Understandably, this is one of the most common questions asked by individuals and business owners that are pursuing a consultant or SEO company to handle their online marketing.  After considering some solid ways of choosing a company and seeing if there were different ways you could do it yourself, you’ll come to a point where you’ll need to decide if it is worth the money and time commitment to see the process through.  Typically for ranking keywords, there are many variables to consider.  Here would be a few that we would initially ponder:

  • The geographic nature of the keyword – is the ranking going to be attempted on a small or large scale?  For example, if you’re a cupcake company, where are you targeting?  Is it Los Angeles, is it California, or is it the whole country? (where you’d omit any geographic association).  The broader the location, the more time it will likely take.
  • The competitive nature of the keyword – how many companies are going after the same keywords as you, how saturated that market is already, and how much money these businesses have to put into their efforts.  If you’re a pool company, the entry into the online market may not be too difficult even though there are a lot of pool companies – many of them have some sort of website but aren’t proactive with their online marketing.  If you’re a pest control company, it could be tougher because of the number as well as the presence of big players in this industry.  If you’re a law firm, it is difficult because of the number, the aggressiveness of their marketing, and the amount of money that can be allocated to online efforts.
  • The ambiguous nature of the keyword – if you have a business that is tough to put into a tight collection of finite keywords, this could be a difficult task as well.  For example, even ranking a SEO company like ours may be tough because of how people are searching for it.  Keywords that fit the description of our own business can be SEO company, SEM company, digital marketing company, online marketing company, marketing company, internet marketing company, etc.  This is usually concluded with solid market research.
  • Lastly, the conventional nature of the keyword – how likely the keyword is going to be sought after online in the first place.  If it isn’t a common search, there is a chance that Google’s results may be convoluted and will attempt to wrap the result into something it believes is relevant, effectively never presenting a result for the query you’re trying to get.

So, let’s get to it – what’s the timeline?  I once spoke with a reputable SEO in 2012 and we had the same mentality for the timeline.

  • If you’re targeting a city (that isn’t major like Chicago or NYC) you should give it 3 months.
  • For a state, give it 6 months.
  • If you’re trying to get in front of anyone around the country, it could be a year.

It is tough to give exact amounts like that, because with Google algorithms shifting queries around more than ever, it isn’t always great to set expectations.  We have seen city keywords rank as soon as 4-6 weeks recently though, and rank as in top 5 and often times top 3.  But then again…expectations.  It’s a tough line to cross.

At the end of the day, it is important that an SEO company actually does research on the keyword you intend to rank for before exclaiming “we can definitely do it in 90 days!”.  What has worked for 20 clients in the past won’t necessarily work for the next one.  Hopefully this is a guideline for understanding the amount of effort that will go into the keywords you’re trying to get.  Also make sure you understand why you want to go for the keywords you are in the first place.

Want to cross-reference keyword expectations you’re getting from someone else with us?  We’d be more than happy to help.  Contact our SEO experts at Market My Market today at (646)493-9551.