How Long to See Results from Digital Marketing Efforts?

Brandon Schmidt | April 25, 2018
Digital MarketingInternet Strategy

One of the most common questions we receive from potential clients is “How long will it take to rise in the search rankings?” Another way of asking it is “How long until I see results from my digital marketing efforts?”

The short answer: It depends.

seo time estimate

Digital marketing is sometimes viewed as a quick fix; just hire a SEO firm, run a few ads, and the leads will just roll in. That is not the case. Internet marketing – and especially tactics like SEO, reputation management, and conversion optimization – is an investment in the long-term health of your company’s online presence.

Of course, any time estimate or prediction will vary based on industry, history of your site, and your competition. There is no way to guarantee results; any agency promising this should be viewed with skepticism.

When Digital Marketing May Not Work

Digital marketing is not for every business; it can’t cover up flaws or problems within your company or business model.

If your business is struggling, has an inferior product or service, or has a reputation for poor customer service, hiring a digital marketing agency is the least of your concerns. Spend time working on your business, rethink your service, and improve your customers’ experience before investing in marketing and advertising.

If you have a good product or service, then internet marketing can help you find and convert new audiences. But how long does it take?

How Long Does SEO Take to See Results?

There are no magic bullets or secret formulas for getting you to rank higher. Proper optimization for local businesses takes time, patience, and hard work, resulting in a solid foundation for the rest of your online marketing. However, there can be low hanging fruit that can see drastic results.

  • Technical SEO updates can raise visibility of specific pages or the entire site.
  • Updating title tags and meta descriptions can result in improved rankings and clicks from organic traffic.
  • Citation management — including claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile and primary directories — can send search engines and your potential audience the correct information about your company.

According to Maile Ohye, formerly of Google, it takes SEO companies four months to a year to see the fruits of the work they are doing. Sometimes we see a boost in the first 1-3 months of working with a new client, but that is often because we fixed technical issues with their website or the company is in an industry with low competition.

Any SEO agency that is promising faster results is either making promises they can’t keep, or they are employing less reputable tactics that can get your site penalized by Google.

SEO is a long term investment. When done right, will help you stay ahead of your competition and be found by more of your target audience. If done wrong, it can cripple your online marketing efforts and cause you to invest more money to correct past mistakes.

Exceptions

Based on Google’s preference for serving the most relevant and up-to-date information, there are some exceptions to the time estimates above. For example, time-sensitive information such as events, job postings, and local news can show up rather quickly in the search results. For best results, this information should be marked up by structured data or by using a 3rd-party tool like Facebook’s Job Postings.

What About Other Digital Marketing Tactics?

Digital Advertising

By far, digital advertising is the online platform where you’ll see the quickest results. Once you have a AdWords or Facebook Business account set up, you can be running ads within a day. Of course, creating ad content, identifying and refining targeting options, and performing A/B testing to find out what works can take time, but getting a basic ad online and in front of your audience can happen relatively quickly. While not normal, we’ve seen clients get phone calls or form submissions within hours of launching their campaign.

Another benefit of digital advertising is how nimble and flexible it is. Ad campaigns can be paused, started, and adjusted on the fly to take advantage of sudden changes in your audience or business. For example, after a hail storm hits an area, service companies like roofers, arborist, and automotive dent removal will often run ads for the next few days specifically designed for the sharp spike in hail damage searches. Or in the 48 hours before a snow storm hits, a local hardware store would run an ad campaign highlighting snow shovels, salt, and snowblowers.

Website Development

The length of a new website build can depend on the size & scope of the project, complexity of the design & coding, and the time schedule of the development team. Here at YDOP, most website projects take 3-4 months to take from kick-off to launch.

When a new website is launched, it takes some time for Google to crawl the site, learn the new structure, and figure out the relationship between the old site and the new one. It is important to set up redirects and a proper site map to help Google better understand what pages still remain and any new pages. Typically, we see a dip in traffic to a site in the first 30 days after a site launches as Google figures everything out.

If a site is seeing a significant refresh or updating to a responsive design, you may see Google reward it with a relatively quick increase in mobile traffic. We recently rebuilt a website to include a responsive design (instead of their limited theme); within a month their mobile traffic went through the roof, and overall traffic nearly doubled from the same month the year before.
analytics growth after adding responsive design

Need Help with Your Digital Marketing?

If you are looking for a quick fix or solution to your internet marketing problems, we are not a good fit for you. But if you are looking to see long-term growth in growing your company’s online presence and ability to generate leads, we may be able to help. To find out if YDOP is your ideal internet marketing partner, contact us today.