How Long Does It Take to See the Benefits of SEO?

January 29th, 2019 by Alula Amare

Gif with matthew mcconaughey about SEO turnaround time from Search Influence in New Orleans, LA

That’s always the question when a business starts something new: how long will it take? The short answer is that SEO campaigns generally see mature results in 6 to 12 months. But any business that starts working on SEO will also see several benefits immediately.

SEO campaigns should have two goals: to tell external entities on the internet (especially search engines) that your website is an authoritative source of information within your industry, and to help convert potential customers into actual customers once they’re on your site. There are numerous ways to accomplish both of these. Over the course of this post, I will cover a general timeline of an SEO campaign and the accompanying deliverables businesses should expect.

The Sales Process

If you haven’t done any SEO work before, then your first step should be reaching out to digital advertising firms. They will perform competitive research before coming back to you with a pitch. This first step is critical because the timeline for the results of an SEO campaign depends on where a business starts off relative to its competition. Obviously, some industries are more competitive than others, but generally, a business’s presence online can be measured by several on-site and off-site factors. Digital marketers will evaluate your website’s content and layout, perform keyword research, and determine how easy it is for leads to complete conversions on your site. Common conversions include filling out on-site forms, booking consultations, product purchases, etc. There are also several off-site tactics that will signal your website’s authority within your industry to search engines, including backlinks from reputable websites, accurate and consistent listings, and social media activity. This research allows digital marketers to set realistic goals from the start and ensure that the work they perform will make a difference.

Campaign Kickoff and Month One

Once you’ve partnered with a digital marketing firm, they will schedule times to discuss which strategies you would like to move forward with and establish which metrics matter the most to your business. Then, they can use the research that they’ve already compiled to build a plan of attack. Several aspects of an SEO campaign can have immediate effects on your website, such as building out new pages, cleaning up bad links, setting up call tracking, making your site mobile-friendly, and purchasing an SSL certificate. Your team can also begin working on longer-term strategies, such as establishing an overall content strategy. This first month lays the groundwork for the rest of your campaign.

Month Two and Beyond

As your SEO campaign progresses, your digital marketing firm can use site data from Google Analytics and other tracking methods to analyze changes in your site’s traffic and on-site conversions to measure the performance of your current strategies.

After reviewing the results of your campaign, it might make sense to complement your SEO work with other digital marketing strategies, including paid search or social media advertising. The effectiveness of these tactics will depend on your industry, but paid advertising is generally geared toward immediate results. Supplementing SEO with paid campaigns is a logical step to take if your business is more focused on e-commerce or other B2C transactions. However, several elements of SEO (creating landing pages, being HTTPS-secure, and having a mobile-friendly site) will help amplify your paid campaign’s results.

Scrabble tiles spelling keywords that are part of SEO strategy used at Search Influence in New Orleans, LA

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Up to this point, I haven’t particularly focused on keyword rankings because it’s difficult to estimate how long improving them will take. Obviously, ranking well for relevant keywords is important and should be part of any SEO campaign. If you’ve never done any SEO or content work before, your rankings will quickly improve from their baseline once your campaign begins. A well-planned strategy can expedite the process, but it will probably take time to crack the first few results for more competitive keywords.

Simply being the first result for a search doesn’t necessarily offer value to your business. It’s essential to perform keyword research to see what your customers are actually searching for. By focusing on natural queries and long-tail keywords, businesses can be more selective about which keywords they target. Plus, earning strong rankings for long-tail keywords can be done relatively quickly and inexpensively while attracting people who are more likely to be interested in your services. As always, driving more potential customers to your site should be your focus. Ranking well for relevant keywords certainly helps, but there are other important factors to consider.

So Now What?

In general, the results of SEO are gradual, but your business can immediately benefit from on-site optimizations, reconciling conflicting listings, and having a clearer idea of where you stand relative to your competition. As search engine algorithms and user behavior change, you will also have to make adjustments along the way. With that in mind, you should choose the digital marketing firm that you work with carefully. Search Influence has helped businesses expand their client base online since 2006. If you’d like to know more about the timeline of SEO campaigns, give us a call at (504) 208-3900.