SEO is one of the best ways to bring highly targeted traffic to your website. SEO is known to have higher conversion rates than other forms of marketing.
The reason why it’s so effective is simple. People use search engines when they want to research products, restaurants, or services. The results at the top have the best chance to capture that business.
For all of the benefits of SEO, it can take a while to build up enough momentum to see results. How long does SEO take, and how can you measure SEO performance?
Keep reading to find out.
How Long Does SEO Take?
You decided to take the leap and focus on search engine optimization. When new websites are launched, or you revive your site after a while, you may have to wait a while to build results.
How long does SEO take? It depends. For new websites, you may be put in Google’s “sandbox,” which is a place that some sites sit before they appear in search results. The search engine wants to make sure that you have a legitimate site before it appears in search results.
There are hundreds of factors that so into search results. The search terms you choose to target will have an impact on your timeline. If you target a highly competitive keyword like “homeowner’s insurance policies,” it will take longer to see results.
If you target long-tail keywords that get a fair number of searches and are less competitive, you could see results a little more quickly. An example of a long-tail search is “how to get homeowner’s insurance.”
Other factors, like your website setup, speed, social media accounts, site content, backlinks, and directory listings, also determine your search results.
With so many factors at play, you can see why it’s so difficult to predict how long it takes to see an improvement in SEO performance.
Measuring SEO Performance
How do you know if SEO is working or not? The most obvious way is to go into Google Analytics and see how much traffic you’re getting from search results.
That doesn’t answer one question, though. Are you getting the right traffic to your site? You want to have people visit your site who are going to convert into leads and eventually sales.
You want to measure traffic to your site, how long they stay on your site, the conversion rate, and the keywords that are driving the most traffic to your site.
You want to have Google’s Search Console installed on your site. This will give you more information as to how your site appears in search results and valuable keyword information.
Working with an SEO Agency
You might decide that instead of doing SEO yourself, you want to hire an SEO agency to do the work for you. There are outstanding SEO firms to work with, while others resort to black hat techniques to get your site to rank high in search engines.
Black hat SEO will only get your site penalized because they fall outside of search engine terms and conditions. Those tactics may get your site removed from search engines altogether. Here are some signs to make sure you avoid those companies and know how to find the real SEO firms.
They Guarantee Results
Any SEO company that tells you you’re going to rank #1 in search engines in a few weeks is either not truthful, or they resort to black hat tactics.
According to this article from BearFoxMarketing, if an SEO agency promises you super-fast results you should consider this a red flag.
They Don’t Have a Plan
Most legit SEO companies have a process that they follow to get your results higher in search engines. In many cases, this will start with a website audit. They’ll take a look at your website and your businesses elsewhere online and make recommendations.
Other SEO companies will just give you a list of keywords that they think your target audience will use to find your products and services. That’s their plan.
Legit SEO Companies Look at Your Entire Business
SEO professionals understand that SEO is only a part of a larger marketing strategy. They seek to know everything about your marketing strategy and your business because they want to create strategies to fit with your business.
They also do a lot of research into your target audience and look at the entire customer journey. They know how SEO is impacted by other marketing tactics. They will become a valuable part of your marketing team, rather than an outside contractor you occasionally have contact with.
SEO Pros Provide Timely Reports
SEO may take a while to develop great results. SEO professionals know that, and they set your expectations accordingly.
They will provide regular reports that hopefully show steady progress. They go over what’s working well and where adjustments need to be made. They’ll also seek to educate you about SEO as they deliver their reports, keeping you informed every step of the way.
Keep Up to Date with Changes
Search engines are always changing. Google made more than 3200 changes in the last year. The way that SEO worked in 2012 is completely different from today’s SEO.
You want to ask potential firms how they stay up to date with all of the algorithm changes. They may make suggestions to prepare your site for the future. For example, more people are using voice search to find local information through Google Assistant and Alexa.
Improve Your SEO Performance
If you’re going to spend the time and energy to improve SEO performance, you need to make sure that you measure your results. How long will it take to see results?
It depends on several factors. You want to start by making sure your website is set up for success. You also want to study your target audience and use the search terms that they use to find your products and services.
Lastly, you have to measure your results. That’s the only way to tell if your SEO strategies are working or not.
Are you ready for more marketing insights? Head over to the Content Marketing section of this site for more helpful articles.