SEO is the most frequently invested digital marketing strategy, and it is also the most misunderstood.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to achieve organic traffic from the search engines. More than 92 percent of online searches are performed using Google, so most SEO agencies focus on ranking content on Google exclusively.
This article is intended to help individuals new to SEO, or who have recently invested in it and are wondering why their sales numbers aren’t suddenly blowing up, understand why SEO doesn’t garner instant results while showing the value of patience in the process.
Why does SEO Take Longer to See Results?
While paid media gives instant results, SEO often requires time. Based on the industry, organic competition and search volume, earned revenue from organic traffic can result in two weeks from the time of strategy execution, or in two years. Any top growth-driven SEO agency will be able to give their clients a rough estimate on how long it will take to rank content, and convert it’s organic traffic to sales. But they must stress the fact that the SEO process comes with many unknowns and there is no guarantee when specific sort-term and long-term goals will actually be achieved.
SEO takes longer to get conversions because the process requires building equity. Google favors ranking websites that are perfectly optimized, and this in of itself requires trial and error. Then you must feed your site fresh, original content that focuses on the right topics, using the right context that makes it relevant to your searcher’s needs–another trial and error process that requires a great degree of market and consumer research plats in, not to mention the process of building a healthy backlink portfolio.
The best SEO agencies also run ongoing technical SEO audits, content audits, engage in relevant link building, go through the continuous process of discovering and removing toxic links, and watch their organic competition to ensure the strategy stays ahead of the curve.
In short, SEO’s process has a number of working pieces and therefore it can take some time to achieve high rankings in Google, followed by revenue generation from organic channels. But once you are ranking for the right buyer audiences, you are set, so long as your SEO agency has a solid maintenance program for ensuring continuous engagement from organic traffic sources.
The Grand Illusion of SEO
The process leading up to the time your content earns high organic ranking gives the illusion you are pumping in tons of money with no return. But this is not the case.
Think of SEO in terms of building a home. Before you can decorate it and move in, you must first hire a contractor to survey the lot, draw up the plans, set the foundation, build the walls, add structural supports, flooring, plumbing, electrical, insulation HVAC, counters, cabinets and so much more. The most expensive components to building a home go into the construction process, and the exact same logic applies to SEO. So while it may seem like you aren’t getting any results, you are. Just make sure your SEO agency shares a monthly progress report demonstrating month-over month growth in website engagement metrics and rankings.
Once the process results with top organic ranking, the phase on maintaining that high-level visibility will roll out, and by this time you will be earning significant revenue increases well on your way to seeing an overall healthy ROI.
SEO Appears Inexpensive, but it can Offer Cost-Saving Flexibility
Once the process results in your ranking on page one of Google for multiple primary keywords and search phrases with context reflecting your buyer’s needs, you will likely attract your ideal customers with a CPC (cost per click) that, by then, can be extremely low-cost, if not free.
Often, businesses investing in SEO will shift some of their marketing funds towards other digital marketing strategies if they are already ranking well and earning revenue from organic channels For example, you may spend $2500 a month on SEO, and once you are earning an average of $6000 in sales every month from organic traffic, you may be in a good position to shift your dollars to other strategies aligning with your buyer personas such as email marketing campaigns, creating white papers, and downloadable guides. Collected data may also support running paid media campaigns as a way to enhance sales. All the while, your SEO team will still monitor engagements and rankings, and if a sign surfaces showing that your competitors are gaining ground, you can refocus some effort back to organic strategies.
This is one of many reasons why the process of SEO is worth the wait; your CPC will be dirt-cheap, and you will have the freedom to move dollars around investing in the right strategies, at the right time.
Once You Stop SEO, It can Still Keep Working
So long as your SEO agency really knew what they were doing and had an exceptional team of content strategists, your ranking and sales from organic traffic can continue for months, even for years once efforts are paused. Go ahead and perform a number of Google searches for a variety of queries and you are bound to find results on page one of Google that are several years old. For example, look at the screenshot below. When Googling “how to make lightsabers”, the third organic result on page one of Google is four years old!
Why does this article still rank well after all these years? Because the content WAS WRITTEN TO RANK WELL, speaks to the needs of their target audience, and continues to be engaged by searchers. This is key; as people continuously click a link in the SERPs, spend a significant dwell time on the page reading the content, and click through to another page on the site, powerful signals are sent to the search engine letting it know the content is of high value to readers.
Patience in SEO is a Virtue
If SEO had a magic light switch that would flood businesses with sales and instant rankings, everyone would be doing it. But it is a process, and it requires internal marketing teams, CEOs and business owners to have realistic expectations and have patience while trusting in the process.
So long as your SEO agency is able to show you consistent engagement and rankings growth in your monthly reports, there is no need to panic or even think another agency can do a better job. All too often businesses quit working with their SEO agency even six month in because they expect sales to be pouring in by then, or they stop investing in organic search strategies all together. Allow the process to evolve, and you will be basking in the glory of hitting those high-revenue targets. Just make sure to ask your agency to explain how the monthly growth reports are on track to generate sales from organic traffic, and always be on the same page with the steps to the process, and the next steps to come.
Learn how a Modern Approach to SEO in 2019 can Help You Hit Your Revenue Targets
Download our FREE guide to the modern SEO approach, learn how it works, and ask yourself if your company’s goals align with the strategy. Then give us a call and let’s explore options that make sense for your unique organization and its long and short-term goals.