How long does SEO Take? Don't try to cheat the game or you will lose. Here is what you need to know.
As a small business owner, one of the biggest keys to success is being able to leverage Search Engines to gain exposure to your services and products and increase brand awareness and of course grow sales. Taking stock of all potential marketing channels and deciding which ones are the best fit for you is extremely important.
Search Engine Optimization Is A Long Term Investment. You have no real reasons not to start right away.
Chances are that you have considered hiring a marketing specialist or agency but have decided not to be because of how expensive they can be. Maybe you have talked to a few greedy ones...
The truth is that no matter how marketers or agencies may make it seem, growth can't be guaranteed for anyone regardless of who does it or how much you pay. There some shameless hustlers who have figured out a way to easily promote themselves, making it seem like they are geniusly clever on all aspects of marketing for any business in any industry in any market - when the reality of things is that they are only good at promoting themselves. People like Billy Gene Is Marketing, constantly pushes promo video ads on Facebook and even belittling other agencies and freelancers to make himself look better but in reality a quick Google Search finds results such as "billy gene is marketing scam" that reveal how people are often convinced to pay updwards of $5,000 monthly for no results at all. We have done tests ourselves off his suggestions to prove to ourselves that it's all fluff and yup - following his suggestions for example don't yield any measurable results. Needless to say, it's important to hire based on knowledge, trust, and history - but never over pay and never pay a monthly retainer that will make you uncomfortable and 'break the bank' each month.
If you are starting up, you are also bootstrapping. One of the safest investments you will have for your online marketing is Search Engine Optimization. If you have good or even decent SEO you can generate thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales each year guaranteed.
WE ARE AFFORDABLE AND GENERATE RESULTS.
Having good SEO means search engines like Google, Bing, & Yahoo are finding you when people enter related search terms which means that more people see you and more ask for your business.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION FOR SMALL BUSINESS
If you’re new to SEO, or if you are needing to brush up on your skills, you’re in the right place.
HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK?
In order to understand SEO, it’s important to understand how a search engine like Google rankingworks in the first place.
For a typical query, there are thousands, even millions, of webpages with potentially relevant information.
Google has put together a really great guide detailing “How Search Works” which we really enjoy and find it true to its core.
Essentially, there are 3 main functions of a search engine:
Search engines find information by crawling the web. They crawl the web using robots (often called “web spiders” or “web crawlers”), who crawl from site-to-site, link-to-link, in an effort to find as much information on the web as possible. This includes finding net new sites, checking old pages, etc.
They then take all of the pages they crawl, gather them up, and bring it all back to their servers for storage in their index which includes hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size.
Think of it in the same way you would a book, but with an entry for every word seen on every web page they index.
So, what do they do with all of that information? The process looks something like this.
A user goes to Google and types in a search query such as “sprockets.” Faster that you can blink an eye, Google combs through all of the websites and pages within their search index and determines which pages they believe are relevant for “sprockets.”
From there, they instantaneously rank all of the relevant pages (which many times number in the millions) from most relevant to least relevant.
How do they do this? Well, they have developed a highly sophisticated algorithm which includes over 200 different ranking factors that they evaluate every single webpage against in an effort to determine what they think will be most relevant to the person typing in the search query.
Once search engines have analyzed all relevant pages and parsed them them through their ranking algorithm, they will return the pages in their Search Engine Results Page (SERP), ordered from most relevant to least.
The general principle is that it’s best to rank higher on a SERP than lower.
This is because the higher the result appears on the page, the more clicks it generally gets. For example, a 2014 study showed that the first 5 results in Google get 67% of all clicks. Despite the fact that a #1 result in Google may have diminished by up to 37% over the past two years, the general principle still applies and organic can still be a very high traffic-driving channel.
A typical SERP includes paid search results as well as unpaid, but it’s important to note that SERP layouts and format are continually evolving in terms of how organic information is being displayed including rich snippets, images, videos, direct answers to questions, social media results, Knowledge graphs, and more.
WHICH SEARCH ENGINES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT?
When we’re talking about search engines and SEO, we mostly mean Google.
That’s because Google has the most market share and therefore delivers the most organic traffic in most cases. To put it in perspective, according to Search Engine Journal-StatCounter, Google had:
- 79.88% market share on desktop (Bing was second at 9.9%)
- 94.53% market share on mobile (Yahoo! was second at 4.07%)
- 85.82% overall search market share (Yahoo! was second at 6.99%)
That’s domination almost to the point of monopoly, and it’s not likely to change in the near future. Therefore, I’d recommend focusing most of your optimization efforts on Google and tailoring things to their algorithm.
The good news is that Google is relatively progressive with their algorithm and most of the other sites tend to follow behind, so if something is good for Google it usually is good for other search engines like Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.
But going back to Google, you need to realize that Google IS in the business of providing us with the best possible search results. Those Google phones, the free Gmail, the apps, etc, etc, etc, etc - All the freebies we get from Google are tools that provide the company with infinite data about us so that they can improve their algorithms for search and for paid ads which is the bulk of their revenue source. People cannot trick Google no matter how hard they try and it's imperitative to follow Google's guidelines when we do SEO work.
HAVE YOU RECEIVED COLD CALLS AND EMAILS FROM "SEO EXPERTS"? OF COURSE YOU HAVE!
Unless your business is under a rock, and maybe even then, you should have already received dozens of emails or calls at a very minimum from strangers, typically in India, who offer you guaranteed top Google ranking for a few hundred dollars one time fee. What you may not know is that their practices are not supported by anyone else but themselves and of course much less by search indexes like Google. They way these 'guaranteed' offers work is by taking your money and setting up and an automated jig they have often custom built, using an simple code algorythm that goes around the internet creating fake social media accounts, fake email accounts, blog accounts, etc, etc, and dumping your link in each of the fake accounts never to lock back in again. These are called click farms and they look exactly how they sound.
These click farms pay laborers probably less than livable wages to spend all day giving "LIKES" or "FOLLOWS" on people on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more but also doing "Search Engine Optimization" - You have to be very careful though, there are many freelancers in the United States who offer these services only to outsource and then you get a list of 'indexed websites' where your link has been added to. This type of SEO work doesn't last and can hurt your business once Google finds out and blocks all those links. 💩
There are some click farms that are automated...
WHEN IT COMES TO 'GUARANTEED' SEO RESULTS - YOU NEVER GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. 100% OF THE TIME.
HOW LONG DOES SEO TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL?
As a business owner I am almost sure that you won’t like this answer— but it typically takes a long time, minimum of 2-3 months in our experience for most cases, results however depend on several factors including:
- The scope (number of pages and content length) of the site and the engagement (because they’re different)
- The complexity of the brand and website
- The number of competitors in your industry or direct market, especially for local business services.
- The level of maturity of any legacy or current marketing campaigns including past or current SEO strategies
- Any time needed to undo legacy recommendations and/or penalties
- The speed of strategic development and execution
- The adoption of fellow related industry websites for backlinks and references from other places online.
- Whether or not you have a local, national or global business.
- The complexity of implementation of recommendations
- Type of visitor and time spent on your website
- The amount of red-tape any recommendations have to pass through
- The expectations of what success looks like (which can vary)
Generally speaking, with a clear runway, an SEO strategy should begin bearing fruit in 6-12 months which may seems like a long time, but when you consider in some cases the barriers and sweat equity that can be involved, the timeline begins to add up and just like a 401k Investment - SEO starts to pay off with dividends if you keep at it.
The most important virtue for business success and online marketing is patience. Followed only by consistency.
PAY PER CLICK AD CAMPAIGNS
While SEO is more of a long-term investment running a Pay-Per-Click campaign or other forms of paid advertising will garner quicker results in the short-term. Now, we're not saying that you will generate sales but you will most likely garner traffic for your website.
Search Engine Optimization may take a while to kick in, but once it does its guaranteed to build on itself, pay back with dividends and live on for a long long time - that is something that no paid advertising will ever offer you because as soon as you stop paying your exposure will stop cold.
Not only that — but SEO, while not exactly rocket science, does take a lot of sweat equity — whereas a PPC campaign can probably be up and running in a few hours or days in most cases.
Be careful with who you hire to do your marketing and who you hire for Search Engine Optimization. If you were wondering how long does SEO take to work we hope this article has shed some light on the subject but if not please go ahead and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. We aren't globally known as the most helpful agency for no reason 😉.
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