Are you ready to get started with SEO for your business? We can’t wait to help! Many people start SEO campaigns under the misconception that they will see results overnight, so we wanted to put together this little guide to help you understand why that isn’t how things work with SEO, and why that’s a good thing.
Where did this misconception come from?
There are many stories floating around about businesses going from 0 – 60 thanks to a swanky SEO campaign, but what many of these internet success stories fail to mention is that 0 – 60 actually meant more like 6 months of strategy and work. Sure, that might not be as sexy sounding, but the reality is, if you stick with SEO and play the long game, you will reap the results down the road. It just takes time to get there.
So, why does SEO take a while to provide the results you desire? The best way to understand the results process is to understand the way SEO works in the first place. Here’s how an SEO campaign breaks down, complete with expected timelines and why.
The long game of SEO
Just a reminder – SEO is a long game and if you aren’t prepared to put in at least 3-6 months, and preferably up to a year, it doesn’t make much sense to start an SEO campaign. We don’t say that in order to secure job longevity for ourselves (we heard you muttering over there) but because it takes that long to make a difference in your rankings. The good news is that those who are willing to be patient will see it work in their favor.
The wrong question – FYI
If you’re asking the question, “How long will it take to rank on the front page for XYZ search term?” you’re actually asking the wrong question. The metric that new SEO strategies take into account when measuring success is leads and conversions. This is much better news for your brand because it does you no good to rank high for a term that doesn’t bring in the cash. We’ll explain the process, but it’s good to start with this mindset shift when beginning an SEO campaign.
Understanding your audience.
Just like with PPC campaigns, knowing your audience is a huge factor in how well your SEO campaign will work. Why? Well, your audience is ultimately who will determine (with their clicks and their willingness to stay on your page for starters) whether or not the Google gods will bless you with a higher ranking in the search engines.
“Hold up – I thought SEO was where you smooshed a bunch of phrases into my website so that the internet spiders will find them and make my page soar to the top.”
That’s no longer the name of the game. The reality is that SEO no longer operates in the same way – and this is a great thing! Now that ranking is based on the way people actually search, plus the quality of the content they find, it gives companies that really care about putting out quality content a chance to get in front of the right people. You need to join your audience in the conversation they are already having in their heads. That’s when you’ll win the opportunity to get them to read your content, which of course can lead to a purchase aka a conversion.
Are SEO keywords still important?
They are very important! In fact, they are so important that creating lists of keywords requires some meaty research into the ways that people are searching for the solution your product offers. Since we create quality content around each of the terms your campaign will use, we don’t want a laundry list of random terms that may or may not apply. Your keyword phrases need to be precise and relevant to what you sell, and what your audience needs.
Google takes audience needs into account when ranking websites. One way this comes into play is that search is now based more on natural language. Why? Thanks to AI tools like Siri and Alexa, people are speaking their search terms more and more instead of relying on typing the “correct” term to find what they are looking for.
Gone are the days of slapping down some keyword phrases and calling it a day. As search engines become more sophisticated, so too does your SEO strategy. Having a robust research strategy in place helps to ensure that the correct terms are used when building out your SEO campaign.
What about inbound links?
Inbound links are still a part of SEO strategy, and of course it takes time to build those links. It’s not enough to just add a bunch of low quality inbound links to your website because Google is wise to that practice. In fact, not only will doing that no longer help you like it might have in 2003, but it could also hurt your online reputation, which would then hurt your ranking. Instead, you’ll need to cultivate relationships with quality sites in order to get links that will help your SEO campaign get results. This can’t be done overnight, but it is a strategy that your SEO team can start working on and growing month by month.
Creating Quality Content
Since Google is able to determine the relevance of content to the end user, it will take time to get the content done right. Sure, in the past you could go to a website like Craigslist and find a “writer” who would just bang out some articles and throw your keywords in somewhere around 20 to 100 times. This is thankfully no longer acceptable. Nowadays you need quality content that people actually want to read, and that means working with a writer who will take time to research and write your articles effectively.
Maintaining an SEO campaign requires your team to make changes to content, search terms, and links on a regular basis. They will look at what’s working, what’s not, and will analyze any new trends or terms that should be addressed. You just can’t rush this process by the very nature that it takes several thousand impressions of your content (times it shows up online) before results can even start to be measured.
Ok, so how long does it take?
Here at Zonion we always tell people to expect at least 3 months to see results with any SEO campaign. That gives us time to set up your campaign properly, create quality content, measure, and make changes. We’ll look at how many leads are coming into your business, how many of those are converting to customers, and how we can improve that rate so your ROI on SEO continues to rise.
What about companies that offer fast results?
We’ve seen those companies you’re talking about and unfortunately, many of them are using what’s referred to as Black Hat strategies to get pages to the top of the rankings. While it is less effective these days to use these techniques to try and outsmart Google, those that do cheat the system will only do so for a short time. In the end, those techniques could not only stop helping your website rank, but you could also end up with penalties for trying to work that way.
Ready to play the long game?
If you’re ready to get started with SEO and you have at least 3 months to invest in your project, we’d love to chat with you! Please get in touch here and we’ll respond with next steps.