Realistic SEO Expectations for Digital Marketing Services
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

You’ve heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and know that it’s critical for the success of your business. However, the vast majority of business owners still don’t fully understand it.

And why should they? Business owners are busy managing their companies, and usually hire inside teams or outside Michigan SEO agencies to develop and perform their online marketing initiatives. It’s at this point that confusion on expectations can start.

Expectations vs. Reality

Many times, business owners think that their marketing campaigns will dominate online in a few months, and once success is visible, there is no need to continue spending money and time on it.

This false timeline is portrayed below and compared to a more typical SEO campaign.

Typical Client ExpectationsTypical SEO Engagement

To avoid having an awkward conversation down the road, it’s critical for any team or agency to set proper expectations from the beginning.

SEO Takes Time

SEO is organic by nature and needs proper time to grow and evolve. How much time? Typically, with any new digital marketing campaign, an effective SEO strategy needs at least 6-8 months to implement and start seeing measurable results.

So, where does all the time go?

I’ve put together a guide detailing everything you can expect Artonic to complete during the first year of a marketing campaign.

Month 1

Setup and research. Regardless if the campaign is brand new or from a prior engagement, month 1 will be consumed by research, research, research. This is critical. In order for any online campaign to be successful, the marketers creating it need to know what they’re marketing. In order to know what they’re marketing they need to complete comprehensive research for the client’s brand, industry, competition, and content. Close interaction with the client is important, as the marketers will need to develop goals, based on their research. They may also need supplemental information from the client such as various account logins.

Also, this is the perfect time to get analytic tracking setup to measure the ongoing success of the marketing campaign overall. Without getting these critical components setup early, valuable data can be lost, leaving the marketing team to guess any early trends.

Months 2-5

Strategy and development. Once the research and goals are in place a strategy roadmap can be developed. This roadmap will serve as the marketing backbone and will drive all strategy and development work throughout the first year.

Development work is also in full swing during these months including on and off-page optimizations, content marketing, link building, social media, and ongoing reporting.

These months can be volatile, and see many increases and decreases for metrics tracked. Much of this has to do with the client’s business getting established online and beginning to participate in online competition areas, like Google and Bing.

During these months and beyond, search engine algorithm and industry updates can cause the strategy roadmap to change as needed.

Months 6-12+

Advancement and measurement. At 6-8 months definite upward trends of advancement should begin to be seen. This is when real numbers start to accumulate around the marketing campaign in the form of conversions (ROI), traffic, and rankings.

Continued development and support towards SEO initiatives will remain a staple throughout the entire marketing campaign, with a heavy focus on content marketing.

As long as SEO work continues, the ongoing success of the client’s business will continue to prosper.


SEO is absolutely a long-term strategy and investment. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the work of online marketing in the first 6 months, due to intangible results. However, if a client can stick with it for the first year and beyond, true benefit and success can be measured and achieved.

Learn More About Search Engine Optimization

My Search Engine Agency Doesn’t Product Results