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The 6 Month Test For SEO Effectiveness

Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking that an ROI on their online marketing efforts, and specifically on their search engine optimization efforts, should occur within 30-60 days. This is typically the view of those business owners who do a lot of offline and traditional marketing. They try to take the same attitudes and philosophies they have cultivated about advertising and marketing to an online business model. However, there isn’t a one-to-one correlation.

That’s not to say there aren’t similarities to SEO and traditional marketing tactics like outdoor advertising and direct mail marketing. It’s that there are enough differences that you cannot expect the exact same results.

For most SEO campaigns you need to give it at least 6 months before you judge effectiveness. That’s because certain things have to happen in order for you to be able to measure the results. For instance:

  • Your website has to be crawled and indexed by the search engines. Since every search engine has a different time frame for accomplishing this task and since no search engine will accomplish it until you have some inbound links to your site, a little patience is required.
  • Your competition has to acquiesce. Chance are, if you start marketing your website today there are already established competitors in your niche who have secured their search engine positions. In order for you to establish a high ranking you have to knock one of those competitors off the pedestal of the front page. Since older websites have a natural advantage when it comes to search engine algorithmic ranking factors, you’ll have to work a bit harder. It takes time and tremendous skill to knock an established competitor down in the rankings.
  • Your website has to climb a ladder. To see what I mean, Google one of your keywords and see how many results come up for that keyword. In the upper right of your screen, just below the search box after you conduct your search, you’ll see something that reads “Results 1 of 10 of about XXXXXX for ZZZZZZZZZ”. Replace the Xs with the number of search results for that keyword and replace the Zs for the key phrase you entered into the search box. That number represented by the Xs is your competition for that keyword. If the number is above 1 million then it’s a task to climb to Page 1. That means you are ranked in the top 10 out of over 1 million pages that are indexed for that keyword.

SEO is not hard, but it is ever-changing. That means that search engine ranking factors are in a constant state of flux. One strategy that works today might not work next week. To be truly effective in your search engine marketing, and to allow enough time to measure your results effectively, you need to allow 6 months before you judge how successful your search engine optimization is. For some niches, it might even be longer.