In part 3 of our one stop guide to SEO series, we’re going to get realistic about the time frame associated with SEO (and yes, we are giving you the truth about time frames not the stuff that SEO sales people feed you to get you to sign up).
In short there’s no way to answer how long SEO will take–there’s literally thousands of things that can influence the amount of time it takes to get your website ranked on page one or more importantly in the top 3 positions. However through this post we’re going to look at the main factors that influence time frame and explain how to understand your company and it’s SEO potential.
Local vs National SEO:
We’ve already written several articles talking about local vs national SEO, however in short this will have a dramatic impact on how long your SEO takes. Let’s assume you’re a small diner. Are you competing locally with other diners or are you competing nationally with companies like McDonalds, Applebees, and other enormous companies? Are you servicing a specific city, county, state, region, country, or globally? In general the larger your service area, the longer your SEO campaign will take (or the more money you will have to spend to get quicker results).
SEO Cost and Time Frame
I always tell people I just need one of two things from them to get their website ranked: I either need 1) a decent amount of time for the project or 2) a large budget to get things done quicker. As long as you have one of these two you are a great candidate for SEO. Obviously the more money we put into your SEO the quicker we will see results. So if you have a small SEO budget like most small businesses, it’s important to be patient with your results as they may take a little longer.
Long Tail vs Competitive Keywords
Keyword choice also plays a huge role in time frame for SEO. If we’re going after a competitive keyword, for example “SEO”, then it will take years to complete and tens of thousands of dollars. If we’re going after a medium competition keyword such as “small business SEO” then it will likely take several months and thousands of dollars. And if we’re going after a low competition keyword such as “small business SEO services Chicago” then it will take usually only a few months and several hundred dollars.
Paying Up Front vs. Paying When You’re Ranked
This is probably the most important part of this article and the most important thing for small business owners to understand. Some SEO companies are using a performance based pay model these days. Let’s look at two examples of paying up front (such as our pricing model) vs paying when you’re ranked:
Model 1: Paying Up Front:
Let’s assume we have a regional company with moderately competitive keywords that would take us approximately 6 months to rank on our silver SEO package which is $297 per month. This comes to a total price of $1,782. Our SEO methods don’t work overnight, however they do work in the long run–the results we achieve are hard results that stick and don’t go away easily. Additionally there’s a chance we could rank you even quicker than this, which would save your business money.
Model 2: Pay For Performance:
Let’s have the same assumptions as above but assume we’re looking at a pay for rankings or pay for performance model. In this case, an SEO company might charge $1,500 for page 1 rankings, $2,000 for top 5 rankings, and $3,000 for #1 ranking. This is great–you only pay when you get ranked–but there’s a HUGE problem with this structure that many business owners never think of. There are ways to manipulate search engines by using spammy SEO tactics. This can certainly lead to getting your website ranked very quickly, but these results never stick. As soon as search engines catch on to this, your website will fall like a rock right off page 1. But you’ve already paid the SEO company because they fulfilled their contract by getting you ranked, yet they offer no guarantee or refund if you lose your rankings. It works to their advantage to get you ranked fast using any way possible so they can get paid.
So in summary, SEO time frame really depends heavily on the specific keywords, market, niche, and model. The best way to understand the time frame of SEO for your specific industry is to contact us for a free consultation–we’ll take a look at your website and market niche and give you a rough estimate of what we think and how our services can really help your bottom line.