It will take anywhere from 1 month to 3 months to start seeing some shift, and likely 6-8 months to start seeing significant ROI from Search Engine Optimization work. That being said, if you don’t start seeing some shift in traffic (either month over month or year over year for seasonal businesses) then in most cases you should be very forward with your SEO provider and seek a clear explanation.
SEO is not hard. It does, however take time – it involves technical tweaks on your website, competitive analysis/content strategy, and building links from around the web.
So most people don’t have the time to get up to speed on all of the shifting trends, the technical aspects, and make sure their website is running perfectly for SEO like a finely tuned machine.
If you have an agency or team doing SEO + something else
When I say 1 to 3 months for some initial returns, or 6-8 months for significant ROI – I mean that much time concerted SEO effort, not SEO effort watered down with a redesign or an SEO + PPC agency trying to do both. Not that they can’t do that, but the time/effort/money spent would have to be double.
So my suggestion is to have a team totally dedicated to your SEO efforts, and if you want PPC done make sure that budget is entirely separate from your Search Engine Optimization work.
Can I speed up the process of ROI from SEO?
Honestly, I wouldn’t suggest moving so quickly that you risk some type of penalty. Particularly with backlinking, if your ‘velocity’ or the time passing and frequency of links procured rises to0 fast – it will look fishy and unnatural.
Be smart about how quick you try to force this work.
How to make sure your results are guaranteed and long-term
Slow is smooth.
Smooth is fast.
So when you create content – make it significant and targeted, not worrying about the speed that it comes out, because 100 posts on your blog won’t create significant traffic, but that one that was super-targeted and useful will.
When you create links – make them hefty and serious. They should actually be almost a pain to get, whether through outreach, guest posting, or by deliberating with someone in your network to include a link back to your site. These things, when worth something for real will either take… money, time, or effort. If they don’t, they aren’t worth it.