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Community question: What’s an expected timeframe before I can see SEO results? Is 3 months too fast?

The Political answer: It’s the Democrats or Republicans fault.

The Short Answer: It depends, it’s like growing a tree so you can’t rush it or google will penalize you for “gaming” the system. Have you ever done it before? On average it takes 9 to 12 months to get the results that satisfy them as long as they can afford it. By afford I also mean on average around 3 to 4 thousand dollars. I wrote a post on the investment side and why click here. IF you’ve been in business for over 5 years and have gotten recognition then it could take 3 months or even less provided you’re in a non-competitive space. I’ve seen 1 month for people whose competitors have never even glanced at SEO.

Expanded answer: That’s like asking how long will it take me to lose weight? Why? Because everyone is different. Some rare people eat cheeseburgers all day and they have 6 packs. This is the equivalent to your friend who boasts about hiring a guy or gal on Fiverr and goes on link buying sprees and gains rankings. $500 they say and you get 500 backlinks and a ton of success (whatever that means). SEO today isn’t just a marketing channel you turn on or off. Like staying in shape if you don’t do it regularly everyone else will start looking better than you. Google is a very picky romantic partner and if they spot that extra flab there go your results! Google is gone, the kids are gone! Everything is gone!!! You get the drift. 🙂 Just like losing weight, 9 to 12 months is what most people need to be happy in our experience. The biggest challenge is once you make that commitment to remain consistent and also make sure you get monthly reports from your SEO provider! 8/10 SEO companies we interviewed didn’t provide business metrics for their clients.

The In depth answer:

3 months is a bad time frame. If you expect unrealistic results or are talking to a spammy company they’ll throw this out. This is why a lot of agencies sell yearly or 6 month contracts, most clients don’t have the patience then again a lot of agencies don’t measure client results or present them.

In the scenario that is rare which is: You have an insanely strong website because the Oprah Winfrey show talked about you or Forbes/other news publications covered you, but you never hired an SEO agency because you were too busy making money (yes folks we’ve seen it)…you can make great progress in 3 months.

There are super large companies out there who have never done SEO before, but have amazing online authority. Those are the campaigns I dream of doing (one can always dream).

For the average mortal out there: Businesses doing between 300k and 5 million in revenue yearly, SEO will most likely take an average 9 to 12 months of time to see satisfactory results.

What’s satisfactory? You ask. Well satisfactory means you can see measurable results in terms of business progress and are actually getting a 3x to 5x ROI (return on investment). This means that for every 3,000 dollars you spend you’d make $15,000 in return and maybe more if you count the extra benefits such as referrals or Of course it varies, but business owners especially small ones would consider that a worthwhile ROI.

Are you excited about spending $36,000 a year to make $180,000 plus? If you are then I’d say you should definitely start or keep talking to vendors. Some agencies also have different investment structures, most recently to cut down costs, we’ve created a shared work model where we train up our clients first then calibrate the price to what they can afford. The danger here is that if the necessary work doesn’t get done then the campaign results will greatly slow down campaign success.

Well keep in mind that this is for a full 3x to 5x return! You should see results in 3 months or even less. As an example for us, the typical campaigns first month includes: basic link building in the first month, heavy keyword research (needed for content) and technical updates. This is just the first month! We have to do this because the client likely has never done this, most websites just write a lot on their blog and pray to get attention (not a good strategy).

The most important thing we do in the first month is set proper business goals because most business owners don’t actually even know their metrics! Most owners don’t have google analytics set up properly or even know what their proper customer value is to see if a campaign is even worth it!

You might be saying: Vlad! I can’t wait that long!

Well below I go into things you can do to improve your SEO site ranking time. You can also potentially be in Google’s Sand Box aka, too new for google to even give you credit for anything if you got the below factors correct. Google implements this so hackers don’t just create really amazing fake looking sites overnight and game the system.

How do I speed up my SEO results?

To speed them up I’d suggest working hand in hand with your SEO vendor to make sure all the POSSIBLE work is done on 3 core factors: 1. Content – also known as Onsite 2. Link and Authority Building – also known as Off site 3. Technical work.

Evaluating these 3 factors is crucial when determining how long SEO will take depending on what shape you’re in on each.

Site Ranking Factor 1: Content

Does the site just write a bunch of random gobbly goop and have random keywords together? Maybe you think you’re doing a good job with content because you’re talking about the content, but your H1, Meta title and Meta description doesn’t include your main keyword?

Common Example: If you own a pet site and want to rank for the word “dog”. Is a separate page with knowledgeable content on par with other page 1 results on google OR is the dog just bunched in with your “animals” page not getting the attention it deserves?

Does your site write the proper amount of keywords compared to other terms which rank and structure content for each keyword well?

You need to do proper keyword research before even starting your blog, which most don’t do. I link a more in depth article we created for doctors to do this, luckily it also is the same for every other category.

Site Ranking Factor 2: Link and Authority Building

Has the site ever built any backlinks? At a basic level do they even have common social media sites linking back to them? If not google won’t view your site as an authority worth pointing to online.

The best content will get a backlink online and has loyal followers, however it’s harder today because people know the value of links.

PS if your website has social media sites linking back to it, then you should additionally be reaching out to directory sites, doing guest blog posts, getting featured on podcasts, etc to get even more backlinks especially ones pointing at pages you want ranked!

Your competitors are building specific backlinks just for 1 page targeting 1 specific keyword on google they want to rank.

Good backlink building looks a lot like good PR.

Site Ranking Factor 3: Technical improvements

You could have amazing content and great links being sent to your powerful website!

HOWEVER, it could lastly be that you have made small, but very important technical mistakes. These are things whoever coded your website should improve.

One example would be your site speed. If you have a super slow website then it doesn’t matter how many amazing backlinks and content you have, google isn’t going to rank it. Even if you did rank you’d a fraction of the traffic you should be getting.

Another common technical challenge we see with sites is their navigation bar structure. Does your nav bar look like this?

Or do you have pages that your readers have to work super hard to find?

Generally speaking the more important the page the fewer clicks it is away from the home page.

Other technical factors besides site speed and site structure would be having proper canonical tags, HTTP vs. HTTPS security, mobile friendliness and more!

If I had to pick 1 I’d say focus on site speed and site structure first they’re the easiest to fix. Then make your website user experience (UX) look great on computer as well as on mobile. 🙂

You can find more details on how to fix these factors by clicking on our SEO for Doctors Guide. These fundamentals are useful for every business we just happened to target at 1 specific keyword. 🙂

Anyways, those are factors we analyze that can greatly hamper or help you rank faster on google.

Of course NO ONE knows the algorithm I don’t even know if they fully share the whole thing internally.

What if I do all these things and SEO Still Doesn’t Work?!?!

There have been times when we ranked the client for all the keywords they wanted and they still didn’t get the success they wanted! So make sure to set proper metrics! As you can see above it takes quite a lot of work to beat out competitors who have been most likely doing SEO 5 to 10 years before you.

One thing you can do to make sure you’re going for good keywords is running PPC on them, or making sure these are questions your clients are asking you.

I strongly recommend knowing the basics of each BEFORE hiring an SEO agency or even “trying” SEO. You could end up wasting a lot of time. Paying a few hundred dollars you spend on educating yourself will pay off massively in the long run. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We just took on a campaign from a client who waited 12 months with a client because he was some success in the beginning, but then lost it. So set clear goals and make sure your vendor is legitimate!

Any more questions? I’m happy to answer. How long has SEO taken for you?