Written By: Adam Dince
It’s inevitable that at some point during initial conversations with a prospective organic search client, you’ll be asked the following question, “How soon will I see results?”
Depending on the nature of your prospect client’s Website and/or enterprise environment, you may find yourself in a situation where there is no clear answer. In these cases, you may be tempted to rattle off some traditional SEO jargon like, “Well, we know that it typically takes 3-6 months for your Website to appear in search results.” On top of that answer being completely incorrect and dishonest, it sounds like the old doctor’s remedy of “take two pills and call me in the morning”.
One of the biggest challenges for those of us fortunate enough to find a career in optimization is that marketers have been trained over time to consider organic search (SEO) as a marketing tactic. In fact, in my experiences, all of my clients have paid for their organic search engagements through their marketing budgets. So typically, when a potential client is speaking to you about organic search, they most likely have their marketing caps on.
However, the elephant in the room is that organic search is no longer just a marketing tactic and we’ve got to stop treating it as such. Aside from historically being one of the biggest drivers of Website performance, the practice of organic search has morphed in to a complex hybrid of code optimization, social media, information architecture, user-experience, analytics, and content strategy. Don’t take my word for it, look at the topics that Google provides Webmasters as guidelines to building optimized Websites.
In setting the table here, I think we can look at the question, “How soon will I see results?” as an opportunity to reframe the conversation and educate your prospect client.
Organic search should be an investment in building scalable and accessible digital assets that provide your client’s customers with the best possible experience. One of our mantras at MRM is, “If it’s worth building, it’s worth finding.” Why would a brand ever want to spend money on building a Website, mobile app or social site that people couldn’t find?
Organic search should be about investing in creating content that utilizes the linguistic patterns and behaviors that consumers use. Have you ever had a confusing conversation with someone where both of you were saying the same thing but were speaking about it in different ways? Why would a brand want to do that to its customers?
Organic search should be about building long-lasting relationships with closely relevant partners. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but traditional link building and buying is obsolete. It’s a waste of money. Instead of speaking about link building, you should speak about link earning. By building out solid Web pages that meet the criteria listed in the above paragraphs, you’ll organically grow your clients’ link profile while at the same time, organically growing social signals. Furthermore, by building meaningful and strategic relationships with your client’s partners, you’ll foster an environment where attaining powerful links from their sites becomes much easier and ultimately reduces the agency fee (thus boosting ROI).
In order to succeed in organic search, both the practitioner and the client/potential client must understand that organic search is not about rankings—it’s about optimization.
In one of my latest search presentations, I likened engaging in organic search to preparing for a marathon. You don’t just get on the treadmill one day and expect to be able to run the 26 mile course, the next. You slowly condition yourself and work your way in to a physical condition to where you can legitimately compete. The same holds true for organic search.
Often times, those that take short-cuts to deliver on unreal organic search expectations wind up with messy situations like this:
Regardless of whether or not your clients or potential clients are asking the question “How soon will I see results?” , you should be prepared to speak about what organic search is and what it isn’t. If your prospects are the right type of client to be working with, they should be open to trusting your points of view.
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