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Things don’t always turn out the way you expect. Every single parent ever knows this—which is why there’s a legitimate manual on what to expect when you’re having a baby.
When I’m not wearing my mommy hat at home, I’m listening to small business owners’ struggles and recommending the best online marketing strategy for their needs. From both of these roles, I’ve found that what’s true for a first-time parent and a new baby is also true for business owners and their SEO results. In most cases I’ve worked with, the business owner either doesn’t know what to expect from their SEO campaigns, or they have a completely inaccurate perception of what “good results” are.
One of the most common questions I get is, “when can I expect to see SEO results?” I think we all know that SEO takes time, but what exactly does “take time” mean?
Below, I’ll walk you through what you can expect when you’re expecting SEO results with a (good) digital marketing company. Ready to get started on your SEO campaign? Contact us here!
What To Expect in Your First Month of SEO
“In the first month of SEO, all your wildest dreams will come true! Bags of money on your front door! A Ferrari in your garage!”
- Said no one ever (and if they did, they’re lying).
How many digital marketing companies have approached you with a cure-all that promises skyrocketing results in the first month? I’m guessing a lot, considering we get the same pitches and we’re an actual digital marketing company.
Here’s the real scoop: A lot of your first month of SEO will be spent poring over your current and previous strategies and results, establishing goals, setting up tracking, and digging into your competitors. Any marketing company that promises overnight results is either point-blank lying to you or they’re into black-hat SEO, which Google punishes harshly when they find out about it (and believe me, they always find out. We’ve had to reverse the damage of quite a few shady SEO companies).
What to Expect in the First Three Months
Over the course of the first few months, you can expect your SEO manager to clean up your website, expand your company’s reach, and nail down any and all factors that could be negatively affecting your marketing efforts. We usually implement more advanced, technical SEO practices to ensure your name-address-phone number (NAP citations) are all consistent. This can include optimizations, link building, local SEO practices—the list goes on and on.
Typically, SEO takes about three months or longer to start seeing the long-term effects. What you should see happen—if you’ve got the right SEO team—is alignment with your local citations and your Google knowledge graph. You’re also going to start seeing some definite movement in keywords. Your organic traffic should start to tic upwards (depending on the seasonality of your service and the time of year) and your account manager should have some concrete insights on your strategy.
What to Expect in the First Six Months
In the first few months our team will be tackling the “low hanging fruit,” but in months three through six we will be building out your subpages and adding a blog (if you don’t have one already). Our SEO team will prioritize your new content based on your goals and priorities, combined with our keyword research. You can expect to see an increase in organic traffic and leads. It’s hard to know exactly when your traffic will take off, but with our custom monthly reports, you will always know exactly where you stand.
SEO is a long-term strategy. If you want overnight leads, we suggest you pair your SEO efforts with immediate lead-churners like pay-per-click advertising (PPC). That doesn’t mean you have to wait years for results though—we’ve successfully provided outstanding results quickly, including a 300% increase in leads for an HVAC company in the first five months of SEO.
What to Expect in the First Year of SEO
Our case studies are the best examples of the SEO success you can have in year one. Take this one for GAC Services—an HVAC company in Maryland. Within the first year of SEO, they doubled their rankings, increased leads by over 300%, and saw a 91% increase in phone leads!
Want an another example? We helped an electrician increase leads year-over-year by 179% with SEO alone, and guided a law firm through the digital marketing word to increase organic leads by 220% in one year.
If you’re not seeing results after year one, there are bigger problems at hand. Typically, most SEO strategies should give you a good boost in leads and sales by the end of year one, regardless of your industry. If you aren’t converting those leads, it may be a customer service issue. If your CSR’s can’t convert the leads you’re bringing in, no amount of marketing will fix it.
One problem most business owners have when it comes to wrapping their heads around SEO: with so many moving parts that contribute to your overall web presence, there isn’t a secret recipe for success. Each company has their own unique problems and should have their own unique solutions. For example, if you have more than one location for your company, we might advise focusing on local SEO. If you’ve already built out your website and have tons of content, we may pursue enhancing your offsite online presence with additions like videos.
In other words, if a digital marketing company pitches you on a one-size-fits-all digital marketing plan, you should run.
What to Expect after 2+ Years of SEO and Ongoing Digital Marketing
Like I’ve mentioned before, SEO is a long-term strategy that should continually build on itself, regardless of industry. We’ve seen long-term SEO results skyrocket for all types of companies, from franchises (4,900% increase in organic visits), to kitchen designers (1,040% increase in organic website visits), to furniture retailers (8200% increase in monthly organic traffic). By year two, you should have good momentum with your content strategy, and it might be a good time to expand your services to amplifiers—those additional marketing platforms outside your website that can help pad your bottom line. Amplifiers that we’ve seen success with for our clients include:
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Social media advertising
- Email marketing
- Recruitment marketing
- Digital competitive analysis
Next Steps: How to Choose an SEO Partner
Switching digital marketing partners is a pain. I know. So when you’re shopping for a new one, above all, you need two things from your SEO company:
- A proven track record of results in your industry
- A good working relationship
The rest should fall into place, but without those two key factors you’re basically setting yourself up for failure. Make sure your digital marketing partner has plenty of case studies outlining the results they’ve gotten for similar companies, and make sure the data lines up with your own expectations. You may find that some companies emphasize a service that may not work best for your specific company or situation.
Aside from a proven track record of results, you need to get along with your account manager. Too many times have new clients of ours detailed a horrible experience with the previous company, not because of the results, but because of the working relationship. They didn’t listen to the company’s problems. They didn’t communicate work being done. They’re sticklers for hourly billing.
We emphasize our relationship with our clients because we think it’s important for our account managers to be able to level with business owners and really put themselves in a business owner’s shoes. I hate sounding cheesy, but our account managers really do act like owners and go above and beyond (we even require everyone in the company to become experts in “Hugging Your Customer”).
If you’d like to learn more about what Blue Corona can do for you, contact me. I’d be happy to walk you through a website analysis.
I look forward to speaking with you, and good luck with your SEO results! Remember, that first year goes by quick, so you will have a toddler SEO success before you know it!
About The Author: Jill is the business development manager with Blue Corona. Outside of work, Jill can be found at local farm breweries surrounded with her best friends, husband, and kid.
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