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How Long Does it Take SEO to Work?
“Patience, my dear Watson!”
Bottom line answer: SEO can take a long time because you have to prove yourself to the search engines. Do you want quick results? Buy some ads and pay for it. Google, Bing and crew are happy to take your money. But to EARN placement, you’ve got to prove to the search engines that your content is worth a high ranking.
They have to see proof that your content is valuable enough to rank high organically, so that means taking the time to optimize the content, keep the content fresh, drive traffic to the site through other efforts, create quality links back to your content, and much more. As the search engines see that your web page/site is of true value to their searchers… you win!
SEO is a process
A favorite phrase around here is, “SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.” Results don’t happen overnight. It takes research, reevaluation of keywords, positioning content to capture an audience, and continuously revisiting analytics to see how you can do more.
Over time, those efforts and others start to yield results. Traffic that has found your website will stay there because your content is exactly what they’re looking for. Google and other search engines can tell that traffic stays on your pages and that lets them know you are satisfying a user’s search intent — which improves your rankings.
SEO relies on many factors, and when they are time-tested to work well together, you’ll start to see the results.
Build a toolkit
SEO is an art! If you rush through it, it will never turn out as well as you had imagined it in your head. There needs to be proper planning and research beforehand using tools like Google Search Console and Moz to analyze keyword performance and rankings. After you’ve audited your list of keywords, make sure your site content is up to date and be patient as users start to find your site.
Search engines have evolved – have you?
In the good old days, if you optimized for a keyword, poof! You’d rank. But Google has gotten much smarter, preferring sites that have proven to be good quality over sites with a smaller amount of content who are not referenced as often, or who simply do not get a lot of traffic (the list goes on). Now, SEO has much more to do with how likely a user is to find your site useful and relevant to their search. Now, SEO isn’t just about optimizing — it’s about re-thinking your website, content marketing strategy, and even your PR strategy to become a thought leader on topics relevant to your customer base. And yeah… that takes time!
You need a time-tested strategy
Simply put, SEO is not a one-and-done type of effort. Search Engine Optimization is something that should be a part of your marketing strategy forever. I often have people ask me why they don’t rank for specific keywords yet and why it takes so long — the short answer is that you haven’t proven yourself enough to Google for them to deem your site worthy of outranking your competitors…yet.
This takes a significant amount of time and effort, and it will vary based on your industry and target keyword phrases. There are literally hundreds of factors taken into consideration in Google’s algorithm when determining site placement in organic results. It goes far beyond just having keywords on your website and breaches into a wide variety of factors to include site usability, mobile friendliness, site speed, domain authority, page authority, freshness/uniqueness of content, quality of content, and so much more.
Don’t give up on your SEO tactics if you don’t see results immediately. Stay strong and keep on mastering best practices, and I am confident you will see the efforts of your labor or expenses.
SEO takes a balanced approach
It is a delicate balance of words, actions, and intent that requires focus on the end result. It evolves into a powerful tool that gives every web presence a fighting chance to earn the top spot. But it doesn’t happen overnight, so patience and observation are key.
“The times they are a’changing”
The world of technology is changing on a daily basis, which is exciting but can be time-consuming when it comes to search engine optimization. Results need to grow over time for users to really see the change they are looking for.
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