One question owners of marketing and lead generation firms hear from clients again and again is:
“How long will it take my company to get ranked #1 for my keywords?”
It’s a question without a definitive answer because how clients view leads - and how SEO experts view the lead generation process - is quite different.
Keyword ranking is akin to investing in the stock market. As an investor, you hand your money over to a professional who understands the industry and has researched all the options. Once invested, results are not immediate, as the average stock can take months - even years - to generate a profit. Momentum takes time and patience and certainly isn’t achieved by constantly churning your account or flinching at every dip in the market. Keyword ranking works the same way.
SEO Has Changed
In the early days of Internet search optimization, keywords were the most important aspect of lead generation. The strategy was to identify the keywords most relevant to your business, and that generated the most traffic, without competing with other businesses in your industry. These days, if you’re only focusing on a small group of generic words, instead of long tail keywords, you won’t be found by the people searching for you.
SEO is now driven by natural language patterns. Today, instead of typing a few words into a search engine, people search by directly asking questions of Siri and Google. The more detailed the request, the faster the results. This SEO process is called long tail or natural language search, and it equals being ranked a lot higher than you ever would relying on a few “golden keywords.”
Successful SEO performance used to be based solely on rankings, but if those top rankings don’t translate into sales, what good are they? The better question is:
“How long will it take for SEO to start generating leads and sales?”
Don’t focus on the output, focus on the outcome.
How long will it take? Again, there is no definitive answer and that’s frustrating. Back to our stock market analogy, it depends upon how long you’ve been invested, how much you’ve invested, and how well you market your product.
- What’s the quality of your website?
- Is it loaded with high-caliber content?
- Does it have a diverse link profile pointing to high-authority sites?
- How much have you invested in SEO in the past?
Steps to Take to SEO Success
There is no silver bullet when it comes to attaining instantaneous results. If someone promises you a quick rise in ranking, you should run. SEO is a complicated process that involves research and analysis.
Step one to improving your ranking is an SEO audit. This discovery session helps determine your website’s weaknesses, ranking pages, and performance deficits. Armed with this information, technical modifications can begin. It’s possible your website may need a complete overhaul to get it right.
While your website is being re-created, focus on content. Expand your product and company information, write new articles, blogs, whitepapers, and FAQs. This is also the time to develop a healthy link profile and ditch any broken or non-performing links.
As you continue quality content creation and your website goes live with new SEO tactics, you should begin seeing an increase in traffic, rankings, and lead generation. This usually happens around the 4-month mark. This is also the time to incorporate a high-engagement social media strategy to build brand awareness and boost traffic to your site. Content creation is ongoing and an important component of converting leads into sales. It will take longer to optimize all the changes you’ve made, but within six months, your traffic should greatly increase.
If you can’t budget for 6 to 12 months of SEO, your money might be better spent elsewhere. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, not a quick-fix for a faltering site. As you settle into properly running your SEO campaign, with help from an expert, you’ll see that a successful SEO marketing plan offers a great ROI.