Search engine optimization (SEO) is known for being one of the most cost-efficient online marketing strategies available, but with one important caveat: it must be treated as a long-term marketing campaign. Most SEO agencies require their clients sign a contract for a minimum term of 6 months to a year or more for this purpose; no matter how much work you do, it's nearly impossible to see meaningful results after just a week or two of effort.
So let's zoom out for a moment. Assuming it takes anywhere from several months to a year to see results from your SEO campaign, what kind of results can you expect after a full year of effort?
The High-Level Overview
It should be no problem to create a full SEO strategy within the first few weeks, highlighting your target keywords and determining your path of execution. After that, you can probably knock out most of your onsite optimization-related tasks in the span of another few weeks.
Beyond that, most of your efforts will be focused on recurring additions, including blog posts and link building; the more time you spend on these, the more your authority and results will grow, but you'll need at least a couple of months before you start to see results.
According to Josh Steimle, you can start seeing actual results (i.e., increases in your traffic) around 4 to 6 months into a campaign. Depending on how much you're investing, you could start seeing hundreds to thousands of visitors by this point, but it's just the beginning.
According to Higher Visibility, it's possible to see a 44.27 percent increase in traffic after 12 months of effort--though this figure is based on starting with an existing stream of organic traffic. John Doherty validates these projections, stating that it takes about 12 months to see what your SEO campaign is truly capable of. At that point, progress will probably taper off unless you invest in bigger, better strategies to handle it.
Ultimately, if you put in a fair amount of effort, you can probably build your organic traffic figures into the thousands (if you're starting from scratch) or increase them by upwards of 50 percent if you're starting with a baseline.
Of course, there are dozens of variables that could influence the type of results you see after a year of investing, including:
How to Tell If Your Campaign Is Floundering
The real question on your mind is probably, "how can I tell if my campaign is failing after a year?" You want to know if, after a year, you're seeing worse-than-average results. So how can you tell that for sure, considering the complexity of the variables involved?
If you've spent a year on your SEO campaign and you still aren't seeing the results you want, it's time to change things up. Start researching new keywords targets, and consider changing your agency, contractors, or employees to get some fresh eyes on your campaign.You don't want to spend another year leading a stagnant campaign when there's so much to gain from a more worthwhile investment.
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