With 15 years experience in the UK SEO industry, Benedict Sykes shares commonalities that UK business have regarding their SEO journey

Fictional example: Frank Electrics, Turn over £2m CEO Mr Franks

1. Pre 2010.

Before 2010. Mr Franks first hears about SEO and looks around for someone to do it.

Invariably finds a friend’s cousin’s brother. Result OK result, some success, bit disjointed and not really in sync with business needs. It is cheap and cheerful and is OK.

  • Can last several years.
  • Takes website to page 2 of Google.
  • Cost approx £5000.00 max per annum.

2. After a family friend or acquaintance

2010 – 2012 What next? Surely a professional must have more idea

Mr Franks employs the first SEO agency. Promises are a little vague but who really knows what SEO is? A small company with some really big promises will take Franks Electric to #1 for all keywords.

First problems as traffic falls.

Mr Franks is told that SEO takes time. Mr Franks see first inane blogs written on website and questions logic. Told he does not understand the black art of SEO.

Still no results by the beginning of the second year. Smaller competitors are doing better and appearing higher on Google’s First Page.

  • Cost approx £12,000 per annum.
  • Lasted 20 months.
  • Back on page 4 of Google.

3. New bigger and better SEO company

2013 – 2015 Old SEO company was too small for something as big as the internet!

Mr Franks chooses a larger company and has the first face to face meeting.

Meets shiny suited man and hears a lot of good words and promises. Is told what the old company did wrong and how they were jokers.

Mr Franks signs year contract as does not have an alternative.

Shinny suited salesman then tells Mr Franks that he doesn’t actually do the SEO he is just sales.

Project starts well with regular updates and meetings. After fourth month reports stop coming. Mr Franks speaks to an account manager who has now left the company.

Most of the budget now spent on PPC.

6 months go by and the website is actually in a worse position than three years ago SEO-wise.

Mr Franks complains and the website is updated with more blogs and now new redirects. Told that Google has made some updates and that old SEO won’t work.

If you buy more backlinks then that is the key to success. PPC is generating traffic but costing a fortune.

Mr Franks spends more and is convinced by the shiny suited salesman that SEO success is just around the corner.

More lies and videotapes and Mr Franks finally concedes defeat.

  • Cost approximately £24,000 per annum SEO.
  • PPC £14,000
  • Lasted 30 months.
  • Back up to page 3 of Google.

4. In house Digital Marketer (2015 – 2018)

If I can see what they are doing then they will be doing something!

Mr Franks’ solution is to hire a real person who can sit in his office. He advertises and interviews a person who knows all of the jargon and has worked for a top agency. All good. Salary £29,000 + pension + holiday, rining to £32,000 after one year.

Starts well with regular meetings on targets and traffic and what is required. Unfortunately, the new hire cannot write content so this will need to be outsourced.

All good, £5,000 extra for new content per annum.

The FIrst year passes with small improvements within Google, social media thrown into the mix. All good.

Also, a budget for new backlinks is required, so no more content, £5,000 for new backlinks instead. New Hire spends most of their time on Twitter writing moronic tweets and uploading nonsense to Instagram.

The new hire increases the traffic slightly but not conversion rates. Website is rising within Google and is now on page 2 for core keywords. Backlink buying is sent to India to increase the number of new backlinks.

Higher ranking in Google achieved. FIst mention of Moz DA and PA, Mr Franks little bemused.

Crash. Google update and site falls to page 5.

New Hire blames web design and convinces Mr Franks that a new website is in order. Hides penalty emails.

The new site is built and it is a disaster for SEO. What traffic remains is now lost. New Hire explains that he was more of a Social Media guru and SEO was something he sort of knew a bit.

Mr Franks fires New Hire.

5 . 2019

Mr Franks decides that he can do SEO himself and decides to find a consultant that can advise him. Telephones Vanilla Circus and starts the next part of his journey.