As more and more businesses begin to explore and understand the opportunities that SEO offers to their company, an emerging question demands an answer:
Whether it’s hesitation, excitement, or pure curiosity, this seemingly simple question has SEO companies on the edge of their seats as they decide what the next step is to improve their search engine rankings.
You may have heard that an SEO campaign can produce quality results in 30 days. Or maybe you’ve heard that 30 days wasn’t enough, but 90 days is. Guess what?
You are wrong.
There is too much necessary work, strategy and planning that goes into an effective SEO campaign to see quality results in 30-90 days. If you’re still hoping in this 30-90 day myth, ask yourself: Was my business built in 30 days? Hell, even 90 days?
We know you are brilliant, hardworking and intuitive, but the best SEO campaign cannot be integrated and used to achieve quality results in such a short period of time. To do this, an SEO campaign must research, strategize, plan, organize, develop, integrate and implement various tools and procedures that are specific to your business before the blue ribbon results start waltzing through your door.
So let’s ask the million dollar question again: How long does SEO take?
Good thing you asked the experts about the SEO timeline.
Simply put, integrating an SEO campaign into your company’s DNA takes about 4-12 months.
During these 4-12 months there is a wide range of services done to get the results you want to see.
We think it’s important for companies new to SEO to understand what these services are and how long they play in your company’s journey to ranking high in search engine results.
Let’s look at the three steps of an SEO campaign:
Step 1: On-page SEO – Laying the groundwork (1-2 months)
During the first step of your SEO integration, it is necessary to focus on a well-developed game plan for your SEO campaign. When creating said game plan, it’s important to focus on a few key mini-steps: strategy, research, audit, and execution.
The first order of business when launching your SEO campaign is creating a strategy. Defining and setting realistic and timely goals is key to a smooth running SEO campaign. If deadlines are consistently missed, your business suffers in multiple ways. So, make sure your business and those running your SEO campaign meet deadlines.
The next very important mini step is combined keyword research and discovery.
Researching which keywords your buyer persona types into search engines is key to strategizing your website’s search engine rankings. Keyword research takes about 10 days and goes into developing a keyword strategy.
With these keyword discoveries, an SEO campaign puts together a keyword strategy to increase organic traffic to your site. Incorporating keywords into your site and its content increases the likelihood that your business website will rank higher on the Google search results page.
After keyword research, a spot audit (what we like to call a battle audit) is next. A website audit is critical to organizing and optimizing your website for Google site rankings. It’s similar when you’re cleaning your house for important guests who are coming to visit—you want things to be messy, organized, and comfortable so that your visitors stick around and enjoy their time. And that’s what our battle audit does for your business’s site. It arranges your website in a way that optimizes it for Google site rankings while enhancing the user interface experience.
Our combat audit takes two weeks and another two weeks to complete. How long does SEO take to see results? Well, when the audit is complete, you won’t start seeing results for another 6-8 weeks while Google crawls pages to re-index them for ranking.
During the first two months of your campaign, keyword research and audit implementation help gather information to consider when moving to the next step of an SEO campaign: off-page execution.
Step 2: Off-Page Implementation (4-6 months)
Once your SEO campaign starts incorporating certain research and strategies into your business website, it’s time to enter the off-page execution step of the SEO campaign plan.
Towards the end of the first few months, an SEO strategy begins to execute a game plan. For this portion of 4-6 months, multiple services are performed to increase your continued presence and exposure to potential online customers.
Let’s take a look at a few of these key SEO resources:
One of the SEO services implemented into your business’s on-page optimization strategy is link building. Known as one of the most aspects of an SEO campaign, our link building process continues during this 4-6 month step.
Search engines crawl websites for links to discover new web pages and determine how high a page should rank. The quality of the keywords and content of the page, as well as the number of links redirecting to that page from external links, are key factors in ranking at the top of the charts.
After the 4-6 month relationship building period, we re-evaluate the process and determine if a process redirection is in order. While doing all this link building, the SEO campaign continues the execution with content creation and publishing.
We’ve called this section “Off-Page Performance,” but the best ongoing SEO campaigns also include creating keyword-rich content every month.
Why? SEO best practice is simple: the more relevant and specific, quality content on your website, the better.
In the early stages of planning your SEO timeline campaign, you should always consider what kind of content needs to be created, a timeline for creating that content, and a schedule for putting the content on your site. Posting often naturally engages site visitors, reduces bounce rates, increases search traffic and potentially raises the site’s search results placement.
By constantly working on adding new content, web pages can attract search engines to stop by and check out the site, which increases the possibility of your site moving up in the search rankings, as well as showing your business’s expertise in the marketplace.
Constantly used throughout our SEO campaign, social signals play a vital role in the 4-12 month journey.
Using social signals is the way to send signals to Google about engagement and interaction with your website through major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Because tweets, posts, and updates link to a blog post or content offered on your website, signals are sent to Google that show your business and its platforms (website, blog, social media) as one cohesive unit.
We find it important for your business to consistently engage with customers and prospects through social media, continuing to analyze social media engagement and adjust accordingly throughout the campaign.
Step 3: Analyze and Optimize (4-6 months)
If the impression hasn’t been made yet… SEO takes time.
The second half of the 4-12 month SEO journey focuses on analyzing and optimizing the first half of the campaign. It takes time for planning, strategy, content and execution to be created, developed and implemented in your business. When the ball starts rolling, results appear and the data is ready for analysis.
Your SEO campaigns analyze how things like keyword integration, content posts, social media platforms, and more improve site traffic and visitor engagement. SEO metrics such as keyword rankings, link building, website traffic, and conversion rates are studied to make adjustments to continually better metrics.
You might be thinking: Why does it take 4-6 months to analyze the data and adjust accordingly? Couldn’t we finish it in a week or two?
You can have an analytics expert go into the data and do their thing, but once they’re done, is the data useless for further analysis?
No. SEO takes time.
Continuing the process of analyzing data and optimizing your website is an extremely important service in an SEO campaign. Implementing minor tweaks and adjustments throughout your campaign keeps your website in tip-top shape.
Search engines control SEO ranking systems and are constantly changing the way things are ranked. Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have been known to change the way they rank overnight. Without constantly monitoring these kinds of changes, as well as consistently optimizing your site and content for these changes in search engine rank, your business can get lost in the search engine as well.
So how long does SEO take?
Chances are, your business is your pride and joy. Or until it stops doing so well and you watch your competitors do it.
Either way, as the world watches the Internet as the largest marketplace for business discovery and utilization, it is essential that your business is at the top of search results when the world comes knocking. Just remember that SEO takes time.