November 29, 2010
I often run into potential clients who want to test SEO to see if it works for them, before investing in a long-term effort. “Let’s try this for three months to start out”, they’ll say, or “I only want the setup. That will give me everything I need. I don’t know about this dubious monthly support thing.”
I understand exactly where you are coming from. If only SEO were like PPC, where you saw *instant* results, and knew exactly where your money was going for each click. It’s also difficult to envision paying for something up front, and then having to wait an indefinite amount of time until you see results.
However, expecting SEO to be a one-time effort is like expecting to run a marathon after only one workout.
1. Most SEO initiatives take at least 6 months to even begin to measure results.
It typically takes at least 3 months to deploy initial optimized content – and then at least 3 months more before all engines have fully indexed your changes on a site-wide basis.
At the onset of any SEO project, there are lots of things to change, and lots of content to write and tweak. This doesn’t happen overnight. And finally, when all initial content is loaded, then the engines also need to discover and index this. While Google may spider your homepage within a day or two, it could take much longer to refresh your entire site in all search engine indices.
2. Month-over-month testing is required.
A effective approach SEO hinges on constant testing and refinement. Tweaking the 200+ signals that Google uses to rank sites is a subtle process. If we can’t constantly test what works and then improve what isn’t, then we can’t help you get better results.
At Big Daylight, much of our methodology depends on testing over time. Loading initial content in a “set-and-forget-it” fashion, where nothing is ever revisited, added to, or improved upon, would grossly impair our ability to obtain better results for you. It’s an oxymoron.
3. Smart SEO should never *stop* working for you.
Even if you are the dream SEO client with top positions on every term, monthly support is designed to uncover areas where your potential still is NOT being leveraged, whether it’s a YouTube channel with videos you forgot to tag correctly or a negative customer review. If you ever think you’re truly done with SEO, you may not just be done- you could be finished.
4. The search landscape is constantly changing.
Is your Google Places account aligning with Google’s most recent interface changes? What about your search engine rich snippets? Are you aware of the new capabilities for retailers with Google Merchant? An effective approach stays on top of of the latest industry trends, instead of being left behind.
Example: How Long Does It Take to Reach the Top 10?
We had one client that wanted to be in the top 10 for an extremely competitive term. After making a series of changes to their website, they had improved traffic on many terms, but not this particular one. It wasn’t until 10 months into the project that the client agreed to change some (highly sensitive) text on their homepage to incorporate the term.
That small change – combined with all the other site improvements – was the tipping point. They moved up into the top 5 and saw a huge increase on that term. However: this change did not happen overnight. Instead, it was the result of strategic ongoing testing and improvement throughout the course of a year.
Yes, the course of a year – and Chris Boggs would argue that the most comprehensive implementations take more like THREE YEARS. He’s right. The amount of time and energy you invest in creating strong, well-written, and well-optimized content is directly proportional to the amount of success you’ll see from any SEO project.
Written by Sarah Mackenzie.