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Tuesday, October 30 2012
SEO is a Marathon, Not a Sprint!
I speak with clients all day long, and a great deal of the time that I spend on the phone each day is spent discussing lead generation for their insurance agency and ultimately, search engine optimization (SEO). 

Clients are often on-board before our conversation is anywhere close to over! Everyone wants more traffic to their website that will convert into fresh, hot leads and result in new sales for the agency. That part is a no-brainer.

The hardest part of the conversation comes when I start to explain that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint!

What? What does that mean? I'm not going to be #1 on Google next week???

No. You will not. You will not be #1 next month either, just in case you were wondering.

Their next question is almost inevitably...

"Why does SEO take so long? Isn't there a button you can push to get me there?"

While there are plenty of SEO "experts" out there who will promise you the world (and top search engine results in as little as 72 hours), the truth is... they are not being truthful with you and they are setting you up for some seriously unrealistic expectations. And, no… there isn’t a button to push that will guarantee or speed up the ranking process.

SEO done right takes time. Period. 

Search engine optimization really isn’t rocket science if you know what you are doing; it is however; extremely time consuming. When it is done the right way, (which is commonly referred to as “white-hat SEO” as opposed to “black-hat SEO” which means dirty, sneaky tricks that will get Google to ban your website from its index) it includes a variety of techniques such as:
  • Keyword Research
  • Article Marketing
  • Bookmarking
  • On-Site Optimization
  • Content Creation
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Directory Submissions
  • Forum Posting
  • Backlinking
  • Link Exchanges
  • Video Marketing
  • and many more techniques
Obviously, some of these techniques are much more time consuming than others. In the case of blogging or article marketing, a lot of time is spent on research and writing in order to produce high quality content.

Other things to consider.

How competitive your keywords are. It could take several months or years even to rank well for a very competitive keyword like “home insurance”. But, it could take just a few days to rank well for a keyword phrase like “home insurance for new homeowners in southern california”.
How many backlinks does the competition on page 1 have vs. how many backlinks your website has? The higher the number of backlinks that page 1 competitors have will equate to a longer wait time to start ranking.

Geography. What geographic scope do your keywords entail? Are they national? Or more locally focused? National campaigns will generally take much longer. Local campaigns on the other hand will be quicker to rank because there is almost always less competition for local keywords.

Content Generation. Content is still king and you can’t have too much content! Fresh articles, press releases, blog posts, etc… all affect the speed at which backlinks are acquired. The more content you have, the more backlinks you will get. 

Algorithms. We are all at the mercy of Google, Yahoo and Bing. They are constantly changing their requirements to rank well in their directories. Using last year’s strategy this year, might not behoove you.

So, how long does SEO take?

A general rule of thumb and this is extremely general… is give it 90 days. A minimum of 90 days. Don’t be surprised it if takes 6 – 9 months either. The real answer is… it depends. But I know you really; really want to see a time frame that you can wrap your brain around, so there it is.

What do you think?
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Posted by: Andrea Shepherd AT 11:06 am   |  Permalink   |  Email