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How long should SEO take before you see results?

Posted on September 30, 2009

 

When you hire a professional SEO company to optimise your website, naturally you expect results. You expect your rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages) to improve, your traffic to improve and subsequently your sales or leads, meaning your ROI (return on investment) to also improve.

But how long should this take? How long before your investment in SEO starts to yield results and your site starts to move up the rankings?

First off, this depends on a number of factors:

The competitiveness of your industry
As with any form of business, if your industry is very competitive online then you’ll have to do more, and wait longer, to see any results. If your industry is in finance, personal injury, medical or adult then you’re competing with some very large companies with even larger marketing budgets. You won’t be able to set up a loans company and compete online without a sizable investment in your SEO.

Your starting point
Where your website is starting from is also a factor. If you have a ten year old website with hundreds of links and indexed content then you’re starting with an advantage over the person who sets up a new domain from scratch. An established website will always have the advantage over a new one, so you need to keep that in mind.

Your budget
The level of SEO required by a website varies, and if the budget is small then sacrifices have to be made. Sacrifices such as slower link building, fewer content articles or no development of website tools will slow down an SEO campaign.

Previous SEO, whether bad or good
This can be a huge factor in the success of your SEO. If you have had SEO before from an SEO company then you could be in a strong position from which to move forward, or you could be in the weakest position of all, having just been found out by Google for spam, link buying or duplicate content. If you’ve had SEO before, you should tell your new SEO company immediately to save any time and mistakes down the line.

Your expectations
This is again important to clarify before any SEO campaign can begin. If you believe that your SEO company can get you on the first page of Google for any phrase then you’ll be disappointed. Your SEO company should advise of what is possible and what is not at the outset, that way you won’t feel let down in the long run.

As for the original question, how long should SEO take before you see results; you could see your rankings improve to the point that you have first page listings in a matter of days or it could take more than a year. Ask your SEO company for realistic projections for their work, they should be able to tell you.

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