If you want your business to build a strong online presence that attracts more traffic to your website, you’ll need to rely on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Still, this tried-and-true strategy can take some time for results to take effect—even up to six months—though the results are more than worth it.
In this post, we’ll review why SEO is a long game and how you can make your SEO strategy kick in sooner rather than later.
Why Does SEO Take So Long?
Unlike with advertising, you can’t pay for SEO to help you rank higher. This is because you must “prove” to Google that your content deserves to be ranked #1 on search results, which can be accomplished through on-page optimization.
It’s not always easy, as research shows only 5.7% of newly published pages will rank in the top 10 search results within a year, so don’t expect to receive high visibility right away.
There are several reasons for this: For one, SEO involves elements like keyword research, on-page optimization, content creation, and link building. All of these tactics take time to implement before they can have an impact on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Additionally, search engines like Google are regularly updating their algorithms, which can affect your website’s ranking if it isn’t being tweaked to match these changes. As such, you’ll have to maintain ongoing optimization efforts to stay ahead.
Lastly, search engines also need time to crawl and index your website’s content and evaluate its relevance and authority.
Once you understand why SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, you can set realistic expectations and create a long-term strategy that delivers results.
Ultimately, how long SEO takes to work depends on the following factors:
1. New vs. Old Website
In the world of SEO, website age is important.
Older websites typically have a head start in building their online presence, since they’ve had more time to accumulate backlinks, create more pages, and publish more content. These factors all contribute to their website authority and make it more likely to rank well in search results.
Backlinks, in particular, play a crucial role in determining a website’s authority.
Backlinks are links from other websites that lead to your website, which signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy and relevant. As you can imagine, a site created 10 years ago has had more opportunities to increase its backlink count compared to a newcomer.
However, this doesn’t mean that young websites can’t compete with older ones at all. By investing in enough resources and SEO strategy efforts, they can gradually build their authority to match existing alternatives. It’s also worth noting that some SEO experts believe Google hinders new sites from ranking well in search results until they’ve established themselves as credible and valuable sources of information.
So, if you’re developing a new webpage, it’s important to keep in mind that it can take longer for your SEO efforts to show results, as you’ll need to work hard to build your website’s authority and credibility.
To do so, focus on creating high-quality content, reaching out to other websites to build backlinks, and promoting your website on social media and other channels.
2. The Competition
Everyone with an internet presence is trying to rank higher on Google.
That means you’re competing directly with other websites when targeting popular keywords.
For instance, imagine you want to rank for the word “SEO,” a keyword that countless websites are trying to rank for. Since the pages that currently rank for it likely already have countless backlinks (upwards of 1000), it can be extremely difficult for a new website like yours to break into the top search results.
However, ranking for the word “SEO” may not actually be the best goal for your website.
Instead, it’s much more effective to focus on long-tail keywords or niche topics that have less competition. By targeting these keywords, you can lay the foundation for your website’s authority level and gradually work your way up to more competitive keywords over time.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore highly competitive keywords altogether.
It’s still important to monitor your competitors and keep an eye on the keywords they’re targeting. In doing so, you’ll gain valuable insight into the topics that are driving the most traffic and engagement in your industry.
Tip: Looking to find less competitive keywords? Here’s how to go about it:
- Use a keyword research tool and look up a relevant keyword.
- Click on the ‘Matching Terms’ report.
- Now, set a keyword density filter to a max. of 20 to receive applicable results.
3. Your Resources
The resources you invest in your SEO efforts have a significant impact on the speed and effectiveness of your results.
Simply put, the more resources you have, the more you can accomplish in a shorter amount of time.
For instance, if you have the budget, you can hire a team of content writers to create high-quality content for your website. This will help you publish blog posts and other resources at a faster rate, which can signal to search engines that your website is actively pushing out valuable content.
In fact, search engines prioritize websites that are regularly updated with high-quality, informative content. Building a robust content library that attracts and engages users takes time and effort, but the boost it provides to your search rankings is more than worth it.
Similarly, if you are investing in SEO tools and software, you can streamline your process and make it more efficient. With the time that you save, you’ll be able to focus on the most important aspects of SEO, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
However, if you really want to take your SEO efforts to the next level, you might want to consider creating a link-building team to actively build links for your website. This may involve reaching out to other websites in your industry, creating guest posts, and building relationships with influencers and thought leaders in your field.
With a strong network of backlinks at your side, search engines will recognize the value your website provides—and reward you for it.
4. Your Strategy
Having a solid SEO strategy in place is essential for improving your chances of getting faster, more effective results.
Let’s say you have a list of vital keywords that you want to rank for. However, these keywords are all extremely competitive, and it could take years of effort to rank highly for them.
In this case, you’ll need to take a step back and think strategically.
One approach is to start by targeting low-competition topics that still provide value. In doing so, you can accumulate links, generate organic traffic, and establish a solid foundation for your overall SEO efforts—all with far less competition standing in your way.
As a result, you’ll be able to attract an audience more quickly and avoid the high costs associated with popular topics (money that you might reinvest towards improving other aspects of our SEO plan).
Even if it’s gradual, your website’s authority on the internet will rise until you can start targeting more competitive keywords, and the process repeats itself.
5. Your Execution
Finally, the quality of your results depends on the execution of your SEO strategy. To make the most of your investment, you’ll need to properly implement the tactics and techniques you’ve identified as key to your success.
One way to ensure that your execution is on track is to establish clear goals and milestones. By breaking down your SEO plan into smaller, more manageable tasks, it’ll be easier to track progress toward your larger objectives and prevent crucial details from getting lost along the way.
Another important factor in effective execution is collaboration, as SEO involves a wide range of tasks, from keyword research and content creation to link building and technical optimization. By collaborating with other team members or third-party experts, you can leverage a wide range of expertise to ensure all aspects of your SEO strategy are working together.
Finally, you should regularly evaluate your SEO strategy based on the results you receive throughout the process. This way, you can identify which areas are working well, which ones need improvement, and make adjustments accordingly.
If you’re looking to improve your website’s SEO, it’s important to be patient and committed to the process. Don’t expect overnight success or quick fixes.
Instead, focus on creating engaging content, optimizing your website for search engines, and building high-quality backlinks. Along the way, remember to observe what your competitors are doing and collaborate with experts who can help you skyrocket towards success.
Also, keep in mind that SEO is a highly competitive field, meaning other businesses are also vying for the top spots in search engine rankings. That means it’ll be harder and more time-consuming for you to reach the same level, especially in growing industries where competition is fierce.
However, with consistent effort and a long-term strategy, your SEO efforts will yield results in due time, helping you to rank higher on Google and grow your business.