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This question is a very tricky one because it has no precise or direct answer. Perhaps, the most accurate answer to give is “it depends”. The answer sounds frustrating to someone that intends to venture into SEO but needs to be sure before getting into it. As frustrating as the answer may sound, it’s the truth and the best answer that could be profounded.

Another question that may be asked based on the initial answer is “what does it depend on?”. It depends on the following but not limited to; how long your website has been around, how much SEO has been done on it previously, what shape the website is in, how much content is on it, and its linked profile, amidst so many other SEO factors.

Some organizations tend to underestimate how much time and money it may take to be successful with Search Engine Optimization. Even with a healthy budget, obvious successes rarely come within the first three months of SEO. If you can’t budget for six to twelve months of SEO, it might be better to invest your money in something else. Realistically speaking, throwing your money away sometimes could be better off just paying for only a few months of SEO because SEO is a long term marketing tactic, and shouldn’t be seen as a way to generate quick sales or money. However, if you make the proper investment, and plan on being in it for the long time, SEO is a marketing tactic.

For business marketers and owners that are not familiar with the mechanics of SEO, a first month that yields little or no traffic increase may seem like a failure, when in fact there are significant improvements happening across the board, but are hidden from plain view. Hence, keyword research and rank tracking is so important for measuring the true progress of an SEO campaign. You ought to know what keywords to target and track, and you’ve got to track and graph them over time to get a realistic picture of your campaign’s progress.

Below are few variables that can come into play, which can influence how soon or otherwise you will see results from an SEO campaign;

1. Competitive Environment: If you have many strong competitors who are already dominating the rankings for your intended keywords, it will take you a longer time to see any reasonable result. But results will come much faster if you have little or no competitors in your specified niche. Generally, making a good SEO competition analysis will help you to understand who your competitors are, the strengths of their campaigns, and the type of investment you need to top them.

2. Strategic Choices: Some of the choices you need to make at the start of SEO campaign should be; do you want to start by targeting one pivotal keyword phrase, or hedge your bets among a number of different keywords? Will those keywords be high-traffic, high-competition, or low-traffic, low-competition? Making proper keyword research at the very start of your campaign is crucial to its success.

3. Channels and Angles: The individual tactics you adopt will surely play a role in your development, most especially in unforeseeable ways. For example, do you want to focus on short-form or long-form content? Will you do publication on small-time publication networks or a handful of major networks? And what type of social media outlets will you use, and how active will you be on them?

4. Total Investment: As said earlier, the expected result is a function of your total investment as against that of your competitors. That is, the total amount of money and effort you put into your strategy will have a major bearing on the speed of your achieved results. It is important to note that the amount your competitors are spending matters just as much, it dictates what results you get. For example, if you’re spending $5,000 per month on SEO and not seeing results, it could be because your competitors are spending $10,000 per month. There is no vacuum in SEO because everything you do affects your competitors, and everything your competitors do affect you.

Having considered the points above, we have been able to defend the answer “it depends”, but the basis is the value of your investment. If you have a very healthy budget, your anticipated results will not be delayed.