The reality is, as the title suggests, SEO is a journey!
Not a fad or a phase or a ‘once only’ exercise that needs to be undertaken just because your competitors are undertaking SEO.
Business owners and decision makers need to grasp that the investment, time and effort of SEO will benefit the business, generate more leads and generate more revenue as the SEO project evolves.
But what do you want to achieve through SEO, is it realistic and how soon can I start to see returns.
Expectations vs Reality
It may be natural to want immediate returns, that can be expensive and what PPC is for, so setting realistic expectations is key. A large site, in a competitive industry will require time and effort to get the right keywords ranking and a large monthly SEO fee may not see returns in the first couple of months but this is the start of the journey.
It does take time for Google to review and understand the nature of your large site and to rank the keywords in strong/profitable positions.
This is the reality, and there’s a fine line between eagerness and impatience, and SEO is a discipline where that line is particularly fuzzy. Every site is unique, and sets of circumstances are always changing – such as new competitors, increased competition and the ever changing algorithms.
Now in any strategy there will be a handful of quick wins that will see a jump in performance but overall there needs to be a strong strategy underpinned by the businesses long term goals & objectives.
Remember that SEO is a long-term campaign that should be grounded with long-term goals. Trying to achieve immediate improvements in lead generation and/or revenue can sometimes provide a fruitless return. Furthermore, which I have mentioned previously, SEO campaigns should not have an end date; they must persist through the lifetime of a business’s online presence.
But with the right strategy with compounding interest—the longer you spend, and the more consistent you are, the better ROI growth you will start to see, as long as you stay committed to quality content and best practices.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
When setting out on the SEO journey, how do you know that you are progressing? How do you know that the SEO budget you have fought your finance director for is being correctly utilised?
At the start of any SEO project, clear and precise KPI’s are important in both the short, medium and long term. This gives you an idea of progression and whether the SEO strategy is correct and/or needs corrective measures.
It may be the case of setting up process goals in the first couple of months to get an idea of the journey ahead, analyse the data that you have at hand, understand your competitors and create the right strategy for your site.
But also remember that KPI’s will change as the project changes, don’t be worried about this, what might appear to be a valid long term KPI in year one is likely to be below expectations when approaching year 3.
Knowing where you want to go, understanding the SEO process and acknowledging realistic KPI’s will make the journey significantly smoother.