The best search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can push your website to page one of SERPs (search engine result pages) for searches related to your business.
However, SEO is a process rather than a one-time activity. Even the best-executed SEO practices won't show instant results. It takes time before you start seeing the benefits of your tactics.
Defining SEO from the start is just as essential as learning the algorithms search engines, such as Google, use to rank sites.
So how long does SEO take to work in 2021? What affects how long SEO takes? Can I reduce the time my SEO takes to work? We explore these and more questions below.
What Does SEO Stand For?
What is SEO? This should be the first question you answer if you are new to online marketing.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which refers to all white hat strategies and antics used to help a website or webpage rank highly for specific searches.
Customers start their online shopping by typing particular keywords and phrases on engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. The engine then displays results, which can be several thousand pages featuring websites with relevant information based on the search.
As a marketer, the goal is to appear on page one of search engine results, considering up to 80% of users never go beyond page one. Instead, they change the search word for more relevant results.
This calls for comprehensive keyword research and identifying how customers search for your business online. SEO houses all these and more, covering all antics marketers use to increase online visibility.
Find out more about SEO in our guide on What Does SEO Stand For. In this piece, we explore how long your SEO strategies will take before you can start witnessing the impact.
What Influences How Long SEO Takes?
How do you know that your SEO is working?
Marketers can use various markers to determine whether their SEO efforts are yielding any results. Some of the obvious indicators include a surge in website traffic, better ranking in SERPs and higher conversion rates.
You won't witness these results overnight.
Have more interest in how long SEO takes to work? Read our blog the 7 Steps to Get You Started above by clicking the image.
Unfortunately, it isn't easy to be patient, especially when it's been weeks or even months and there's nothing to show.
Some businesses can get amazing results and rankings for new pages, while others will have to wait at least four months before their pages start to rank in the desired positions.
In general, SEO takes four to six months to see growth, so you need to give it time before making drastic changes to your strategies.
It’s also important to know that SEO isn’t something you only do for six months. It’s a continuous process and a competitive one to keep your website at the top of SERPs.
It is also crucial to understand what influences the duration SEO takes to work. Here's a look at some:
Competition has a significant influence on how long your SEO will take.
The ultimate goal is to climb the ranking towards page one, preferably the first spot for specific business keywords. If you are offering products in low demand, you probably have very few competitors, which might reduce the effort needed to rank highly in SERPs.
On the other hand, if your niche features several competitors, some with the capacity to hire the best SEO specialists, you will have a tough time outranking them.
As you would expect, being up against several competitors will take longer to ascend the ranks. It also requires more effort compared to serving a niche with very few competitors.
2. Age of Your Website
Your site's age can impact how fast your SEO campaigns become effective.
An older website boasts experience and people that can vouch for the business, something new websites lack. Just like in the real world, recent graduates have a hard time competing against experienced workers, simply because there's no way to gauge whether they can perform.
In the same way, well-established sites are seen as experienced by Google and other search engines. This may result in faster SEO campaigns and indexing for new content.
Long-existing sites also receive quicker engagements and probably have a vibrant community around the business. Google generally takes longer to rank new websites, especially those without healthy inbound links.
The content you publish on your website can impact your ranking in various ways. Google and other engines favor sites that provide high-quality, engaging content that provides the promised solution.
Marketers recommend providing lengthy articles and posts about a given topic, product, or service. However, content length depends on the subject, so not all posts have to be 4,000 words and above, even though this could impact ranking positively.
The priority is to provide quality content regularly and consistently, increasing site re-visits and engagements. This calls for a well-thought content strategy that factors keywords, link-building and publishing cycle. It is also advisable to pull down older underperforming posts from your site.
Content plays a massive role in ranking online. Get the basics by clicking the image above.
4. History with Google
Your track record with Google can impact your SEO campaigns. Essentially, if you have a good past of using recommended techniques and providing relevant content, Google will reward you with better TrustRank.
Every page is assigned a trust score, which expresses the reliability and trustworthiness of the page. A higher score will result in better ranking and determines how far you can ascend in SERPs.
Bending or breaking Google rules will get you penalized and can hurt future SEO campaigns. Violating the terms will break the trust you have with Google, so it is crucial to stick to white hat SEO strategies.
Getting inbound links from spam sites, spamming content with keywords, providing poor-quality content scraped from other sites and violating copyright laws could all hurt your SEO.
5. Inbound Links
Inbound links are the most valuable in SEO as they indicate other people are interested in your site. However, not all links are equal.
The two crucial factors to consider are link volume (quantity) and link value (quality).
Generally, having a high volume of inbound links will positively impact your ranking as long as they are not from spam sites and other black hat antics.
However, you are better off with fewer high-quality links from relevant websites than many low-quality links from sites that don't relate to your niche.
The goal is to build strong relationships with other authority brands and gain high-quality inbound links strengthening your domain authority.
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6. Size of Project
SEO campaigns can take a much shorter time to become effective if you tweak a few things about your site. However, patience is still key, as no strategy will come to fruition overnight.
The turnaround will depend on the size of your campaigns. If you are a large e-commerce website targeting several niches, your initial planning steps may involve extended keyword research.
On the other hand, a local store targeting location-specific customers seeking a given product may only require a few weeks to complete initial strategy planning and begin deployment. Bigger campaigns will also have a robust deployment, extending the timeframe for SEO results.
How to Speed SEO Turnaround
The ideal time to wait for SEO results is six to twelve months, depending on the campaign's size and other factors mentioned above. However, you can shorten the time by making a few tweaks to your site and strategy.
Google algorithms are constantly changing to guarantee the search engine's integrity. As a marketer or SEO specialist, it is essential to track the changes and stick to the guidelines provided by Google or other engines you are optimizing for.
Here's a look at some of the things you can do to reduce the time your SEO takes to show results:
a) Fix Any Errors, Hosting Issues and Penalties
Correcting errors and damages done to your site is important for SEO. Google penalties and unreliable hosting take time to recover from. However, fixing 404 errors, 301 redirects, broken links and SEO inconsistencies can show results within a month.
It is important to inspect your website and SEO strategies, identifying errors and inconsistencies with quick solutions.
If your poor performance is coming from slow-loading pages and downtimes from unreliable hosting, you should consider finding a new provider to host your website.
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b) Follow SEO Friendly Structure and Architecture
Your site's design and architecture can influence ranking and web traffic. You can optimize the CMS system, URL structure and overall website design for better ranking.
Simple things, such as finding the right responsive website design for mobile platforms, can significantly influence your SEO campaigns.
More than half of internet searches originate from mobile platforms, which is why Google switched to a mobile-first approach to indexing. Since the crawlers will index mobile sites first, you need to streamline your mobile experience for better performance in SERPs.
c) Build Links Naturally
Link building is the only way to earn authority online. Websites with a large volume of high-quality inbound links, earned over time because of their trustworthiness, will enjoy better ranking.
As such, it is important to start building your links and getting those valuable mentions from relevant websites.
You can promote your business through social media, reach out to influencers, guest blog and follow other applicable white hat link building strategies. The goal is to increase the number of backlinks to your website, which translates to domain authority.
d) Start with Proper On-Page Optimization
Building links through post commenting, guest blogging, directories, citations and social media will help increase inbound links.
However, you shouldn't forget the importance of on-page SEO. Optimizing Metadata (titles and descriptions), keywords, content, images, links and CTAs can show results in a few weeks, which is why on-page SEO should be the first step.
It ensures the site is ready for both Google crawlers and visitors, providing the canvas to start working on off-page SEO and link building. Other authority brands will also be interested in partnerships only if your site matches their quality standards.
e) Hire an SEO Expert
Without a proper background in search engine optimization, it will be hard to compete against companies that have specialists with several years of experience.
Large e-commerce sites hire a team of expert SEO and web design technicians that understand everything worth learning about SEO and how search algorithms work.
If you are up against such companies, you might need to invest more in professional SEO services. Make sure you choose experienced SEO companies or specialists with a clean track record for effective white hat strategies.
Don't hire a company, hire a partner. Read more about why that's important by clicking the image above.
SEO Trends 2021
Some marketers specialize in providing optimized content for specific durations when the keywords are popular to improve visibility and build on the better ranking to maintain peak positions long after the trend is gone.
Google and other search engines also keep building on the existing algorithm to ensure result credibility. Here are some key SEO trends for 2021 that can influence how fast your strategies yield results:
- Changing user experience – UX is expected to take center stage, especially with the rise of VSO (voice search optimization), videos and visual search, semantic search, and optimizing for snippets.
- Master search intent – Google unrolled its BERT search model in 2019, predicting a future where the search intent is valued above the keyword phrase. This, along with semantic search, will change SEO approaches as marketers adapt to the new conversational style used to prompt SERPs.
- Local SEO – Google My Business is already essential for local SEO. Smartphones also make it easy to identify the search origin and location. Together with the mobile-first indexing approach, it may result in Google indexing local businesses first for searches with no location-specific request.
- More videos in SERPs – We have seen the surge of videos and visuals in SERPs over the last year. This is expected to continue in 2021. As such, you may want to integrate more videos and visuals in your content strategy.
Trends can influence how search algorithms respond to certain searches. For instance, a given keyword can remain popular for several weeks, receiving high engagement from users. During this time, sites with such keywords in the right positions can enjoy better ranking.
However, as popularity subsides, the algorithms will shift back to normal ranking. Tracking SEO trends can help you identify the best strategies to use for swift turnaround. It is also vital to get conversant with all the existing practices you can find in our ultimate SEO guide.
SEO is inevitable if you target online success.
Without proper SEO, your business will be hidden from customers, hurting your traffic and conversions.
You can do various things to increase your site's visibility online, which is the goal of SEO. However, none will provide instant results. SEO antics require time to review, plan, deploy and track. You should also set clear performance markers to monitor the performance of each SEO campaign.
Google and other engines have an obligation to present the most relevant solution available for the specific search. In recent years, the approach has become more customer-centric, so you should optimize your websites for your audiences.
This requires creating a user-friendly website with helpful solutions and impressive user experience. More importantly, follow all the good practices recommended by Google to avoid penalties.
With that said, SEO results usually show from four months onwards, although the ideal time frame is six to twelve months to see stellar results and to keep the results, SEO strategy should be a part of your marketing efforts every single month moving forward.
|READ: How Are National & Local SEO Different: The Brief Explanation||VIDEO: SEO Pricing: Understanding What It Means|
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