Why does SEO take so long?

Why Does SEO Take So Long?

One of the first things people ask about SEO is how long it takes. Then, the follow-up question tends to be: “why does SEO take so long?”

There isn’t an exact formula for search engine optimization and timelines can certainly vary. But the truth is, SEO takes time when done properly. The key here is done properly.

There are plenty of SEO “experts” who might try to promise you quick results. However, there are problems with this. Anyone who promises quick results doesn’t have your business’s best interest in mind. You’ll lose time and money in the long run when you have to go back and fix these “hacks” on your website—and even worse, your site could get penalized by Google. If this happens, your ranking can plummet, costing even more time and money to recover.

At first, people sometimes think of SEO as a transaction and expect an immediate return or result from their money spent.

Instead, think of SEO as an investment versus a transaction. You can invest in proper SEO and expect an ROI over time. Just like any investment, you should monitor SEO efforts and results by looking at trends, versus analyzing day to day shifts.

We’ve covered that SEO takes time. So, let’s talk about a few of the things that go into SEO, and why it takes an investment in both time and patience.

  1. SEO starts with market research. And it depends on your industry and how competitive it is. If you’re in a highly competitive industry, your SEO strategy and length of time you’ll need to invest before seeing results will differ from a niche industry or industry with low competition.
  1. A big part of SEO is Technical SEO. Technical SEO has to do with performing various analyses including website analysis, market analysis, and website audits. The technical aspect of SEO is its own beast and requires its own time investment.
  2. Producing content. Only after doing a few key things is it time to start producing content. After we’ve researched the market, noted any trends, discovered your unique selling proposition, and determined viable keywords for your business and website, it’s time to produce more quality content that the search engines will deem valuable to readers.
  3. You’ve got to appease the Google Gods. Another critical aspect of SEO is getting Google to recognize your website and assign authority. Google does this by using web crawlers to crawl the content on every website, assess the content, and deem it quality content or not. And it takes time for these crawlers to do the work.

SEO and Google Algorithms

A large part of SEO is keeping up with Google’s algorithm changes, testing your efforts, and tweaking them over time. And once you think you know the best tactics, you’ve got to take something new into consideration.

According to an article on Moz about algorithm changes, Google makes hundreds if not thousands of changes to search each year—and in 2018, more than 8 times the number of updates were made compared to 2009. That alone tells us that keeping up with SEO isn’t as easy as following the same formulas time after time to get the same results.

While most of Google’s thousands of changes each year are minor, occasionally Google rolls out major algorithm updates that significantly affect search results. So, SEO and search marketers need to stay on top of changes and continuously tweak their approaches based on testing and results. And this takes time.

A change rolled out in January 2020, called the Featured Snippet De-duping, now makes featured snippets part of the main organic search result. So now, if an URL shows up as a featured snippet, it no longer shows up in the search results. This is just one example of a change that affects search, and as a result affects search engine optimization tactics.

And most recently? In May 2020, a core algorithm update is rolling out. Core algorithm updates can noticeably affect search results. In core updates, Google reviews older content and newly-published content, determines relevance according to the latest standards, and re-ranks it in search. After this process, search result rankings tend to shift. You might see pages on your site lose their formerly-held place in search.

But this also goes to show that if a ranking goes down, there’s a chance for it to go back up.

Companies who used to use short cuts and “black hat” techniques to get to the top of search kind of ruined the old methods for everyone, and Google caught onto this quickly. This isn’t all bad, though, since Google’s goal is to make search as useful and relevant as possible. SEO is a constantly-changing game, and SEO experts and companies need to be in the weeds daily to keep up with Google’s preferences, algorithm changes, and tweak their tactics accordingly.

But, this isn’t the end. Even after all of this is complete, you still need to have a compelling offer. Traffic doesn’t mean much if your potential clients aren’t converting. This is a whole other aspect to SEO that can be powerful but also takes an investment in time and patience.

SEO and Results

When people first talk to an agency about SEO, they often have their own version of what “results” should look like. Business owners at first tend to see “results” as having their webpages rank in search for specific keywords that they’ve chosen based on popular advice: use Google keyword planner, enter your desired keywords, and choose words that have high search volume and low competition. Then, write content infused with those keywords, and watch your pages rank to the top of google search. If only it were that easy…

And, even if it were that easy, what good is it if you get a good ranking and traffic if no one is clicking through to your product, service, or CTA? If no one is buying what you’re selling, you have a big problem.

This is another area where people come up against some trouble when it comes to SEO. They focus so much on keywords and ranking, but their purpose isn’t clear. They choose keywords based on a keyword planner, but they haven’t done their market research to see if their target audience is really searching for what they’re selling.

So, we’d like you to also consider: Is your website optimized for the visitors who land on your page? Because getting traffic doesn’t mean a whole lot if none of those visitors actually convert to leads.

This is where a website audit and technical SEO comes into play and where you begin to see some great results. But again, this doesn’t happen overnight.

Collaboration with Your Agency

If any SEO expert or agency promises you a quick turn on your SEO project, you should be wary that they’re not working for your best interest in the long-term. SEO hacks might be able to show you some type of result quickly, but eventually, you will be penalized. Those agencies don’t have your business’s vision or longevity in mind. In this scenario, you’re wasting your time and money, and even worse, risking your website being penalized and taking even more money, time, and effort to recover. It’s insane to think that an agency working with SEO “hacks” can outsmart the SEO Department over at Google, really?

You can request a FREE No-Obligation SEO Audit of your site or book a video call with me for a free consultation, where we can review your current standing and come up with a solution to help beat your competitors.

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