SEO Expectations Versus Reality

A man and woman set SEO expectations over a smart phone.

SEO Expectations Versus Reality

It’s hard to understate the value of SEO. It is a service, when done right, that can really help a business grow simply by helping more customers find it. And as simple as that description is, SEO is a process. It takes time to get those extra eyeballs to a website, and more people taking action on a business profile. SEO isn’t a situation where you can just install a few features and click a few buttons and you’re optimized. It’s a proven process that takes time to grow, and maintain high rankings. 

So what does this all mean for someone looking to start with an SEO campaign? Or what does it mean for someone trying to figure out how to get more customers? It all starts with setting the right expectations.

In being in this business a long time, we’ve noticed a few things. Many if not most of the cancellations we see are because of unmet expectations set at the very beginning of a campaign or at the start of the sales process. Retention of a customer starts from the very beginning of the sales cycle. It starts with telling a customer what will happen with an SEO campaign and setting a solid foundation of a good customer experience from the very first interaction. Without that early groundwork, it can lead to unhappy customers who leave before they can see the results you know you can provide.

 

Key Things that Happy Customers Understand About SEO

Onsite Edits Happen Within the First 30-45 Days

This is the most important work that goes into an SEO campaign, but it’s definitely the least visible. This is all the behind the scenes work to the code that makes sure all pages work, that the site is mobile optimized, and that pages load quickly. But because most of it is done behind the scenes, many customers don’t see the actual work. Some of this editing includes optimizing content and copy on a website, which is visible. But making sure a customer understands these steps may not be prominent or obvious, but are crucial to the health of a website helps to set the right expectations about an SEO campaign in its earliest stages.

Keyword Rank Improvement

Once these onsite optimizations are complete, keywords start to rise in the rankings. But that only starts once onsite optimizations are put into place. Growth will be slow at first with the largest positive increases happening to rankings within 3-4 months of starting an SEO campaign. The goal is to reach page 1 by the end of month six of a campaign.

Ongoing Communication

Every single month, it’s important to check in to evaluate how a campaign is performing and pivot if needed. Our dashboard and monthly call goes over every single task performed for an SEO campaign, and also goes over keyword progress. But monthly check ins are the minimum. Customers should be able to reach out anytime to get updates if needed without waiting for the report or just to ask questions about their campaign. That’s part of maintaining good expectations of a campaign so that a customer always understands why the work is being done and how it’s benefiting their site.

SEO Requires a Commitment of at Least 6 Months

This is the biggest expectation of an SEO campaign that needs defining early and often. Because of all the steps and work that it takes in SEO, it requires at least six months before reaching page one for a website. Sometimes it’s less, but sometimes it’s more. It all depends on the industry, the competitive landscape for a keyword, and the location. But, in order to see an SEO campaign succeed, it’s important to set the expectation with customers that it will take at least six months.

Next Step Expectations

Once a website reaches page one of Google, the work doesn’t stop. In fact, now the process can start over again to help the site grow even more. After stopping an SEO campaign, a site will drop off the first page within three months or so. And in a competitive market or industry, that can make or break an industry with several organizations competing for that top spot. There will always be keywords to target and growth for a site. Make sure customers understand this and have the budget to continue for the long haul.

 

Common Misconceptions that Lead to Unhappy Clients

In addition to setting the right expectations regarding SEO, it’s also important to help customers understand what SEO is not. And also, every agency does SEO just a little differently, you also need to help them understand your strategies and tactics and how they might differ from other agencies a customer might have researched.

SEO is not a short term solution

SEO isn’t something you can just turn on and turn off. It’s also not something you can just try for a few weeks and get substantial results. SEO takes time to build that relevance and trust with search engines. For immediate digital marketing results, it’s better to try a different tactic like PPC.

It’s not possible to guarantee first page ranking results

Even though agencies who do SEO campaigns have a tried and true method to get results, it’s still not guaranteed that a website will reach page one. Sometimes a keyword insisted upon by a client is too competitive, or sometimes the goal of ranking is too broad, especially with national campaigns. An agency will do its best over a significant period of time. But it’s impossible to 100% guarantee first page rankings. There’s just too many variables and unknowns depending on the campaign.

Our SEO solution is holistic, not a la carte

Like mentioned above, every agency does SEO a little differently. Some have individual tasks that someone can order. At Boostability, we focus on what tasks we believe will achieve the best results for each client within their budget. This holistic approach helps us decide on which keywords to focus on and the kind of content we write. This approach also allows us to also work at scale and at cost for our tens of thousands of SEO customers.

 

Set the Right Expectations to Ensure Success

Setting the right expectations about an SEO campaign can make or break it. It starts from the very first contact and making sure that a customer really understands what will happen while you optimize their site. Maintaining expectations continues throughout a campaign. By setting those expectations, it leads to better customer retention and success down the line.

Sean Clayton
Sean Clayton
[email protected]

Sean brings a vast amount of SEO experience to Boostability having been in the industry for 15 years. Prior to joining Boostability he lead the partner team at OrangeSoda. He got his start in this space with Marchex back in 2005. Sean was instrumental in the growth and expansion of the partnership division here at Boostability. He orchestrated the launch of our first international partner in Australia which eventually lead to the move into the European marketplace. He loves the rewards that come along in working with our new partners.