Understanding and setting realistic expectations is truly at the heart of any successful SEO marketing campaign. In this article, you will will be presented with a practical approach to understanding the fundamentals and how to set the proper foundation for establishing thriving, long-term client and agency SEO marketing relationships.


Understanding the Fundamentals

There are seven keys to developing any successful and lasting marketing relationship and strategy: reality, transparency, objectives, success metrics, timelines, personality, and flexibility.



Simply put, SEO is a long-term commitment for your business. It requires a consistent effort and investment in executing on tried and true SEO principles. Strategies such as auditing your business website to improve current technical best practices, like properly structured internal links, or developing a quality blog post that answers your target market’s most pressing questions, can ultimately lead to SEO success. Unlike paid advertising, SEO takes time to see the return on your efforts. Some campaigns may see positive results in a few months, while others may require a year or more. This understanding can help you and your company as you evaluate potential return on your marketing dollars.

SEO Marketing Expectations



Truth, or transparency as I like to call it, is at the core of any successful marketing campaign. Providing accurate numbers and honest insight, even when they shine light on negative results, is the only path forward. Being able to call a duck a duck provides the freedom to apply needed adjustments to strategies, tactics, expectations, internal conversations with stakeholders or your agency, and so much more.



Hopefully this isn’t too cliche, but it illustrates objectives perfectly. In Alice and Wonderland, there is an exchange often quoted between Alice and the cheshire cat. To paraphrase, Alice asks the cat which way to go, and the cat responds that it depends on where you want to go. She replies that she doesn’t care, and the cat responds that it doesn’t matter then which way you go. Setting objectives, defining goals, and measuring and communicating often, allows you to plan for the results you want.


Success Metrics

Success metrics are different than objectives in that they allow you and your agency to measure, report, and compare apples to apples (e.g., keyword rankings, organic traffic, leads, etc.). Defining the success metrics and KPIs for the work you accomplish together will help to better align expectations. Clarity on what success metrics you want to tack and improve is key.

SEO Marketing Success Metrics


 At the beginning of any SEO campaign, it’s important to consider the realistic timelines involved with your objectives and correlating success metrics. Each situation is different and can be adjusted based on what you want to accomplish. For example, if you want to have 1st page organic visibility for certain keywords, there is a timeline involved. Defining timelines early and often, especially when objectives change, is a great best practice.



 Try to align your and your business’ personality and values with an agency that complements your own. This can ultimately ease ongoing communication and help to ensure you are on the same page. Much success can be had when egos are put aside, personalities jive, and synergy is reached.



Stay flexible. Remember that much of marketing requires constant vigilance in determining what works and does not work for your business. Marketing is an ongoing process, not a destination.


Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this quick read on a practical approach to the principles for setting realistic expectations in your SEO marketing campaigns. Dedicate yourself to learning and measuring these principles as you apply them and improve.

Darin Brooks