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Unlike other forms of marketing in which you implement a strategy and start to see results in a short period of time, search engine optimization is a long term process to build a brand image in the search engines and online in general over time. Incorporating keywords throughout your website content and conducting link building activities isn’t going to guarantee any kind of overnight success.

Any legitimate SEO will explain this to potential clients before starting a campaign. Going into it with unrealistic expectations is just a recipe for disaster. While some clients claim to understand the process in the beginning, they often start to get antsy after a few months have gone by and they have seen minimal improvement, or even no obvious improvement at all. It’s easy to point fingers and blame the SEO agency or consultant, but the truth of the matter is that it takes time to find SEO success and depending on the competition, can be very difficult.

What is considered to be a successful SEO campaign looks different for every business and clients need to understand what “doing well” actually looks like. A client can’t be greedy and expect more than what is realistic for their business. If a small business is achieving thousands of visitors from organic search which is resulting in thousands of dollars in revenue, that is nothing to complain about. What sometimes happens is that clients put all of their eggs in one basket and invest so much in SEO that it limits their potential. SEO is extremely important, but every business needs to have a diverse marketing campaign that incorporates many different strategies across channels in order to generate more leads and sales.

What sometimes happens is that clients go into SEO with skepticism from the start, which will lead to negative thoughts throughout the process that will hinder any kind of positive thinking regarding campaign results. Sure, there are plenty of “bad guys” in the SEO world, but there are plenty of “good guys” too that do legitimate work to improve website traffic for clients. Clients that never completely get on board with a strategy are often the ones that get angry when they don’t see the results that they want immediately. They are quick to assume that they are working with a bad SEO agency. The truth is, they could be working with a good one. A white hat SEO strategy will take longer to produce results than a black hat strategy, but the end results will last much longer and benefit the website in the long term.

Just because a client doesn’t see results in the timeframe that they would like to see them, doesn’t mean that the strategy is bad or that they got “burned” by a bad SEO agency. It often just means that the expectations weren’t realistic from the start. The bottom line is that it takes time to see SEO results, but it is worth the wait.

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1 reply to this post
  1. It’s definitely important to set expectations and timelines when bringing on a new seo client. When I worked on the agency side we stressed TRANSPARENCY in our seo process. A client could login and see all the content, all the backlinks, all the onsite changes in a task list. Getting a view into the process and all the work going on helps settle nerves when clients don’t see results instantly.

    We also found that running a PPC camapaign kept them happy in the interim while SEO ramped up :)

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