SEO in South Africa

SEO in South Africa

Exactly how does SEO work? When optimising my site, what should I look out for? What is the cost of SEO in South Africa? Can you tell me what I can expect from an SEO company? Does search engine optimisation really pay off? It’s common for small businesses to ask these questions when they’re trying to rank higher on Google.

Often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” search results, search engine optimisation (SEO) improves the visibility of a website in search engine results. Search engine users are more likely to visit a site that appears earlier (or higher ranking) and more frequently in the search results list.

SEO is a very important part of marketing strategy. If you don’t optimise your website properly, you won’t rank high enough in the search engines. And even if you do rank well, you might not see the traffic you expected.

Google is the most trustworthy information source nowadays, meaning your website and business can benefit significantly from SEO in South Africa. We have compiled this SEO guide to help you improve your small business website’s search engine optimisation performance in South Africa. An SEO campaign is a way to optimise your website and its content to meet the search engines’ algorithmic requirements.

AI will dominate the future of marketing and advertising as they learn to understand users better than humans, enabling them to provide a better user experience for site visitors. It’s no different with SEO. Google’s recent core update, “Helpful Content Update”, uses artificial intelligence to identify original and valuable content to provide searchers with a better search experience.

A small business guide to SEO in South Africa

If you own a small business in South Africa, you know how valuable Google can be. However, chances are your website receives no traffic because you’re doing the same mistake that other business owners make by thinking a beautiful website design will have impact without marketing.

In this small business’s guide to SEO in South Africa, we’ll explain how it all works. The article provides tips on writing and optimising your website based on some key SEO aspects. Later on we also look at SEO prices and more.

What can you do to make your website rank better?

As a business owner, you want to invest in a website that makes your business look professional, but also helps you get more customers. You can make your website work for your business in several ways. You can use SEO as one of your most effective digital marketing strategies.

By optimising your website for search engines, customers who search for your services online can discover your website and contact you if they find it helpful. The conversion rate of SEO traffic is higher than that of other traffic sources, according to research.

Prepare your website for indexing and usability

If search engines can’t crawl and index your website, writing quality content doesn’t matter. To make sure search engines find your website easy to navigate with no technical issues, it is imperative you prepare your website before submitting your sitemap.

  • Optimise your website to load fasterThe performance and UX of your website will improve as well as its SEO when your page loading speed is reduced. If you want to reduce the loading time of your website, there are a number of ways you can do it. You can optimise images, defer script loading, and minify your files using WordPress SEO plugins in addition to leveraging a CDN and caching your pages.
  • Submit sitemap to Google Search Console — Your sitemap helps search engines discover your site. Google’s Search Console also allows you to add a sitemap to improve your site’s indexing. Your sitemap should only be submitted once in the search console (per search engine). As they learn more about your site, they will keep re-crawling it on a schedule they deem appropriate. Ensure your robots file references your sitemap as well.
  • Integrate analytics softwareFor businesses with websites or online presences, web analytics are a powerful tool. It is possible to increase sales, clicks, and conversions on your website by monitoring how potential customers interact with it online.

Provide high-quality content that’s relevant to your ideal audience

You cannot substitute high-quality content for quality, authoritative content when it comes to SEO marketing. You can improve your site’s authority and relevance by creating quality content specifically for your intended audience.

Write better web content and establish yourself as an authority on the topic. The following tips will help you write and optimise your content for search engines.

  • Craft search engine-friendly titles — As a rule, search engine friendly titles are between 35 and 55 characters long, and are called meta title tags. Also, it’s recommended to start your title with your target keyword. The title of this article includes the target keyword at the beginning, and it is 49 characters long; “SEO in South Africa: A Guide for Small Businesses”.
  • Write powerful blog intros — It’s your introduction that sells the read. Without a compelling introduction, readers won’t scroll down. Your content takes a lot of time and effort to create. A well-written introduction highlighting essential findings, telling readers what to expect and explaining the benefits ensures that your efforts get the attention they deserve.
  • Create content that is useful to humans — SEO rankings are heavily influenced by content, not the URL, title, or heading of a page. In the opening and closing paragraphs, you should repeat your keyword phrase once or twice, while the remainder of the page should include two to four repetitions. Establish yourself as an authority. Include links to relevant sources and additional information on both your own website, as well as external websites that may be helpful. 
  • Optimise your content — To emphasise these keyword phrases, use bold, italics, heading tags (especially an H1), and other emphasis tags—but don’t go overboard. The language and style you use should still sound natural. SEO should never take precedence over high-quality writing. Rather than writing for search engines, the most effective pages are written for users.
  • Translate your content for search engines with metadata — Ensure that your content is optimised so that it is also understandable to search engines. You can boost your SEO efforts by using metadata since it’s written in the language of the search engines. Search engines benefit from this information because it helps them to better understand the content and web pages on your site. Additionally, it improves the relevance of search results.

Regularly audit your content and update it

You can’t earn higher rankings just by writing and publishing content. Regular updates to existing content are a positive indicator of a website’s relevance and informativeness. A blog is an excellent way for getting external links, keeping your website’s content fresh, and linking between relevant blogs and services pages. While updating your content, you can follow these steps.

  • Conduct a content audit first — this will help you identify content that you published a year ago that ranks for several terms, but is not ranking on the first page like you want it to. It is also helpful to audit a website’s content to identify opportunities for new content that could link to existing content.
    • Find quick wins
    • Find irrelevant content
    • Uncover opportunities for new content
  • Identify and fix technical SEO issues — Optimising your content for SEO is not enough. The server and website on which your site is hosted also need to be optimised to facilitate search engine spider indexing. In this context, technical search engine optimization (SEO) audits and strategies can be helpful. Technical SEO audits and strategies ensure that your website is navigable and free of technical difficulties that can prevent it from being ranked through search engines.

How to work your WordPress website SEO like an expert SEO in South Africa?

Take the example of owning a cleaning company in Johannesburg. You would probably want your WordPress website to appear at the top of the search results if someone searched “Cleaning companies near Johannesburg” on Google, right?

You can increase your chances of getting customers (whether they are looking online or in-store) by displaying your site to people looking for cleaning services in Johannesburg.

Spending some time on search engine optimisation can allow you to have your website appear at the top of a search engine results page (SERP).

WordPress is said to be SEO-friendly by experts. In fact, this is the reason why so many people choose WordPress for their blogs and websites.

In addition to WordPress’s code following SEO best practices, you also need to focus on other SEO factors if you wish to maximise your search engine optimisation. In the following section, you will learn how to increase your website traffic.

Produce high-quality content consistently

  • Create an SEO content strategy — It can be difficult to rank well in search results. The idea of creating content centred around high-traffic keywords might seem enticing, but it might not help you reach your business goals. For maximum marketing success, develop an SEO strategy that addresses your business’s specific needs, such as increasing lead generation.
  • Write high-quality blog posts — Successful SEO campaigns are driven by content. There is more to writing SEO content than just creativity. Creating useful content that is targeted at a specific audience requires the expertise of a professional SEO writer. It is crucial to remember business goals and the needs of the target audience when writing content for SEO. You won’t get good results from high-quality content that doesn’t match the user’s needs. It is for this reason that SEO content strategy is so important.
  • Optimise and publish your content — It doesn’t matter how engaging your content is or how much effort you put into it if search engines can’t find it. To ensure that your content is properly optimised, you can take several steps before you hit the publish button. It has been discussed a million times how to optimise your content including adding links and using keywords, but these steps will help you create high-quality content that is SEO-friendly. You will certainly benefit from content optimization if you devote some time to it.

Build external links

  • Contribute content to relevant websites — Natural backlinks can be obtained by guest posting. Backlinks are also important ranking factors for search engines. You can generate referral traffic to your own website by writing guest posts on other sites. Your audience expands when you post a guest post.
  • Ask relevant websites for links — Outreach is another effective way to get natural backlinks. Reaching out to other websites to ask them to link to your site is known as outreach. Contacting other companies is most commonly done through email. Linking to your website can be managed better with outreach. Sharing your awesome content with other industry professionals (and potentially increasing your audience size) is a better option than waiting for people to find it.
  • Outsource backlinks acquisition — Outsourcing is the fastest and easiest way to obtain high quality backlinks. Getting backlinks is easier for SEO agencies in South Africa because they have relationships with many site owners. The cost of getting backlinks is actually affordable, given the time it takes to acquire them from relevant sites compared to when you do it yourself.

Three things you need to know about outsourcing your SEO in South Africa

There’s no better way to climb search rankings than handing over your website optimisation to an SEO expert. Nevertheless, you should be aware of what to expect when you outsource your website’s optimisation. The following section of our guide to SEO in South Africa focuses on the top 10 SEO companies in South Africa right now. It also focuses on the cost of SEO and SEO content writing services.

The top 10 SEO agencies in South Africa

In no particular order, here are the top 10 SEO companies in South Africa. South Africa’s SEO industry is highly competitive. The fact that these companies rank first page for the most authoritative SEO keywords is one of the many reasons why we include them below.

It seems impossible that they would not do the same thing in your market if they can do it in their own industry? Our top 10 SEO agencies are highly recommended if you have a budget for SEO.

  • Mo Agency
  • SEOPros
  • SEO Studio
  • WebSEO
  • Rugby Digital
  • Blue Cabin SEO
  • BetterSEO
  • Casson Media
  • Rodgerwilco
  • Brand Seed

SEO cost in South Africa

Top SEO agencies in South Africa aren’t affordable for everyone due to their high prices. A monthly SEO package that costs nearly R30 000, and hourly SEO rates that range between R550 and R1500, tells you that these services are best suited for companies with a decent income.

Here are the Top 10 South African web design companies that provide affordable SEO services

  • Web Partner — Cape Town
  • The Weblab — Durban
  • Company Web Design — Fully remote
  • The Web Shack — Johannesburg
  • The Agency — Cape Town
  • Woww — Cape Town
  • Saglotech — Johannesburg
  • Advertising Solutions — Boskburg
  • Design My Web — Gqeberha
  • New Perspective Studio — East London

Why hiring a professional makes more sense than doing your own SEO?

It is 99% unlikely that you will have time for SEO as a business owner with so much already on your plate. Most small business owners have trouble writing a 600-word blog post.

What should you do instead? Wouldn’t it be better to hire an SEO company? There is, however, an insane price tag for SEO packages.

You are right, but if you optimise your website by yourself, it might take longer to get the results if you do even get them. However, here are three reasons why hiring a professional SEO in South Africa is better than doing it yourself.

Time saving and quicker results

Most business owners and managers don’t have time to devote to SEO, especially for such a time-consuming strategy. Research, optimization, and monitoring are all part of SEO’s continuous cycle. You can free up your time by outsourcing SEO to a company, allowing you to concentrate on other tasks for your business.

They have experience in your niche

The best SEO agencies know what strategies work for many different types of clients and industries. Their experience spanning a variety of business landscapes means they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to determining what will get results.

What are the benefits of hiring an SEO agency over doing it yourself? You know more about your business than anyone else, right? An agency will be familiar with dozens of brands in your niche, just like yours. It’s likely they’ve helped other companies rise to the top of page one of search engine results. It is possible for them to do it again for you. Their strategies are fully customised to meet your expectations.

A professional SEO in South Africa has more resources than you

The teams of agencies work together to develop your SEO strategy and implement it at the same time. A company’s SEO professionals, website technicians, and content writers provide them with the resources and team to make seamless changes. The constant work they do on your website allows for faster updates and any urgent changes to be made immediately.

The SEO industry is constantly evolving. Keeping up with trends and algorithm changes is one of the most critical aspects of SEO. Strategies that worked last month may not work today. Research and trend watching are key activities that SEO agencies devote the time to that many companies do not have.

What should you do if SEO costs in South Africa are too high for your budget?

SEO services aren’t affordable for every business, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s still possible to explore options that will help your website increase revenue so you can finally afford a more reputable agency to handle your SEO.

Outsource your content writing

Creating your own content in-house is time-consuming and expensive, and not everyone has the resources or time to do so. Outsourcing is one of the most cost-effective ways to produce content. An employee who writes full-time for your company would cost you tens of thousands of rands per year.

Even though outsourcing has some disadvantages, the advantages outweigh them. You can achieve your business goals more effectively if you hire a writer or use a content writing agency to produce high-quality content.

There are certain advantages to having a full-time writer on your marketing team. The downside is that you are stuck with this writer and cannot adapt to your changing content requirements over time.

When you want to produce more content, outsourcing is a much more flexible option. You can outsource to a different writer if you feel the quality has declined or if you want a different tone.

Take advantage of monthly billed website design services

Search engine content writers produce quality content that is optimised for search engines. You can therefore optimise parts of your content for search engines by investing in a monthly website design service.

Most tasks like adding metadata are handled by SEO plugins, so there’s not a lot of work here. You can ask your website design company to optimise and publish four articles per month from your SEO content writer if your web design package allocates you two hours each month.

In South Africa, more than 90% of small business websites don’t update their websites regularly, so you can quickly climb up the search rankings. Your efforts will be noticed quickly by search engines like Google, which will view you as an industry authority when you implement this strategy.

Create a Google My Business listing (optional)

Businesses and organisations can manage their online presence through Google My Business, which allows them to manage their online presence across Google Maps and Google Search. Local businesses can use Google My Business to increase their visibility for relevant local searches.

A great deal of value can be gained from Google Business, also known as GMB, or simply Google Business on Google.

You will be able to attract more prospective customers through Google My Business, get listed in Google Maps, improve your local SEO (search engine optimization), and increase conversions.

Repurpose your blogs for social media

You don’t need to spend hours creating new content – instead, use what you already have. As per the 80/20 rule of content marketing, we should spend 20% of our time creating new content and 80% promoting it. It is possible to keep your social media pages active and consistent by repurposing old blog posts.

With the help of your SEO content writer, you can leverage your well-performing blog content across multiple channels. Your small business’s best content can be made more effective by reformatting it and placing it thoughtfully on social media.

Bonus: 10 Free SEO tools for DIY SEO

It can be a very rewarding learning experience to do your own SEO in South Africa. You can learn more about SEO by optimising your own website, which will be useful when you decide to hire an expert. We’ve sourced 10 FREE SEO tools to make your search engine optimisation learning journey even more enjoyable. These tools provide everything you need to make most SEO tasks easy to complete, from keyword research to page speed optimisation.

Google Analytics

You can monitor the overall performance of your website using Google Analytics for free. Using the GA tracking tag, you can track the number of website visitors that visit your website. A key part of SEO is monitoring performance to make sure your efforts are working.

Google Search Console

If you want to find out what Google thinks about your website, you need to use Google Search Console. In addition to discovering technical SEO issues with your site, you can submit your sitemap for indexing, make sure your mobile site is usable, and more with this free tool.

PageSpeed Insights

A free SEO tool from Google, PageSpeed Insights helps you discover issues with the speed of your website. Understanding why your website loads so slowly can be helpful in improving your rankability. Page load time plays a small role in SEO, so knowing why your website loads so slowly can be very helpful.

Google Keyword Planner 

You can find new keyword ideas with the help of Google Keyword Planner. Check out the forecast for your keywords, the monthly search volume, or find keywords you’ve never thought of. Whenever you are trying to decide which keywords to use for blog content or landing pages, this tool can be helpful.

Google Trends

Your keyword research can also be assisted by Google Trends. To find out how popular a keyword has been recently, type it into the search bar. Making sure your content doesn’t cover outdated topics helps you avoid writing outdated content.


You can learn a site’s Page Authority, Domain Authority, and Spam Score using MozBar, a free Chrome extension you can use after creating an account. To get a good ranking, you may need to build a number of quality backlinks, which you can see from the competition. Additionally, MozBar provides additional tools for analyzing on-page SEO and assessing the usefulness of backlinks from a particular page.


There are several free tools available on Ahrefs for small businesses on a budget, as well as paid plans starting at $99/month. Below is a list of some of these tools:

Free Keyword Generator

Backlink Checker

Keyword Difficulty Checker

Website Authority Checker

SERP Checker

Bing Webmaster Tools

The search engine Bing also has its own webmaster tools, as we mentioned five of Google’s most popular webmaster tools. Even though Google is widely known as the world’s most popular search engine, it’s still crucial that your website ranks well on other search engines. With Bing’s tools, you can research keywords, monitor backlinks, generate an SEO report, and more.


What questions do people ask about certain topics? Are they especially relevant to your business? You can insert a keyword into AnswerThePublic and find out what people are talking about or asking about that keyword. Finding relevant FAQs for the bottom of blogs or landing pages is an excellent way to generate new blog topics for your business.


This tool suggests keywords based on your URL or target keyword. Ubersuggest is free and can be found online. With a free account, you can perform three searches per day, and anything beyond that requires a paid subscription. Your next blog post can be based on Ubersuggest’s keyword ideas to generate product ideas, angles to capture more organic traffic, and more.

A brief overview of SEO

“SEO” stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of optimising websites to improve their ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). These days, Google is the primary driver of web traffic. Because of this, having a top-ranking website is critical to online business success.

The goal of SEO is to attract visitors to a website who ultimately convert into customers. Optimising a website’s content and design is only part of the equation. In addition to these factors, you need to focus on building links back to your site. Links allow people to discover your site, increasing its visibility and authority.

There are two main types of SEO: Onsite SEO and Offsite SEO. Both play a role in getting your website noticed by search engines, but each serves different purposes.

Onsite SEO focuses on optimising your individual page content. This includes things like keywords, titles, headers, and meta descriptions. If your page isn’t optimised properly, search engines won’t know what your page is about. As a result, they won’t send any traffic to your site.

Offsite SEO focuses on building relationships with other sites. You build links to your own site by submitting articles to blogs, guest posting, and linking out to relevant sites.

If you’re looking for a way to drive consistent targeted traffic to your site, SEO should be at the top of your list. There are many tools and techniques you can use to optimise your site, and we’ll cover them in detail throughout the course of this guide.

Bonus 2: Top 10 blogs that’ll make you an SEO expert in South Africa

Google Search Central Blog

In 2002, Google launched its official blog. You can get the latest news, updates, and exclusive reports from Google. It provides tips and techniques to boost the organic ranking of your website while you’re there.

Search Engine Journal

There’s a helpful mix of SEO and online marketing news, guides, and how-tos at Search Engine Journal, which is geared both toward beginners and business owners who’re just getting started with SEO and more advanced topics for digital marketers.

Yoast Blog

With Yoast, you can easily optimise your WordPress pages for search engines if you have a WordPress site. They also share helpful information about Content and Technical SEO, analytics, e-commerce, and WordPress. Although Yoast offers useful information to everyone, it’s especially tailored to beginners and those who lack a strong SEO background.


A large part of their blog is dedicated to promoting marketing solutions, increasing sales, and ensuring customers’ success. For both beginners and advanced SEO professionals, their blog is a reliable source for articles, checklists, cheat sheets, and more.

Moz Blog

A must-read for anyone interested in online marketing, Moz Blog is a great source for information about SEO and other aspects of online marketing. Though they do feature news on their blog, they tend to focus more on how-to’s and resources, such as cheat sheets on local SEO.


QuickSprout’s blog focuses on ways websites can increase traffic. Readers can take actionable insights from the posts by reading in depth research and examples. Many of the blog posts focus on tips and techniques that can be used to improve SEO, although the blog is broader than just SEO.


For general education and tips on various SEO issues, website owners can visit the Brightedge SEO blog. As well as covering search engine updates, they also discuss topics like guest posting and SEO abroad. Their site offers a variety of SEO tips as well as up-to-date information.

SEMrush Blog

The SEMrush Blog offers valuable information and the latest news in online marketing, making it one of the most popular blogs among them. Most bloggers write about SEO, content marketing, and PPC advertising. Every day, experienced people provide you with useful tips and guidance.

Search Engine Roundtable

Since Barry Schwartz created Search Engine Roundtable as a notebook, it has helped website owners with SEO. The website contains daily updates on news, events, strategies, trends, and commentary. Social media discussions are also made easier for webmasters using this tool.

Search Engine Watch

A leading blog in this niche, Search Engine Watch was founded in 1997. It has a steady publication schedule, with authors posting one or even several posts every day. Search engines aren’t the only topics you’ll find publications about; social media and content marketing are also covered.

FAQs about SEO in South Africa

How long does SEO in South Africa really take?

In short, it depends, as it is the answer to many SEO questions. You can no longer launch a website, optimise your title tags, and rank within a few weeks. The results of competitive search queries can’t be achieved overnight when a website is launched. As Google ranks relevant sites that have built authority over time, a website takes time to perform organically.

In general, you should expect to see results in about six months to a year. However, this will vary based on your budgets, competition, and what other companies in the same field are doing.

In some cases, ranking for a local keyword can take just a few months, while ranking a newly-built website for the term “laptops” could take years.

John Mueller, Google’s senior vice president of product management, said it could take up to a year for them to determine where a newly created site should rank. He also said fluctuations are expected.

Is SEO necessary for my business?

Investing in SEO is a smart idea for your business. The use of search engine optimization makes it possible to increase traffic without having to pay for each and every click. In PPC advertising, you’re charged for each click that leads to your website.

Fortunately, organic search engine traffic is essentially free (at least in terms of cost-per-click). The search engine results page ranking of a website takes resources and skills.

Your website will benefit from a stream of traffic if you rank it high in the search engines without being charged for clicks. This traffic will continue even if your ads are turned off.

What about PPC? Should I do it as well?

PPC can enhance relevant traffic and complement your SEO efforts. In general, a good agency will recommend PPC on a case-by-case basis based on the type of website, industry, and competitiveness of the keywords.

Once I’ve achieved good rankings, why should I continue SEO?

The first step is achieving rankings, but the second is to keep them. Your rankings may fluctuate from day to day due to the constantly evolving algorithms of the search engines. To keep your URL ranking in the top positions, it takes constant research, updates, and testing. After you have achieved rankings, you will lose those rankings fairly quickly if you discontinue SEO.

Isn’t it possible to buy links?

SEO includes link building, but purchasing links or linking to spammy websites or ‘bad neighbourhoods’ can hurt your rankings instead. Links like these are constantly being searched for by search engines. Essentially, Penguin updates aim primarily to penalise sites that obtain links unnaturally, purchase links, or have links from spam sites. Losing traffic as a result of a link penalty is not an easy process.

Is SEO guaranteed to improve my rankings?

Beware of companies that claim to guarantee something they cannot control. Due to search engines’ constantly evolving nature, it is impossible to predict a site’s ranking with 100% accuracy, and guaranteeing rankings would be unethical. It is also important to be cautious of companies who claim to have a special relationship with Google or who claim to be able to ‘priority submit’ to Google to guarantee a top ranking. A company that makes such claims is warned by Google itself against making false claims.

Would you be able to rank me for general terms such as ‘Painters’?

As a result of the time and resources it would take to rank for a broad term, general terms are highly competitive. It is also important to avoid broad terms due to relevancy concerns. Painters in Johannesburg probably don’t care too much about traffic from Cape Town. Choosing terms that relate to your business’ location is more cost-effective and pragmatic.

Most searches are directed to which search engines?

With approximately 67% of total searches, Google obtains the majority of search traffic. With roughly 17%, Bing is second, followed by Yahoo with about 12%, and the remaining Search Engines total about 4%.

What is the frequency of search engine algorithm or search equation updates?

According to Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Web Spam, more than 500 updates are made every year, according to the tech behind the search engines. Search engines are constantly evolving and changing, so it’s important to stay on top of the changes, keep updating our strategies, and only use ethical, sustainable strategies.

Get started

Ready? Tell us about your project.

This way we’ll be able to assist you in the best way possible.