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Having Realistic SEO Expectations

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” – Leo Tolstoy

To rank your website in the search engines you need a plan. That plan includes (but is not limited to) all of the above:

  • SEO Knowledge (what to do and what not to do)
  • Real world keyword and competitor data
  • Great content
  • Lots of high quality inbound links
  • Analytics integration
  • Realistic Goals
  • A timeline
  • A budget
  • Patience and the knowledge that your investments WILL pay off if you allow it

The last four items on the list are the topic of discussion today because I think it’s important for people to know that there is no secret magic trick to SEO. It simply takes planning, work, analysis and time and there is no way around this like there might have been in the old school days of the internet. Google never will release the details regarding how or why sites rank above others. We obviously have a good idea based on our experience and that experience shows that you need to create great content (lots of it), get other sites to link to it, analyze your traffic ongoing, continue to optimize your site based on the current data and hit the “repeat” button over and over and over.

I’m saying this because the last 4 items on the list above require you to have some kind of expectations. You want to rank your site, within a certain period of time and within a certain budget. I think this is all valuable to have for obvious reasons, but again, there are no magic tricks. Regardless of your desired goals, wants and needs, these goals are severely affected by the amount of time and budget that you have available to reach those goals. Depending on your target keywords and market you might need a lot more time and budget than a company in another category to overcome the following:

  • The size of your target market
  • The number of serious competitors online
  • The age of your competitors sites
  • The current visibility and rankings of your competition vs. your own
  • The amount of content that your competition has created, or is creating ongoing
  • The quality of the competitors website, content, and brand
  • If your competition is expanding into social media marketing in addition to SEO
  • If your competition is spending money offline and online to increase rankings
  • If your competition is paying for links and to build inbound links ongoing
  • How big your competition’s budget is. (They might even have a full time SEO staff in house)

My point is that you have to have realistic expectations that involve a realistic budget (that relates to the amount of time spent on your campaign) and realistic goals (that relate to the amount of time you expect to rank well).

I say this because it takes work and work takes time – Search engine optimization and high rankings take time, experience and most importantly realistic goals and expectations. Those goals usually require patience. If you’re not willing to accept the last bullet point then you’ll probably never succeed.

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.” – Edmund Burke


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Chris Auman is a veteran Internet marketer, website developer, and designer with over 20 years of experience in the trenches. As President and Senior Strategist at Sanctuary, Chris has successfully guided the online marketing efforts for companies large and small. Chris’ clients range from family owned & operated retail operations with a local footprint of 1-10 stores to multinational Fortune 500 companies.

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