People who are trying to acquire SEO services are often wondering how an SEO campaign works. This is a valid concern, and in fact, this is directly related to the question of how long will the campaign take to generate relevant results. And when we say relevant results, we mean results that we can directly compare with the goals or the KPIs identified early on before the SEO campaign even started.
How long will it take to see results from the SEO campaign?
The simplest answer to the question is around four to six months of doing SEO. It could be earlier or longer, depending on the competitiveness of your niche. If it’s more competitive, then it could be between the seventh and ninth months.
Apparently, determining a timeline of SEO results is too daunting a task because of this reason. Factor in algorithmic changes, and timelines will be a total mess. What’s more, websites are not created equal, which also explains why an algorithmic update produces winners and losers regardless of how update-proof the website is.
With this said, some prospects are wary about acquiring SEO services. Translating changes into tangible benefits is a challenge. Not to mention when the website is previously penalized by Google through deindexing certain pages or the entire website.
Other times, the commitment of the client (or the lack of it) also affects the progress of the campaign. For instance, when asked for credentials for proper configuration of Google Search Console and Analytics and it took the client a week to provide them, then it’s a week less towards seeing results. Thus, SEO is a two-way path.
What happens in the first six months of the SEO campaign?
Whatever the obstacles, though, SEO is a collaborative effort. There are at least two partnering entities: the client’s team and the SEO team. Both can work on a realistic SEO campaign timeline through the guidance of the SEO team, of course.
First Month of SEO
The bulk of research occurs here in the first month of the SEO. (This may also carry on until the half or entire second month of SEO, depending on the initial work that needs to be done).
During this month, the SEO team will conduct thorough research, site audit, keyword planning, website adjustments, and content creation. Please note that content creation is an ongoing process.
The campaign typically starts with the team getting to know your brand. There are no two brands alike even when belonging to the same niche. That’s why understanding the brand is important. It takes more than knowing its products and services and the target market. What’s more, it is critical to determine its values and ideals.
Getting a good grasp of the competitive landscape, and how the brand is currently performing against its rivals. Understanding the industry, the specific niche, the competitors can lead to penetrating the industry using granular topics or those content targeting industry keywords.
The second most important step here is to evaluate the website. The purpose is usually to distinguish how SEO-ready the site is. It does not matter if your website is new or existing for at least a couple of years一the process is fundamental to the SEO campaign.
Specifically, the SEO team will analyze the structure, content, and overall UX (user experience). The team usually uses more than one tool in conducting a site audit.
A report outlining the SEO recommendations is usually forwarded to the client for insights, and for making them guided of the next processes. The recommendations exploit the areas of opportunities. This report is actually the game plan including a list of strategies for implementation.
Keywords guide content. So if you don’t have proper keyword planning, then don’t expect to have effective content. Content is king, right?
In keyword planning, the client will be furnished with a list of branded and generic (or unbranded) keywords that they can choose from. Again, the process requires the guidance of the SEO team because there are certain parameters to choosing the right ones. Some of these are:
- Combining branded and generic keywords
- Combining similar keywords into a group
- Targeting one keyword per page
Essentially, you want a keyword plan that has highly converting keywords to target with moderate to high monthly search volumes. While this differs depending on the needs of the website, the SEO campaign may start with fifteen keywords. Fifteen targeted keywords are much better than fifty fragmented keywords.
Technical SEO work modifications happen right after the comprehensive audit, which basically includes a technical SEO audit in addition to on-page, off-page, and content audits.
Much of the work is done at the backend of the website. Changes are introduced at the page level, making each findable and displayable on results pages. The audit will guide the changes to be made. For example, if the audit reveals missing or short meta descriptions, then the recommendations are to optimize them by putting a meta description on pages without one or lengthening the descriptions to the desired length of those with existing meta descriptions.
The importance of content creation cannot be emphasized enough. Keyword planning and content creation are interrelated. Keywords inform the editorial calendar, determining which keyword must be included in which content.
Additionally, the calendar includes information on the types of content to be used and the publication date for each. The SEO team does not just choose a keyword and the content type but also determines the fit between the two.
Some of these content types are:
- Press release
- Long-form (2,000 words or more)
- General content (product or service)
- Photo essay
- Shoppable post
Second Month of SEO
If website changes are not completed in the first month, it will carry on in the second month until all fixes are implemented. At this point also, content must be built up slowly along with the technical changes.
It means the client won’t see any significant changes ranking and traffic-wise during this period. In fact, it would be useless to do anything externally (outside the website) in terms of link building at the page level. So the focus of the SEO team is strengthening the domain (yourwebsite.com). All SEO efforts are concentrated here.
Content creation continues.
Third Month of SEO
More content is published while also improving the performance of the current pages. Blogging is mainly utilized to increase the chance of appearing in search results. This is the website’s opportunity to explore, more so that Google favors fresh and valuable content.
The SEO team focuses on building and earning more links or inbound traffic as well. The team also uses blogs and other content to boost organic search traffic provided that the posts appeal and resonate with the target audience.
A three-month comparison is possible at the end of this period. Nonetheless, the results can only be compared with the baseline or the initial data (as seen on Analytics and Search Console). Unless the SEO team is working with an existing website before the campaign started with few ranking pages and minimal traffic to the website, the baseline starts with zero.
Fourth Month of SEO
Based on the results of the three months comparisons, there could be some more tweaks on the website and changes to the overall strategy. At this point, the SEO team would have a good grasp of which strategies are working and which are not.
The parameters that are met are also important including the number of indexed pages, the volume of traffic for each page especially newly created pages, the ranking of the pages, etc. Bounce rates and the number of conversions, more specifically, leads and sales, are carefully monitored.
The focus is from this point forward is further developing a healthy backlink profile. So the effective SEO initiatives would continue and new strategies will be tested.
Fifth Month of SEO
This month is committed to publicizing improvements in content management and user experience through SEO efforts. In particular, social media will need to be actively engaged, and SEO analysts should focus on sharing press releases, etc. to amplify the visibility of content created to larger audiences, with the goal of increasing referral traffic to the website. The SEO should also focus on link-building by submitting blogs to reliable press release forums.
Sixth Month of SEO
At this point, the SEO efforts are all about maintenance and updates. Content is continuously published internally and externally. Updates on product and services pages are prioritized if there are any.
New keywords can be identified as well to target new audiences or to change non-performing keywords with probably performing ones.
All in all
How an SEO agency approaches what happens in the first six months after launching an SEO campaign generally varies. There is no one formula or clear-cut, standardized process. Several variables must be considered.
The right SEO company combines technical and creative expertise in making your SEO campaign a success. After all, the campaign itself is collaborative and requires the commitment of both teams.
For the SEO team, it is important to demonstrate the value of the campaign against the client’s business goals. The truth is, SEO is providing value to the client every month, though, the cumulative value that the campaign generated matters more. Quantifying results are important to clients, knowing how their investments are giving them the desired results and returns.
The need for transparency and honest communication cannot be emphasized enough. This is more so for making the clients understand how data impacts their business, going into the details and milestones on month-on-month progress reports.