The positioning of a site in the “organic” (natural) search engine results is the outcome of a complex set of SEO activities which are implemented both directly on the website’s pages (on-site SEO) and externally to the site (off-site SEO).
Each project for an existing site which aims to increase its organic traffic includes an initial analysis – this is a key aspect which highlights both on-site and off-site issues requiring attention, as well as SEO aspects which have not yet been exploited.
The information provided by this phase, supplemented by the data provided by the Web Analytics system, allows the specialist to formulate a draft SEO activity plan along with an estimate of the costs which will be required to implement it. The goals will be measured using KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) established in advance with the client and monitored via Web Analytics: organic traffic, sales (for e-Commerce sites), positioning for given keywords, conversion rate, number of leads generated, and so on.
Website positioning involves a very different set of activities to those required for indexing of a site: positioning implies the visibility (usually on the first page, or in the first ten results returned by a search engine) of a site when a user searches for the services/products sold on that site; indexing, on the other hand, simply means the acquisition of the site’s content and its inclusion in the Search Engine’s index. In other words, indexing simply means an acknowledgement of the site’s existence by the search engines, nothing more.
When will the first results be visible? This is the question which I am, quite rightly, most commonly asked by my clients. The honest answer is: it depends. This may seem deliberately generic and evasive, but there are many factors which influence the timescales for organic positioning by an SEO Specialist: how “competitive” the scenario for the keyword semantics is, the size of the market to penetrate (local, domestic or international), the complexity of the site, timeliness in fixing any technical problems with the site, and the performance of the servers the site is hosted on, to name just a few.
In order to be as transparent as possible, I always remind prospects that the effectiveness of SEO work is generally visible in the medium term: in some cases it has been possible to achieve increases in organic traffic within four or five weeks, while others have taken six or seven months. In the meantime, if both the budget and SEO requirements allow, it can be worth taking out PPC campaigns on Google Ads.
Regular traffic and keyword positioning reports supplied to clients provide evidence of the effectiveness of the SEO activities performed on the site right from the get-go.