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How long does SEO take?

How long does SEO take?
November 29, 2018 James

Recently, I have had the privilege of having a truly outstanding SEO success story. It came about with the perfect combination of timing, strategy, and execution.

It’s hard to know exactly which of the factors were the most significant; the age of the domain, pre-established backlinks, the compelling copy, the outstanding conversion rates. And for this article, it doesn’t matter. From this outstanding starting point, the lesson I want to share today is how long SEO takes.

In this example, we took a website that was getting 60 web form leads a month (40 from organic, 20 from paid ads) to 576 web forms a year later (495 from organic). A year after that, we were able to build that to 852 web forms (705 from organic).

Over that time, we expanded the keyword breadth, focused on other services, built new pages, and diversified the channels for lead generation. We also tried various new strategies.

The best-case scenario

These results were not an accident. We carefully and systematically reviewed the data and made strategic choices. They were a perfect storm of success. In other case studies, some things we tried worked well while other things did not. In this case study, almost everything worked, and a ridiculous amount of growth followed.

This outstanding example – which was my best result in terms of pure numbers – still took 2 years to reach a dominant position.

Targeting new keywords

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In this example, we quickly saw progress from the main keywords we were targeting. Treating the client’s blog as a digital magazine, we also published specific topics of interest to our target market.

Progress was swift. The obvious next step was to duplicate this success, which is exactly what we did. We copied the same template, using new copy in the same style. We created a new page and created matching content. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

The page went live in July 2016. In December that year, it had 145 views for that month. In May 2017, it had 421 views. And October 2018, it had 738 views for the month – all from purely organic SEO traffic. That means it took a full six months before it was becoming clear that our strategy was being successful, and a full year before the page became a dominant page on the website.

How long does SEO take?

If you read the blog of any “SEO guru”, they seem to get tens of thousands of views in as little as a few months. They do it with so-called “simple” tactics. In reality, those views are the results of countless of hours, expensive budgets, and large teams that do all the legwork.

My results can be replicated by any small to medium business on a very modest budget. Results like the one I showed you above, while seemingly modest in comparison to the “dream results” promised by so-called SEO gurus, will still dramatically shape and grow your business into a runaway success.

Long tail keyword focus

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Our next growth opportunity, which has also become a success, took six months before even meager results were seen. We needed to compete for google searches for very specific service options, so we created 20 highly-targeted pages, and saw almost no movement on them.

At first, it looked like a flop. It’s now been 12 months and the results are convincing. I expect it to be drop in the ocean compared to what’s to come, and it shows clearly why patience is so important.

SEO is an investment

How long does SEO take?

SEO is powerful. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Find out what works. Keep pushing. It’s absolutely worth it.

A high-ranking website, when done well, gives you a steady stream of leads for years. Not all results will be as dramatic as this. But as one of the most powerful assets your business owns, it’s worth putting in the work.

Go for it.
James

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