Regardless of your business’s size or industry, working with a third-party SEO company can be incredibly rewarding. You save a significant amount of time, money, and effort by letting professionals handle the ins and outs of search engine optimization.
But like any unassuming business owner, you obviously have expectations about how your SEO project is going to turn out. You have big plans and big dreams for your business—especially in terms of sales—and you’re confident SEO can help you achieve them.
Let’s set the record straight here: SEO can help you, but it will do it realistically. It will help you achieve your business goals through the way it’s programmed to function. But if you’re not familiar with how SEO works, you might misunderstand the process and end up disappointed with the results.
Here’s how to avoid that.
1. Prepare to Play the Waiting Game
Most business owners — especially those new to SEO — make the mistake of expecting too much, too fast. They hear about the wonders of SEO, see a couple of statistics, and they’re sold. So they jump on the bandwagon, invest a decent amount of resources into optimizing their website for search engines, and then excitedly wait for their numbers to shoot through the roof.
What usually happens, realistically, is that two, three weeks later, they’re still not getting the figures they thought they’d have. Disappointed and a little peeved, they decide that SEO doesn’t work for them and so cut the funding.
Here’s the reality of SEO: it’s a long-term campaign that is optimized to achieve long-term goals. It rewards persistence and consistency. Therefore, don’t approach an SEO company expecting immediate gratification. Search engine optimization takes time, and the seemingly “slow” progress will frustrate you.
Instead, realize that there is no expiration date to SEO—even local SEO services. The longer you run your campaign, the better your rewards. Prepare to wait three months rather than three weeks. You’ll grow and progress and adjust as you go along, consequently improving your ROI and your numbers; more so if you follow SEO best practices.
2. Set Objectives and Metrics
With SEO’s typical timeline in mind, it’s best that you set goals and metrics at the start of your campaign. SEO may be a long-term process, but that doesn’t give you the go ahead to just chug along without a clear set of objectives in mind. That’s the equivalent of wandering aimlessly without a map and a destination in mind. It might be fun for a while, but it’s inevitably a waste of time and resources.
Clear objectives are milestones that can tell you whether or not you’re actually making progress. They also act as road signs that can help you decide or adjust your route.
Metrics go hand-in-hand with objectives. Whereas a goal is more of a defined event or circumstance, metrics are solid, realistic numbers and figures that will allow you and your SEO company to measure success from an empirical standard.
In the case of both global and local SEO services, having metrics and KPIs will make it easier to write up reports, create comparisons, test approaches and alternative approaches, and measure results. Like objectives, having this sort of data means you can alter your campaign or double your efforts as needed.
3. SEO is Directly Proportional to Your Investment
We’re not just talking financial investment; we’re talking time, effort, and other resources.
As we mentioned earlier, SEO is a strategy that rewards persistence and consistency. Keep at it for a good three months or more and it will yield incredible results.
But of course, how you’re going at it is just as important. It’s not enough to just run an SEO campaign for a while and expect everything to pay off.
(Nothing in life is that simple, anyway).
You need to actually put in the effort. We mentioned consistency alongside persistence. You need to constantly check your metrics, your objectives, and your performance. You need to keep yourself updated regarding your campaign status and then work with your SEO company to respond accordingly. You need to observe SEO best practices always.
The more you put into your SEO campaign — time, effort, dedicated resources — the more you’ll get back in terms of leads, numbers, and results. Just like any good investment.
If you’re working with a professional, reputable SEO company, then they will most likely help you understand what to expect and what not to expect. But it’s always best to jump into SEO fully prepared. Before you even approach a local SEO company, do some research of your own to better understand the process.