The question that everyone wants the answers to…
Rightly so! Everyone in the SEO space should be trying to get better and faster results, always. Failure to do this and you are failing as a company, as a service and your customers.
Search engine optimisation should be a serious investment if done correctly. This is not something that can be done once in 10 hours. It’s a monetary investment on the customer’s end. It’s a time investment on our end (not to mention the endless podcast hours we listen to, articles we read and experimentation).
But yes, this is an investment. With all investments, the idea is that you put in time money and or energy and hopefully end up with more time energy or money as a result of the investment.
Given that SEO work can be in the 5 figures a month range – a magic question is always begged of us and every other agency…
When will the magic happen? When will I get results? When will I finally be on page one?!?!
To many customers, they barely check Facebook, let alone how to manipulate the search engines and be favourable in Google’s eyes. This whole search engine thing is an absolute myth to them. A total mystery.
I point that out because we’ve had people before approach us for our SEO expertise in Derby and say the very same thing to us. Even local clients that are profiting from our service right now have no idea how we have done what we have done. I can understand you may think or believe it is a total mystery service…
But believe me, there are plenty of search engine optimisation best practices and an experienced expert in this industry should know the timelines associated with them.
Thats why you should thoroughly check the past results of industry experts before hiring them. Check how many sites they have on the front page for valuable search terms.
Ask them in plain English:
“Please send me your websites that are on the first page for valuable search terms. Prove these search terms are valuable by finding data that says people are searching this search term.”
You can assess the difficulty of these search terms yourself by creating a free account with Moz, finding their keyword planner, writing in the search terms their websites are first page for and have a look at the difficulty that moz assigns that search term.
Also, ask them which strategies they have employed. You can then Google what they have said and see what people are saying about their strategies. It will be obvious if they are doing anything really black hat – which could disseminate your company domain.
Like most things, SEO is not a mystery like you think it could be. Brain surgery was a mystery to the 18 year old that started university one day. After simply applying himself for some time, he can become an expert in that field.
We give the example of brain surgeon as that is the ‘ultimate’ thing that is impossible to learn. You can gain the general grasp of optimising websites within a 20 hour window and have that information for live.
There are off-page and on-page techniques, so can research these and have a basic understanding of where your money is going. On-page and off-page techniques take differing times to ‘move the needle’ AKA push you up Google for the search terms you’re trying to page one for.
However, the main factor in how quickly you will rank on Google is going to depend on this…
The main factor for the length of time it takes to rank..
The most important factor is the competition of other websites that are in the top positions on Google that you want to get to.
Competition level fluctuates in quite a strange way. It really depends on what your competitors are spending and the calibre of the strategies that the competitors are using.
If the competition are spending a lot on their optimisation, it will be hard to overtake them ‘easily’. Presumably, the company are keeping up with Google changes, uploading content, avoiding canonicalisation and more. They are effectively constantly hiring the bar for you. Now, there still might be space somewhere on that from page unless 20 different websites in the area are all doing optimisation work.
However, if the competition are not doing consistent work to improve their rankings, or perhaps never done any work on their rankings, the time period to get to the top of Google is going to be considerably shorter.
Imagine a scenario…
We are starting from ground zero, with a fresh domain that has no history. Firstly, Google will ‘sandbox’ us, which means keep us away from the top of the rankings as we are new and unproven. This can last 4-6 months depending on the niche. They are not necessarily penalising new companies that are new, but trying to help those that are already established and serving in the area successfully. in Google’s eyes, these companies are already providing a service that is worthy of being found through their search engine. It would be unfair to give top spot to a completely new website just because they have the best SEO consultant. So that is one consideration for new businesses and how long it will take them to shoot up Google.
What about established businesses getting to the top of Google?
But what about companies that are now established, have never invested in SEO and want to rank for keywords they current don’t rank for. Well, once again, it depends on difficulty and competition levels.
Although it is hard to give estimations, we will do our best given our experience here. We have tried ranking for near impossible search terms, high difficulty, medium difficulty, soft difficulty and “hey, come and take the first spot from this entire niche as Google hates us”. So, a nice mix to make this prediction.
For a low difficulty term we would estimate a 3-4 month period before you see results (clicks and calls).
For a medium difficulty search term we would estimate 5-7 months.
For a high difficulty level we would estimate 9-12 month period.
As you can see, all of these timelines are not overnight. The overnight days of SEO are more or less over (sadly). You used to be able to catapult yourself to the top overnight with all sorts of crazy tactics and techniques. This no longer works though. Google wants a clean search engine with good honest websites using good honest tactics and providing good honest content.
Some people are still getting way with the odd black hat technique, which Google does not want, so it’s only a matter of time before Google’s artificial intelligence completely stops all of them.
Low SEO prices
You should be extremely skeptical about low SEO priced services. Why are they so cheap for a service that requires so much knowledge and hours of application?
Is the service completely outsourced to a cheaper outfit overseas? This is very possible. They don’t manage any of the processes in house. This CAN be okay if you find an excellent company abroad. But the better they are, the more expensive they should be, even if they are abroad. People know if they are good or not. Just because they are abroad, it does not mean they will put their prices to peanuts. In our early and amateur experience we learnt quickly that there are not many bargains to be had on these websites for abroad services. You get a logo done for £5 by “an amazing designer!!1 Five stars!!” and guess what you get? Five pounds worth of logo. A terrible logo. A logo you would never use.
Perhaps they are leveraging techniques which are easy to do – but manipulate the search engine and will get flagged in future updates. Throwing bad money after good money is just as bad as the reverse.
You might have just forked out for a new website. Three thousand pounds of your finest English pounds. Your advertising budget is now all out. However, you see some Google optimisation work for ONLY £100! Getting bad work done to your domain is going to harm it forever. It can be hard to undo bad work in this industry. It can be done, but you’re instantly on the back foot when you finally hire a true professional. The consequences could cost you so much more. Imagine a company like us simply tells you that your domain will never rank highly. You have to start a new website. Now you have to choose between… new business cards, new website domain name, new everything and have a new website, or just don’t have a website that works!? Headache.
You also would not be able to take your content from your ruined website and domain over to your new website as Google would see it has already been posted on the internet. This would be considered as plagiarised content. Basically, you would have to rewrite everything from your original website onto your new website, not just copy and paste it over… Headache!
Hire a contractor (us!) or employ someone?…
Some of our contracts can cost more than hiring an SEO employee for a whole year. You have to ask yourself, if they are really worth their salt, why wouldn’t they be doing it for themselves? Anyone that accepts an SEO salary of under £40,000 a year probably cannot take websites to the top of Google (general statement, sure, some might). They might know a little about websites, have a few changes to make and some results, but they are probably not an authority on the topic. Monetising getting to the top of Google is not that hard.
Also, employees are not recruited for the same reason we are hired.
We are hired to get results. Simple. If we don’t get results, we don’t maintain any contracts, we suck and we go out of business.
Companies wouldn’t continue paying us if we didn’t provide results in the timeframes we gave you above.
Many employees are there to ‘make up the numbers’ and don’t care about specific results. We HAVE to care about specific results for our company to survive.
You basically have to weigh up what you want here.
If the cost of getting in front of customers through being at the top of Google is considerably less than what you profit from being there – go ahead and hire someone that can get you the results you want. An employee could work if deployed for the right reasons. If you want to bring someone in house with tried and tested results to launch a large, specific project – go for it. If you are a small company that does not know anything about search engines and you are hiring someone at £20,000 a year to get you to the top of Google – you probably won’t get there.
Anyway, we are happy to talk to anyone that is debating using Google to get more sales. Or, if you have hired another company and simply want to know how long SEO takes to start working – we can advise you. We will only work with you or offer our services if we are confident it would actually work. That’s how we managed to grow from nothing to the point we are at now. We focused on projects that we knew would work for a long time for both our clients and us. Reach out to the team today to have a chat about what might be best for you!
Follow us on: