Your SEO Investment has No Calendar!
Clients ask – that is new client prospects usually ask us right away, “so, how long will our SEO campaign take!” It seems that most prospective clients expect quick results in their first SEO campaign, and while we can provide that, it’s sometimes not so quick! Why not so quick is the question then….and as I’ve found there really is no one, exact answer as our experience shows it takes as long as it takes. And what do I mean by that?
Simple, really….if you want to know how long a new SEO campaign will take to get you rankings on say Google, then the answer is I don’t know without the answers to a few questions first.….and why don’t I know how long your SEO campaign will take right off the bat?
Well, I’ve found over the past 9 years of SEO work for a wide variety of clients in many various channels that any new SEO timeline “depends” on a host of factors, and not a one includes a calendar. Honest. Not a one…but here’s some points to ponder as a prospective new SEO client for any practitioner out there….ie you’ll need to be able to answer these questions to try to craft a campaign timeline.
How Competitive is your Channel?
That is, if you’re in a very competitive channel, say you’re a personal injury lawyer or a new home builder then you should expect to wait longer as these channels are stuffed with eager, hi-budgeted competitors. If you’re a brand new site, then you’re a bit further back from quick rankings too, as the competitive channels see new entrants by the thousands daily….and that can affect the waiting time as well! This kind of competition depends usually on the size of your marketing budgets which is why only the larger, better budgeted sites get to page 1 of Google…but not always as we’ve found that plain hard work sometimes can at least level the playing field! But competition is a big factor to consider first.
What’s your Budget?
Say you’re a financial advisor and you want to challenge everyone else in your province or state for the #1 Google spot for “financial advisors” – that will take months and months and a large budget of sometimes thousands a month….or it will take twice as long at say half that budget as a rule of thumb. The size of the budget you can offer to a campaign then, often determines the timeframe. It takes that long and that much cash to build a site that will be worth the search to your own prospective clients. Big budgets mean better results is the simple truth here. Which is sometimes too bad, as that usually means then that the financial advisors who did invest that kind of budget will then get all those fresh-faced younger demographic customers who will invest with them, and pay them top premiums for their lifetimes….do you hear what I’m saying here? Budgets are important yes, and if you can’t afford a big campaign budget wise, the “saw-off” is that it takes longer. It’s that basic, in our experience!
Are We Your NEW SEO firm?
What I mean by that is, are we following someone else who’s already done this for you and obviously made a mess of things. Is your site in a link farm or web hub or whatever the current clichéd term is this month? Are there keyword stuffings on your pages or footer stuffings or white text on a like colored background? Did you list your site at every free directory you could find? Have you got <divs> that are absolutely positioned at say -10000px to hide them from the user but still rank on Google? These are only a few of the many non-best-practices tactics that we’ve found that some SEO firms employ….and then get your site penalized or worse, even de-indexed. Goodbye rankings and therefore goodbye revenue streams too….sigh. It’s not that difficult to get around these blackhat tactics, but it too, takes time, eh!
Are you looking for a global SEO campaign or a LOCAL marketplace one?
Depending on what kind of a market you wish to enter in your chosen channel can also affect the time needed to rise to the top. If you’re planning on trying to corral say the #1 Google ranking for “ad agency” you’ll fight long and hard to gain that spot and as we’ve already said, at a big budget too. But if you’re thinking say that you want to be high for your LOCAL city search, something that Google and Bing and Ask and Yahoo all now support, those rankings can be achieved in much less time initially. And as a result you’ll gain traffic and conversions quickly. i.e., LOCAL search rankings can be quicker and take advantage of what at least appears to be much younger developing algorithms from the search engines to rank quickly for SEO clients. Note, of course, your own mileage may vary but for our current client roster, LOCAL is quicker by far right now!
Which brings me back to the original question asked by a prospective SEO client….how long does a campaign take? We always try to get answers to the above questions before we ever can estimate a timeline, like the rest of the SEO world so that you won’t have expectations that just can’t be met over the life of the campaign. Yes, but how long? You could see your rankings improve to the point that you have first page listings in a matter of a few weeks or it could take more than a year, and that’s as honest as we can be, eh!Google