“When will I see results?” is one of the most common questions SEO pros hear. I’ve already written about the subject, saying with plenty of caveats that you should see some changes in a couple of weeks, but that’s just change.
As I was preparing quarterly analytics reports for clients this week, I was looking at changes for some newer clients, but I was also looking at serious results for long-term clients.
New clients got reports of 45% increases in search traffic or doubling of social traffic, and those are exciting changes to see. They also sometimes get reports showing small but steady gains, because their circumstances — the quality of their website, the competitive landscape in their field, the limitations of their resources, the nature of their product — mean that they’re not going to see great leaps.
Established clients get less exciting reports:
- Traffic increased significantly again this quarter.
- Engagement levels continue to be high.
- Year over year conversions increased again.
These are not break-out-the-champagne reports, perhaps, but these are also the clients who share with us the improvements in their business results and the increasing value of their web presence.
Optimizing your website can definitely give results: we often see impressive improvements in traffic and conversion within a few weeks. Studies of the ROI of different marketing methods over the past year or two consistently show that optimizing your website gives the best ROI of any marketing effort you can make.
But ongoing strategic work on your website — regular blogging, strategic use of social media, quality linkbuilding, effective use of testing and analytics — these bring your website to the point where you see, and continue to see, significant results every quarter.
This is when you can see and prepare for seasonal changes, catch and respond effectively to changes in your industry or in the way people use technology or in search engine algorithms. This is when you can integrate your online and your offline marketing to make the best use of all your assets. Sporadic small improvements can bring quick changes, but they can’t match these results.
If you’re serious about online marketing, you should make a serious commitment, either by diverting your in-house staff time to learning the skills and then doing the work, or by hiring people like us who already have those skills. Then you’ll see the results.