- By Dwaipayan, 13 October 2020 | 9 MIN READ
As a digital lead generation firm or a team, you perhaps have the question “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 for the keywords?” Well, the answer is not so simple, because the question itself is unwise (no offense). The vital question is born from a deep understanding of SEO that was once the reality but not any longer.
New SEO vs Old SEO
The earlier strategy was to identify the most relevant keywords to your business, got the most traffic, and wasn’t very competitive. You just needed to figure out 5-10 keywords that were your “golden keywords” and would bring in most of your traffic.
Now, it has become very challenging when someone approaches you and says “I need to be #1 for such and such keyword,”. As successful digital marketers we know they’re stuck in that paradigm. That keyword strategy is completely outmoded now, because with the emerging content over the internet with rarer exceptions no one keyword, and no small group of keywords can anymore drive a lot of traffic to your website matchless to what you can get from the long-tail keywords.
So here’s the bottom line: If you’re focusing on a small group of generic keywords, you’re probably out of the search results most of the people who are searching for you.
Times have changed, today SEO is driven more by natural languages, sentences that are often used in conversations, so it makes sense that the search questions will be more than two to three keywords. This is happening because people are using tools like Siri and Google to speak their searches and rather than typing them in.
People now are involving more words in their typed searches to find what they’re exactly looking for. Such keywords are much simpler to rank for because they’re not as competitive. Secondly, they are much more relevant because they cover more detail, and therefore traffic from these keywords converts at a higher rate.
Long-tail keywords often facilitate up to many more searches than you would get from your “golden keywords.” The objective: To focus on a much larger number of natural language searches (keywords) that are growing and changing rapidly.
Does Rankings Matter?
Yes, rankings do matter. But they’re not the metric you should be entirely focusing on. “We often have this question, how long does SEO take to start working?” you mean “How long will it be before I get top rankings?” if you think that SEO is the only way to boost your business then you may be wrong, Seer Interactive founder Wil Reynolds says “Getting rankings is an output SEO firms can easily sell because they’re emotionally satisfying, but they’re worthless unless they generate leads or sales”. So, it’s quite simple to hire SEO firms or SEO professionals who focus on outcomes, and not just outputs.
The Question You Should Be Asking
Now that you know how SEO has changed, the question you should be asking is “How long will it take for SEO to start generating leads and sales?”
The answer is…. It depends. Frustrating, isn’t it? But that’s how it is. Does the thing hinge on how long your website has been in existence? how much work on SEO has been earlier, how much content is on it, and also depends on many other SEO factors. However, here is a plausible scenario for what your SEO endeavors might look like during the opening months, and the results you might be expecting.
Month 1 – It all starts with some ground research work, website audit, keyword strategy, and planning. Research and discovery are the keys if done quickly, then technical changes could be initiated on the website within the first month. Words of wisdom: Research and discovery phase can last more than one month.
Month 2 - Begin technical SEO work, in some cases the website needs to be overhauled, and this in itself can take months. SEO activities like link profile and building content can be initiated simultaneously while the overhaul is happening. If you find yourself in this overhaul situation, you’ll be doing “SEO” but without any results at all. You can see the impact only when the changes being made.
Month 3 – It's time to focus on content creation. Blogging, whitepapers, FAQs, articles, expanded product information, etc. Ideally, you would have begun on this just after the strategy and planning, but every so often budgets restrict what can be done at once, and so a technical overhaul needs to come first. This being the case, you might start seeing some movements in rankings by the end of month three.
Month 4 – A continuous drive-in content creation, technical optimization of the website, and growth of a healthy link profile could help you to see a marked increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation in this month. You will not notice major improvements in 12 months into your SEO efforts, but it should be substantial enough that you know SEO is working.
Month 5 - Start incorporating social media management into your strategy to amplify your content and improve direct traffic to your website. Continue with content creation and possibly engage in some PR or media outreach. By doing this, you should be seeing more and more traffic coming in from SEO at this point and your leads grow.
Month 6 - If your traffic has reached 6,000 visitors per month or more by this point, start adding conversion rate optimization to your efforts to improve how the traffic you’re receiving converts into leads and/or sales. Threshold: Focus on content creation and promoting that content.
Many digital marketing firms will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. They are very true! But remember this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow in time. SEO results will move upwardly from 6 months and thereafter. Around 12 months you may see many activities in terms of viewers and CTA.
Businesses underrate how much time and money it takes to be successful with SEO. Success rarely comes within the first 3 months, even with a strong SEO budget. Companies get started the right way, but soon complain “We’re just not getting the results we needed to validate the cost.” This happens with unrealistic expectations. Paying for just a few months of SEO isn’t worth enough. SEO should be a long-term marketing goal, and shouldn’t be looked upon to generate sales quickly.
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