For small businesses a successful SEO campaign can feel as elusive as a talking unicorn. Many companies promise to show us the fabled animal, but when the time comes it seems more like they’ve shoved an ice cream cone on a horse’s head and are trying to desperately convince us it’s a unicorn. The question that cuts to the heart of the matter, and one we get asked a lot, is how long does it take to see the results of your SEO efforts?
Most of us are aware of the huge benefits of ranking high in SERPs, yet many of us aren’t fully aware of just why it can take so long to achieve a meaningful and lasting impact on our all important page rank. We hear lots of stories from companies that have engaged SEO experts only to give up within a few months, often stating a lack of results as the main reason.
SEO isn’t like other forms of marketing
When we start a marketing campaign the results are often fairly swift and measurable in some meaningful way. SEO is different. We can pay for SEO for months without seeing any real results, which can lead to frustration and a lack of trust in our service provider. Some people seem to think there is an SEO secret sauce they can manipulate for quick results, but the tricks and tips of the early days of SEO are long gone, and even when they were an option the results were often short lived.
If you’ve hired your neighbours nephews third cousin to perform your SEO optimisation because he once won a computer award at school, then there’s a good chance the lack of impact is down to a bad strategy, but most professionals are capable of putting together a strategy that will eventually have an affect, but the truth is, SEO takes time.
How long does SEO take?
You will get told lots of different timescales for an SEO campaign to start showing results. Estimates seem to commonly vary between three to eight months, depending on the firm you’re using. In reality, and according to Google (and they know a bit about SEO), a comprehensive SEO campaign can take between six and twelve months to show even the earliest signs of life.
This is partly because the search engines want to provide their users with the best possible results, and a site just started yesterday, or one that has only had any activity for the last month will rarely be the most informative or knowledgeable. It requires a concerted and sustained effort to build authority in your area.
Over time Google (other search engines are available) will assign your website the authority it deserves. However, this process takes several factors into account, such as the quality of your content in comparison to other websites targeting the same topics.
Even after you’ve persevered and start seeing the fruits of your labour in real terms, you can’t really say you’ve succeeded with search engine optimisation, as there is no finish line in the world of SEO, just the consistent application of a comprehensive strategy to maximise your online presence. When you stop, the SEO fairies notice. It won’t be long before your stagnant site starts slipping into obscurity once again.
This means there is no timeframe for SEO. Instead some aspects should be factored in as ongoing costs of your digital presence. The truth is that for an SEO strategy to be successful it must happen gradually and look completely natural and organic.
Hire professionals, and then trust them
SEO is made up of many different factors. Insisting the only barometer of success is ranking #1 for your chosen keywords is shortsighted and sometimes even counter-productive. The web is constantly evolving. Your competitors are coming up with new ways to improve their online presence. To consistently deal with these factors requires your SEO strategy to be flexible.
There is far more to a modern SEO strategy than identifying keywords and optimising your site around them. Keywords are still factor, but the ever-increasing popularity of smart speakers and voice searches is leading to a different approach to optimisation. There is a sea of data that needs to be analysed to provide answers to relevant questions.
The majority of time spent online is now through mobile devices. While still in its infancy, nearly 90% of voice searches looking for a service or product in the consumers’ immediate vicinity were also performed on mobile devices. This can provide smaller local businesses with a great route to higher conversion rates. You’re targeting customers who are near you and actively looking for what you offer, rather than a generic keyword that is competing on a national scale, even though you’re a hairdresser’s in Dublin.
These are just a couple of the factors your SEO specialist will take into account. They won’t be simply trying to get you to the top of a page, instead a good SEO company will be trying to extract as much value from your budget as possible by targeting the areas you will see the best results, and ultimately the best ROI.
It sounds like a lot of hassle
It can be, but thankfully not for you. Consistency and quality are the two most important keys to unlocking the benefits of SEO. To ensure you’re always moving in the right direction, whether that’s a regularly updated blog or a comprehensive strategy you’re going to throw a big monthly budget at, ensuring you use a company that understands the specific needs of your business will stand you in good stead.
At Juvo we have over 20 years experience helping Irish businesses maximise their digital presence. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and excellent customer service. We are just as comfortable working with a local business as we are helping national companies. Our customers’ benefit from the knowledge and professional approach of a big digital agency while enjoying the customer service and personal touches you’d expect from a smaller firm.