In short, YES. SEO does work. The process of fine-tuning your site to load quickly, with clean code and content that is optimized for your users’ searches helps your site stand a better chance of ranking well on Google search engine result pages.

During our meetings with potential clients, we often hear the question, “Does SEO really work?” That is quickly followed by a story of some SEO ninja that’s uncovered the secret recipe to endless free traffic in no time at all.

The truth is, there’s no secret. SEO takes patience, and a consistent effort to achieve significant results. The good news is that SEO does work for most people and can generate a positive return on investment (ROI). All it takes is the right expectations, a reputable SEO agency, and the desire to improve your online presence.

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Does SEO Work For My Business

A proper SEO campaign requires a broad mix of technical optimization, content, link building, PR, and analytics, just to name a few. Whether you rely on an agency for help with all of these items or handle some internally, you need all of these pieces to overcome the hurdles many companies face that cause them to lose faith in SEO. When it all comes together, you’ll know your SEO is working when you see the following happen:

1. Keyword Growth

When SEO does work, you should expect to see improvements in both the total number of keywords you rank for and the position in the search results where they rank. Proper on-site optimization, great content, and continually building your authority will help you rank for more terms, rank better for those terms, and drive more online traffic and sales.
Keyword Ranking Growth

2. Traffic Growth

When SEO does work, you should expect to see a consistent increase in organic traffic growth. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have a down month but as you look at the bigger picture, the trend will tell you if you’re on the right track.
Organic Traffic Growth

3. Sales Growth

When SEO does work, you should expect to see an increase in leads and sales. Conversions are the ultimate test of success and often the final observable piece of the puzzle. Seeing a growth in rankings and traffic are great indicators but making sure that new traffic converts is what it really comes down to. This means making sure you’re going after the right traffic.

When Does SEO Not Work

There are situations when SEO isn’t the right fit or a few reasons why it may not have worked out. Some of the most common issues we see involve these three things:

1. Lack of Cross-Departmental Involvement

It’s crucial to involve your entire team across all relevant departments to achieve a successful SEO campaign. Every so often we see the demand generation team initiate an SEO campaign without the web development team or content creation teams being included in the process. Since SEO can touch all aspects of your marketing efforts, involving other departments early on in the process will help increase efficiency and success.

2. Wrong Expectations

SEO can be an extremely valuable asset to your business but there’s no silver bullet. There’s rarely something an SEO person can do to your website in one week or one month that will dramatically change your organic traffic. Think about SEO similar to branding or building a reputation. It takes consistency, time, and a lot of hard work. Starting with the right timeline in mind will help the entire team commit.

3. No Ranking Opportunity

Organic search results used to be an area where nearly anyone could compete regardless of company size. While small companies can still compete, it’s not as simple as it used to be. Search engines favor high authority sites for short and long-tail terms, think Wikipedia and Forbes. There are also some search results, especially medically related, where Google favors highly trusted sources and doesn’t show smaller companies or products. Proper research for your industry and keywords should be performed to verify the actual opportunity to rank.

Is SEO The Right Fit For You?

Does it work for everyone? Not if the right pieces aren’t in place. To achieve the best results, make sure your team is on board with the right expectations. Get laser focused on long-term success and then buckle up for the journey. Those who put in the consistent, high-quality work, and resources will find success.

If you’d like help, contact us for a free consultation.


Can One-Time Search Engine Optimization Work?

No, search engine optimization is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and optimization efforts to improve the online visibility of your website. However, if a website is facing technical problems that prevent Google from accessing or displaying its pages, addressing these issues could have value as a one-time optimization task.

Is SEO still relevant in 2024?

SEO remains to be an extremely valuable component of an effective digital marketing strategy in 2024. While the search landscape has changed a lot recently, the underlying principles are still the best way to show up in search engine results. As long as your audience is still using search engines, SEO will remain relevant.