It's a very common question for business owners. When you launch a Google Adwords campaign, you see the effect almost instantly. But search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term process and requires endurance.

What SEO Endurance Really Means

Think of SEO as running an ultramarathon on a treadmill. There is no finish line and no starting line. Many of your competitors got into the race awhile ago, leaving you with plenty of ground to make up. There's no shortcut and no cheating your way to the front without getting caught (or worse, banned from the race altogether).

So when you ask, "When will I see results?" what you're really asking is;

"How far ahead are the competition, and how hard am I willing to work to catch up?"

The catch-up phase is tough, and we know it. You have to invest resources—time and dollars—often with what feels like minimal results for months. If you're in a competitive industry, with rivals that have been active online for years, you'll have to push even harder and longer to make any headway.

"Give your SEOs and your promotion campaigns a minimum of 4-10 months to show positive effects and make sure you watch total search referrals (not just rankings for your pet keyword search phrases), once you start to see increased traffic for long tail keywords and related phrases, you know you're on the right path.", - says Rand Fishkin, co-founder of SEO giant

SEO Expectations

Staying committed to the course can be difficult when the scenery doesn't seem to be changing. Some clients hope for immediate results and get frustrated by what looks like an expensive lack of progress. Quitting the program only allows your competitors to pull farther ahead. If you didn't envision ongoing months of SEO services, this might not be the time to start.

No legitimate SEO provider can control (or promise) the time it takes to see the results, and if you're not ready for a marathon, it might be better to focus on other areas of your business. Successful SEO is about long term quality - and it's an investment.

"Whatever area you're in - if you're doing it better than the other incumbents, then over time you can expect to perform better and better," says Google's Matt Cutts, the undisputed SEO guru.


SEO builds up over time and requires dedication even if the initial impact is minimal. Doing the right things for long enough will lead to SEO success, period. If you keep your head down and your legs moving, you'll eventually be the pace-setter.

ICONA was recognized as One of Canada's Top SEO Companies of 2016. While we can't guarantee timelines, we can guarantee results for anybody willing to endure the uphill battle of the early days.