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What You Can Expect From An SEO Campaign

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies vary from one niche to another niche. It’s not rocket science but it requires a proper strategy, consistency, and lots of follow through. In this article, I am going to clarify what business owners can expect when investing in an SEO campaign.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, is not about just ranking keywords on Google’s first page or building tons of back links in pursuit of bringing visitors and close deals. With the proper SEO techniques, not only will your customers find your website, your customers will find exactly what they’re looking for at the time they’re looking for it.

Setting Up Realistic Expectations For An SEO Campaign

When designing an SEO campaign, think long-term. The biggest mistake most business owners make at the start is setting unrealistic expectations for the business’ marketing strategy.

Consider an SEO audit to assess the competition level. Set up your campaign strategy and budget based on the audit. Be reasonable, if a competitor is spending $5k per month then you should never expect similar results while spending only one-fourth of a competitor’s budget. Here are the checkpoints explaining what would be a reasonable expectation during different periods within the first year of launching an SEO campaign.

Checkpoint 1: After the first month

At the beginning of the first month, make sure all of the tracking analytics that will help you understand your customers’ interest and behavior is set up to start collecting data. This information will help you determine the progress and will give you insight on which action you should take next to grow your business. At the end of the first month, you should have your SEO plan in your hand along with technical on-site optimization completed. Do not expect rankings in this period.

Checkpoint 2: After three months

This is the first checkpoint to assess progress and evaluate your SEO strategy. After three months, you should be able to see some improvements in organic traffic and rankings. You should ask your SEO specialist to provide a three-month report along with monthly reports. If there is no improvement in your rankings and traffic then it’s time to reevaluate your SEO strategy.

Checkpoint 3: After six months

After six months of consistent implementation, you should be on the first page for most related search terms. Also, there should be some improvement in organic traffic. You can view your website’s traffic in Google Analytics. After this period, you should be certain whether or not your SEO and content marketing strategies are working.

What if your rankings and traffic haven’t improved? First, you need to determine if there are fluctuations due to different algorithm updates. If you don’t see any traffic or rankings improvement within six months then it’s time seek explanation reevaluate everything from the beginning.

Checkpoint 4: After one year

At this stage, you should have your rankings and regular flow of organic engaging visitors. Now, it’s time to calculate your ROI (Return on Investment).

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growth calculation graph for an SEO campaign
ROI calculation graph for an SEO campaign

Here is an example of the outcome of a project I did for a client from July 2017 to Mar 2018.


  • Visitors per month at the beginning (July, 17): 14
  • Avg. CPC= $3.5
  • Total traffic cost per month: $49


  • Avg. monthly visitors after 6 months (Dec, 17): 777
  • Traffic cost per month (after 6 months): $2719
  • Total Estimated Traffic Value (In 9 Months) = $24,471
  • Total Investment (In 9 Months) = $10,000
  • ROI based on traffic cost= {($24,471-$10,000)*100/10,000}% =144.71%
  • 140% ROI means, if client invest x, he has earned 2.4x in return.
  • N.B: The client website is still getting benefits from the campaign and hence the ROI is still increasing.

SEO is continuously evolving with the updates in search engine algorithms. A great SEO strategy will improve rankings and increase brand value without the need to worry about Google algorithm updates. The August algorithm update along with all the other updates from the past few months have a negative impact on many websites. With a long-term SEO strategy you can gain traffic significantly, but your SEO must learn to adapt to new trends so that your business continues to grow.

IS An SEO Campaign Suitable For Your Business OR Company?

You need to determine first whether an SEO campaign will be suitable for your goals. Consider these questions:

  • Do I have the time it requires? (6-12 months) If no, then SEO is not for you. The client example I have mentioned above continued their online marketing campaign for just over six months and saw significant ROI.
  • Can I invest more or equally as my competitors are doing continuously? Let’s say you can invest equally then SEO is perfect for you. But if you can’t spend anything close to what your competitors are spending then you will have to set your expectations differently.
  • Are my expectations suitable for my monthly budget? Let’s say, your competitor is investing $2,000 per month but you would like to get the same for $500 per month. That is not possible at all. So, your monthly budget must be optimal after discussing with the SEO provider.
  • Do I need quick business leads, such as within one week? If yes then SEO is not for you. Consider paid advertising (PPC) for quick leads. But, remember, PPC will never bring any long-term effect.

This article was originally published on Upwork on November 13, 2018.

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