Digital Marketing

How Long Does SEO Take to Work? Plan Ahead!

Believe it or not we’ve hit July! And now is the perfect time to remember to plan ahead and get thinking about Q4, Black Friday as well as Christmas planning.

How Long Does SEO Take?

4 to 6 months is what most will say. Even Google says to give any organic SEO change at least 3 months to have an impact.

The Timeline and Lag for Owned and Earned Media

The organic SEO landscape is far more competitive and complex now than it was 10 years ago. So, you need to be your very best to succeed. A page cannot rank if it’s not crawled and indexed, so we need to give the search engines like Google time to crawl and index any changes before they can possibly influence the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keyword Landscape

Don’t obsess over a couple of highly competitive vanity terms. Look at the bigger picture and don’t just ask “how long will it take me to rank #1 for this [insert highly desirable term]?”.

Search now is all about overall global keyword visibility and ranking for a whole host of related keywords. This includes natural longer tail language patterns with the emergence of voice search.

Static Content & Longer Tail

Every page represents a new opportunity. You should be targeting a range of your main money terms across your product and service pages, but also plugging any keyword gaps with always-on hygiene content via a blogging and content strategy to capture that ‘unaware’ traffic in the early research phase of the buying cycle.

Our A.I. & Clever Predictive Purchase Process

Leveraging A.I. and our predictive purchase process flows across every channel we manage.

In this case, it’s all about creating fantastic content to reach your potential customers and to intercept them when they’re in the unaware stage of the funnel, to gain awareness and to build trust with users that match your target personas and have a high propensity to convert later down the funnel.

Remember, rankings are meaningless without highly converting, profitable traffic.

Focus on Outcomes

Leading on from above, that’s why you should work with SEO agencies who focus on outcomes, rather than outputs. We’re all about performance and ROI.

Site History

If your site has been around 10 years and has a domain authority (DA) of 50, in this example you may expect that a more lofty ambitious brief to be appropriate over say a site that’s brand new with no previous SEO (we all get that enquiry for a someone wanting to be #1 for loans within 6 months…).

A Timeline & Indicative Roadmap

So, what does it depend on? It depends on so many factors including but not limited to how long your website has been around, how much SEO work has been done on it previously, how mobile-friendly it is, what’s the design and UX like, how much content is on it, its link profile as above, and hundreds of other SEO factors. That said the first six months may include:

  • Month 1: This will typically be strategy focused; including keyword strategy and planning, a website & technical SEO audit, mobile-first audit and a link profile analysis
  • Month 2: Following the initial strategy work we can start making modifications, including an on-page SEO checklist as well as a content audit for content optimisation. We can also start the link clean-up where needed and disavow process
  • Month 3: From month 3 once the initial on-page and technical SEO is underway we can introduce some content strategy and planning for always-on and hero content (depending on the package this can also be started in month 1, but some clients budgets mean a phased roadmap). We can also create your digital press office and set your digital PR strategy too. We’d complete a 3-month quarterly review after the first 3 months to present progress on your account, as by month 4 after the initial 3 months we’d expect to be able to present some excellent progress that will show the significant value we’re adding
  • Month 4: We now commence the monthly technical and on-page SEO checks. Also, we work to commence content creation in line with the plan and we also start digital PR work (again, earlier if the client’s budget allows) to gain media coverage, links, references, mentions, citations and media coverage to build the sites DA and link profile. Around months 3-4 we also look to complete a local SEO review (earlier if local SEO is a key focus for that business). We can also identify any local link targets. This month we should start to see some fantastic progress
  • Month 5: We continue the on-page and technical SEO, as well as continue to work to the content creation schedule. Digital PR continues in line with the plans set for media outreach. You should be seeing more and more visibility, traffic coming in from SEO and sales starting to increase
  • Month 6: We continue everything outlined above in month 5, as well as look into components such as conversion rate layout recommendations (CRO) that can be implemented to improve conversation rate. Plans are never set in stone and it’s also important that we revisit any keyword landscaping with a bi-annual keyword and audience analysis. We’d also complete a 6-month quarterly review to present progress on your account and would expect the upward trajectory on your account to be trending very nicely at this point across all KPIs with some fantastic ROI

Protect Your Investment

It’s a lot of hard work to achieve real-world organic SEO performance, with many companies all competing for the same real estate. A lot of people underestimate how much time and money it takes to be successful with SEO.

Regardless of budget, you can’t simply buy your way to the top with SEO. You need to create a sustainable, consistent strategy and maintain gradual progress. Success rarely comes within the first 3 months, so don’t make any early judgment calls and go into the project with realistic expectations, budgeting for at least 6 to 12 months of SEO to allow you to give the campaign chance to gain momentum.

Paying for just a few months of SEO does not work and is simply like throwing your money away, as SEO is a long-term investment that will grow and drive sales for years to come.

Also, don’t get swayed by any short-term tactics that can negatively impact your long-term success. Play by the rules, implement white-hat gold standard SEO practices, and work to the search engines best practice guidelines.

Summary

As above, we mentioned it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. Always remember that this is a general rule and always speak to us for a customised view.

To illustrate this, if you’re a brand-new business wanting to be #1 for loans, you could be 12-18 months and still not see this result as its probably not a realistic goal.

However, we can help you forecast and predict performance. See this post from a couple of months ago https://www.koozai.com/blog/search-marketing/predicting-digital-marketing-performance-the-dos-and-donts/.

The 4-6 months for most is generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow and compound over time. Things just continue to improve, and what you see at 6 months will be considerably less than what you’re getting at 12 months, and so on. Then in 12 months’ time when you re-forecast to look at the potential to grow within your marketplace, you’re forecasting from that new higher starting benchmark, so the compounding effect continues. SEO really is an investment.

So, make the proper investment, plan on being in it for the long haul, and you’ll be rewarded with long term success.

If you need any help or support with a forecast or view on the potential for growth for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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