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Some great info in this survey! What trends are you all seeing?


How long does it take to rank in local search?
From BrightLocal


The questions posed in this survey attempt to answer 1 burning question. It’s the question that every client asks and that many consultants/agencies struggle to answer in a way that the client comprehends & believes.

So we thought it would be useful to pool the collective wisdom of our industry’s leading experts and make it available for others to learn from & reference when the following question arises:
“How long does it take to rank in local search?”

The answer to this depends on many factors & is specific to the client asking the question. So we devised 5 typical scenarios that cover most local businesses, and will attempt to provide a typical time period for each in achieving significant rankings &/or performance improvement.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for posting Justin!

Myles asked me to participate but I had to decline due to time constraints. Since I've retired from client-side work I also didn't feel I could give great answers to these Qs.

But you guys should go read the insights from leading industry experts you all know like: Phil, Darren, Nyag, Joy, Andrew, Matthew, Casey and lots more.

Tons of great comments and the graphs of the time to rank in the different scenarios are very interesting.

May come in handy to show anxious clients that wonder why you can't boost rankings overnight.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I'm really surprised to see that people think it's quicker to rank in Maps than in organic.

Does anyone here share that same philosophy?
 

Linda Buquet

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I'm really surprised to see that people think it's quicker to rank in Maps than in organic.

Does anyone here share that same philosophy?

For sure but only in a couple situations and it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Main scenario - If someone already has a listing, already in the local database, mature business with decent base of citations etc. but has no categories or not ideal categories, in the past I could get them ranking just by adding the correct cats.

So for instance a Dentist that only had Dentist, I would add cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening service, etc. and he'd start ranking for those new KWs within a week.

But it's been awhile since I did that and I know things have changed since then.

HOWEVER if someone is wanting to boost ranking for City Dentist, and they already have Dentist as a category, doing just maps optimization won't usually boost them, you need to work on organic SEO too.

But I think they may be referring to the fact that organic takes time. To optimize a site can take time. Then to get re-spidered and re-indexed if you don't know things to do to help her pick up the changes quickly can take time. These small local sites often don't have many changes, don't get much traffic, so don't get spidered very often. So it could take a couple months from start of project to see ranking increase if the client and the Google Gods are not cooperative or if either drags their feet. And if you don't know some of the things to do to get Google to spider and re-index faster once the SEO project is complete.
 

JoshuaMackens

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For sure but only in a couple situations and it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Main scenario - If someone already has a listing, already in the local database, mature business with decent base of citations etc. but has no categories or not ideal categories, in the past I could get them ranking just by adding the correct cats.

So for instance a Dentist that only had Dentist, I would add cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening service, etc. and he'd start ranking for those new KWs within a week.

But it's been awhile since I did that and I know things have changed since then.

HOWEVER if someone is wanting to boost ranking for City Dentist, and they already have Dentist as a category, doing just maps optimization won't usually boost them, you need to work on organic SEO too.

But I think they may be referring to the fact that organic takes time. To optimize a site can take time. Then to get re-spidered and re-indexed if you don't know things to do to help her pick up the changes quickly can take time. These small local sites often don't have many changes, don't get much traffic, so don't get spidered very often. So it could take a couple months from start of project to see ranking increase if the client and the Google Gods are not cooperative or if either drags their feet. And if you don't know some of the things to do to get Google to spider and re-index faster once the SEO project is complete.

Each situation is different, I agree with that.

I think, all else being the same, organic is much easier to rank in. It's really all about backlinks. On-site SEO is incredibly easy and to go even further, you don't really even need the same signals on-page anymore for Google to understand what your page is about. Google's job is to understand the page without the average user optimizing their content. There is a ceiling for on-site SEO.

However, there isn't a ceiling for backlinks.

I think this survey just speaks to the difficulty of getting backlinks and relying on website content to not only boost the authority of the site but to generate backlinks.

To your point about time, I feel like Maps takes even longer, especially with citations. Comparing time to get citations indexed and integrated into the local system vs website and the index? The website index is much, much quicker.

Maybe I just struggle more in Maps than most :)
 

Linda Buquet

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I agree citations can take a long time to hit. Backlinks, I'd be afraid to build any these days and never did in the past either.

But I didn't do citations or backlinks for my clients. (Mature practices that already had a decent base of natural citations.) Just did G+ L and on-site and usually got a very good boost pretty quickly.

On average took clients from #16 to #2. Some better, some in competitive markets not that good. But then again many were/still are #1. The biggest boost was after my special brand of onsite SEO and that jump usually happened within 2 weeks.

But that was a couple years ago. Still was the blended algo though, so pretty much the same as the pre-pigeon algo. And most clients that have not messed with sites or messed up their G+ L are still sitting at A, B or C even post pigeon.

Between hummingbird and pigeon lots is changing though, but according to those I've trained to do what I used to do, the principles still work. As long as you are doing best practice stuff I think you'll usually fare better regardless of what algo she puts out, than those that use tricks or manipulation.
 
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