- Digital Marketing
Why does SEO take so long to bear fruit?
- Article by
The main issue with SEO is that it’s hard to know how long it takes before it kicks in. Find out the main reasons, along with how to improve your SEO.
Did you know SEO has been around since 1997 before search engines like Google even existed?
This long and intrinsic history also owes something to the mysterious, million-dollar question every content marketer is aching to answer – “How long does SEO take to work?”
What we do know is that SEO works.
If you’re new to it all, you should read this essential guide. You’ll find an overview of the power and the purpose of SEO and gain a broader understanding of why it takes longer than other forms of digital marketing.
What does SEO stand for?
SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ and is a method of digital marketing designed to generate traffic to a particular page via search engine results pages (SERPs). Brands will improve SEO by optimising the content on their web pages to correspond with the search queries demanded from consumers and building online authority.
Ultimately, SEO aims to improve the position of your website on search engines. The higher you rank, the more traffic will visit your web page. The best place to rank for SEO is position zero. Position Zero is the very top of the page, where Google uses your content as an immediate response to the search.
SEO has four main factors:
The best thing about SEO is that it’s free. Unlike PPC, you don’t have to pay for your content to appear in search engines. But that doesn’t mean it’s a simple solution for generating leads. Depending on the market, the competition can be rife. So, only the best SEO websites and pages will rank the highest.
Companies are constantly finding new ways to improve their SEO and with Google updates and algorithm changes occurring regularly, the rules of the SEO game also require regular attention. Experts estimate that Google changes its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year.
Why does SEO take so long?
SEO isn’t for every business. If you want instant results, you might be better off exploring PPC, paid social and email marketing.
However, if you can master the art of search engine optimisation, you’ll cut costs and generate a constant influx of leads every month without lifting a finger. It’s a case of playing the long game and the backbone of any sustainable business.
While some experts wait around two months, it can take up to one year to work. On average, SEO takes at least 3-6 months to start generating positive results. Although, we recommend waiting at least 6 months before deciding on whether it’s the right strategy for you.
Here are the main reasons why SEO takes longer to gain results:
When you think there are 1.18 billion websites, no matter how niche your brand is, competition is abundant. For this reason, SEO can be slower to produce results, especially if you have a new website.
The most established websites didn’t get there overnight. It takes years to build your online authority. Regular updates to content are also necessary to ward off rivals.
Although this appears like a hopeless situation for young businesses to breakthrough, don’t be put off. Older websites have had time to establish themselves, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t make a mark with your SEO.
With in-depth research, there are keyword opportunities you can use to your advantage. It just requires you to study your competition and spend time looking for keyword gaps.
If you’ve begun trying to improve your SEO with backlinks, otherwise known as ‘inbound links’, then you’re on the right track. However, when it comes to the speed of your SEO, the authority of the backlink matters.
Getting a backlink from some random site with little credibility will damage your SEO. Try and see your backlinks as ‘votes’ from other sites that credit your content. The more valuable the link, the more the content will be rewarded by search engines. This is where guest blogging for other sites and PR pieces via notable sources and news outlets can play a big role.
If you want your SEO to speed up, check your backlinks and don’t settle for the sub-standard category.
The age of the domain can have a factor in the time SEO takes to work. For example, if your domain is new and you’re trying to rank with the same keyword as an older domain, they take priority. Search engines reward experience and loyalty, so to be older is not such a bad thing in the SEO online world.
Google claims domain age is not a ranking factor. But when it comes to the speed of SEO results, older domains take precedence just because search engines recognise them better. If the older domain has followed good SEO practice, alongside more backlinks and online history, its SEO will work faster than a newer domain.
The rate that technology advances is another factor for why SEO takes longer. Like the rest of technology, search engines are evolving at an alarming rate. While this should support the best SEO content in terms of content authority and value, it’s believed these constant changes can slow down the process.
Remember, while SEO can change search engine results overnight, the adaptable technology can also trigger your SEO to rise above the rest of your competition quickly when given the opportunity.
How to improve SEO
Improving your SEO will help you rank faster, but for it being free, it takes time and effort.
Researching keywords associated with your brand will help you strategise your content creation to help you start ranking. Ultimately, you must combine what your customers want with search engine best practices.
Here are some ways to improve your SEO:
- Create authoritative content of quality and substance
- Focus on cluster topics as a way of specialising
- Regularly update your content
- Maximise on metadata
- Describe your imagery, video, and other media with alt tags
- Use PPC insights
The way Google is constantly advancing shows that the most authoritative, engaging, and digestible content wins. Good SEO relies on quality. It’s a long term driven goal which rewards the most patient, precise, and purposeful content creators.
Should I hire an SEO company?
If you understand the risks and rewards of SEO but are too busy running a business to devote time to keyword research and content creation, then perhaps hiring an SEO specialist is the way forward.
Once the content is published, the job is done. No more paying for content, just let it do its thing and update it every so often to keep it evergreen. The right SEO company can ensure your SEO content is competitive by being current and authoritative.
Marketing Checklist Download
Score your marketing activity & plan for 2022
Plus, sign up to our newsletter to keep us up-to-date