It Takes Time To See Results From SEO
Six months. Usually, we hear it takes six months to see traffic from your SEO efforts. Sammie Ellard King joins the SEO Rant Podcast to explain why it's not that simple:
How long does it REALLY take to see traffic from your SEO efforts?
The value of having incremental goals
The problem with SEO case studies and realistic traffic expectations
How Long Does It Take To See Traffic From Doing SEO?
It's easy to get caught up in the drive to bring in traffic to a new site without fully appreciating how long this process can really take. Sure, 6 months is generally the length of time it takes to see traffic to a site. However, is that an actual realistic timeframe? Perhaps not. (Say it ain't so).
There's a loose consensus among SEOs that it takes about 6 months for a site to start really earning traffic. But even then, as Sammie points out, it all depends. Firstly, it depends on the type of traffic you're getting. Sure, after 6 months you might see that to start of what is some substantial traffic but very often it takes a few more months for that to really "settle in." It can take a good year for a site to really establish itself to the point where it's bringing in not only traffic but the right traffic and enough of it.
SEO Takes Time So Set The Right Expectations
SEO takes a lot of time and patience. This might sound obvious to some (I wonder if it sounds controversial to others). The problem is expectations. Telling a client it will take a good year for the site to really settle in, to the point where it brings in the traffic you want is not exactly enticing. Shortening the timeline doesn't seem like a bad option, but it is. At the end of six months if the traffic the site brings is not what the client expected that's an obvious problem.
The right way to go about it is to set expectations about direction. You want to show that you're on the way and are headed toward the ultimate goal. Having a check-in point after 6 months is a great idea if you contextualize it as such. If the client knows that the 6-month mark means the site should well be on the way toward substantial traffic, that's exactly what you want.
Part of the issue around setting these expectations is that I think we often have a warped sense of success from what appears on social. I equate a lot of the success stories and the like that you see on social media around SEO to a cereal commercial on TV. When you watch a cereal commercial on TV every single little piece of cereal looks amazing and the milk perfectly accentuates the luster that is the cereal. Of course, when you open your own box it looks nothing like that because in the commercial they sprayed varnish on the cereal and used glue instead of milk. The same with SEO case studies. From the outside, they look perfect. Everything went according to plan and the growth happened relatively quickly all things considered. That does happen but that's not the norm in a lot of cases.
Part of setting the right expectations around SEO, because SEO is a slow grind, means at times putting aside what you see everyone else doing and thinking realistically.
For more of the SEO Rant Podcast check out our previous episode on natural language and SEO