Being honest about time frames for SEO helps prevent expectation gaps


  • Always over estimate time frames for your SEO campaigns. Its much better to do over estimate and get results earlier rather than the other way round.
  • Be honest about how long the campaign might take
  • Clients will always remember what time frame you give them
  • Don’t ever close a prospect by giving them bullshit, or unrealistic timeframes


John:                     Because it depends, right? If it’s a small physiotherapy clinic in fucking Avoca Beach, you could probably start another site and be up and running and it’s fine. But if it’s in a really competitive space, then that shit could drag on for a long time, man. And that may not be how your client sees it. And that’s that expectations gap that I sometimes talk about. The client might be thinking, “Oh, yeah. A new website, slap and content on there and we’ll be up and running in fucking a month,” when you know… You’re sitting there going, “Fuck, this is going to take fucking 12 or 18 months. Are they really in this for the long haul?”

Rhys:                     Yeah. Yeah. And that’s one thing I now do in extreme detail is that onboarding and the time frame and really letting them know about that 12- to 18-month outlook and making that so crystal clear. That’s definitely not something that I’ve glossed over, because if you do that, you can screw yourself. But if you really prepare their expectations for the extreme long haul, then you might start to deliver by the end of the first year or whatever it may be. It’s so much better.

John:                     Oh, yeah. It stops all that twitchy shit that you got to deal with as an SEO where they say, “Oh, you know, Rhys it’s been four months now. Like we’re not getting…” One good point of leverage that I found is taking their competitors, right? Because we ask for their competitors. We take their competitors and we use those graphs within SEMrush, right? During our sales pitch. And we say, “Okay, here’s ABC Carpet Cleaning. You can see here, it’s taken them fucking four years to get where they are. Here’s XYZ Carpet Cleaning. It took them three. And here’s fucking 123 Carpet Cleaning. And it took them two and a half years.” It helps them understand, “Oh, shit. Okay. Well, we knew that was a big company and they’re getting a lot of… they’re making a lot of money and they’re obviously getting a lot of search traffic and they’re everything that we type into Google.”

John:                     That’s really good to see that… It frames the conversation, so that they’re not thinking, “Oh, we’ll just throw a little bit of money at this for three months and see what happens.” Fuck. Okay. Well, shit. It took those guys like two years to get to “Okay, Rhys, well, I’m not saying we’re going to stick around for two years, but we’re in this for at least 12 months and then we’ll see where we’re at.”

Rhys:                     Yup. Totally agree.

John:                     I think one thing that I’ve learned is that’s a really uncomfortable conversation to have. Right? It’s a hard sell when you’ve got a business owner on a pitch, right? And you say, you’re going to be looking at fucking 18 months. I mean, that’s a hard sell. And I think this is why so many people fucking lie because they’re scared to say it. “Oh, we’ll, we’ll get you first page in like three months or six months.”

Rhys:                     Yeah. It’s a highly necessary conversation though, because you’ll be having a worse conversation in three months, otherwise.

John:                     Yeah.

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