SEO FAQ For Small Business 7 of 10 – How Long For SEO Results? (SEO Results Time Frame)

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, search engine optimization takes time and effort. In this article we’ll discuss the basic time frame in which you could expect results.

The hours and effort needed to increase the visibility of your small business website depend greatly on your marketing plan and which keyword you’re going after. Let’s take the term mortgage calculator. If you were to advertise your mortgage calculator with Google, the Google Traffic Estimator shows an estimated 600 to 752 clicks per day with a projected AdWords cost of $2,070 – $3,680 PER DAY for this keyword. There are 24,900,000 Google results for this term, and 510 associated keywords. Google Keyword Tools also reveals approx 890,000 searches for this term in a month.

This is some serious competition and your chances of getting on the first page of Google in less than a year is possible, but not probable. The top Google site for this term is Alexa ranked at about 7700 in the US with over 60% of the traffic coming from search engines. There are still ways to compete with this particular website on this particular keyword, but it would take a while. This top site gets a majority of the traffic for the term.

As a minimum time investment, you should be committed to performing (or contracting for) at least two hours a day, three days a week, for at least three to six months, with a review of progress and re-evaluation at the three and six month mark. You may very well experience a noticeable traffic increase in only four or six weeks, but to get onto the front page of a search engine will require two or three crawls of the site by the search engines after optimization, and you have no control over when, and if, that happens. A year-long optimization campaign is not unheard of for a large site. If your site is less than three or four months old, or the domain is expiring in less than a year, you may have issues with high rank despite your best efforts as these are ‘red flags’ to the search engines.

Don’t forget your off-page efforts as well. This will be the subject of the next article. Take into consideration your other sources of product or service promotion and notification. I’m speaking of your existent customer base, your business related social network (or lack thereof) and your business blog. These are invaluable resources for the formation of ‘inbound links’, article or video reviews, and “join the conversation”. Remember that “joining the conversation” is customer service and a means to an end. Talking about your site or services is a fine thing, and handling issues is a must, but if you’re not converting your conversation or generating calls to action and practicing the ‘principle of reciprocity’, then you are not using your off-site network to its fullest potential. Conversations are mostly listening, but more importantly hearing.

No matter your business battle plan, it will take time to formulate and execute. Tell the principals involved (CEO, CFO and CIO) that they need to budget at least six months for the project, with reviews occurring every ninety days to check on progress toward the pre-defined goal. And please don’t end the project when you’ve exceeded your goals. You’ve gotten more than you expected and should continue to reap the benefits. If it works for you, continue to work it until your growth curve begins to flatten, and then do it again with another ‘angle of attack’. You can have “too much exposure” in the same respect you can have “too many customers”.

Next time: Social Media and SEO.