There are more SEO related articles online than grains of sand in the Sahara desert (and for a very good reason). Unfortunately, most are littered with jargon and hyperboles ultimately promising page 1 rankings within a month. We'll break it down for you in layman's terms so that the word "SEO" never gives you a migraine again and you'll understand why SEO doesn't happen over night.
What The Hell Is SEO?
Simply put, Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine's unpaid results. This is typically refered to as "organic" or "natural" results. Still not clear? Alright. When you search for anything via a search engine (such as Google's search engine), the results that pop up after the results with "AD" next to them, THOSE are organic results. Why? Because the results with "AD" written next to them are PAID advertisments.
What you used to search for the results, "Steak Melbourne" in this case, is known as a key-phrase (consisting of multiple keywords). What "rank" or position you place when someone searches for that particular keyword entirely depends on the factors addressed with SEO. Optimizing your online presence to rank particular keywords higher in search engine result pages (also known as SERPs).
We'll leave the topic of Black-hat versus White-hat SEO (bad versus good practices) for another day. But for now, all we'll say is ranking high on SERPs is the TimTams and milk. It's what you get for playing nice and doing a good job. You see, Search Engines have these algorithms or "calculators" whose only goal is to provide users with the most relevant answers or information based on the keyword they've provided. Google is pretty secretive about their ranking algorithm and how it works exactly, however, they release hints and guidelines from time to time such as this starter guide to point people in the right direction.
Ranking high in Google is the TimTams and milk. It's what you get for playing nice and doing a good job.
The points covered in that document are merely an outline of everything the Search Engine Algorithms consider. There is much more they use to recognize actual relevant content to a given keyword, but if they were to spill the beans, then the entire system would be open to exploitation and ultimately irrelevant and unauthentic content. Regardless, these search engines know what they're doing and they do it well, so you should not expect any shortcuts. If anyone tells you otherwise, run. Run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
Why Is It Notoriously Expensive?
Time. It just takes a lot of time to do. From a technical standpoint, the vast majority of effective SEO techniques are as difficult as tying your shoelaces; honestly. But its the planning, analysis, positioning, and execution that requires a keen eye for promising opportunities, patience, time and experience in the field to do it properly without enduring penalties.
SEO boils down to three things:
In the grand scheme of things, that's pretty much it. There's a lot more nitty gritty to it, a lot of which is unproven speculation, but essentially those three processes require the most effort. Why do these simple tasks take a long time to complete? Because competition is fierce, and wiggling your content to that first rank is a surgical experiment. Research shows that websites on the first search engine results page receive around 95% of web traffic. So unless you're confident you can get your content to that first page, the effort that ensues is practically a waste of time.
From writing quality articles that are keyword optimized, to networking with related authors and high ranking websites to publish articles, to using tools to investigate promising keywords all the way to analyzing competition and figuring out what they're lacking... On top of this, you must consider the time it takes for the algorithm to do it's thing and "crawl" through webpages, other competition and their SEO efforts, your location, the keywords you've chosen and how competitive they are etc. You are looking at anywhere from 3 to 12 months to get your page ranked on the first SERP and even longer if your keywords are excessively competitive.
And on top of that, in that time, to remain relevant, you need to remain consistent. Which means regularly publishing new and original content and generally having a persistent, authentic online presence. All of the above is what makes SEO relatively expensive, time consuming, and difficult to implement completely. That is what you are paying for.
A Snowball Too Big To Roll
At Set My Brand Up, we're all about making success affordable. We understand that small to medium sized businesses don't have the means to continously pay SEO bills month in and month out indefinetly. So what we do is get that big snowball rolling for you the first few months, getting all the dirty work out of the way. During this time, we'll teach you simple tasks you can do yourself to keep that ball rolling for the months to come. Every now and then you can get in touch for a bit of servicing or a campaign pivot!