Having worked with many companies from a variety of industries, we get asked this question a lot!
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question as many factors determine how long it will take for an implemented SEO strategy to start delivering.
SEO should be regarded as a long term strategy, expecting immediate / instant results is not realistic. However, done right, SEO can deliver outstanding results over the long term and be much more cost effective than PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising) for example.
Unfortunately, there are “consultants” or “agencies” that will promise instant results, but frankly, its an impossibility to deliver this. If they are managing to do this, they are likely working the system which inevitably lead to your website being penalised or worse – blacklisted from Google altogether rendering your investment wasted.
The Anatomy of an SEO Campaign (in Brief)
There are many factors that determine how long it will take to reach the much sought after top spot. There are NO QUICK FIXES. If it was that easy, there would be a different website ranked number 1 every day of the week. It is a slow and measured process and although it’s unlikely (pretty impossible) you’ll reach number 1 instantly, progress from the very start should be evident.
Link Building – If you have good content, people will naturally link to it, and Google is putting great emphasis on this. Link building by an SEO company should be steady with a reasonable number of links to keep it appearing “natural” to Google. Buyng 100,000 links in one go will not get you ranked Number 1, it doesn’t look natural and Google won’t consider them.
Google Indexing – Google will, from time to time, visit your site and “index” it. It will follow your links and index the pages of your site and include them within the search results if it sees fit. The more, fresh content you add to your website, the more Google will visit your site and look for it, thus speeding up the process.
Competition – You’re not the only one trying to reach the top spot! If your market is extremely competitive then it will take time to rank for competitive keywords. However, by optimising for “long tail keywords” (More specific keywords with less competition and less searches) will speed up returns, lots of small wins in the keyword stakes add up.
“Moving the Goal Posts” – Google doesn’t stand still, with over 500 algorithm changes per year, Google is changing the way it ranks websites regularly. Your SEO company should monitor this and ensure all work is being performed to the latest guidelines to ensure your website is keeping up.
Patience – The more time spent on SEO will pay dividends in the long term (if its done well from the start of course!). The more SEO performed, the higher the authority and your sites ranking ability. This on the other hand makes it hard for a new site to compete with an established site with lots of authority, however through time and patience the rewards will come.