More threads by HoosierBuff

Dec 12, 2013
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Hi all,

I come across this question every now and again, and I'd like to hear what you guys think.

Imagine your typical local SEO client - maybe a Jeweler, or HVAC, etc. Not a huge amount of revenue, but, definitely some revenue for them if they get their SEO right.

From them, I will typically pitch them a 6 month engagement with a certain price per month. Ever the cost conscious consumer, they will frequently ask, "why does this take 6 months - can you do it in three or less"

The Sales-y answer is, that it takes time to get all the local profiles in order, and that to do SEO right requires some iterations, testing, etc.

The totally honest answer is, 90% of the value is in month 1, the audit of the site, and that first round of adjustments, claiming of profiles, database submission, and the other tips I give them. After that, for me, the workload is considerably less.

The reality is that, for what you get, the information I'm giving you, the combined skill of 15 years in SEO, the experience with other local businesses, the business acumen, etc, well, that has a real value, and competitively you won't get a better price. It's like "I could do it two months, but, I would charge you the same total cost, and you get more of my attention (and some iterations) with the 6 month gig". . . .yet, I think this is a lousy answer because it is "me" based, not based on the client.

There was actually a really good whiteboard friday a few weeks ago that might help you answer this question!
How to Avoid the Unrealistic Expectations SEOs Often Create - Whiteboard Friday - Moz

The on-site stuff is usually the quickest to implement, assuming you have complete access to the site. It's also usually the only thing the client SEES of your efforts. We start off with a "new client" email that basically says "Here are the things we've implemented on-site. Here are the off-site initiatives we will be implementing over the next X # of months, and is always an on-going effort to keep ahead of the competition".

If you send ranking reports to clients, you can also include a little note each month that says "By the way, we've built X # of citations this month and corrected X # of citations!".

Hope this helps :)
Good answer HurricaneK8. Gotta reply so I can refer back to this later. :)
For me, there are 5 main reasons for the long ETA. This is roughly what I tell clients who (rightfully) want to know why it takes so long:

1. It takes us at least a couple months to create and/or fix your listings (citations) and for those sites to process the changes. Not all our changes stick the first time around.

2. There are some important steps that you, the client, will have to do. You have many commitments, so I can?t assume you?ll be able to get to them right away. (If you can, great - we'll make faster progress.)

3. It takes time to earn reviews and a few good links. I can help you with that, but it?s tough work, and it's a process.

4. It takes Google a while to notice all the work we?ve done and to take it into account for your rankings.

5. The unexpected. Google is full of surprises. We've come to expect them. I'll help you prepare for choppy waters, so we'll be pleasantly surprised if it's smooth sailing.
Gotta reply so I can refer back to this later. :)

Hey Ty, so you know for future, you don't need to reply, but can just subscribe to important threads.

Top >> thread tools >> subscribe.

Then can select email if you want alerts on every new post. Or just subscribe with no email alerts, then when you look at your subscriptions, all your important threads will be there so you don't have to try to find them later. :)

Happy New Year!
With Google always changing what's under the hood, there's no way you can realistically say 1-3 months will get you to where you want to be. I've seen churn and burn projects go that quick, but that's because they use some... unacceptable methods (according to Google) to actually get rankings that fast. If you're looking for a long term strategy then the gradual growth is how you want to go. It's like going to the gym; you're not going to get super strong in a short time. You'll burn yourself out by overworking and it will actually take longer to get where you want to be. Gradual and healthy pace will make sure you have balance and get there on schedule.

Don't rush it. If you're doing things the way Google wants you to do it (assuming you want to rank on Google), then it's going to take time.
I like the gym analogy Eric. Unacceptable methods or black hat is kind of like steroids. They will give you fast, impressive results at first. But eventually all you are left with is a burned out, unhealthy body (website)
Thanks Linda. All good answers and I agree with them. There's plenty of times when I'm able to get a client rankings and website traffic and calls earlier but I always aim to under promise and over deliver.
My typical response is that SEO is a natural and organic process. Just because we make adjustments on-site and off-site, doesn't mean Google or other search engines pick those adjustments up the next day. It takes them time to (sometimes less if you have a great content plan in place and a few high powered links behind you) index your website and the other websites you've either built citations on, earned a link from. To client, "we do our best to lessen the amount of time it takes Google to pick up our changes but we have no control over how quickly they pick up the changes on the external sites. Nor do we have control over how quickly Google updates their index."

I know many people often start off with a PPC campaign to get the ball rolling. This allows you to show results almost immediately while you work on the long term items. It usually is a good way to put a client on their heals a bit while you work.

I too think the gym analogy is great. Steroids (black hat) are bad for your body but they will build your muscles quicker. Whereas a great workout routine will have you looking good in a few months. Nice.
It's pretty crazy how many companies out there are telling these businesses they can get them ranked in a couple of weeks. A few months ago I was talking with a old client's brother and he was basically shopping me against some other guy. He told me the other guy said he could get him ranked in a few weeks. He asked if I could do that and said no, explained why, and then just waited. He said he really needs to get the rankings up there in a few weeks not a few months, so I thanked him for his time and ended the meeting.

He emailed me recently asking what it would take to get some traffic moving to his site :) Funny how things work out. Point is - Don't give in and sacrifice what you believe is correct. Explain the facts, explain the environment we live in, and if the prospect isn't fully on board... move on and spend your time where it will yield actual results. They'll come around in time
In cases like Eric's I used to say something like this... It was almost a takeaway kind of close. But was not manipulation because I meant it.

"I understand you want fast rankings and I've explained why that's just not possible most of the time. One thing I'll never do with my clients is paint blue sky or set unrealistic expectations. I always shoot straight.

If you believe he can really do what he told you he could, I'd encourage you to try him. I'll be here if you need help down the road. Many of my best clients came to me after they paid another company to try to get them ranked."

Often after I said that, they'd end up changing their mind and working with me.
OR like what happened with Eric, they'll come back if you leave the door wide open. :)
This serves as a good reminder never to burn bridges. You may be upset that the client went with someone else but if you don't shut them out, they usually come crawling back and likely with a bigger mess. Could mean more money for you.

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