When you first launch local SEO campaigns for your business, it’s natural to be eager and want to see big results fast. Whether you’re handling optimization in-house or hiring a professional local SEO company, you probably expect a quick boost in search visibility and new customer acquisition.
But here’s the reality – improving local search rankings and results takes time. Unlike some forms of marketing, you won’t suddenly wake up tomorrow on page 1 of Google for all your target keywords. Local SEO relies on building authority and citations steadily over months through things like link building, content creation, and technical site optimizations.
Now that’s not to say you can’t achieve incremental progress along the way. With the right strategic approach, you should see some improvement within weeks and even bigger gains after a few months. You just need realistic expectations when embarking on local SEO.
In this article, I’ll walk through a general timeline of what you can expect to achieve at different stages of your local SEO campaign. Understanding these milestones will help you track progress properly and stick with local optimization for the long-term payoff. Let’s get into it!
Set Expectations Upfront
When first diving into local search optimization, it’s important to set proper expectations from the start about how long it takes to move the needle.
Unlike paid search ads, local SEO relies on a gradual, cumulative process of accumulating positive signals and citations over months in order to climb rankings. Things like high-quality backlinks, structured data markup, GMB optimization, and positive reviews build up your authority and relevance in the eyes of Google and its users.
This means you cannot expect overnight results or instant page-one rankings, as frustrating as that may be. Be patient, trust the process, and focus on sustainable momentum vs. hockey stick growth curves.
To better track progress, set specific goals and performance benchmarks you want to achieve at 30, 60, and 90-day intervals. Things like ranking for X target keywords, acquiring X new links/reviews or increasing organic traffic by X amount.
Evaluating metrics over quarterly checkpoints will provide more tangible indicators of progress being made. Just remember – persistence and diligence over months, not days, is key for local SEO success. Keep expectations realistic.
30 Days In
After the first month, you should have completed foundational work to kickstart local SEO progress:
- A detailed audit and inventory of existing website content, technical elements, and search presence. This provides the roadmap.
- Initial on-page optimizations like keyword/schema markup, site speed improvements, and URL/layout adjustments. Quick wins to build from.
- The start of link-building efforts, such as guest posts on locally relevant sites, to build authority.
- Submission to key local business directories and citation sources. Gradually improving visibility.
- Addition of positive Google My Business attributes like photos, posts, and FAQ schema.
At the 30-day mark, you likely won’t see massive changes in search rankings and traffic. But you should notice search visibility and brand impressions slowly start to improve as foundational elements get established.
Expect more incremental gains in the next months as efforts compound. Remain diligent with optimization and outreach. The local SEO flywheel is starting to spin.
60 Days In
After two months of concerted local SEO efforts, you should see some exciting momentum:
- Expanded link-building through increased outreach, partnerships, and content promotion. Links should grow steadily week-over-week.
- Continued completeness of key local directories and aggregators. More citation sources covered expands visibility.
- Ongoing on-page optimization through new landing pages, blogs, videos, etc. that target local keywords.
- Leveraging schema markups like FAQs, events, and reviews to improve snippets and CTRs.
- With foundations set, rankings and traffic for target keywords/locations should climb noticeably by 60 days.
- Technical site enhancements and speed optimizations boost user experience.
By month two, progress should be undeniable as rankings improve, traffic increases and local brand strength grows. Be sure to monitor KPIs against benchmarks. Maintain focus on Executing the strategy diligently. The results will follow.
After 3 months of consistent local SEO execution, you should start seeing substantial progress:
- Rankings for priority keywords and geo-targets should reach pages 1-3 of SERPs. Significant increases in traffic and conversions.
- Brand awareness, impressions, and clicks on digital maps improve as local presence strengthens.
- Customer review accumulation accelerates through proactive gathering and responses.
- With foundational work done, the focus turns to sustaining efforts through ongoing content, outreach, monitoring, and optimizations.
- Expand targets to secondary location pages and keywords. Build on initial successes.
Past the 90-day mark, progress becomes about diligence and discipline more than massive ranking jumps every month. Maintain persistence with local SEO to cement long-term authority and presence.
The months of effort should now be paying dividends through increased brand visibility, website traffic, local leads, and new customers. Sustaining this newfound local momentum becomes the priority.
The main lesson is that achieving significant local SEO results takes time and strategic execution. Generally allow 30-90 days before expecting to see meaningful improvements in rankings, traffic, and leads.
Have patience and persist with core optimization activities like content creation, link building, technical fixes, and citation accumulation month over month. Don’t get discouraged by a lack of overnight success.
Trust that staying diligent with your local SEO strategy and tracking key benchmarks will ultimately pay dividends. Compounding your efforts leads to sustained momentum.
Continuing to invest in local SEO services long-term amplifies the gains over time as your brand’s local authority climbs and visibility expands. The work leads to ongoing exposure, conversions, and customer growth if maintained consistently.
Stay patient, be diligent, track progress, and keep local SEO efforts up – that’s the formula for maximizing local search success month after month.