How Long Does SEO Take?
When you’re starting to look into SEO for your business, you’re likely wondering “how long does SEO take?” This is an extremely common question. While it doesn’t exactly have a straightforward answer, there are some factors to consider when implementing SEO. Let’s dive in to explore what will influence your website’s SEO ranking, and which techniques you’ll need to keep in mind – or avoid – to answer this question for your business.
SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization, is the practice of increasing visits to your website through organic search results. But you don’t want to increase just any traffic. You want to draw quality traffic to your site.
How Does SEO Work?
The way SEO works is always subject to change. Search engines like Google frequently roll out updates to improve the search engine experience for all of its users. Google wants its users to find helpful answers to the search terms that they enter into the search bar. So, that means that SEO techniques need to adapt to any changes that Google makes to the search engine functionality.
Don’t Use Outdated SEO Practices
Maybe you’ve heard of practices like keyword stuffing, creating pages for bots, paying for search engine submitting, and other quick-fix techniques that are supposed to increase your website’s ranking overnight. These are all outdated SEO practices that should be avoided.
The thing is, Google is paying close attention, and they have been paying attention for years. Search engines are always becoming more technologically advanced and savvy. As soon as search engine crawlers notice that quick-fix techniques are being used on a website, they will penalize your website and push your content to the bottom of the list.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to get your website to rank highly for a short period of time, but as soon as these quick-fix – or “black hat” – techniques are discovered, your website won’t be doing well. Using outdated techniques can severely hurt your website ranking power. It’s crucial that you don’t use these outdated SEO practices.
Okay, So How Long Does SEO Take?
So, back to the original question. How long does SEO take?
We’ve already discussed that you don’t want to take a quick-fix approach to your SEO if you want your SEO efforts to be effective. Instead, you want to take an organic approach to your SEO work. That means that SEO can take time.
How much time? It can take weeks, months, or sometimes even a year or more to show results. SEO isn’t a quick fix, and it shouldn’t be looked at that way. SEO is a long-term practice, and it involves trial and error, testing, and monitoring so you can make adjustments along the way.
What Influences How Long SEO Takes?
Since organic SEO is a long-term practice, the length of time it takes can vary widely. Many factors influence your SEO, and those factors should be looked at separately and outlined in your SEO strategy.
Your SEO strategy is your plan for what steps you’re going to take as you work on improving your search engine rankings. The factors that go into your SEO strategy include things like discovering keywords, creating valuable content, increasing your website’s authority, analyzing your competition, and optimizing your website for mobile users.
There are more factors to consider, but these are some big-ticket items that greatly affect your SEO and ranking. Since a large part of SEO ranking is your keywords and your content, let’s dig into these a bit more.
Keywords and competition play a large part in your organic SEO success. Generally, you can expect pages with shorter target keywords or keywords with more competition to take longer to rank. If a keyword has more competition, there are more pages out there competing for a place on the first few pages of search. Therefore, your efforts are going to take longer to pay off. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible by any means, but you will have to be more patient to see the results of your SEO work.
If you’ve discovered a unique niche or have decided to target some longer target keywords or key phrases that have less competition, your SEO efforts may see results more quickly. This is because the competition for your target keywords is lower, so fewer pages are competing for first place with those keywords or key phrases.
While this might be a general rule to follow, you still need to make sure that people are actually searching for your keywords or key phrases. If you choose a key phrase with very little competition, but no one out there is searching for that key phrase, your efforts still won’t pay off or drive traffic to your website. It’s important to do your research to make sure that users are actually searching for your terms. This way, your efforts have a much better chance of giving you positive results.
You should aim for producing quality content that solves a reader’s problem or provides value to the reader. Search engines are becoming more advanced and can spot evidence of keyword stuffing and other outdated techniques in your content. Your content needs to be readable and useful to your audience. Whether the content provides educational information, solves a reader’s problem, or links to other quality web pages, your content needs to provide some sort of value. If it doesn’t, your website isn’t going to rank well. Unreadable content, spam links, or content created just for the sake of reaching a word count are actually going to work against you in the game of SEO.
Let’s touch on clickbait. Clickbait is a bad SEO habit that some writers or media companies use to get page views. Clickbait essentially means that your article has an exaggerated, catchy title that gets people to click. But, the article doesn’t deliver. The article might be about something entirely different than the title suggests. This works against SEO because it makes that website or writer lose credibility. You simply can’t trust that writer to provide you the information you’re looking for, because they’re using false headlines to lure people to their page. Providing readable, accurate, and credible content is key to improving your SEO.
Content Length and Word Count
Now, as we move into content, you’ve probably heard everything from “post as many 300-word articles as possible” to “don’t post anything shorter than 1,200 words.” When it comes to SEO, the length of your posts is less important than the quality of your content.
If you’re posting a lot of short articles, but they’re not giving your readers value, these posts will not help your ranking. Likewise, if you’re posting a lot of long articles, but they’re not helping your readers, this won’t help your ranking either. And this is for a few reasons. One reason is that as Google and search engine crawlers advance, they’re paying more attention to the quality of content. Word count alone isn’t going to give your website any advantages. Another reason is that if your content isn’t readable, your visitors aren’t going to stay on your page to read it. This will reduce your bounce rate, lowering your overall SEO score.
An important aspect of publishing new content for SEO purposes is consistency. Google wants to know that your website is being updated regularly and that you’re publishing new content that helps your readers on a consistent basis. So, you should plan on creating a publishing schedule where you publish quality content regularly. This builds your readership and gives your readers a reason to return to your website. And the more regular visits your website gets, the higher your SEO score can be. This is a slow, methodical approach to improving the SEO results that you’ll see over time.
What To Do From Here?
Keep your eye on Google’s algorithm updates and SEO changes. If you’re working on your business’s organic SEO yourself, make sure you stay up-to-date on the newest search engine updates and roll-outs. If you’re working with an SEO firm, they should be keeping a pulse on these changes.
Even if you’re working with a firm to help you with your SEO efforts, it doesn’t hurt to be informed about algorithm changes so that you can continue to have intelligent conversations with your SEO partners. Be patient, be consistent, and you’ll achieve SEO success.
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