page, where your primary goal for your website will be achieved.
Whatever your goals are, make sure you have them. For every page.
This is a major sticking point for me. If you don’t care enough about where your money is going every month (to me, for your SEO work) to gain a basic understanding of what we are doing, then I don’t feel like we’re going to be a good fit.
At the onset of every SEO campaign, I like to have one or more lengthy consultations with my new client where will strategise together and I will explain some of the things we do to help your site perform a little better. At the very least, I feel the need to compile a customized strategy email for said client, which outlines my intentions and points the client in the direction of some very good resources to gain an understanding of the way SEO works.
My feeling is that if a person isn’t aware of the way natural SEO works, then there is going to come a point in time where he wonders where this chunk of money is going every month. My objective, from the get-go, is to make sure that doesn’t happen. I want you to know that you’re getting great value from me month in and month out. Heck, I’ll even drill right down into the technicalities of what we do, if you’re interested.
If you’re just not that invested in your business – Well then, John, neither am I.
In South Africa, we have the unfortunate situation where website owners don’t understand the amount of work that needs to be done over a long period of time in order to create a successful website. (See point 2 above)
This leads to people having very unrealistic expectations regarding the ROI for their website. It’s not called Return-on-Investment for nothing. There needs to be considerable investment, both monetary and otherwise, in order to implement a successful search engine optimisation campaign. This is especially true as we move into an era where cheap and large scale link building is not really an option anymore. You need a complete content strategy that is centred around your goals and integrated with your search marketing campaigns.
If your budget is R500 per month, I’m sorry John, but no, I cannot get you to the first page of Google for a highly competitive keyword within 3 weeks.
While I’m on the subject of budgeting – it’s crucial that you allocate a portion of your marketing budget to online marketing, just as you would for any offline marketing you do. It’s definitely not enough just to have a website somewhere on the Internet. You need to know what you’re willing to spend on your online marketing each month over an extended period of time, and I also need to know what your budget is so that I am able to craft a suitable online marketing strategy for you.
SEO is not something you just do and forget, folks. Make it a part of your marketing strategy today.
This one is no fault of your own. *Cue relief.
At Red Giant, our policy is that we will only take on one SEO client on a monthly retainer per industry. This policy is in place so we can protect the best interests of our clients. It wouldn’t exactly be fair if we were doing your SEO every month, but then also doing work for your competitor, now would it?
That means that as soon as we have a client in one particular industry, we will unfortunately have to turn you away. We do have a number of other great providers whom we are happy to refer you to. Alternatively, we can put you on our waiting list. As soon as a gap opens up, you’re welcome to fill it!
So it’s all first come, first serve as far as full SEO campaigns are concerned. If you leave it too late, well then, John, there’s not much I can do for you.
The truth of the matter is that Red Giant is not a massive online marketing agency from the UK nor an agency from India who's going to spam your inbox at every opportunity. We're real, personable people who are trying to provide a high quality service for your business. We can't and won't work with everybody, but are always willing to be very upfront with you in this regard.
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Disclaimer: If your name is John, no offense intended, you’re probably awesome. ;) No Johns were harmed in the making of this blog post.