Recently, one of our Traffic System members asked an important question: "How long does it take to get SEO results?" In other words, how long does it take from start-to-finish to take your website from the bottom of search engine rankings to the top of Google, Yahoo, and Bing? This is one of those classic questions that's always difficult to answer but still deserves attention. So today I wanted to offer my insight on the question. But the truth is, this question actually opens the door to a few others we need to answer as well. So let's dive right in...
What Does It Mean To Get SEO Results?
The goal of any SEO program is to move your website pages to the top of Google. Of course, Google is the top search engine most of your customers are likely using, but top rankings on Yahoo and Bing are also important too.
But there are a few important things you should realize about "SEO Results" in general...
First, getting to the top of any search engine for a given keyword phrase does not necessarily mean you're going to get traffic, leads, and/or customers. You might get zero or very little traffic even after you reach those coveted #1 rankings positions. Or you might get lots of traffic but few leads and few customers.
So keep that in mind -- "RESULTS" should mean growing your business, not just growing your rankings.
That means you may need to rethink your keyword phrases and rethink you're entire SEO strategy as you start hitting top rankings milestones. SEO should be an "iterative process" -- meaning you do it over and over again as you try to reach your ultimate goal. I like the phrase "Ready, Fire, Aim" (which incidentally is a great business & marketing book you should read).
How Do You Know If You're Getting SEO Results?
Once you start achieving positions on page one of Google, Yahoo, and Bing, you should begin to see new traffic coming to your website. This is the part where you need to investigate the value of that traffic. Are these new SEO visitors converting to leads? Is your website "sticky" enough to keep these new tire-kickers around long enough to become a lead?
The only way you'll ever know if your SEO program is generating results is if you perform this kind of careful investigation of what's happening to these visitors as they move through your website funnel.
Why Are SEO Results Always Changing?
To make matters more difficult, the search engine algorithms are constantly changing. All of the top search engines -- but especially Google -- are constantly re-evaluating their own goals and thus changing the way websites get evaluated and then ranked.
The reality is, you need to be sure you're staying abreast of new SEO changes and new SEO requirements. Unfortunately, what works today does not always work tomorrow. It's a simple fact, and it's best just to accept it rather than try to fight it.
This is one of the reasons I always urge you to follow "Long Term Value Oriented Best Practices For SEO."
(I just made that phrase up right now, but it hits the nail on the head.)
You need to be blogging, sharing on social networks, and building lots of VALUE into your website marketing and content marketing strategy. Don't just create pages of content and blog posts that are ONLY intended for SEO. Instead, put more of your emphasis on creating good content that readers will find useful today and tomorrow.
Waiting For SEO To Work
The time estimate I always give is this:
1. About 3 Months For Initial SEO Results
2. About 6 Months For Noticeable SEO Results
3. About 12 Months For Impactful SEO Results
That's right -- it can often take up to ONE YEAR before you start to see a major impact on your business from your SEO strategy. But once you break through that threshold, the overall impact on your business can have a very long-lasting effect.
What do you think? How long does your SEO strategy take before you start to see meaningful results?
Please leave your comments below.