How long does SEO take to work?

Probably the most asked question in our industry is how long will it take for SEO to work? If you look at our website, most of the content is about why SEO is a great idea for a business. Its a great investment, has an amazing ROI etc. and in all honesty that is completely true. Every business should have an SEO strategy, but what is the draw back to this amazing marketing strategy? Time.

Firstly, lets reword the question so it makes more sense from a business perspective; “how long will SEO take to make money?”. SEO isn’t about getting on the front page of Google for a few keywords that you want to rank for. Its about analysing your market and ensuring you come up on the front page of Google for the keywords people actually search for on a monthly basis. If you get that right then you will have a consistent amount of leads from your website!


So how long?

To answer this question I’m going to have to use an average scenario. Every business is different and every website is different so its impossible to compare two businesses as they will all be in different stages of the SEO process when they contact us.

Generally speaking it will normally take 4-6 months to start seeing results from SEO financially. What i mean by that is, although you will see results in terms of keyword movement and you will be able to watch your website climb the ranks month on month, it will take time before you start making a decent return on your investment.  when you start seeing results they will continue to improve as you build more links and write new content. Realistically its not something that happens overnight. It’s a long term strategy that involves investing in your business. Saying that I’ve never come across a client that has said it wasn’t worth the investment. Once you are on the the front page of Google for a number of keywords, with people visiting your site you will inevitably see a good return on investment.


The SEO Process

Although every business is different, the process will stay the same. The process could change depending on the budget you have allocated to things like link building and content creation but we can talk to you about that at the start of the project and come up with some time scales. In general below you will see the typical SEO process.

  • Month 1– If you are starting with a new website then this will be designed and developed within this month. As we provide a free website as part of our packages this is usually the case. While the website is being built we can take care of the keyword research and technical SEO on the site. If you are not having a new site built we will complete a website audit and start researching your market as well as completing the onsite SEO. This could include increasing the amount of content and looking at how to improve your conversion rate.
  • Month 2 – Begin technical SEO work, that is, making modifications to the website based on website audit results. In some cases the website needs to be overhauled, and this of itself can take months. Other SEO activities such as working on the link profile and building content can be done at the same time the overhaul is happening. If you find yourself in this overhaul situation, you’ll be doing “SEO” but you still won’t be seeing any results at all, since the changes being made will only start to have an impact once they’re finished. The second month will see use looking at your link profile, citations for local businesses working with you to increase conversion relevant factors such as customer reviews and case studies. Content creation will start with either blogging or local landing pages while putting together a link building and citation strategy.
  • Month 3 – At this stage we will have some data to work with regarding changes to your rank in the search engines. You should start to see an increase in your rank but only from the onsite SEO (keywords, content etc). No link building would have taken effect yet as it will take time for Google to process the links. The main focus will be on analysing the results and making any technical changes needed.
  • Month 4 –  We will now be entering a continued cycle of creating new content, improving your link profile (building links and removing bad ones). You should expect by this month to see a good increase in your ranking. It wont be close the improvements you will see after 12 months but enough for you to see that the SEO is working and you are moving in the right direction
  • Month 5 – at this point your Google rank should have increased enough to start seeing some leads from your website. Looking at this data will allow us to have a look at your conversion rate and make any further technical improvements to ensure we are able to convert a decent amount of traffic into leads. Content creation and improving your link profile will continue.
  • Month 6 – From this point on it will be a continued process of creating and optimising content, building links, improving your link profile, analysing data and ensuring your website is working at its full potential. You should have some decent case studies or customer reviews of your products as well as traffic visiting your website. We will still have a lot of work to do and what we do will be decided on the type of business you have.

Its important to remember that when you get to the 12 month stage with a good traffic flow you have built your website into a lead generating machine that will fuel your business for years to come. It might be decided that we reduce the budget we spend on creating content or link building to just maintain what we have done or the process can continue targeting new keywords, chasing new links and generally improving what is already working well. Congratulations, you have just added a valuable asset to your business!


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