When doing any type of strategic planning for your local business customers, the sooner the results begin to show, the better. However when it comes to SEO, while it is possible to see immediate results, the most strategic and well-executed plans will continue to deliver far beyond the initial boost in rankings.

Managing expectations and communicating realistic timelines to your small business customers is essential in order to prepare them for their SEO campaigns to reach their full potential.  Many SEO firms will guarantee immediate results, and while that is what small businesses, or any business for that matter, wants to hear, the ideal situation is for them to understand that a thorough and complete SEO plan will produce sustainable success and surpass ROI expectations. Here are 10 quick tips to help manage SEO clients.

So, how do you define a timeline for SEO strategy?  Unfortunately there is no set timetable, but communicating the stages of a comprehensive and tailored strategy will prepare customers for the marathon that is SEO.  Here a sample timeline you can follow as a guide to achieving realistic SEO success.

Month 1:  Evaluation and Planning

In the initial phase, comprehensive website and strategy planning takes place by researching where your customers’ website currently ranks in terms of SEO.  This research phase can be done quickly, usually within 2-4 weeks depending on the resources allocated to perform the evaluation.

Tasks include: On-site/Off-site website audit,  keyword research and discovery.

Month 2:  Modification and Editing

Once the focus points have been identified and a plan has been put in place, it’s time to set it in motion. Some items may be simple fixes while others may require more adjustment time.  Depending on the state of the current website, this can take 1-2 months to begin and complete all modifications and technical changes.

Tasks include: Website copy overhaul and meta -tag cleanup.

Month 3:  Building Content

After a solid foundation is established with the initial changes, it’s time to build up the content on and around your customers’ site.  The next 1-2 months should be spent focusing on all content from building your brand presence on social media sites to implementing a company blog.  Any type of content build out will drive traffic naturally and have an impact on search visibility.

Tasks include: Content creation (blogs, white papers, articles, guides) and social media management and PR media outreach.

Month 4:  Track Results and Continue Building Authority

By this step, with the continued efforts on building and evaluating, results will begin to show through increased rankings and traffic flow.  This will be the first indication that all your hard work from the past 4-5 months is paying off and to continue with the monitoring and editing of content.

Tasks include: Eliminate low-quality links, produce link building strategy and continue to develop fresh and relevant content.

Month 5: Maintain, Reevaluate and Reinvest Your Time

As traffic to your customers’ site continues to grow and leads are being generated naturally, continue to focus on keywords that are driving results for your customers and align your content strategy around these keywords/phrases. The results will be clear by this point and the more effort put into maintaining and reevaluating will continue yielding positive results.

And it doesn’t just end there. SEO is a continuous, long-term action item that should continue to be top of mind for your local business customers. Local companies that invest their time and resources in SEO are placing their companies in a position to improve and continually advance their business.  With a strong strategic SEO plan in place, companies can boost leads, traffic and conversions that will set them apart from competitors and grow their revenue in the long run.


Adam Polaszewski, Head of Marketing at UpCity is a data driven demand marketing professional with more than a decade of digital marketing experience creating award-winning online and offline marketing programs. Adam’s passion for marketing and technology has moved him from coast to coast working for some of the fastest growing start-up in the country.