One of the most common questions we’re asked when discussing SEO with new clients is “How long will it take for me to start seeing results?”
This is clearly an important question when you’re investing money in your online marketing and this article will explain more about how SEO works and what to expect. It’s rather a lot like buying a new house really...
You’ve got the keys to your new home and are eager to get settled in as quickly as possible. The problem is there are things you just can’t ignore. The pink bathroom suite and the “retro” wallpaper in your bedroom just aren’t doing it for you so need to be changed. You may also have to get rid of any rubbish left behind by the previous owners. And you can’t just rush out and buy a whole load of stuff and worry about how it looks later. What’s your big vision for the future?
It’s the same for SEO. You need to think about and plan what content is going to be produced and promoted. What are your clients really looking for? How can you go about communicating that to them via your social media channels?
Month one is also the right time to rewrite your meta titles and descriptions so Google knows what keywords and phrases you want your site to be found for. It’s also the ideal time to set up your goals in Google Analytics so you can see exactly how many people are taking the actions you want them to.
The second month is about literally getting your house in order. Now the decor is looking ship-shape, your mind will turn to furniture and fittings. In other words it’s all about content. Maybe you were waiting until you’d decorated before buying a new sofa or need a nice big mirror to go above your mantelpiece.
Creating content to be published on your website is what it’s all about this month. This could be in the form of blog articles, infographics, video, animation or whitepapers for download. As with furnishing your home, it’s important there’s a clear vision in mind before you start creating content – what are the themes? What’s your tone of voice? How do you want people to perceive you?
In the third month you should start to feel at home and be much happier with your lot. Your house will be looking almost exactly as you wanted it to and you’ll have made some friends in the local area. There will still be bits and pieces to do around the place (that bit behind the garden shed that you’ve not wanted to tackle for example) but overall, life is good.
After three months of SEO work, you’ll be feeling much better about your return on investment. There should be the green shoots of growth in metrics such as rankings, traffic and conversions to brighten your outlook and make you feel positive about the future. Your content may have already begun attracting admiring glances and links from other websites.
Month four is when you’re starting to notice that all your little changes have made a big difference to how your new home looks and feels. Your friends and family have probably started casting admiring glances at the fruits of your labour and started thinking about how they can improve their homes.
In SEO terms, your competitors will be starting to notice how you’ve progressed recently. For example, you may be outranking them for a number of keywords, gaining a share of their online traffic, and getting more social media mentions and engagement than they are.
After five months, you’re completely settled in your new home and it feels great. You’ll have started making friendships in the local area and becoming a well-known face as you go about your day-to-day life. When you look back at how much your home has changed since you moved in, you’ll probably struggle to believe it.
After five months of SEO work, your website will be attracting more attention and connecting with the right people. When you compare the results you’re getting now to when you started your SEO journey, the progress will be obvious to see.
Month 6 and onwards
Your home is now your pride and joy but what will happen if you start to neglect it? The grass won’t cut itself, those pesky weeds will keep growing, mysterious marks will appear on your newly painted walls and nobody will know anything about them. In other words, you need to stay on top of things.
Well, guess what? Yes, that’s right; the same principle applies to your SEO. If you think you’ve got it made after six months because you’re getting more traffic, revenue and profit, try doing nothing for the next six months and watch the great work slowly fade away. If you’re onto a good thing, why would you want to stop?
When you buy a new house, the chances are there will be lots of work to be done before things are just as you’d like them to be. SEO is no different; you can’t just invest in it for a couple of months and expect to see significant changes in your bottom line.
It’s important to remember you may be competing against companies that have been investing in SEO for years. It’s like buying a renovation project and expecting it to look as good as your neighbour’s house after you’ve only been working on it for two months.
After six months, you should really start to reap the rewards of your investment and flourish where others are faltering online.