Are we there yet? The slow progress of SEO and what your digital marketing agency should tell you when you are signing up for these services.

You are starting your business or you are launching some new initiatives to help grow your customer base. You purchased your domain name and contacted a digital marketing company to talk about a plan of action for your website design and your social media management. Then the topic of an SEO (search engine optimization) campaign is brought up by your web developer. It is exactly what you want—more customers to land on your website and give you a chance to sell them your products and services. What good is a custom web design if no one sees it? Before you know it, SEO is your superman, your knight in shining armor and Peter Pan all rolled into one. But it is important to ask two questions: What will it take from me and my digital marketing agency to get SEO up and running? And how long will it take before I see results?

The reality is, if you knew the truth, you may shy away from a very valuable tool. SEO is like the blind date with a good personality. You have to get past the initial lack of attractiveness to appreciate what it can do. That is likely why your web developer will not start his sales pitch with answers to the questions above.

So let’s talk about those two questions. SEO services will require an initial effort and ongoing maintenance from you and your digital marketing agency. This is why there is usually a monthly fee for services and in many cases, requires that you commit to a contract period. Your web developer or digital marketing company should have already laid the groundwork for an SEO campaign by including good content in your website design. Key words should be part of the text used as well. But beyond that your SEO team has to start working behind the scenes to get your website higher up in ranking by registering it with the major search engines. That means that while you want to conquer the world, you may want to focus your geographical area to a much more limited area. Your SEO efforts have to go head to head with those of others. The bigger the pool the greater the competition for ranking. This should be a strategy that you discuss with your website designer or your digital agency.

Also, to be addressed is the role of blogging using key words for the search engines to crawl. Unless you are a professional writer or you have just been good at putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, it is probably a good bet that you may not get around to this task. Not to mention that you will likely need at least 30 blog articles to make a difference. Your digital marketing agency or web design company will not provide these services.

The only other option is to buy articles from technical writers who blog for a living. You will need to provide them with topics related to your business and key words. Oh, and those articles which are well written with good content are going to cost you about $40 a piece. In addition to six months of SEO services from your web developer at about $500 per month, you will need to spend another $1200 on blog articles. That means you will need about $4200 for a six-month SEO campaign. For a new or struggling business, that can pinch resources quite a bit. So SEO becomes a significant investment in your company’s future.

That brings us to another important question: How long will it take before I see results? Well, that depends will be the answer your digital marketing agency will tell you. The age of your domain name, the history of it, the amount of competition in your area, the size of your geographic reach, and the aggressiveness of your competitors’ SEO efforts are all factors. The reality is, SEO is a slow cooker initiative and not a deep fryer event. Best case scenario is that you will begin to see results in 4 months. The most likely results will come in 6 months. And you will only enjoy the full impact over a twelve-month period. You and your web developer or digital agency need to have a serious talk about the length of time their analytics say it will take to start seeing an increase in traffic to your website. SEO is a long-term investment in your business, not a quick fix. But if you are willing to put time and money into an SEO program, you will definitely see the results. Your digital marketing company should have stats to show you from other customers they have served.

For those new in business it is important to understand that patience will yield ongoing and long-term results and that SEO services require focus and an eye toward the future.

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