One of the most important things to consider in your digital marketing strategy is your SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the foundation on which your content can be crawled and indexed by search engines, which in turn helps your website and pages be found.
Without SEO, you can’t succeed in today’s digital landscape.
Even though it’s important, it can also be confusing for marketers.
One of the big reasons behind that confusion comes from the fact that SEO doesn’t happen overnight.
- But how long does SEO take?
- How can you tell when an SEO strategy starts working?
- And what steps can you take to improve SEO today?
This article will help you answer these questions and more.
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Why Does SEO Take So Long?
Before looking into exactly how long does SEO take to make an impact on your business, let’s first take a look at why SEO takes time to show results.
Google is constantly updating and improving the algorithm that crawls and indexes pages, as well as improving the functionality of the search engine.
Back when SEO started to enter the scene in digital marketing strategies, there were plenty of shortcuts or tricks like keyword stuffing to play on the algorithm to get higher results.
Nowadays, Google has worked to optimize the algorithm so that it can’t be tricked in an effort to help users get the results they want instead of just finding the websites that knew the cheat codes.
As it became more challenging to rank, it also started to take much more time to see the results of SEO.
What is Included in SEO?
SEO is a combination of best practices, and there are many different factors that work together to impact your results. Those factors can include:
Page reliability refers to the authority, relevance, and trust in a page. A website needs all three to have the best SEO results.
The algorithm is able to tell good quality content from bad. Poor grammar, incorrect punctuation, and content that doesn’t have useful information can negatively impact your SEO score.
Your website pages need to load at an average speed of 1.28 seconds, or the algorithm will mark down your SEO scores.
Safe Browsing for Users
Not only does your website need quality content and fast times, but it needs to be safe to visit as well. Any history of viruses or hacks will damage your SEO.
People enjoy engaging with interactive elements on web pages. Adding quizzes, calculators, or clickable content can improve your SEO.
Images of poor quality or that don’t have the right alt-text can hurt your rankings.
How Do You Know If SEO is Working?
So how do you tell if SEO is working the right way or not?
While there isn’t any magic website that can look through every part of your SEO strategy and give you a single answer, there are plenty of other ways to check.
These are some of the tools that will help you understand what your rankings are and where you can find areas to improve:
- Keyword Research Tools
- On-Page SEO Tools
- SEO Plugins
- Link Building Tools
- Technical SEO Tools
- SEO Software Platforms
Metrics to Observe
While these tools can help you understand SEO performance, you’ll need to know what the metrics they refer to mean.
Here are some of the key metrics of SEO that you’ll need to know as a digital marketer and their definitions:
The number of times a user has “seen” your links, content, or advertisements.
The number of times a user has clicked on your links, content, or advertisements.
Traffic that comes to your website through a search engine after inputting a search query.
The number of Ranking Pages
The number of pages you have that currently rank high on search results.
The number of Backlinks
The number of links from other sources that connect to your web pages.
Referrals from Other Websites
The traffic that comes to your website from links on other web pages or sources.
The relevance your website has for specific subject areas or industries.
The relevance a website page has for specific subject areas or industries.
References from other websites or sources that directly mention your company, brand, products, or services.
The number of actions website visitors take on your site, like clicking on a link, filling out a form, or adding their email address to a mailing list.
When Should You Expect to See Results from SEO?
So now that you understand why SEO takes as long as it does and what metrics to observe when checking in on your performance, let’s get down to it and answer the question.
How long does SEO take? The short answer is between 4-12 months.
The longer answer has to do with all those factors we discussed that tie into your SEO strategy.
If you target low-competition keywords, you can start to see results within 4-6 months.
Measurable increases in traffic and conversions should be able to be tracked within 6 months to a year if your new SEO strategy is working for you.
However, with high-competition keywords and high domain and page authorities, it can take much longer, sometimes up to 4 years, to see strong results and good rankings.
Keep in mind that your SEO strategy will need to develop and adapt to changes in the Google algorithm as well.
As the world of digital marketing and SEO continues to evolve, your approach will need to move with it.
7 Techniques to Really Succeed In Your SEO Strategy
SEO is an ongoing process. You can’t just change a few factors, leave the rest alone, and expect significant results.
However, there are a few things you can start to do today to really succeed in your SEO strategy.
Here are our top seven techniques:
1. Write For Your Audience
The Google algorithm doesn’t just look for keywords and leave it at that.
In order to have your content gain authority and trust, you need to write for your audience. Not only will Google see an improvement in quality, but you’ll start to gain more traffic.
2. Create Headlines that Pack a Punch
Catchy headlines that have a relevant keyword in them and draw the attention of audiences have a much better chance of ranking high.
Spend time and effort on your headlines and see the results in your rankings.
3. Use Keyword-Rich Phrases
Keyword stuffing and other keyword “hacks” will no longer work to trick algorithms into thinking you have quality content.
But you can still use keyword-rich phrases to draw the attention of search engines in the right way.
4. Structure Your Posts with Best Practices
The structures and layouts of your posts also play a part in your SEO rankings. Format posts with things like:
- Short Paragraphs of Text
- Bullet Lists
- Numbered Lists
5. Incorporate Imagery
Images are helpful ways of communicating information in a visual way, and the search algorithm knows that readers like the imagery in posts and pages.
Start to incorporate images into your posts and make sure to do the technical SEO on the backend, like alt-text and sourcing.
6. Incorporate Interactive Elements
Interactive elements are other ways to get readers engaged in your content.
Quizzes, polls, calculators, interactive eBooks, and maps are all examples of the types of interactive content you can start adding to your pages.
7. Propel Content with Social Media
Helping your content get found doesn’t have to just rely on keywords and search engine results page rankings.
By propelling your content across social media with helpful hashtags, you can draw more readers in, and in turn, encourage the algorithms to rank you higher with a rise in views.
Wrap Up: So, How Long Does SEO Take?
Well, you know that your SEO strategy is the cornerstone of a healthy and thriving digital marketing program.
While it may take some time to see results, the end goal is a website that ranks high and continually adjusts to changes in the Google algorithm to ensure the best results.
Keep your faith and keep the optimization going.
And if you want to understand exactly where your current SEO stand and the necessary steps to take it to the next level, here’s a tip.
Access our SEO Maturity Assessment and find the answers you are looking for!