Launching an SEO: Search Engine Optimisation campaign is necessary for any business to increase its online presence and organic SEO traffic, boost its search engine rankings, and organically reach more customers and convert them to sales.
With these kinds of benefits, it is easy to understand why SEO service is an effective digital marketing strategy and produces crazy ROI when done right.
However, many businesses want to know how long before the results of SEO efforts start trickling in (and naturally so, as effective SEO campaigns are expensive and can take a big chunk from your marketing budget).
How long to generate organic traffic, leads, and revenue from SEO?
SEO campaigns and strategies often differ, business-to-business, and brand-to-brand, depending on several factors such as level of competition and the search volume of the target keyword. Still, on average, businesses should see results within four to six months.
SEO campaigns often take a while to produce results for different reasons. At first, once you launch an SEO campaign, your website would not automatically appear on the first page of the search results or SERPs, traffic from SEO wouldn’t flood your website, and your revenue probably wouldn’t change. However, with consistent efforts, your business goals for launching the campaign will be achieved, all of it, boosting your online presence, increase in traffic and leads, and increasing your sales and revenue.
Why does Search Engine Optimization take so long?
First, the right strategies have to be determined after the SEO company have confirmed the volume of SEO work that needs to be done on your website and brand.
Besides, for your website to rank, search engine bots have to crawl and index your website’s content. Search engines also consider several factors to rank your website, some of which often need time to be optimised and recognised by these search engines. Among others, these factors are:
- The relevance of your page to users’ search term
- How authoritative is your content in your niche? i.e., the quality of information on your website.
- How easily and quickly can search engines index your web content?
- Page loading time. How long does it take a page on your website to load? Longer than 3 seconds, forget it.
- Image optimisation. How optimised are the non-text elements (images and videos) on your website?
- How competitive is your niche? Websites in low completion niches often rank high.
- Keyword stuffing, or are your keywords used rightly and legitimately?
- For what keyword topics is your business trying to rank?
- Internal and external links or your link profile. How many internal links and high-quality links (from high authority pages, not low-quality links) do you have on your pages?
These factors determine your ranking in SERPs. Search engines such as Google are geared towards improving user experience and answering the search intent. Hence, it only ranks high, offering the most relevant information and providing great user experiences.
Considering these factors, it typically takes 4-6 months for SEO efforts to bear fruits. This is why SEO should be considered as a long term investment by business owners.
SEO, as we know, can be quite simple yet so intricate. SEO has many categories and sub-strategies required to meet your brand’s needs.
The big question is, what happens in the six months needed for SEO to yield results?
What happens in the Six months of using SEO strategies?
Niche & Industry Research
In the first month, the SEO expert or SEO agency that you have chosen will start by researching your brand and your niche/industry. Each brand is different and serves a unique purpose; hence, it is essential to study your brand and competition level in your industry and other key factors. This research is based on which your chosen agency will build all SEO efforts to meet your goals. The information will help sculpt your SEO campaign.
Next comes the website audit. Your SEO agency will examine your website’s structure, its content, and your site’s overall user experience. This audit will help highlight your assets (in terms of quality content), develop areas of improvement and opportunity, and create a high-level SEO and marketing plan.
In assessing your content marketing strategy, your SEO agency will create a plan for your target keywords. Targeting both long-tail keywords with low competition and broad keywords with tons of monthly search volume.
As Google prioritises accurate and quality information, your agency will prioritise generating quality content with your target keywords expertly used for proper search engine optimisation.
Technical SEO analysis & Conversion Rate Optimisation
Month 2 is usually when technical SEO work begins. It is a time when attention is paid to the back end of your website and other technical issues, where the necessary changes are made to make certain that your site ranks higher in search results. The changes made are based solely on the website audit results and uncovering any underlying issue of your website. Changes could range from making a few corrections to, say, your Metadata to a total SEO overhaul. An overhaul could take months. You will know if your site needs a complete overhaul or a few changes here and there from the website audit.
Also, month 2 is usually the time to fix user experience issues on your website. For example, your website may need to be optimised to be mobile-friendly and have a responsive design such that your website is easier to navigate. A responsive design equals a better user experience, which does wonders for your site rankings.
Here’s the typical checklist of our SEO audits:
- Mobile-friendly test
- Website speed optimisation
- Finding, deleting, and redirecting 404 pages
- Checking indexed pages
- Internal link analysis
- Backlink analysis
- Competitor analysis
- Check for broken links
- Content analysis
- User experience
- Website structure & Silo’ing
The proper use of target keywords is essential when creating your web content. Hence, before generating any content, your SEO agency has to choose target keywords and determine the kinds of keywords best for your niche. For example, in a highly competitive niche, using generic keywords such as coffee, shoes, etc., wouldn’t help your rankings. Neither would it bring any organic leads.
Instead, using long-tail keywords, which contain three or more words and are specific and targeted in their approach, are better suited for your SEO needs. These keywords (including generic keywords) lend themselves to different content. A lot goes into selecting keywords before writing content. Therefore, keyword/content planning and creation for SEO needs considerable time and effort.
Content Strategy & Content Creation
Once the keywords have been chosen, the next is to create authoritative content. Content creation requires more than just stuffing fresh content with the chosen keywords. Preferably, invest in putting up content that satisfies users’ search intent, and not merely utilising keywords.
The team at Yoast published an awesome content about search intent and why it’s important.
There are different types of content to serve diverse purposes. For example, there is Blog content, long-form content, and General product/service content.
Long-form piece of contents are high quality and authoritative and are usually over 2000 words long. Long-form content is crucial to SEO and is shown to produce higher organic traffic, more shares on social media, and more quality backlinks.
Blog content affords you a way to regularly post new content on your website and bring new traffic to your website.
Your service content is the content of your website’s foundational pages – the about me, service page, and other resource page contents on your website.
Your SEO expert will determine the type of content your site needs and plan adequately for your website.
The sooner these contents appear on your website, the better so Google can index and rank your content in search engines. Newly posted content needs time to index and rank in search results. You can expect your well-written content to appear, at least somewhere in search results, after a month or two.
At this point in your SEO campaign, the previous months’ efforts are beginning to bear fruits and trickle in. You enjoy little gains, such as increased traffic and improved organic rankings. This fourth month is the time to improve on the website, make corrections, fix technical SEO issues, and ensure a great user experience.
Link Building Campaign
It is also a time to keep adding content and building links, both internal and external. Inbound links from high-authority websites are essential to your SEO ranking. It shows search engines that other high-authority sites trust the information you provide enough to link to it. It follows then that the more authoritative backlinks your site has, the higher you rank. To increase backlinks, reach out to other brands associated with your industry and ask them to link to your content.
In this fifth month of your SEO campaign, it is crucial to link active social media accounts to your website and invest in improving your social media marketing and social media presence.
It is also a time to review the entire campaign and know how effective it is using tools like Google Analytics. By now, your SEO campaign should start yielding actual results. A significant increase in site traffic, organic leads, and more conversions are what you expect in month five.
At this point, you should enjoy actual results from your campaign in greater dimensions; increased leads and traffic, and higher conversion rates. It is time to run some tests such as A/B testing (also called bucket testing or split testing) and Heat maps to improve your website’s conversion rate.
We recently wrote an article about why a conversion optimised website is a must for every business.
Bucket testing compares two versions of a page against each other to determine which one performs better. You can see what variation of a specific element performs better and implement that version on your website. This testing helps you avoid unnecessary risks by allowing you to maximise your resources and opportunities efficiently.
Heat maps show users’ patterns on webpages – the most clicked elements on your pages and how far users scroll down your webpages before closing them. Heat maps help you decide where to add more interactive features to your web pages to increase your retention and conversion rates and boost your revenue.
Note: Perhaps, by the sixth month, your SEO campaign hasn’t produced as many effects as you would like, and you didn’t get the results you hoped. Keep at it; don’t give up. This is a long term strategy that can future-proof your business. Discover what needs to be done (keeping the factors that influence ranking in mind) and re-strategise so the SEO campaign can meet your business goals.