I get asked on a daily basis “when can I expect to see results from my SEO?” or “How fast does SEO work?” or my favourite at the moment “My site launched 3 weeks ago and my traffic hasn’t gone up, Why?” For once this actually got the better of me and I was driven towards Twitter and letting people into one of the secrets to SEO. So on return to my inbox there was yet another email in there with the magic phrase “If I start SEO when can I expect to see results?”
A very good friend of mine, who I class as one of the best business brains I have ever had the pleasure to meet, hates the phrase “How long is a piece of string?” but in SEO that is basically a technical term for measuring time to get results. I’ve got sites running campaigns for 2 years with me that were penalised in the last Google update and are struggling to recover, but the owner of the site which suffered the most, completely understands the situation with Google being in control (not me strange enough) and is looking at other solutions as well as working hard with me to try to rectify the situation.
I get calls on a regular basis and emails by the hour selling me SEO services, gadgets, tools and get rich quick schemes, if I took them all up and tested them all I would get no work done and be extremely skint with a hard disk full of trash. Just tonight I had 3 emails trying to sell me a product I helped produce. So I thought it was time for me to kill a few birds with one stone and give a few quick tips on the BASICS of SEO and a little information on that infamous question “How Fast does SEO Work?”
The main rule of the Interwebby thing is that you control your own website and are responsible for the content. Guess what that means? Yep you got it, I am responsible for the content of this website and YOU are responsible for the content of your website, BUT that means that GOOGLE are responsible for their website (not me, can you believe that?). And the knock on effect of that is they can update their algorithm at any stage and change the way things work. Their aim is to make sure they give you the best results possible (This doesn’t always work and nearly EVERYONE I know can give 10 examples of a naff result, but they are normally looking a lot harder than most people).
So the first part of SEO is to understand that even if someone phones you up and tells you 100% they can get you to the top of the rankings, you probably won’t stay there without a lot of effort and dedication on your part not always theirs.
The next part and the most important part for any small business is that you have to put in a lot of the secret sauce which is……wait for it………you really will kick yourself when you read this one……………………….Hard Work. And if not hard work from you then it needs to be paid for so that someone else can put in the hard work for you.
One of the best projects I ever worked on was in a different industry but we took a company from no clients, no turnover and no website to over €10 Million in turnover, a fantastic website and nearly 10,000 clients in a little over 6 months. “My Goodness Steve!!! Can you do that for me?” is normally the thought in peoples minds about now, well the answer “Hell Yeah!” I had a team of 10 and a €500,000 budget to get that online campaign working. Even though we came in under budget and the SEO we put in place on that site is still working for them, it cost money, took time and a heck of a lot of effort to get them there. So again HARD WORK won the day.
Don’t aim too high. If you sell a niche item, aim low in the niche for what we call the low hanging fruit. Aim to get ranked for keywords that will bring you highly qualified traffic. I was lucky enough to sit in on a seminar given by Darren from Hitched on Monday afternoon and one thing he said very early on was to not go after “Wedding Gadget” but to aim more for “Wedding Gadget in Your Town”. I can see the look of horror on your face now “That won’t bring me very many visitors to my website Steve!” Do you know what, you’re right BUT it WILL bring you more qualified visitors to your website, people who are close to you and ready to book or buy. Ask yourself what would bring me more satisfaction 10 customers from 1000 visitors to your website or 10 customers from 100 visitors? I can tell you now the latter is easier to get and much more satisfying.
So what point are you trying to make with all this Steve? Making sure you get the right service to promote your website is important, but making sure you understand what you are getting for your money and making completely certain that you put in extra effort to work along side the efforts that your SEO company or marketing agency are putting in for you makes the project move along in a way that will get you results.
So a quick 123…..
1. Make sure your website is looking good and that your navigation is easy to follow.
2. Make sure you have read the Google Webmaster Guidelines (they come with pretty robot cartoons on to make them look technical).
3. BLOG! For the love of small furry animals BLOG!
4. Keep working at it, keep talking to people, keep promoting, keep pushing, keep telling everyone that will listen, keep social media going, keep building links and most of all keep your expectations in check SEO is a slow burner not an overnight fix. Remember the Tortoise and the Hare? Guess who won…….