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Search Engine Optimisation: The Difference Between Magic and Method

Updated: May 19

Many people have the perception that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is mainly based on luck and magic and that it is not really predictable or measurable. Is SEO really an exact science and is its results quantifiable?

Yesterday, I visited another client who thought SEO was nothing more than some magic. After numerous conversations with various 'SEO experts', he was of the opinion that it was too complex to really predict or measure SEO results, given the many factors involved. Fortunately, I was able to quickly counter his objections. Although years ago I used to be somewhat skeptical about SEO myself, I am now well aware that many facets of SEO are indeed grounded in solid scientific principles.

There are - and we have - many best practices and techniques that, when applied correctly, can demonstrably improve a website's visibility in search engines. Think of the basics like technical SEO optimizations and creating so-called rich pages with valuable content within a particular knowledge domain.

Why don't many businesses see SEO results?

SEO is a specialized field and requires a huge amount of knowledge about Google's algorithm, strategic skills, technical skills, and SEO writing skills. If you don't master any of these aspects, you can invest a lot of time and/or money without ever reaping the benefits.

So often, I come across businesses that invest substantial amounts of money in SEO and hardly see any results after months or sometimes even longer. Despite the hired expertise, the effort simply doesn't put in the effort. The biggest mistake they usually make is the type of content they publish. After all, it is not about how much content you publish, but whether the content actually adds anything of value. 

The rest of the SEO optimization ground rules are really just hygiene factors. Not totally unimportant, but without regularly publishing articles or videos that comply with the E-E-A-T guideline, you cannot rank. The fallacy that many businesses make is that they can just outsource that content to a specialized SEO agency or create it themselves with a little upskilling.

Note: E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.

Who believes you can just outsource articles that have to comply with E-E-A-T to an SEO agency that in all likelihood puts a part-time student on it? In most cases, that will be a waste of money. That student - or other employee - does not have the content knowledge, and usually has no Experience, Expertise, Authority, or Trustworthiness within the knowledge domain.

How fast can you expect results from your SEO efforts?

You can, if you do everything the right way, rank in the top ten globally within 1 day on a keyword used more than 5,000 times. Regardless of the topic, site age, and your domain and page authority.

We have demonstrated this several times and one of the most recent examples is our article on Gentle Leadership which ranked at number 4 in search results within a day. Gentle Leadership had a search volume of 6600 per month in the US at the time of publishing.

Now, that doesn't always work with every keyword, but it is an absolute certainty that with enough and the right effort, you can rank for a number of high-volume keywords relevant to your business within 2 to 3 months.

If your or your SEO agency does not manage to do this, it is time to ask for help or evaluate your SEO agency. What I am saying here is that SEO agencies who say they cannot guarantee anything are completely talking out of their necks. SEO results can absolutely be guaranteed.

Can you always rank within every market segment?

YES! In fact, with enough and the right effort, you can always rank in the number 1 position on Google. The only question is whether you have the time, knowledge, and/or budget to make this happen.

Indeed, if my assertion is true that you can always rank at number 1 within Google, you may wonder why not all our articles on Become Damn Good rank at number 1. Firstly, my statement is true. But the second statement is also true. The reason why all our own articles don't always rank #1 or even in the top 10 on Google is that we simply don't have the time or knowledge to do so.

In fact, the most important rule of the game is that you have 'better' and more information to say than the articles that are currently in the top 10 in a given search. Indeed, in all simplicity, that is how it works.

We would love to beat every competitor in ranking, but some companies are so good at producing high-quality content that we simply cannot compete with them. Then take Google's ranking factors such as site age, domain and page authority, internal links, and external links into account, and things get really tricky.

Take Neil Patel as an example. The unrivaled SEO guru. Who has a whole team on every article and has been doing it for years. I write alone and can hardly compete with that. But if I do put the same effort into the same kind of article, there is a huge chance that Google will reward this and make my article rank almost equally with Neil Patel's.

Is SEO affordable for everyone?

In principle, SEO is affordable for everyone, as you decide how much time and financial resources you allocate for it. However, effective SEO can be a costly investment that is a step too far for many businesses. If you have no resources to invest in the future, SEO is probably not for you. You can then try doing some of it yourself but certainly don't expect too much of it at first.

A thorough keyword research and SEO strategy quickly requires an investment of between 2,000 and 4,000 Dollars. The result is then just a strategic document stating what needs to be done to rank.

If you then have articles written, this can be done for as little as 25 euros or for free via Chat GTP, for example. But forget about ranking within Google with this. You can also opt for an SEO agency to write articles for you, which will cost you between 400 and 800 Dollars per article. But as mentioned above, chances are slim that they can meet the E-E-A-T standard.

If you decide to have high-quality content created, you should soon think of articles costing more than 1,500 Dollars. For that amount, with sufficient writing experience, knowledge of SEO guidelines, and sufficient research, it is possible to meet the E-E-A-T guidelines, but 1 article a month won't get you there.

If you want to build sufficient domain authority in the eyes of Google, you should rather think of 2 articles per week, and then the costs quickly run up to 12,000 Dollars per month.

These costs are quite apart from graphical, technical, and functional adjustments that may be needed to out-rank the competitor.


SEO optimization is not some kind of magic. It is a proven method that always works if applied in the right way. It may come at a cost, though, which requires an investment that is too much for what the business can bear. But if the business can bear it, the investment is always worthwhile.

Question & Answer

What is the difference between the myths and methods of SEO?

Many people believe that SEO is mainly based on luck and is not predictable or measurable. However, with the right knowledge and application of best practices, a website's visibility in search engines can be demonstrably improved.

What does the E-E-A-T standard mean in SEO and why is it important?

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Reliability. It is a quality indicator that shows how valuable and reliable content is. Meeting this standard is crucial for achieving good rankings in search engines.

How fast can one expect results from SEO efforts?

If all aspects of SEO are applied correctly, it is possible to rank for certain keywords within a day. However, this depends on several factors. In most cases, with enough effort, one can rank for relevant keywords within 2-3 months.

Is it possible to rank in every market segment on Google?

Yes, with the right effort and strategy, it is possible to rank in every market segment. However, the time, knowledge, and budget required to reach the top can vary depending on competition and other factors.

What is the average cost of effective SEO?

The cost of SEO can vary widely. A thorough keyword research and strategy can cost between €2,000 and €4,000. The price of having articles written can range from 25 euros to more than 1,500 euros, depending on the quality and depth of the content.

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