So you decided to get into SEO marketing for your business needs. Congratulations!
You've taken the first important step to making your business more accessible to people searching for what you offer on search engines like Google, Bing, & Yahoo.
Unfortunately, like anything worth having in life, success in SEO requires a lot of hard work & patience.
There's a lot of competition for the keywords your audience searches, your website & user experience must be near-perfect, & a lot of trial & error. SEO takes so much hard work that it will deter anyone unwilling to grind it out, assess their initial data, & reevaluate their strategy.
However, if you focus on your marketing goals on a longer-term basis such as 6-12 months, are willing to improve upon mistakes, & practice patience, you will master SEO in your sleep, literally.
How Long Does An SEO Strategy Take To Yield Results?
For SEO campaigns, it is not uncommon for the first few months to be slow. In fact, it could take up to a year before you start seeing the results of your SEO campaign.
However, this is not bad if you are patient and consistent. SEO is not something that can just be done once and presumed to be finished. It requires consistent research and assessment to keep up with people’s trends, searches, interests, and behaviors.
SEO campaigns are not by any means, a short-term solution.
A few factors that affect the length of SEO campaign are:
- The type of SEO campaign you're running
- The level of competition in the market you're targeting
- The level of optimization on your site
- Keyword difficulty and relevancy
According to a Survey done by MoringScore, around 43% of SEO experts believed results from an SEO Campaign can be expected within 12-24 months while about 39% believe that range lies between 6-12 months.
Tyson Bell, Co-Founder of Octiv Digital says, “On average, in a fairly competitive niche, most sites should begin to see meaningful movement within 6 months with a focused and dedicated SEO campaign”. While it may take 12 months to really get the ball rolling, you can see evidence of your efforts in as early as 2-4 months.
However, just because you are seeing and experiencing results, does not mean the work is done. As mentioned, SEO is a long-term strategy that requires effort and consistency, whether done yourself or delegated to an employee or freelancer.
Shonavee Simpson-Anderson, a strategist at Firewire Digital stressed that “The question ‘How long does SEO take?’ can be misleading because It implies that there’s an end date to SEO work and while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I have to say this: SEO is never finished”.
Why It Takes So Long To Yield Results?
To understand the growth a business can expect between months 6-12, we need to look at the compounding effect of consistent SEO. The reality is, most searchers (which is up to up to 92%), click on results shown on the first page of Google.
On top of that, about 75.1% of these individuals go just to the top 3 results. Because of that, ranking at the top vs. at the bottom can bring very different amounts of website traffic and everything that comes with it.
It’s a battle to get to the top of SEO rankings and once there, you must fight to keep it!
The overall authority of a website largely comes from the quality of the content it publishes, the links it receives from other credible sources, & other important SEO factors. Those that show up at the top of the search rankings are the ones that continuously improve the website experience for users.
Due to that, SEO can’t be forced nor do short-term strategies work – a lot of time is required before a website can be established legitimately in the search engines. It's harder to trust newer companies than more experienced ones in order to have a seamless customer experience.
Chris Zacher, a Marketing Strategist at Inter Company, says that if a business is starting from the ground up & just started a website, it can take three or four years of consistent blogging and link building to get their site on the first page for their target keyword.
Three-four years sounds like a long-time, but it is case by case with factors like industries, how local a business is, & the competition for keywords. Having measurable results over time on search results pages is what's most important when adopting an SEO strategy.
Being number one on the search results pages sounds pleasant so long as your business has the capacity to handle all the demand rising from search traffic. If demand far exceeds supply capacity (products/services), this can result in higher cases of a mismanaged customer journey. Henceforth, every business would rather make smaller, achievable goals before committing to higher SEO budgets.
According to SEO Experts via Morningscore, here's some research that provides time expectations for seeing results from an SEO strategy.
How To Build SEO Visibility Long-Term?
Showing up on search engines is built on a foundation of trust, between site owners & users. If your website is as close to what your site visitors want, the more likely search engines will want to feature your page on search queries.
Here are some ways to establish trust with users & boost SEO rankings simultaneously:
1. Guest Posting
The number of links pointing to your website substantially impacts your SEO rankings as every external is like a social/digital vote of confidence.
This can be done by providing the ability for guest posting content both on your website as well as on other websites. Engage with your audience through guest blogging outreach to provide content to sites with similar audiences. This will provide long-term SEO value within the same niche & boost all parties' analytics.
In this strategy, everyone wins!
2. Publishing High-Quality Content
Consistently publishing, refurbishing, and editing high-quality content on your website will work in your favor as Google rewards websites filled with fresh, valuable, high-quality information and content. Create a long-term plan to consistently post content on your website.
Some ways to go about doing this would be to write blogs, FAQs, some articles featuring video content, & downloadable content like PDFs, eBooks, & other documents.
3. Performing and Optimizing for Keyword Research
For long-term SEO success, you must have a web foundation to target keywords related to your niche/business.
If you don’t target or rank for the right keywords, your target audience won't find you & will miss out on some valuable online exposure.
4. Creating Internal Links
Internal links are links on your website which direct to other pages from the site for smoother navigation.
You incorporate internal links because it takes the users on a journey throughout the site like a house tour. A second reason to do this is that search engines crawl throughout the websites to assess the relevancy and priority of the sites on your page & rank them accordingly.
5. Setting up Local SEO and Directory Profiles
Local SEO practices and creating profiles on business directories can assist in building and maintaining online authority for your brand and make a larger digital footprint for your site to leave behind. Create profiles for your business e.g. Google Business Page, Yelp, Bing Places, & plenty more.
This strategy is also more likely to find more converting site visitors given these users are proximate to the location of a physical business if applicable.
6. Optimizing for Technical SEO
While SEO is and is very likely to stay a long-term strategy, there are ways to manage SEO and still rank without all the hassle of super consistent maintenance. These strategies consist of:
Create a Google Webmasters account and submit your site index.
Optimize your site speed, the faster the better.
Design every page on your website, so it’s responsive and mobile-friendly.
Utilize organized and natural site architecture.
Add an SSL certificate to your site for security purposes.
Audit inbound links on your site and fix any broken links (301 errors).
7. Correct The Information That Exists
It's imperative that information presented on a website reflects accurate & updated information. If the information on a website is out of date, users will assume the site is no longer active & Google will derank sites for inactivity.
8. Curate News
Garner attention. Whether it be hosting a webinar, an event at your local café, or a fundraiser, it’ll create a buzz in the local area. While this method is really time-consuming, it’s great for long-term exposure, credibility, and relevancy.
One newsworthy event every couple of months is a good time window and make sure to spread it both on and offline, send it to your contacts, tell your friends and their friends. Word of mouth travels fast, especially when it’s someone or somewhere familiar.
However long it takes for SEO strategies to yield results, it largely depends on the efforts of the organizations behind the websites.
If however there was only the creation of the site & no continued effort to grow it, then obviously any search engine results will take a while before there's any meaningful effect on the business. On the other hand, if a team is constantly updating the site, creating content like blogs & announcements, & taking the actions of users seriously then SEO will be in the favor of those who get after it.
-Madsen, K. (2021, October 12). How long does SEO take to work: Stats from 75 experts . Morningscore. https://morningscore.io/how-long-does-seo-take/
-Octiv Digital. (2020, May 17). Octiv Digital. https://www.octivdigital.com/seo/
-Simpson-Anderson, S. (2022, August). Complete Guide To Local SEO - 6 Steps To Improve Rankings. Firewire Digital: SEO & Google Ads Agency for Growth. https://www.firewiredigital.com.au/blog/supercharge-your-seo-writing-process/
-Zacher, C. (2022, January 4). The Full Guide to B2B Online Marketing. Inter; Inter. https://intercompany.co/blog/b2b-online-marketing/
Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to serve as financial or professional advice & is created for the sake of entertainment & informational purposes. External links are provided to give credit to original information holders. The use of affiliate links & Googe Ads is used in this blog post & we may be compensated for placement; potential earnings are not a factor into the content that is created.
If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like What Is SEO? Search Engine Optimization Explained In 5 Minutes (2023).
Thanks for reading!