Results for SEO take longer to see than those for other marketing like paid ads. Search engines can take weeks or months to register changes to your website or listing. They only release algorithm updates (the times most likely for large rankings changes to occur) once every quarter. So small businesses should expect to measure the outcomes of their SEO work, in the form of improved rankings and organic traffic , over three- to six-month timeframes.
There are several leading indicators a business can review monthly for signs they’re making progress on their SEO:
- Google impressions. This is the number of times in which your website or listing shows up in Google, whether or not it was clicked. Growth in impressions usually happens faster than growth in website traffic. While the majority of clicks go to the top-three search results, often the entire first page of results receives an impression. So this can indicate future traffic growth if the rankings continue to improve.
- New links generated. This should focus on “white hat” links—those that are generated through press coverage, collaboration, or partnerships, not through spam tactics.
- 4- or 5-star reviews on Google My Business. A good rule of thumb is 5%: If you can get 5% of your customers to leave you a positive review, you are on track to improve your rankings. Note that not every review needs to be a perfect 5—it’s more trustworthy to search engines if your reviews represent an accurate account of your business’s quality.