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 SEO takes 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 is a measure of a website’s authority, relevance, and trustworthiness. Authority refers to the perceived expertise or influence a website has in a particular field or industry, while relevance pertains to how well a website’s content matches the user’s search query. Trustworthiness, on the other hand, refers to how safe and secure a website is to use. Search engines use these factors to determine the quality and usefulness of a website’s content and to rank it accordingly.
Content quality refers to the value, accuracy, and usefulness of the text, images, and other media on a web page. Search engines use algorithms to evaluate content quality based on factors like grammar, readability, originality, and relevance to the user’s search query. High-quality content that provides valuable information and is easy to read and understand can help improve a website’s SEO ranking.
Page speed is the amount of time it takes for a web page to load fully in a user’s browser. Search engines consider page speed as a critical ranking factor since users tend to abandon slow-loading pages. A fast-loading website is more likely to rank higher in search engine results than a slower website.
Safe Browsing for Users
Safe browsing refers to the measures a website takes to protect its users from malicious content, phishing scams, and other online threats. A website that has a history of security breaches or contains harmful content is likely to be penalized by search engines and will have a lower SEO ranking.
Interactive elements are features on a website that allow users to engage with the content in a more meaningful way. Examples include quizzes, calculators, and clickable content. Interactive elements can increase user engagement, which can lead to longer time on site, more page views, and ultimately, better SEO rankings.
Images can have a significant impact on a website’s SEO ranking. Search engines use image alt tags to understand what the image is about, so it’s important to use descriptive and relevant alt text. Good quality images that are optimized for web use can also improve a website’s load time, which can lead to better SEO results.
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
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:
Impressions refer to the number of times your links, content, or advertisements appear to users on search engine result pages, social media platforms, or other websites. It’s a measure of the visibility of your content or brand, indicating how often it appears to potential users.
Clicks refer to the number of times users click on your links, content, or advertisements after seeing them. It’s an indication of how attractive and relevant your content is to users, and how effective your calls-to-action are.
Organic traffic refers to the number of visitors who arrive at your website by clicking on a search engine result, without clicking on an advertisement. It’s a measure of the effectiveness of your SEO strategy in driving relevant traffic to your website.
Ranking pages refer to the number of pages on your website that appear in the top search engine results for specific keywords or phrases. It’s a measure of how well your website is optimized for search engines and how relevant your content is to user search queries.
Backlinks refer to the number of links from other websites that point to your web pages. It’s a measure of how authoritative and trustworthy your website is, as search engines consider backlinks to be a vote of confidence in your content.
Referrals from Other Websites
Referrals from other websites refer to the number of visitors who arrive at your website by clicking on a link from another website or source. It’s an indication of how well your content or brand is being promoted by other websites and how relevant it is to their audience.
Domain authority refers to the measure of your website’s relevance and authority in your industry or niche. It’s a score assigned by search engines that consider factors like the number and quality of backlinks, content relevance, and user engagement.
Page authority refers to the measure of a specific page’s relevance and authority in your industry or niche. It’s a score assigned by search engines that consider factors like the page’s content relevance, backlinks, and user engagement.
Brand mentions refer to the number of times your brand, products, or services are mentioned on other websites or sources. It’s a measure of how well-known and influential your brand is and how often it is being talked about.
Conversions refer to the number of actions that visitors take on your website, such as filling out a form, making a purchase, or subscribing to a newsletter. It’s a measure of how well your website is designed to drive user engagement and achieve your business goals.
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.
However, you can ease and speed up the process by trusting your website’s SEO in the hands of professional strategists and writers. Get your content plan and SEO strategy started today with WriterAccess’s free 14-day trial. Let us do the heavy work for you!