How Long Does SEO Take To Make An Impact?

Amit Vyas January 25, 2016

I've often spoken about SEO and the myths and falsities that surround this incredibly important aspect of digital marketing.  This article follows the same vein and challenges the age-old assumption that most businesses and agencies-alike make, which is that SEO takes a minimum of 3 to 6 months to make an impact for a business.  The reality is that by following the right processes and methodologies, impact can be made in a much shorter period of time and this article will help you to understand how this is possible.

So, How Long Does SEO Take?

Based on over 10 years of experience, I can honestly state that for businesses in most sectors, there can be visible impact on the back of high quality SEO activity within just 7 to 10 days.  In fact, we have had phone calls from clients who have generated leads within this time frame on the back of activity conducted by our

The initial steps that cause an impact

If you have engaged in any SEO work for your business in the past, then you'll be aware that most agencies will start their SEO activity by fixing any on-page issues that your website currently has.  At Nexa, our approach is slightly different and instead of starting here, the fist thing we do is understand more about your business, your customers and most importantly, your potential customers - those who will be using Google to try and find companies that provide the goods and services provided by your business.  

This approach allows us to base our work and activity on information and data that is highly relevant to a specific company.  With this data, any on-page activity that follows will be more tailored and specific to a company rather than be based on potentially incorrect assumptions.

There's ALWAYS an initial impact

If the above process is executed correctly, the impact on a website's ranking ability can be significant.  This often also depends on how competitive your industry is or the type of business you are in, but make no mistake, as soon as the search engines (such as Google or Bing) can better understand your website, your products and services, the sooner they can start to rank your website for related search queries.

How to maintain the initial impact and continuously improve search rankings

For many agencies, this is often the hardest part of any SEO engagement.  But maintaining search results and showing continuous improvements in ranking is the ONLY reason why any company should retain an SEO agency and therefore, this should be the driving component of any SEO engagement.

The key to success is driven by strategy

At Nexa, every client's SEO strategy is completely different.  This is based on their objectives as a business, the types of customer they are targeting and most importantly, the probability or likelihood that a specific search term of phrase that ranks well will convert that website visitor into a lead and a customer.  Without this focus, there exists the possibility that your SEO activity may lead to no leads and no sales.

How can you tell what SEO keywords or phrases produce leads and customers?

Whenever we speak to a new prospect, this is one of the questions that we love being asked.  More often than not, we speak to companies that proudly show how well they are ranking, but when we investigate further, we often find that the keywords and key phrases that they are ranking well for may produce traffic, but actually produces zero in the form of leads or customers.  

There's a really good reason as to why this happens

Sometimes, the most obvious keywords do not generate the best quality traffic and today, people use much longer search terms or keyword phrases to find the products, services or businesses than they did just a few years ago.  The reason for this is that internet users have become much more savvy than they were in the past.  Today, the average internet user understands that the more specific the search term, the more likely they are to be shown the most accurate search results by a search engine.  

For example, if you were looking to book a 5 star beach hotel in Dubai would you search for "Hotel in Dubai" or would you search for something more specific such as "5 star beach resort in Dubai"?.  You probably won't be surprised to learn that there are substantially more searches for the "hotel in Dubai" search term than the other example, but which one do you think will more likely produce the best search quality search results, which in turn will most likely lead to a user making a reservation?  Of course, the answer is the longer, more detailed search phrase and this phenomena is called the "Long-Tail SEO Approach".  

The Long Tail SEO approach provides vast opportunities based on the notion that users will search for products and services using a large number and variety of different search terms.  While the majority (in terms of volume) of searches will be focussed around a smaller number of more common search terms (think "Hotel in Dubai"), the majority of conversions will occur from more specific, longer search terms.

See the image below:


Understanding the Long Tail SEO concept is important because in the online world, we've all been trained to believe that the more traffic you generate on your website, the better your online success will be.  But in reality, this isn't often the case.  Success needs to be defined clearly and your website metrics should be focused on sales enquiries, leads, actual purchases or any other meaningful way to help measure the online success for a business rather than just the volume of traffic to your website.  The long tail approach allows you to target users who are much closer to making an active buying decision, which therefore provides a clearer link to sales from your SEO activity.

Today, businesses need to be aware of their company's sales cycle as well as their customer's purchasing cycle and the impact this has on their business and any search activity related to this.  Businesses therefore, need to target those who are at the early stages of the buying process and who are perhaps, at the information stage of the purchasing cycle as well as those who are further down the sales funnel (or purchasing cycle) and who are ready to convert into a lead or a customer.  It's important to be visible at each stage so your business remains front-of-mind throughout the buying process for a customer.  This builds trust in your business and will more likely lead to success.

Why target long-tail SEO keywords?

As already stated, longer tail key phrases by nature, are less competitive than more common search terms and also provide potentially more impact for a business as traffic from these keywords will have a higher possibility of conversion.  So, to go back to the original point of this article, using a strategic approach that considers keyword or key phrase competition on Google and the probability of converting website traffic into a lead or sale will help you to generate quick SEO wins for your business.  

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