As a business owner, you’ve probably encountered numerous people who have said that you need SEO. And chances are, you’ve also heard that SEO takes a while. But when you have budgets and bottom lines to think of, you also need to know how long is “a while?” How long does SEO take to start working?

At Big Leap, we’re here to help demystify SEO time frames, so you can know how and what to plan for when implementing SEO strategies for your business.

SEO Is a Long-Term Strategy

There’s no denying that SEO is an investment. It’s a long-term strategy that requires patience, consistency, and effort. More importantly, it’s highly unique. As an SEO agency with more than a decade of experience, we can declare with confidence that every business needs a custom SEO strategy tailored to a number of different factors.

Just because companies may be competing in the same industry doesn’t mean that they have the same amount of content or require the same kind of SEO work. For example, if your site is fairly new, it’s very likely that it will take 3-6 months before you start gaining momentum in organic traffic and keyword rankings. A more established website with a higher domain authority and existing SEO won’t require as much time to gain traction.

Factors that Affect SEO Timelines

The timeline of your SEO strategy involve several factors, such as:

  • Your website – Its content, design, domain name, how long it’s been around for, and how much SEO has already been implemented.
  • Keywords – Search phrases that help drive traffic and find quality clients you want to help drive your business. More competitive keywords typically take longer to gain traction.
  • Your business – What kind of business do you have, and who are your competitors? Do your competitors have a long and solid history with Google?
  • Your current online presence – The strength of your overall online presence can greatly influence SEO results.

As each company and their online assets carry distinct histories and composition, there is no “right way” that things should be done in order to generate rankings and leads. A successful strategy requires expertise and up-to-date knowledge of the changing SEO market, as well as adaptability to adjust as needed. Engaging with your strategy requires moving with the changing tides of the SEO landscape consistently in order to produce lasting results.

It’s vital to find an SEO service that focuses on outcomes and thrives on building goal-focused strategies. What you want in the end is a dynamic SEO formula specific to your business.

Projected SEO Timeline

Though there is no right answer to how long your SEO results will take, we can provide a general SEO timeline of the first few months so you have an idea of what you might expect. Please note that this timeline is based on hiring SEO specialists like the ones at Big Leap to help you with your strategy.

Month One: Research and Preparation

The first month after launching an SEO campaign entails crafting keyword strategies, website audits, and planning the rest of the SEO strategy.

It’s important to step outside of the conventional keyword strategy and focus on ranking for a large number of natural language searches. A natural language search is when people use questions (“What are some creative proposal ideas at home?”) rather than a few keywords (“creative proposal ideas” or “home proposal ideas”).

With evolving voice-controlled technology today such as Amazon Alexa and Google Voice, natural language is growing and changing rapidly. Moreover, finding the right keywords largely has to do with your audience–how are they asking/searching for your products or services? It’s critical to understand the language and the type of content your potential customers are using to be discovered by the right audience. This takes time to research.

Though it may not feel like a lot is happening during this time, remember that it’s the planning stage and an essential component for a successful SEO campaign.

Month Two: Massive Website Audit & SEO Overhaul

The second month typically involves making changes to the website based on the results of the audit your SEO agency conducted during the first month. This is technical SEO, and it’s no small feat. In fact, the website audit we conduct covers 177 different points. The goal is to make your site performance more search engine friendly, which can give an important boost to your rankings. Other changes include optimization of your site content, and may begin a process of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t to bring relevant results to your website.

Month Three: Content Strategy

This is when you would start brainstorming content strategy ideas–blog articles, FAQs, whitepapers, product pages, etc.–to start incorporating keywords and craft valuable content to drive traffic to your website.

Month Four: Link Building

In addition to continuing content and technical optimization, your team will begin building a healthy link profile, or ensuring that your site carries quality outbound links and collaborating with other websites to craft inbound links. This is a good time to observe competitors as a way to identify potential complementary businesses you may want to partner with to help increase your domain authority and boost value for your readers.

You will likely start to see some movement in your traffic and rankings during this month. Though they may not be significant, they should be good indicators of whether your SEO strategies are working or not.

Month Five: Social Integration

The fifth month is when you will have social media strategies in place to help bolster the visibility of your content to help bring in traffic. Not only can this fuel natural link building from other relevant sites and businesses, but also foster lead generation.

Month Six: Optimize for More Conversions

Depending on how your traffic is doing, this may be a good place to integrate a conversion rate optimization into your strategy to help convert your visitors into leads. This sixth-month mark is also a good time to project the next steps into your strategy. For example, you may want to focus more on content strategy or social media to promote your content.

Though you might typically hear that it takes roughly four to six months for businesses to see SEO results, it’s worth noting that this is simply the time it takes to actually begin seeing results. If you don’t see substantial movement in the first few months, don’t give up. Don’t let the SEO time frame dictate your success.

Does SEO Really Work?

With a long time frame to see results, it’s natural to wonder if SEO really works. With time, consistency, dedicated effort, and a clear understanding of what to expect, an effective SEO strategy is a worthwhile investment. Remember, great things take time and effort.

Start Your SEO Strategy Today

Big Leap understands that SEO is an evolving journey that requires time, commitment, and innovation. Contact our SEO experts to see how your own customized SEO strategy can give your business a boost online.

Janet Lee
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