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About Craig Bailey


UPDATE: This page is a little old – for full details of what I offer now, please check out my XEN company site.

Craig BaileyMost of my time is spent building, running and optimising web based businesses.

I provide search engine optimisation consulting & training to companies covering how to:

  • Understand who your target market is
  • Research what they need and are searching for
  • Tailor your offerings to meet those needs
  • Improve your site and pages to ‘speak’ to those needs
  • Analyse your competitors
  • Improve your discoverability and ranking in the search engines
  • Track visitor intent, site usage and conversion

Skill set

I cover the following technical areas:
Find and speak to your customers with a fully optimised siteMost of my time is spent building, running and optimising web based businesses.

  • Google Analytics, including goals, ecommerce, segments and custom reporting
  • Keyword research
  • On page search engine optimisation
  • Off page link building
  • Paid search traffic generation via Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter
  • Conversion optimisation, A/B and Multivariate testing
  • Integration with social media including Twitter, Facebook and blogs
  • Online store architecture
  • Membership program development
  • Email marketing, newsletters and auto-responders

I’m particularly useful to Microsoft focussed companies, because I have a long history of working with Microsoft products and a deep understanding of what they deliver. This allows me to understand the mindset of developers, managers and business owners (ie your customers) who are searching for Microsoft based offerings (ie your products and services). For further details specific to Microsoft focussed companies, please take a look at my XEN SEO site.

Approach

SEO and Google rankings are emotional terms these days. My approach is long term. It is completely ‘white hat’ and I only suggest ‘Google endorsed’ practices. I don’t offer quick wins, nor do I utilise any black hat techniques.

Format

The format of this consulting is up to you. I can either:

  • work on my own and simply inform you of the changes you need to make (this is ideal if you are a small company),
  • work with you on-site in a trusted advisor capacity, or
  • work closely with your team and train them up so they understand and manage the process (ideal for companies that have a number of developers)

Data centric

A full range of web development, search optimization and paid search servicesEverything I work on with you is based on data. We’ll carefully analyse your existing analytics, and then conduct thorough keyword research. We make single changes to pages and track the results. Everything is tested and measured. Decisions are based on results, not gut feel or flavour of the month trends.

The current SEO market has its fair share of bad apples who promise much and deliver little. Their approaches are usually short term, vague and overly simplistic. Whilst I agree that SEO is to some extent an ‘art’, it is imperative that the changes are based on hard data.

Pricing

I charge $195 + GST per hour with a 4 hour minimum (ie $780).
I charge a day rate of $1200 + GST.
I charge for email support, ad-hoc phone calls and travel time at the above rate.

I usually work with clients in an on-going monthly retainer format, which includes a day per week onsite coupled with some remote work. This costs $4000 + GST per month.

As a rough guide you should plan to spend between $6,000-$12,000 + GST with me, most likely over the course of three months.

All quoted prices are in AUD, but I can invoice you in your preferred currency.
GST is charged to Australian customers only (ie International customers do not incur GST).

Terms

I have 14 day terms. I accept payment by electronic transfer to my business account or via PayPal and credit card.

My services are provided via my company XEN Systems Pty Ltd.

There are no contracts in place.
You can terminate my services at any point, and simply pay me for the hours worked so far.

Results

Depending on what your needs are, results will vary. For example, whilst I try to improve your rankings, in general measuring rankings is very unreliable – simply because the results are largely personalized. But that said I do keep track of rankings for all your keywords (including long tail terms) using specialised software and provide regular reports. Here’s a few screenshots of ranking improvements for clients:

Improved rankings for a high traffic 2 word term Improved rankings

However, whilst rankings are good (and admittedly they do indicate useful trends) I prefer to look at analytics. Are we getting more traffic? Is the traffic more engaged? Are our conversions increasing? That sort of thing. Here’s an example of a company in the technology sector who hired me to increase traffic on a single word key term. You can see the daily traffic increase sharply after a few weeks of work in March (I’ve included analytics history for the past year to show it isn’t seasonal):Improved traffic

For another client, this time a furniture store in the USA I was initially contracted to optimize the site. Since most of their traffic was coming from Google AdWords at the time I analysed the traffic and discovered they were paying way too much per click in their advertising campaigns. Using a strategy of ad positioning I was able to guide them through reducing their average bid prices by more than 50% (without changing the daily budget). Here’s a graph of their bid price decreasing and the resulting traffic increase due to the changes:

Lower bid prices

Sometimes its the more mundane things that need attention – like increasing the number of pages that Google indexes – here’s the Google Webmaster Tools results for a company with a large online store (thousands of pages) in February this year:

Low number of indexed pages

And here’s the site results in May (3 months later) after we implemented some internal deep-linking strategies:

Much improved indexation of site pages

Depending on your industry, social networks may be a source of untapped potential (but you need to test this!). Here’s the results of implementing a Facebook Fan page for a site during the middle of last year and then engaging with the ‘fans’ on Facebook (and driving them to the site):Facebook users are engaged users

Notice that the traffic coming from Facebook is more engaged – they view more pages per visit than average, spend more time on site than average and have a lower bounce rate.

Confidentiality

Anything I do with your company is private. As much as it might benefit me, you won’t end up as a case study on this site or be pressured into putting a link to me in the footer of your site. Most of my business comes from word-of-mouth. At most I may ask you to recommend me on LinkedIn.

Availability

I am currently fully booked until the middle of next month.

At this stage I am only available for on-site work in Sydney, but will happily work remotely on other projects.

Free consultations?

Sorry, I don’t offer any free consultations or initial meetings. Instead, I suggest we have a quick 10 minute phone call. You’ll be able to tell within a few minutes whether I can be of any use to you, and likewise I’ll be able to tell whether I’m going to be able to help.

This might sound a little harsh, but the reality is I don’t want to waste my time or yours. After close to 20 years working for a variety of software companies I know first hand how much time gets wasted in meetings, travelling to meetings, preparing proposals, etc.

If you want me to come in and discuss your requirements, meet the team etc, I charge my hourly rate.

I don’t prepare proposals. I can give you a verbal indication of likely costs, based on my pricing above.

Reporting

Whilst I don’t prepare proposals, I do prepare documentation for you once I’ve been hired. You must have a clear map of where you are now (baseline) and where you are headed (required results) – I’ll document this for you. And provide regular updates on progress. All my times are tracked online and you have full access to my online portal of timesheets, invoices, documentation and support tickets.

A little bit about me

I’ve been involved in IT and software development for more than 20 years. I’ve worked as an engineer, developer, team leader, software manager, CTO, technical director and most recently as a business owner myself. I have a good understanding of both the technological and business sides of software development and consulting. Over the last 2 years I have focussed on cultivating specific online marketing skills including in-depth SEO experience, paid search (AdWords), community building, user behaviour analysis and conversion optimisation.

I’ve been awarded as a Microsoft MVP in 2007, 2008 and 2009. I’m a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer, Microsoft adExcellence accredited and Google Analytics Qualified Individual.

Microsoft adExcellence Accredited  Google Analytics Qualified Microsoft Certified Microsoft MVP (2007, 2008, 2009)

I’ve been involved in the Sydney developer community for a while, have organized developer conferences, and currently help co-ordinate the Sydney Business & Technology User Group.

Why you shouldn’t use me

I’m not a good fit for every business. For example, if you’re after a big name agency with account managers and glossy proposals then I’m not for you. Large agencies also have access to in-depth market research resources which I can’t offer.

However, if you don’t need the agency model and want to work closely with your SEO company, then there’s a number of benefits of hiring me.

Why you should use me

Here’s some of the reasons to engage me to help with your online strategy:

  • You know the person working on your project is experienced and motivated (no juniors, no outsourcing)
  • You want immediate access anytime to the person who is doing the work for you (no account managers in the way)
  • You want to work with the person onsite (I do both remote and onsite work)
  • You want to work with someone who will explain in simple terms what they are doing, and teach you how to do it also (no bamboozling jargon-speak)
  • You want to use someone who builds sites (like you are), who makes their money online (like you will) and acutely understands that search and paid marketing must be profitable (like you need)
  • You want someone who focuses on conversions (not just traffic)
  • You need someone who understands social networking and incorporates it into their sites
  • You want to work in a rapid, ‘agile’ manner where decisions are made quickly (based on data) and actioned immediately (no ponderous meetings and recommendation reports)
  • You don’t want to be locked into any contracts (and can cancel anytime)
  • You think glossy proposals are mostly a waste of time and instead want to get straight down to improving your site rankings, traffic and conversions.

Other stuff I do

I also do a lot of development, coding and CSS styling behind web sites with a particular focus on WordPress development, as well as provide hosting and numerous other day-to-day tasks required to run a web business. I mention this for two reasons:

  1. It means I understand what you and your team need to do to implement my recommendations, and thus everything I suggest is realistic and achievable
  2. If needed I can manage your developers to implement the changes, or if appropriate, perform the changes for you myself.

Getting started

The first step is to contact me. You can email me at craig@craigbailey.net or call me on 0413 489 388.

If calling from outside Australia use this number: +61 413 489 388.

(As a general guide to time-zone differences, if calling from the US please call me in the late afternoon or early evening your time. If calling from the UK or Europe, calling early morning your time is best.)