Why Does SEO Take So Long?
Most business owners realize that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the primary marketing tools to get your MSP noticed. Yet, very few understand that SEO (like most marketing) can often be a slow process. However when done correctly, SEO marketing can provide your business the boost needed to be heads above the competition and on page one of Google.
Why Does SEO Take So Long?
We recently wrote a blog discussing how much value your content becoming a featured snippet brings to your website in terms of traffic. During an internal SEO evaluation for JoomConnect, we noticed the search term, “How do I promote my MSP?” and its variations were a recurring topic, to which we created a blog to answer the question: How do I promote my MSP on a budget?. We mention this because it took eight months for this blog to become a featured snippet. Eight months of marketing, of adding internal links, and cultivating backlinks. It took a lot of time, but we’re happy with the results.
Despite attempts to manage expectations, often a business will pause or stop their SEO efforts after a month or two, because they aren’t seeing results as quickly as they think they should. The most common refrain is a variation of “We just weren’t getting the results we needed to justify the cost.” We get it. If your business needs leads and you’re not seeing any, it seems logical to cut what isn’t working. However, reducing or even stopping your marketing (SEO is marketing) before it’s had time to gain traction is not the way to go. In fact, scaling back your marketing is the worst strategy in a slump.
Unfortunately, SEO and marketing in general isn’t like turning on a switch. There is no magic bullet, no place in the code to fill in with keywords, or any other quick tactic that will flood your website with visitors and calls. In order to market your MSP, you need to actively market your MSP. Loading up on keywords isn't a marketing strategy, it’s a long outdated tactic. You can learn more about that here, because it’s time to update how you use keywords.
The reality is your MSP website is just the beginning of your marketing process. Having a website in and of itself, doesn’t mean your audience will come to it. You have to give them a reason to visit it. In fact, the terms you want to rank for? Those big hitter terms like “computer support” or “voip” or “data backup?” Those terms are searched so seldomly and usually have such a high amount of competition that they probably aren’t even how users are finding you.
Moreover, your website doesn't exist in a vacuum, you have competitors who have access to the same tools as you do. The only thing they don’t have access to is your experience, your talents and your story. SEO helps your story get to the right audience.
You need to show how you are different from everyone else in order to catch the attention of and drive potential customers to your website.
SEO is Influenced by Competition
SEO’s long incubation period is due in part to what your competitors are doing or have done.
- Do they have a robust social media presence and use that to drive traffic and develop a reputation?
- Do they have a team member who guest posts on a highly read website, which is adding their authority to theirs via backlinks? Are there any .gov or .edu links?
- Have they just been around so long that they have a reservoir of authority which Google rewards with high rank?
- Are they getting online reviews on Google, Facebook, or Yelp?
If you have a relatively new site, it will simply take Google some time to ‘trust’ you, and rank you accordingly. Yet, while this is happening your competitors are still gaining authority, increasing in rank and there is nothing you can do about it, all you can do is manage your own site and continue to create new and valuable content.
SEO is a Cumulative Process
One way to think about the SEO process is that it is one of accumulation. That is, it’s not the big one-time audit that will help you long term, it will be the monthly incremental ones that push you in the right direction. Your monthly SEO report recommends doing things like tweaking your meta descriptions, or giving you an idea for a blog will have a lasting effect on your SEO, but it will take months of data collection, tracking and interpretation for that to happen.
Here’s an analogy, you want to have a 200 pound bench press, and you have never been to the gym before. Do you toss 200 pounds on the bar and start to lift? No, because you’ll fail. What you do is go to the gym regularly and slowly increase the weight on the bar. You add 10 or 20 pounds a week and keep in mind, there’s going to be weeks when you find your progress gets stalled, but ultimately if you go to the gym consistently, you will reach your goal. Keeping in mind if there’s a group of people who may have been lifting weights for a year before you started, they’re going to be stronger than you are, and perhaps they always will… and that’s ok.
SEO success follows the same pattern. One month you write a blog, then you have a webinar, then a poll on social media, the next month you review your keywords and create content to reflect what you have learned… and then you start all over again. You use your data analysis to tweak your content based on what your audience finds of value. Over time you increase your ranking position, but only if you consistently add pieces to your SEO and connect it to an overall marketing plan.
How Long Does SEO Take?
It can take up to 4 to 6 months before you see any real change, on average. We’ve seen results happen faster, and we’ve seen results take a little longer. It all depends on what your competitors are doing and whether or not you continue to follow best practices. To be clear, that’s 4 to 6 months to start seeing results, not to reach your ultimate goal or reach a point of sustainability. Your SEO should be in a constant state of improvement.Yes, there will most likely be a hiccup or two, but your organic traffic should continue to grow upwards over time. You should really be looking at a metric of 6 to 12 months, 4 to 6 is a good point to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
You need to have a realistic understanding of how SEO works and how to leverage it to drive traffic to your MSP website and help generate leads. If you can’t budget for 6 to 12 months of SEO services, then you should consider using the 2 to 3 months of money on something else. A good referral campaign or a Meet the Company campaign might be able to net you appointments quickly in the short term. SEO is not a quick process, it is a long-term marketing tactic and if you expect it to generate sales in a month, you are setting yourself up for failure. The take-away of this process is if you don’t give your SEO enough time to gain momentum, you are crippling your opportunities to generate leads.
You Need to Market Your MSP Website
Ultimately, SEO is part of the overall marketing strategy for your MSP. You can have the most informative technology content in your industry, but without marketing, no one will see it. Yes, following SEO best practices will give you the best chance to have your MSP website seen, but it’s not going to be enough on its own. You need to promote it, advertise it, market it.
If we take another look at our “promote your MSP on a budget” blog, our analysis of the data and marketing of the blog was a large contributor to its overall success; and increase in rank. We didn’t post it and forget it, we monitored the traffic it received, noted the bounce rate, and even measured whether or not readers completed the blog. We promoted it using social media, sent email blasts, and added it to our physical marketing materials. Most importantly, we gave it time to accumulate the SEO ‘touch points’ it needed to be a success. The bottom-line is, without marketing the blog, while successful in its own right, wouldn’t have been able to reach the level it has.
Your MSP website follows the same pattern, without marketing it will never generate the leads needed to justify its existence. JoomConnect can help you market your MSP and generate the leads you need with our lead list service. We have a variety of companion services, ideal to help you achieve your marketing goals such as: blog services, eNewsletter and Printed Newsletter. Our SEO focused tools include Pay-Per-Click management and if your Social Media is lacking, consider our Ultimate Social Media Rig. Call 888-546-4384 today to learn more.