When I started my small business, I remember hearing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and jumping on board right away. I didn’t know exactly what SEO was, but it was important for people to find me in the search results, and I knew SEO might be the answer.
So, I got all excited and hired an SEO team for my website. One month went by. Two months went by. Three months went by. Not much was happening.
Is the SEO team I hired even doing their job? How much longer will I wait before I see some results? Am I just throwing away money?
These were all questions I had in my mind, and I know that’s the case for many small business owners. Each investment we make for our businesses is made with the expectation of some sort of result, no matter how big or small.
While SEO does take time before you start to see results, how much time?
In this post, I’m going to answer some of your most frequently asked SEO questions to help you understand how long it takes to see results from an SEO strategy.
Before I answer this question, read this post on what SEO is and why you need it for your business.
Okay, so how long does it take for you to see SEO results?
I know you may not want to hear the answer, but SEO does take time. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. SEO results should begin to show within 6-to-12 months.
And when I say results, I mean that you’ll start to see an increase in traffic and leads. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have reached your goals of conversions at that point. SEO takes time, but within the 6-to-12 month period, you should see movement.
Search engines like Google want to provide the user with the best results, and it’ll take time for you to gain ranking. There’s also no easy way around it. You can’t cheat your way to faster SEO results.
I know this is the next question in your mind: But why does SEO take so long?
Does it actually need to take 6 to 12 months before you start seeing results? Yes. Sorry, but yes. But there’s a good reason why SEO takes time to develop.
Several factors are behind SEO, like competition, keyword difficulty, etc. And these factors all play a role in developing your SEO. Depending on how you handle these factors, it can affect the time.
For example, if you want to rank for the keyword “dog treats,” a very broad and competitive keyword, it’ll take longer to rank for it. But if you want to rank for “organic bulldog dog treats Ohio,” a niche keyword, you may rank faster for it.
In addition, search engines are looking for the best answers for their users. It takes time for Google, Bing, or Yahoo to rank your content. Not to mention, you’re competing with thousands of other websites for that spot on the search results page.
So let’s say you’ve been working on your SEO for a few months – how do you know if it’s working?
If you’re doing SEO yourself, you probably already have an idea of what you need to do and the tools you need to use (I’ll list them below).
But there’s a chance that you’ve outsourced this task (I did the same thing) to an SEO specialist. Can you learn how to do SEO? Of course, you can. However, when you’re building your small business, sometimes outsourcing tasks can help alleviate stress and eliminate room for error.
Anyways, let’s say you want to see if your SEO efforts are working. How can you do that?
Well, there’s no single tool that can scan through your website and tell you everything about your SEO strategy and what you’re doing right and wrong. But there are some tools you can use to help you understand where you’re ranking and what areas you need to work on:
Looking at specific metrics in your data analytics can help you understand your website’s SEO performance as well. Pay attention to the following metrics:
I know this may seem like a lot. If you’re working on your website’s SEO, you’re probably already familiar with many of the above.
But I have to say, if you feel overwhelmed by this, you’re not the only one. I tried to do SEO myself and found it challenging, especially when I was the only one running the business.
So, don’t be hard on yourself. Know where you want to invest your time – if SEO is something you want to learn, great! Here are some of the best (free) SEO courses available. If it’s not, then find the right people to help you out through outsourcing.
If you’re on the hunt to see whether your SEO is working, it’s important to understand what successful SEO looks like.
To answer that question, you should first create an SEO strategy. In your strategy, you’ll clearly understand your goals, how they’ll be measured, and what actions you’ll need to take to achieve them.
See, what’s important is that your SEO goals are realistic and measurable. For example, your goal can be that you want 1000 monthly visitors to your website. To see the progress, you’ll use Google Analytics to measure the traffic going to your website.
Remember, when creating an SEO strategy, every goal must answer a) how it’s going to be achieved, and b) how you’ll measure it.
Talking about SEO is always tricky because there’s so much to know. The world of SEO is endless. What causes a lot of confusion is how long it takes for SEO to show results. Remember all good things take time.
If you wish to learn more about SEO, I recommend taking an online class or watching this beginner’s YouTube video. However, if you’d like to focus on other areas of your business, I suggest outsourcing your SEO to experienced SEO specialists. That way, you know it’s getting done the right way.
Natasha Ivanovic is a Vancouver-born creative writer that started her writing career as a freelancer while studying for her Master’s in Investigative Psychology. On the weekends, she writes short stories for her blog, TheLonelySerb, and cuddles with her bulldog, Bob.