Why you need to watch out for the 6 month SEO hump – and keep going

“I’ve been doing this SEO thing for five months and no-one has called. It’s clearly not working.”

Over the years Quikclicks has been conducting SEO campaigns, we’ve come across a particular phenomenon where customers end their SEO campaign investment before they start to see a return from it.

We’ve even given it a name. We’ve called it ‘The 6 month hump’.


Here’s how it occurred for a recent client

Our client – let’s call him Pete – was starting a new business as a building defect inspector. He had decades of experience as a builder but due to health reasons couldn’t do that anymore.

We designed and built a new website for Pete, and also devised an SEO campaign to help him break into this new area where he previously had zero presence. Till this point he was not known as a building inspector AT ALL.

Once the website was launched, and over the months following, we continued to add new content, fine-tune his website, and keep an eye on his competitors. During this time, very few people were visiting his website, and even more importantly, no calls were coming.

In July (at the 6 month point), Pete started to panic. Funds were running out and he was worried that all the money he had invested in the website had been wasted. He called us and we reassured him he needed to keep going. He was seriously considering discontinuing the campaign, but we urged him to hang in there.

Then the strangest thing happened

The phone rang. It was a customer looking for a quote.

And then a few days later, it rang again. Then a day later, again.

His patience had paid off. He had finally made it up through the ranks to appear on Google’s first page for some of the more lucrative keyword search terms we had been gunning for.

Within the next month he was able to beat his revenue target FOR THE YEAR. He didn’t just recoup his investment in the website and all the SEO, he exceeded it by a long way. See Pete’s review of our service after finally breaking through the SEO ‘ceiling’.

Breaking it down

If you look at the graph below, you can see the point the campaign started. After weeks of design, research into his industry, and construction and testing of the actual website, Pete’s new site launched in January 2018. You can also see how flat the traffic to the site is over the next few months. This flatness translates as, ‘if you’re not on the first page, you’re not in the game’. Finally, you can see the point where the SEO began to flower and the traffic to his website suddenly began to rise.

Pete is now very happy.

Not every story has the same happy ending

On the other side of the coin is the customer who hits the 6 month hump, panics and stops their campaign.

Around the same time, another customer (let’s call her ‘Michelle’) had a similar situation to Pete in that her online presence was essentially zero when she came to us. Unlike Pete, Michelle was already established in her field, but her existing website was outdated and hadn’t been updated in… forever.

We designed and built Michelle a new website and launched it in December 2017. In the graph below, you can see that traffic to the new website began to increase immediately. This was in part due to the fact that Michelle’s domain had already been registered for several years.

Over the next few months, website traffic, and with it actual business revenue, trended upwards. Then, at 6 months Michelle decided she could no longer justify the expense, and that SEO had been ‘finished’. Despite our warnings she used her prerogative and decided to end it. You can see what happened. Almost immediately, and over the weeks following that decision, traffic to the website drastically dropped off.

SEO is a journey not a destination

We often describe the process of SEO as being comparable to a marathon. There are many ways that this metaphor is apt.

  • In a marathon, the people who put in the most effort are the ones who take the lead
  • If you start running after everyone else has already started, you’re going to have to put in extra effort to catch them.
  • If you are in the lead, and you stop running, everyone else will eventually run past you.
  • In order to take the lead you have to be the fittest.
  • Nobody ever won a marathon by quitting halfway.
  • Marathons are long.

Side note

You need to understand that ‘6 months’ part of the 6 month hump is an arbitrary figure. The time it takes for your website to appear on page 1 of Google depends on a number of factors. For example:

  • It depends on the search phrases people are using to find your website
  • How much competition is out there for those phrases
  • How up-to-date the website’s technologies are (eg responsiveness)
  • Whether the website uses a security certificate or not (SSL)
  • Whether your website is regularly being updated
  • The actual quality of the text and content used
  • The loading speed of the website
  • The quality of the links pointing towards your website from other websites
  • Whether the domain has a history
  • Many, many other things

In Summary

If you want to take advantage of the tremendous power that SEO can add to your website and your business you have to stick with it. If we think that your campaign is going to have limited success we will tell you very early on in the peace. It is likely in that case we will suggest alternate online marketing options such as Adwords or social media marketing, and we can gear your campaign to suit.

Your success is in our best interests. As Quikclicks don’t use lock in contracts the only thing that has kept our customers with us over the last 15+ years is that they can see the results for themselves in their bottom line.

We understand that circumstances change and sometimes there is no choice, but as an SEO customer please be aware the 6 month hump is a thing. Don’t become a casualty – hang in there. It will be worth it in the long run.