What to Expect When You’re Expecting SEO

Good search engine rankings take time. This is true for brand new websites and also true of older, legacy websites that have recently undergone a SEO (search engine optimization)facelift.

Our elders tell us that “everything worth doing is worth doing right” and “the easy way is never the right way.” This is especially true in the world of SEO, which is also, unfortunately, a world where patience is a scarce resource.

That lack of patience is understandable, too. When you’re paying for a somewhat esoteric service that you might not fully understand, it’s easy to get mad and claim that you’re being cheated when you don’t see immediate results.

I can empathize with that.

It’s kind of the same as taking our vehicle to the mechanic or taking ourselves to the doctor. Usually we don’t understand complex machines (automobiles, the human body) as well as these educated professionals do, so they might trick us into paying for something we don’t really need. They might trick us into paying for something ineffective.

Most doctors and mechanics are ethical people, though, and so are most SEOs.

I’m an SEO by profession, so let me tell you what to expect when you’re expecting SEO:

  • Expect to do your homework
  • Expect good communication
  • Expect to wait
  • Expect great results if you stick with it

Expect to do your homework

Before you start paying anyone for SEO services, and certainly before you undertake any of your own SEO efforts, you need to do some research.

  • Pay close attention to your potential SEO company’s website. Does its blog have good content? Is it helpful? Are they offering you some knowledge before you contact them or are they just pushing a service on you? Anyone who’s offering you some good advice probably knows what they’re doing.
  • You also need to see if that company is someone you can trust. Check their site for testimonials. Ask around and see if anyone you know has used their work. Check reviews.
  • When you call them, pay close attention and ask plenty of questions. If they answer your questions and treat you like a person instead of just trying to “seal a deal,” then you’re one step closer to finding a company you can trust.
  • You should also brush up on your SEO basics, just like you might brush up on the basics of your car’s transmission before you get it replaced.

The bottom line is that you need to do some homework on who you’re hiring and determine what your site has to offer. You need to find someone you trust, because that’s the only thing that will make the inevitable search rankings waiting game easier.

Expect to wait

Now that you understand the basics of SEO, your SEO agency, and your site, it’s time to play the waiting game. Good search engine rankings take time if you do things the right way, and that’s just an uncomfortable truth.

Once you (or the agency you hire) get through those SEO basics I linked to above, you need to think about backlinks. Great content (which you may or may not have) sometimes earns links and social media can help with traffic, but you can’t rely on either one.

Search engine visibility requires effective, high-quality backlinks. That means getting good links on relevant sites, which your agency should be doing for you. But it’s a waiting game.

If your site produces fresh content on a regular basis, Google’s spiders will crawl it regularly and that will help. But those good links also let Google know that you’re an authority and that you’re an important figure in your industry.

So how long does it take? You’re going to hate the answer, but it depends.

Every niche is different. Every website is different. A good link for you might be a horrible link for someone else and vice versa.

Also keep in mind that computers and robots don’t create links; humans create links. This requires actual human interaction, and you can never force someone to link to your site if they don’t want to. If they don’t see the value, then you’re not going to get the link.

For more tips on creating valuable content for your audience, check out: How To Speak To Your Local Customers (While Writing SEO-Friendly Content!)

We usually start seeing amazing results at the three-month mark. That includes a good site with solid SEO fundamentals and an estimated 10–20 hard-earned, relevant links. Those links don’t come easy and they take time.

Good rankings take time. You need to know what your agency is doing to help you achieve the results you want.

Expect good communication

Communication is the key to working with an SEO agency.

You’re busy running a business, so even if you know the basics of what your agency is doing (which you should), you’re going to need a brief-but-detailed version of what they’re doing.

You need to:

  • See what kinds of links they’re getting for you.
  • Know what they’re doing to your site.
  • Check out the content they’re producing.
  • Receive detailed rankings reports from them.

Let’s go back to my earlier analogy about doctors and mechanics. You likely won’t know/understand/care about the nitty gritty of what they’re doing and the exact processes, but you’ll want to know how they’re spending their time and exactly how they’re helping you.

When your agency explains what they’re doing, always ask this question — “That sounds great, but how is it helping me?

Ask that question as often as you can. If you hired an agency that always has a good answer to that question, then you picked correctly.

Expect great results (if you stick with it!)

I referred to this back in the waiting game section, but if you keep optimizing then you can expect amazing results.

SEO and link building aren’t just something you can do once, forget, and never touch again. It’s an ongoing process. Your competitors are engaging in digital marketing, too, so if you slack off and they keep going, where does that leave you?

If you keep on pushing, expect good rankings. It’s hard work and there’s no instant gratification, but patience will pay off. Your website’s situation is different than every other website’s situation, so what it takes to rank will likewise be a unique endeavor.

Remember that SEO is just one part of your overall digital marketing strategy. They’re essential, but you can’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

If, however, you’re willing to do your homework, ask the right questions, and be patient and invest in the long term, then you’ll see some great traffic and search ranking increases.

Originally published at www.wtcmarketing.com.