Marketing & SEO Expectations

What To Expect From Your Marketing Efforts

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Peering Beyond The Horizon of SEO Drudgery

Patience is said to be a virtue, but in the SEO world, it’s a necessity.

The most difficult aspect of SEO to understand is the relationship between cost/effort and ROI over time. This is why so many business owners still to this day believe that after a month of doing SEO they should be ranking #1 in Google, their traffic should all of a sudden be doubled or even tripled, and products should be flying off the shelves and out the doors. However their expectations are not only too high, but also impossible to achieve over such a short period of time. Most people can imagine the problems and hassle this misunderstanding can create for both business owners and the marketers they work with.

The graph below helps to visually explain why this problem persists and how it causes further trouble down the line.

Marketing Expectations Graph

SEO Improvement Expectation Graph

When in the SEO Drudgery section, the temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.

What you’ll notice is that initially SEO work typically garners a greater ROI with less effort being put forth. As time passes, and for a while afterwards, more effort is required to make seemingly less progress. However, eventually this does turn around and less effort can be put forth with a greater ROI. But it takes time in order to realize and achieve this. Sadly many business owners are not patient enough to wait around for the big payout. So when they feel their effort and money has gone to waste and decide to stop, really it’s an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. They believed it was a waste, stopped trying, and therefore it became a waste.

These people never reach their Equilibrium. Success is a matter of hanging on after others have let go and we should never forget that every business is in direct and continual competition with all of their competitors online. SEO is a lot like a never-ending foot race. Those who run harder and for longer are sure to cover the most distance. There are no eternal winners, there is no end, and contenders can arise overnight. It’s those that have true grit, perseverance, and determination that pull ahead from the rest of the pack and stay there.

The three SEO Improvement Expectation phases in this sense are aptly named “S.E.Oh-Yeah”, “S.E.Oh-No”, and “S.E.Oooh”.


The S.E.Oh-Yeah section is obviously when you first start doing SEO, you will notice nearly immediate results because simply put, you’re just starting out. What’s typically called “low hanging fruit” can be easily plucked and enjoyed by all. You feel good about doing SEO because you notice positive improvement in a relatively short period of time.


The S.E.Oh-No section however is much more sinister and frustrating. It is by far the least understood area for business owners and the greatest annoyance for people doing SEO. It is also the area where many business owners begin to lose heart and believe that because no large gains are being made, SEO isn’t worth their time or focus. This is also why this section is considered “The Gap of Disappointment.” The reason for this is simply that this area is where the real work of SEO begins. It’s time consuming, difficult, and positive results are often hard to come by for quite some time.

But like anything else, you get what you pay for and the gains to be had from your work in the slog section are not apparent until later on. The slog section specifically is where expectations are typically skewed and unrealistic for business owners. This is mostly due to the success of initial SEO efforts, which easily misleads perceptions of what can be expected later on. You have to remember that just because “success” is not immediately apparent does not mean it doesn’t exist or will not be contributing to future success.


The S.E.Ooooh section is finally where less effort can be put forth for greater ROI. You can ease off the throttle a bit and enjoy the fruits of your SEO labor. The reason being that all the hard work and planning has been done. Now you simply manage and maintain. Certainly you continually want to keep improving your site and refining your SEO efforts, but the heavy lifting for the most part has been completed. In the example above, it’s scaled on an 8-month period, but it’s not uncommon for businesses to have to wait upwards of a year or more before reaching The Equilibrium.


For those that are patient, understand these individual phases, and have realistic expectations for SEO, the payoff in the end can be substantial. The difference in success from failure in SEO lies in a businesses ability to withstand “The Gap of Disappointment.” That means you have to keep your head below the clouds, understand that it’s always darkest before dawn and fully trust that all the work and effort put forth will pay out.

Creating lofty marketing goals for SEO should be avoided. This certainly doesn’t mean you don’t want to aim for the moon… Just don’t plan, anticipate, or expect to hit it. Doing so reduces moral, kills ambition, and may end all together future SEO efforts. Keeping this in mind is paramount with SEO and should not be underestimated. Patience pays out, and you’ll receive dividends from those that couldn’t withstand any longer in the form of greater rankings and extra traffic.