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Local SEO: How Long Does it Take? Timeline Calculator.

Each day, online marketing agencies acquire new clients and one of the most frequently asked questions is: “How long will this take?”  Not generally a great start, but this is where education and setting clear expectations with your customers is important. Are we trying to generate more traffic and more leads for you Mr. Customer, or do you just want Business XYZ to be listed “HERE” because you think that’s where you should be?

One thing that business owners and SEO’s alike need to understand is to not confuse ‘rankings’ with ‘new customers’. Of course having certain rankings for high volume key-phrases is ideal, but what we’ve found over and over again is what we / they THINK they should rank for, and what key-words actually drive the most conversions can be quite different. At Adster, we try and educate our clientele and focus on obtaining targeted traffic and work mostly on conversions. We let the data and open communication with our clients tell the story; it’s easier to manage client expectations this way, especially in an ever-changing Local SEO landscape.

Local SEO … 60% of the time, it works every time!

60% of the time - it works every time Search Engine Optimization and Inbound Marketing aren’t for every business owner. It’s important to set clear expectations from the beginning. If the business is scalable, is patient and has the willingness to be successful it can be a great match. On the other hand, if you’re impatient, are adverse to change and want “faster results”, may we interest you in our flexLOCAL system?

However, you clicked on this page because you want to know ‘HOW BLOODY LONG DOES IT TAKE?’ Well, first, I think you should check this out. These are some of the brightest and most insightful people in the local SEO landscape so this will give you a general idea. If you’re too lazy to read through it, the general consensus is that it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to over 1 year … pretty vague, no? Well it’s hard to pin-point exactly how long it will take.

There are dozens of factors that can either increase, or decrease your chances for local search success such as:

  • website authority
  • NAP consistency
  • link profile
  • duplicate listings
  • that weird look you gave Matt Cuttz on the subway station…

… really; the list could go on and on.

Local SEO Timeline Guess-ti-mator:

While this can only be used as a guide (depends on many factors, and the competitiveness of the industry), I’ve found in many situations the following can give you a general idea of how long it will take for Google to accurately gather all the necessary information to build trust and authority into your website, and Places listings. For Canadian businesses, it typically takes 2 business data index update cycles (happens every 4-8 weeks) to update the information cluster, so even if we fix, update or add citations and business listings it can take in upwards of 6 months for everything to get sorted.

Local SEO Calculator:

Results technically can happen in as little as 4 to 8 weeks with some minor adjustments if you already have a claimed Google listing, your website has some built in authority and you have the appropriate categories set.

Add the following if you don’t:

1. Recently claimed Google + Local / Places Page: + 4 to 6 weeks
2. Changes & updates to Google + Local / Places Page: + 4 to 6 weeks
3. New domain name: + 8 to 12 weeks
4. Recently changed phone number or address: + 10 to 16 weeks
5. Recently added listings & citations: + 4 to 8 weeks (x 2 if in Canada)

Ideal circumstances: 4 to 8 Weeks

Realisitc timeline: 6 Months to 14 Months (dependent upon competitiveness of niche)