Whether you are setting up an online store or are simply looking to get the ball rolling on an e-commerce website, it is important to choose a payment gateway that will best suit your needs. The features are an important aspect to look at, as they can improve the user experience and customer journey. A positive customer journey will ensure that you have return customers and improved brand loyalty.

Another important consideration for any payment gateways in South Africa is the safety of transactions. After all, you will be dealing with people’s hard-earned money during these transactions. You will need to perform a payment gateways comparison in order to find one that will best suit your needs.

PayU

PayU is one of the largest and most robust payment gateways worldwide. It is also one of the most-used payment gateways in South Africa, largely due to its ease-of-use and smooth functionality. It also offers the largest array of payment methods in the country.

The enterprise system is comprehensive and offers transaction queues for businesses that might need to manage a large number of transactions at once. The PayU wallet allows people to pay directly form their wallet, rather than needing to enter their credit or debit card details every time. It is an ideal choice for any sized industry and PayU Easy does not require a merchant account.

Paygate

Paygate is a popular South African payment gateway and has been in operation since 1996. It offers a variety of payment gateway options for Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club, and American Express.

There is also a functionality known as Payweb, which can add a payment option to your website, done via a transferal to their payment page. Paygate also offers unique features which allow you to host the payment page on your own site using unique integration options as well as the ability to allow customers to pay any bill online. It is a comprehensive tool but does require a merchant account to use.

Wirecard

Wirecard is a payment gateway that allows customers to have only one point of contact for all of their payment and collection needs. It offers a variety of payment solutions, including credit card, debit card, EFT, as well as online, recurring and call centre payments.

Some of the features of this payment gateway include the ability to process payments across a variety of African countries, assistance with PCI compliance, as well as in-depth reporting. You will need a merchant account for this but Wirecard provides all the help you will need for setting this up. The range of payment methods is extensive, and there is no setup fee or fee for any refunds you might have to perform.

Peach Payments

Peach Payments is a recent payment gateway in South Africa and it is rising in popularity due to its ease-of-use and developer-first approach. Users can also complete their purchases without having to leave your checkout page, making for positive user experiences.

You will need a merchant account to sue Peach Payments but this can easily be arranged with their help. The platform allows clients to process payments across the globe as well as store credit card details safely and securely in a vault. They are PCU compliant and can help your business to reach this same requirement. You are also able to process payments without a website.

PayFast

PayFast is a great solution for e-commerce startups and can even be used by medium-sized businesses who need a simple and easy way to process payments. One of the major benefits is that it does not require an internet merchant account to be setup.

Once the payment gateway has been set up, you will be able to start receiving and processing payments. It also has an impressive app and platform integration tools. There are no setup fees, which makes it an affordable option for smaller businesses. Visa and Mastercard are both accepted, as well as other major international brands. There are also several checks in place to ensure transaction safety for both consumers and businesses.

Final thoughts

Choosing a payment gateway can be difficult, especially with so many on the market to choose form. You will need to consider how efficient and easy the gateway is to use, as well as how secure it is for both your business and your consumers. However, in today’s technological world, most offer highly secure transactions.

You can choose from newer options such as Wirecard (previously MyGate) and Peach Payments, or opt for more established brands such as PayU and Paygate. Whatever you choose, the payment gateway should provide you with an easy-to-implement software package and the ability to accept a multitude of card types.

Before trying to answer the ‘how long does it take’ question, it is necessary to understand that the last few years SEO has changed. It is still an important component of digital marketing and still works but it is no longer a matter of publishing content and generating links.

In the past SEO was about doing good keyword research to identify the keywords that are important for your business, creating pages targeting those keywords and generating links from article directories pointing to those pages.

Websites that did this successfully and on a large scale would experience an increase in rankings and traffic over a period of a couple of months.

Things have now changed. If you follow the model described above not only you will not achieve any good results but you risk in getting a penalty from Google and destroy your rankings and domain reputation.

  • Publish unique & original content on a regular basis
  • Create and maintain not just any type of website but a great website
  • Build your own web by interlinking your pages together
  • Promote your website and content in social media
  • Guest post in reputable websites not for the sole purpose of building incoming links to your website but for creating trust, authority and relationships with your website visitors.

Another thing you should have clear in your mind is what to expect from SEO. There is no guarantee (and never believe anyone that says otherwise) that you can achieve high rankings for any highly competitive keywords in only a few months.

To get to the top positions for highly competitive keywords you need to work hard to bypass the thousands of websites competing for a place in the first page of the search results and this usually takes a lot more time and money.

What you should expect instead is improvement in your organic traffic and this usually can be achieved in a matter of a few months after you start consistent work on SEO.

I wanted to clarify this before we get into more details because it changes the answer to the given question:

Factors that play a role in the time needed for SEO to start working

I will add this as the first factor because if your website is under a Google penalty then SEO will not work unless you get rid of the penalty. When a website is penalised by Google it looses it’s rankings (for all or some keywords) and in order to get back in the index you have to perform some actions. In a typical recovery scenario you will have to:

  • Remove any artificially created links pointing to your website by either asking the webmasters to remove them or by disavowing the links using Google webmaster tools.
  • Revise your website pages and remove or concatenate pages with thin content.
  • Remove pages that have duplicate content.
  • Add more pages with high quality relevant content.
  • Work on your on-page SEO to ensure that Google can read and understand your page better.
  • Submit a reconsideration request through webmaster tools (if you were hit by a manual penalty).

Once you do all the above you will have to wait for a number of months and until Google refreshes their algorithm to understand if you managed to recover or not. So in this case the answer how long does it take for SEO to start working depends on the severity of the penalty, how fast you took corrective actions, the type of actions you made and the time needed for Google to refresh their algorithm.

  • It is a fact that SEO works better for older than newer websites. Old websites are those that are online for at least ancouple of years while new websites are considered brand new domains that are less than 6 months old.For the case of new websites don’t expect any considerable results in the first six months. If you start a new website and publish top quality content on a regular basis and do your social media promotion, you can expect to see some of your pages in the 2nd and 3rd page of Google in the first 3 months and then gradually some of your pages will move to page 1 after the 6th month.This will probably not get you high amounts of traffic but it is a sign that what you are doing is in the right direction. If you keep pushing by getting more pages indexed and also a few natural links from trusted websites you will soon experience more and more organic traffic.The rate of growth depends on the type of website, competition, type of content and other factors but as a rule of thumb six months is the minimum period until SEO for new websites will start to work.In the case of older websites that have never been under a penalty things are different. Once you start doing SEO, especially if no SEO work has been performed on the site before, you will start seeing changes in ranking positions and traffic in a couple of months.If you also start doing content marketing and a more aggressive social media promotion coupled with good off-page SEO you can turn things around and start receiving a reward for your efforts faster.

Although rankings is not about having as many pages as possible indexed by Google, the number of pages you have in their index matters. There are several studies that show a direct relationship between the number of pages in index and ranking positions. The more high quality pages you have the better but don’t fall into the trap of creating pages for the sole purpose of increasing the index.

It is much better to have less pages that have valuable and useful content than a lot of pages with duplicate, incomplete or thin content.

The main point here is that SEO will work faster on websites with more than 100 quality pages in Google index compared to websites with less than 100 pages. This is somehow expected because it will take you some time to generate unique content to pass this threshold.

This is related to the above in the sense that you don’t just need any type of pages in the Google index but pages that:

  • Have content that is unique and original
  • Have content that is long – The average number of words in the first page of Google is 1500-2000 words.
  • Have content that is SEO friendly and well presented

SEO work on Websites that already have a strong link profile can generate results faster than on websites with a weak profile. Incoming links are still an important SEO factor and if you already have this in place your work is much easier than waiting to get new links indexed and processed by Google.

A word of caution, don’t try to push things too much with incoming links. Even if you can get links by guest posting on highly reputable sites, don’t try and generate too many links fast since this will most probably raise some warning signals especially for websites that had very few links since their beginning.

You are not the only one doing SEO wishing to get better rankings for particular keywords. Almost in all niches there are hundreds or even thousands of websites competing for the same keywords you want to target.

It is thus normal and expected that for SEO to work you have to do more work than your competitors and due to the nature of Google and the way it ranks websites, it will also take more time to see results.

Lastly, a factor that impacts how much time is needed for SEO to work is the type of rankings you are targeting. If your objective is getting higher rankings for people searching with a location in their search query i.e local SEO then you can get results faster since the competition and difficulty is less than when trying to target users around the World i.e. global SEO.

For example if you do local SEO correctly for the query “SEO services long island” then you can get results faster than trying to rank for the general query “SEO services”.

SEO works, give it the time it needs

The bottom line and the takeaway from this post is that SEO works but you have to give it time.

If you doing SEO yourself keep your expectations low, start with an SEO audit, create a realistic plan and start monitoring your rankings always having in mind that what you are after is increase in your organic traffic and improvement of your rankings in general and not just for a group of ‘wish’ keywords which are usually highly competitive.

If you are outsourcing SEO to a company have in mind that effective SEO may cost you money in the beginning until you get any type of return from your investment. Don’t believe in shortcuts (they don’t exist) or in companies promising you high rankings in a couple of months but instead go with companies who have case studies to showcase, feedback from real clients and an SEO plan with realistic goals and timeframes.

SEO Tools and SEO Resources

To manage SEO correctly you need to use tools. There is a lot of data to analyze and a lot of metrics to monitor which makes it impossible to do everything manually, so you need some sort of automation through software tools.

There are hundreds of free and paid tools in the market and because of my job role, I have tested many of them.

I don’t like having to login to a lot of different tools to do my work so after evaluating a number of them, I decided to enroll to tools that can give me diverse functionality at a reasonable monthly price.

SEM Rush: This is my favorite SEM (search engine marketing tool). I use it on a daily basis for both my SEO and PPC needs. It’s a great and easy to use tool with a number of functions but the nice thing about SEM Rush is that it is continuously updated with new features so you don’t have to look for other choices.

SerpBook: I use serpbook to track the ranking position for my websites (and many client’s websites). It has good reporting and white label functions to help agencies create nice ranking reports for their clients.

LongTail Pro: Keyword research is a critical step in all SEO projects. Long tail pro makes it easier and faster to discover and build up your keyword lists.

ManageFlitter: If you want a tool to manage your twitter account (s) and grow your followers organically, then this is one of the best tools in the market.

Courtesy of
Alex Chris – Digital Marketing Consultant and author. Alex has more than 18 years of practical experience with SEO and Digital Marketing
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