question?

how do you go about hiring an SEO specialist

this is how Google suggests you hire an seo

Questions you should be asking

To make my life (and maybe yours) easier I included my answers in here. They are by no means the “correct” ones.

Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?

Read my Case Studies

Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?

Yes. I aim to do nothing that seems suspicious or spammy, though I am sure in some people’s eyes this is all conjecture. MY view is if you try and ‘game the system’ eventually the system (ie. Google) learns and punishes you!

Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?

Yes, I offer Google Ads, and plenty of advice and ideas. For things like Social Media or Facebook Ads I partner with others as I am not a fan of becoming a generalist – ie. someone that is average at everything and good at nothing.

What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe?

This largely depends on two things: the nature of your current website, and your industry and its competitiveness. So, generally small and newer online presences are going to take longer, and yet the larger your budget the quicker that things can be achieved. The location, and number of competitors obvoiusly make it harder. As an example, ranking well for ‘garden services in Cornwall’ is going to be easier than ‘luxury hotel in London’.

How do you measure your success?

For me it’s about growing a business, so it’s normally revenue, but metrics I like to include are organic visitors, and conversions. I take interest in hundreds of other factors but I try keep it to 3-5 main measures.

What’s your experience in my industry?

I’d answer based on what yours is, but see some of my past and current clients here.

What’s your experience in my country/city?

As above

What’s your experience developing international sites?

Not much yet at all! But the process isn’t too difficult.

What are your most important SEO techniques?

Very strong technical SEO, very solid content strategy, creative ideas to help you leverage your content, and a healthy dose of patience.

How long have you been in business?

Essentially, since January 2015 when I began trying to rank my own business, but I’ve been in the digital workspace (from being the first employee at Yuppiechef days) since 2007.

How can I expect to communicate with you?

Whatever works for you. I find the most helpful tools are a project management platform like Trello, mails for when that does not work, and monthly reports that are a combination of a master spreadsheet and Google Data Studio reports. Again, generally less is more but we can ideally agree up front what you want to measure and why.

Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

We can talk about this, at times it’s a bit more information than you need but it’s completely possible. I’d obviously bill more for this extra time to pull this info but if that is a requirement it’s very possible.

Then, here are some useful resources they compiled related to the above:

  1. What to look for.
  2. The basics explained, if you want to go your own way.
  3. Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines
  4. ‘No-one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.’
  5. ‘Google recommends asking for an SEO audit as a first step before hiring potential SEO agencies and consultants (and includes key advice about “guaranteed” first-place rankings).’

Lastly, here are some super helpful notes from the “father of SEO” – Bruce Clay.

Questions the SEO person should be asking you

See if the SEO is interested in you and your business. If they’re not interested, find someone who is. Your SEO should ask questions such as:

  • What makes your business or service unique and valuable to customers?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How does your business make money, and how can search results help?
  • What other advertising channels are you using?
  • Who are your competitors?

LEarn more about me, and my journey with seo

I started my career at Yuppiechef, a modern e-commerce giant in South Africa that taught me the digital ropes. It was there that I gained a great feel for a ‘whole business’ as I played more than just one role.

Marketing, writing, editing, photography, packing boxes, testing samples products, dealing with both suppliers and customers and all while running two of their other businesses – yes, Yuppiechef used to own quite a few other fledgling e-commerce startups, all of which were dwarfed when it became so successful. My three main highlights were: having the idea for the annual Easter Egg competition, ransoming the Woolworths Lovebirds Campaign url, but mostly: subconsciously becoming very entrepreneurial through the company’s culture. It all paved the way for future digital success.

Fast forward a few years and after teaching and travelling and volunteering at a few NGO’s (I finally had a chance to have a gap year or three) I found myself at a crossroads and needed to decide between working for someone or starting my own thing. Naturally, that entrepreneurial spirit in me had endured and I created my first company: Baithe Photography. Thinking I could have a randomly made up word ‘Baithe’ and make it so successful it would become a verb-like word (like Google or Hoover) I struck out into a low-risk but ripe-for-the-picking industry: real estate photography.

So, obviously, I built my own website, did four shoots for free, and launched a website with a basic portfolio. Visiting real estate agents was next, and phoning or mailing some too – the experience put me off them for life, no offence. So, I did the next logical thing: started Google Ads and an SEO-optimised website. It wasn’t long before I got some leads, and the long and short of it is that after 12-18 months I’d ranked #1 for about 5-10 of the most important industry keywords in the Western Cape. A few months later and I was doing the same across the country, which was why I branched out into outsourcing work to a Jo’burg resident. Naturally, as things turn out – and totally unintentionally – I ended up being more of a digital expert than a photographic one. And theDA was born.

The above is all a platform though for what came next, or simultaneous to my photography success – in ranking for my industry, word got out through my network and friends, and random acquaintances of friends started getting in touch for help with their websites and businesses. The rest, as they say, is history and I’ve probably helped close to 100 companies, big and small to “be seen online”. Some of them it was just a few hours help, some I helped for free (South Africa has so many NGO’s), but in the main it has been SME’s. Typically companies with 5-50 staff, that have perhaps one marketing person, but generally outsource their marketing and IT work to freelancers.

Today, I find most joy focusing on as few clients as possible and so giving as much time as possible to them so they can succeed. For new clients with less of an online presence, I typically need a year to deliver good results, and for established online companies, sometimes 4-6 months is all you need. I like to think I am part of any team I “join” and find most success when a project operates that way – with my feedback and input taken to heart and implemented as soon as possible to deliver results. I’ve designed my whole ‘SEO specialist consultant’ offering to work just like that – like an impact player on a rugby team, or a medical second opinion – I aim to deliver big impact in a small time frame.

Ideally, I’d give you and your brand 5-10 hours of my time a month, and through a strong strategy, diligently implemented, help you achieve lasting results. Your benefit? You get all my knowledge, skills, expertise, and advice at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone.

see some of the things I get involved in

on a day-to-day basis

web development

Building a website, migrating one, backing it up, ensuring it is SSL enabled, uses a CDN and more. These types of things help your website to be performant in an age where Google insists that they are.

SEO services

Google admits that there are over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm. I try and focus on the most important whilst not ignoring the lesser ones.

tools

It’s not possible to do much on a computer without the right tools, and we need many of them! I love being transparent, so read here to see what I have in my digital “toolbox”.

Advertising

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Remarketing on the GDN, and so much more. Although I specialise solely in Google Ads (coupled with SEO) it is vital I have some grasp of (and way of measuring) the above methods of advertising.

Platforms

Much like the tools in the toolbox, there are various platforms, like Google Ads or Analytics, that I use to get the work done. Maybe it is a case of choice wording or semantics but I see these more as the “battlefield”, and the tools as the “weapons”.

Marketing

SEO sits within a bigger function, and that is marketing. To do SEO correctly a “digital architect” would need to know what is happening with sales, marketing, advertising and their respective goals.

so why choose me over anyone else?

I don’t make you sign a contract, so at any point you can stop. I have had some clients on a monthly retainer for almost three years now, and I still find ways to deliver value to them. The choice should be yours as to when to start and stop.

I specialise in: seo audits, consulting, advice on the latest trends, creative content strategy. If you’re looking for those things, I aim to be an expert in them.

I have worked with and continue to work with all size businesses, from a diversity of industries.

I’ve done work “in” seven countries to date: South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Uganda, Brazil, and South Korea.

I will give you clear, actionable deliverables and explain why you should do them.

I try and keep a small client base so that I can focus and deliver quality over quantity. I am very aware there are a lot of these businesses that promise they offer everything (SEO, Ads, Social media, strategy, content, app design, web design etc) and they are really just middle men outsourcing everything and delivering poor service, and slowly. I aim for my work to be lightning fast, and my mind to be as smart as a whip. Which is why…

I try to spend ~3 hours a day learning – ideally from 9-12, post-caffeine high, and pre-lunch sleepiness – so that I am at the top of the SEO game. You can learn just where I get all my information from by seeing my various sources scattered across my blog posts.

I am essentially an in-house SEO employee – but one for which you will only pay a fraction of the cost.

The Year I ventured into SEO & PPC

all time clients i have helped

Active Clients i'm working on

Percent of my day I spend learning, and upskilling