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This week’s Wednesday Workshop video covers the age-old question – How long does SEO take? Unlike PPC, organic optimization isn’t an instant on. It takes time for the optimization work to produce big results.

We know that lots of dealers wonder why it takes so long, so for this week’s video, we explain why you won’t see immediate results, how everything fits together, and why you need an expert handling your SEO.


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop with DealerOn. This week, we’re talking about SEO again – and specifically, we’re talking about SEO timelines…

No, we’re not jumping into a Delorean to go back to the 50s to change the timeline and make meta keywords happen again… we’re answering the common question “why does SEO take so long?”

For those of you who want the short version – SEO takes time, because we have to continue to push out the right signals over a longer period of time. While it’s possible in some cases to get results very quickly, in most cases it’s safe to assume that it will be at least 6 to 8 months to see the big wins in traffic and lead volume.

Since PPC is an instant-on, many times dealers get frustrated that they don’t achieve instant results with their organic SEO efforts as well. But unfortunately, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Search is incredibly complicated, with hundreds of pieces that all have to fit together – and continue to fit together over a period of time.

Since no one knows exactly what’s in Google’s algorithm, SEO is not an exact science. Sure, thanks to the research of top SEO experts, we can be pretty sure what the most important elements are, but an SEO is like a doctor performing an operation on a patient where they’re not really sure exactly what’s wrong, and where they can only see a small area of the patient at any one time.

And it’s not just about the hundreds of ranking factors – it’s about the way that they interact. In some cases, Google returns local results, and in others, there’s no local bias – and sometimes we’re even targeting map results. Each one of those is a different algorithm, where the various elements both on your site and off your site have different weights.

Plus, no two businesses are the same. Dealerships carry different inventories, and are located in different cities. Google treats different business types differently as well. A bankruptcy attorney has to do things completely differently than a car dealer. And even in the same city, a Ford dealer has different signals than a Toyota dealer.

And – you’re never doing SEO in a vaccuum… Your competitors are doing things to influence their visibility as well – and every time they move up, someone else has to move down. It’s a constant king of the hill battle – and that’s why there’s no end date for SEO… You always have to fight for the best visibility in your area.

SEOs are artists too – They have to create an intricate plan for your web presence, and if they’re going to create something that will continue to produce lasting results, that requires a lot of hard work and expertise.

You’ve got to audit the site first, to see what areas need to be fixed. You’ve got to create a content plan, then produce that content on an ongoing basis. Inbound links to your site are incredibly important, so there’s a lot of work that goes into finding and acquiring the right kind of links. Since auto dealers need Local SEO, there’s a ton of citation work involved as well. Social media signals and review signals also require a significant commitment of time.

So if your SEO vendor tells you that it’s going to take anywhere from 6 months to a year to achieve awesome results, they’re telling you the truth… And on the flip side, if you’re talking to a vendor and they tell you that they’ll get you ranked #1 in a few months or less, you know they’re lying.

Quality SEO takes time. If you want to work with someone who’s going to bring true long-term benefits, you’ve got to invest in an expert SEO who understands the intricacies of search and knows how to help your dealership. Your website is the foundation of everything your dealership does – it’s far too important to trust to an amateur.

And that’s why good SEO takes time! If you have any other questions about SEO, leave them in the comments down below and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you again next week for another Wednesday Workshop with DealerOn.

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

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