Set The Right Expectations With Your SEO Strategy
Many business owners are anxious to get business right away. They hire an SEO company and expect the leads to start pouring in right away. SEO will absolutely increase the traffic to your website and your rankings on the searches but there are many factors that we have to consider in a web marketing strategy to have these visitors convert into leads. The question itself shows a misguided misunderstanding of how SEO works. This comes from an understanding of SEO that no longer exists. Let me further explain.
Rankings matter in driving traffic to your website, but they don't natter as much as you may think. You should see your rankings and traffic increase on a month to month basis, but how much those increases are depends on many factors like your competition, the quality of the content on your website and the quality of your back links. In the end, CONTENT is everything.
Your question should not be "How long does SEO take to start working?", but it should be "How long does it take to start generating sales and leads". Isn't that what we are talking about at the end of the day? You want to rank high to generate sales and leads for your company. This is why it is of major importance to have a web marketing strategy!
I can't speak for anyone else but I can speak for my company based on our interactions with our clients. lets see how long it actually takes for SEO to start working.
What to expect with SEO
Month 1: In this month there is a lot of research and discovery of keywords and keyword keyword phrases around your type of business and company. Based upon the research we begin to lay out a game plan for two things. One, get the traffic to your website and two, turn that traffic into leads. We will run your website through a very detailed audit to find all of the areas of weaknesses and begin to strategize on how we can turn them into strengths. We will also be starting the content writing and back linking process. Call tracking then gets implemented to track all of the calls coming from your website.
Month 2: We will begin to make all of the technical changes on the website that we found through the website audit. We will review how you "stuck" to the search engines after the initial re-indexing and make adjustments accordingly. If we are doing a complete re-do on your website or SEO strategy, you probably won't see much results yet.
Month 3: The turn here really focuses on content. If the content is not good enough, we will review the content and the keyword density. We may add blogs if needed. You should start to see your rankings increase and the total amount of keywords you are ranking for. Often times budget is the only limiting factor to not putting the petal to the metal!
Month 4: We will continue with our content and back linking efforts. You should really start to see a noticeable difference in your traffic coming to the website. You should also start to see leads and phone calls coming as well. If they are not converting, then we will be focusing on the conversion aspect of the website. This may call for a meeting or conference call to further dive into what Hubspot calls your "buyer personas" to come up with multiple outputs to collect leads.
Month 5: By this month we should be rolling and really looking to implement a social media strategy (if not much earlier) into the equation. We can use all of the amazing content we generated to put right in the face of your potential customers. We can also start maximizing email campaigns (again, if not much earlier) to all of the leads we have collected off of the website. You should be seeing more and more hits, you should be ranking for more total keywords. Leads and emails should also be coming in.
Month 6: At this point our sole focus is to increase conversion rate. Your website traffic should be higher then ever before. Conversion rate would be our focus. Of course we will see traffic continue to increase (depending on the business). Our focus will solely be on content creation( if budget permits).
I hope I have brought some clarity to the SEO process for you. My goal was to set realistic expectations so you and your digital marketing firm are on the same page and can be successful. Good luck on your digital marketing journey. There is so much business out there, now go and get it!