Anatomy of a SEO Campaign

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SEO campaigns are a complex thing. They consist of many moving parts. With Google scoring your website on more than 200 ranking factors, these campaigns will always be a complex and time consuming undertaking.

Most business owners are wondering: “why is seo so expensive?” and “why should i keep paying for seo?.

In this article, I will give you an overview of what a typical SEO campaign will look like.

The three pillars of SEO

Before we get into the nitty gritty of a SEO campaign, it is important that there are 3 SEO pillars (more info here). These three pillars are:

  • Technical: Healthy website
  • Relevance: Keyword funnel/topic/content
  • Authority: Getting Google’s trust

That is also the order in which we approach your search engine optimization campaign.

Your website needs to be technically healthy. This means your website loads fast, is redirecting to the right protocol, doesn’t have any broken links (aka 404 errors), plus about a 100 other factors. Most SEO companies refer to this as Technical SEO.

The Technical Health pillar is usually a big focus area in Month 1 and 2, and becomes less time consuming over time.

Once your website is sorted for Technical Health, the next pillar to focus on is Relevance. This is based on keyword research, and making sure we have all the right pages setup to target and rank for certain keywords. Most SEO companies refer to this as on-page SEO, and on-site SEO.

The Relevance pillar typically comes into play during month 2 and 3, and remains a core activity of an ongoing SEO campaign.

The Authority pillar is where we work on winning Google’s trust through mentins, citations and backlinks. Google has used backlinks (when other websites link to our website) as a ranking factor since the early days, and while there have been more focus recently on other factors, it remains an important factor. Most SEO agencies refer to this as off-page SEO (or backlinking).

The Authority pillar is usually the last item to really get going, since Authority won’t help unless you have a healthy website that Google likes.

Your unique SEO campaign

Any SEO company worth their salt, will start all campaigns with a SEO audit. This is where we make sure to cover all pillars of SEO (primarily the first two). The results lf this audit will determine what your website’s health is.

Note: think of your website as someone who joins a personal trainer’s program. Before

Month 1: Audit and Technical SEO fixes

The first thing we do in any SEO campaign is to do a comprehensive audit of your website. Think of a patient arriving in the emergency room (ER). Before the ER doctors can do anything, they have to check some vital statistics.

Once this has been done, the ER doctors will perform triage (this is where they treat the most serious, sometimes life-threatening symptom first before moving on to the less serious issues).

In much the same way, your audit will reveal which factors are causing the most damage to your SEO. It might be a lack of content, it might be poor on-page SEO, it could be that your website is not indexed, and the list goes on.

These issues that are hurting your website SEO the most, will get first attention. This is where you rely on your SEO consultant to identify the most important issues, and to competently address those issues.

Months 2 & 3: Technical SEO fixes (continued) and Relevance fixes

During Month 2, we continue the work on the remaining items that showed up on your audit.

Month 4 onwards: Competitor Research, Planning Authority pillar

From Month 4 onwards, things will start to settle into a rhythm. This is when we start focusing on recurring tasks, like regular health checks and mini audits, content creation, adding internal links, improving on-page optimization, adding website pages, building citations, adding posts to your Google My Business profile, etc.


Why are Seo campaigns so expensive?

Simply put, a lot of work goes into keeping your site healthy across these 200 ranking factors.

A SEO campaign consists of time spent both researching and implementing. Competitor research will show what your competitors are doing with their websites, their content and their backlinking strategies.

More time is spent implementing certain changes.

Your SEO company also incurs costs on your behalf. Some of these are once-off costs (building citations, guest posts, copywriters), and some of these are monthly recurring costs. These costs are covered by your monthly retainer. The only exception is when you really want to ramp up content creation significantly.

Each month we subscribe to a number of tools that we use for your SEO campaign. To name just a few of these tools: 

  • Surfer SEO ($99pm)
  • Ahrefs ($99pm)
  • Serprobot ($20pm)
  • Screaming Frog ($175pa)
  • ($20pm)
  • Keywords Everywhere ($20pm)

When you work with a SEO company, you don’t have to subscribe to these tools, and we can split these subscriptions across multiple clients.

On top of these industry leading SEO software tools, you also get access to our library of premium plugins that we use on your website. These are plugins that help with SEO, image compression, website caching and speed optimization (annually these licenses cost us between R12 000 and R15 000, depending on the exchange rate. Again, our SEO clients benefit from these plugins without any additional expense.

When can I expect results from my SEO campaign?

This depends on what you measure. Before you receive that flood of new leads, you first have to improve rankings. Ons rankings have improved, your impressions will increase. Once impressions start increasing, you will start getting more clicks to your website. Each click is a website visitor. Once your website visits start increasing, you will see an uptick in the leads you get from your website.

Having said all that, your industry and your geographic area also play a role in the time to success.

When is my SEO campaign finished?

SEO is a lifestyle choice. Not a crash diet.

You don’t “SEO” for 4 weeks to get your business ready for the new financial year.

SEO is making the commitment that you are going to exercise. Every month. Every week.

Having said that, the 6-month mark is a good time to do a progress check. Is my website getting significantly more organic traffic? Is this organic traffic leading to more leads or more sales?

If you are not seeing a real difference in your business, it might be time to ask why you are not seeing the results you were hoping for.

The only reason to quit SEO is when you don’t see the business benefit.

As long as SEO brings in organic traffic that converts into leads and sales, you want to keep going. When you stop doing SEO, you have to remember that eventually your competitors will pass you on the way to the top, and then they will start taking away new customers from your business.

Wrapping up

SEO is a complex subject. And the internet doesn’t do a good job of simplifying it for business owners. Let me know if you have any questions, and I will be happy to answer them.


Father of 3. Enthusiastic reader of books. Moderately proficient braaier of meat.

Many business owners are stressed out about where their next client will come from. At Click Results, we have a 5 step process that turns their website into a salesman that never sleeps so that it attracts new clients, generate more sales and get their business growing again.

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