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It’s not uncommon for us to get this question from prospects who are considering an SEO campaign: “If I do SEO, how soon will I get results?”
It’s a valid question to ask. After all, you’re considering spending money, and you want to know as soon as possible that you’re going to get a good return on investment.
Unfortunately, it’s not a question that can be easily answered. What we can tell you is that it’s not uncommon to see little or no return on your investment for as long as six months.
Why does it take So Long?
There are multiple reasons why this is the case.
- Search engine cache frequency: The web is a big place. Even Google can’t look at every page of every website every single day. As a result, search engines will periodically check back in on pages of a website to see if anything has changed. In our experience, web pages are reviewed by search engine spiders every 2-4 weeks. That means the impact of SEO changes may not be felt for a full month!
- 200 ranking formula factors: Did you know that there are more than 200 known ranking factors in search engine ranking formulas? It may be tempting to “shoot for the moon” and optimize as many factors as you can all at once, but that’s not advisable. SEO’s biggest benefit is that it’s measureable. When you change things incrementally, it’s easier to isolate what is and is not working for a website. If you do “shoot for the moon” and miss, it’s near impossible to understand what went wrong and even harder to get back on the right track.
- You need to do more things well: Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing your page for immediate prominent rankings. Now you need to do more “SEO stuff” the right way to get the results you want. This includes, but is not limited to: content optimization, blogging, link building, technical optimization, social media marketing, and more. It simply takes more time to do more things well enough to justify a better position in the search results pages.
- Establishing trust: To this point, we’ve focused heavily on search engines. But more importantly, you need to convince your site visitors – which includes people who get there without the help of a search engine – to become your customer. Online, where you have 10 seconds or less to get someone’s attention and where a 2% conversion rate is considered good (that’s not a typo), you need to establish trust…quickly. If you aren’t a familiar company, if you’re changing your focus, if you’re offering a new product, if you’re targeting a new audience or any combination therein, it can simply take time to build more pages, write more blog posts, secure more links from credible sources, and more before someone feels comfortable enough to become your customer. And again, to to do all that, you need time.
The one thing we fear most about companies taking on the SEO challenge is that they will stop a positively trending campaign too soon. To help you stick with SEO long enough to see results, make sure to keep the following things in mind:
- SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
- SEO is measureable. At the end of your initial campaign period, you will know what you got. Much more often than not, you’ll ultimately determine SEO was good investment. Even if that’s not the case, now you know for sure, and you can allocate marketing dollars in an even smarter way in the future.
- Keep an eye out for key performance indicators that aren’t tied to revenue. Examples include keyword rankings, total visits, pages per visit, bounce rate, and total number of keywords driving traffic to your site. Oftentimes, if you see steady improvement with these metrics early on, the revenue will follow!
Are you a business owner or marketer who has experienced this SEO challenge first-hand? Do you have any tips or your own SEO stories to share? Leave a comment and let us know!
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