SEO is undisputedly the best method for generating traffic and profits. That being said, you need to understand the inherent conflict that can arise with SEO.
Conflicting SEO Expectations
SEO is both the technical effort and art of getting your site ranked highly in search results on Google, Yahoo and MSN. There are two competing factors in the effort, time and volume of traffic, which can lead to clients having unreasonable expectations.
The conflict giving rise to misunderstood SEO expectations deal with keywords. Obviously, an optimization program is designed to get you high in the rankings on various keywords. The problem, of course, is the more traffic a keyword produces, the higher the number of sites competing for rankings under the phrase. Inevitably, this translates to a longer period of time required to get top rankings.
Obviously, most clients want to obtain top rankings as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is identify those keywords that have decent traffic, but few sites competing for rankings. In such a campaign, clients see results relatively quickly, but they have fallen into a trap. Even if they go into the number one position across the top three search engines, they have limited the amount of traffic they can receive. This leads to frustration as revenues are effectively capped.
A proper optimization plan should focus on both short and long term rankings. When laying out the site, the home page and other centralized pages should be devoted to keywords with monstrous amounts of traffic that will require a lot of time to obtain top rankings on. To counterbalance this, additional pages should be built focusing on keywords for which there is less traffic, but for which high rankings can be acquired relatively quickly.
The exact time periods on this approach are entirely dependent on the subject matter of the site and the keywords involved. For a brand new site, one can expect to see rankings on MSN within a month, Yahoo in four to six months and Google in six to nine months. For an established site, the figures will be shorter but it is dependent upon the results of the keyword research in the specific field.
Understanding optimization is the key to having reasonable SEO expectations. A mix of short and long term goals is the best method of attack in nearly every situation.