Why Does SEO Take So Long To Impact My Website?

Ugh, why is my SEO taking so long?

Over the years, I have been asked this too many times to count. Search engine optimization takes a long time. I’ve been working in the digital space for around 14 years. Several years ago, SEO took less time to take hold and improve rankings. Now…SEO can take several months to a year plus. With this in mind, there are a few questions that may come to mind:

  1. Is search engine optimization worth the effort?
  2. How long is SEO going to take to improve my rankings?
  3. What are the factors that impact search engine results?

These are all very heavy and difficult questions to answer. Stay with me and I will provide you with the insight you need to make the right decision for your business and website.

Is Search Engine Optimization Worth The Effort?

In short, yes. SEO leads tend to close at a much higher rate than paid, email, and [certainly] social media. In fact, according to Outbrain, natural search pounded social media by 300%. Google leads all search engines by a whopping 80% market share. A number one keyword position can be worth up to 33% of the initial keyword search volume. Thus, a keyword producing 1,000 searches per month could bring 330 new visitors per month. With high conversion rates, this can bring massive ROI for your SEO investment.

What are the factors that impact search engine optimization?

The most important components of SEO can be broken down into 4 categories and 5 very important variables.

SEO Ranking Factors

  1. Content and quality content. Your minimum goal for each webpage should be 250 [high quality words]. There are some professionals who believe that website pages should contain over 1,000 for high quality blogs. I agree on both. High quality content will help with SEO rankings.
  2. Inbound links and high quality links. I think this is a little debatable, however,  it has long been known that websites with high quality links are certain to rank higher than websites without quality links.
  3. Functionality and usability. If your website does not function properly, it will not be found. If your site has broken links or pages, it will hurt your chances to rank higher in the SERPS [search engine results pages].

SEO Variables

  1. Findability – Have you created website content and addressed all of the KNOWN SEO factors? For example; have you added your meta tags, created high quality H1 and H2 tags, added sitemaps, etc.?
  2. Shareability – Is your content worth the share? Is it informative? Funny? Logical? Serving a purpose? Speaking to your audience?
  3. Returnability – You need to give your audience and visitors a REALLY REALLY good reason to come back. That always falls on your content, videos, and images.
  4. Linkability – If you have poor quality content, the likelihood of getting links from blogs, websites, social mentions, and other referral traffic is greatly diminished.
  5. Functional – Website structure and functionality are critical for success. If you have a poorly designed website that is hard to navigate or has other issues, variables 1 – 4 won’t matter. It takes users around 2.3 seconds to make the decision to STAY ON YOUR WEBSITE or to LEAVE.

How long is SEO going to take to improve my rankings?

To quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.”

It seems, in word, Hamlet never really answers the question. He certainly does in deed, but it does not end well. For us, it is better ‘to be’ than not. Taking on the SEO challenge is well worth it but the time it takes may make you impatient and may lead you to walk away before you get too far down the righteous path. If done correctly, SEO can take 6 months to over a year. However, measurable success should not be viewed only through keyword rank…but more so…visitor experience and conversion metrics.

Search engine optimization takes a long time for many reasons and there are more factors than I wish to share in this post. Briefly, time your site has been active, quality, usability, links, domain, domain type, hosting, competition, keyword selection, and issues impact how long it will take. I will post more on quality content and the aforementioned at a future date.

There are no short cuts that you can take. There are no silver bullets you can fire. There is no magic wand to wave. SEO takes time, patience, persistence, and high quality work in order for it to be effective. If you want faster results, I recommend you work with pay per click advertising

. Top results will cost you either way. And both are well worth it.

For those of you who made it to the end…it is Yorick captioned above. I’m certain you knew that already.

Google’s Panda Algorithm Update – Steps to help your site now

Google recently announced a major change in their search engine algorithm dubbed the “Farmer” update. In short, Google is targeting content farms that host and hold massive amounts of articles and various content collection sites. These websites provide little to the searching individuals in way of content and relevancy.  Think of massive dumpsters collecting crap and said crap is served up (based on search queries] as high quality content.

Google does not like this nor do we, the searching public. Google wants high quality content which is the main reason they currently own 70% [or better] of the U.S. search market. Recent stories have gained high publicity and could tarnish Google’s squeaky clean reputation for serving up only the very best results. What Google does not like…Google changes…and fast.

JC Penny was called out by the New York Times for building links [without relevant and corresponding content] and Google took action ASAP. JC Penny’s rankings have tanked.  More companies are getting the SEO axe for paying for links and I fully suspect that many jobs will be lost, agency contracts broken, and more heads will roll. This could be the biggest change to the Google algorithm in its history.

Check out these recent stories [below] which led to the Enron-like [smartest guys in the room] crash of multiple online sites based on very bad SEO practices.

Bing Business getting punished by Google

Eyeglasses and bad reviews

Link building and the pet rock . Fist mentioned by Searchology last year.

So what does this mean for you? Why should you care? And is there anything you need to do?

First of all, do not panic. If you have been working with a reputable SEO firm you should be okay. Google claims that the new changes will affect about 11.8% of the current search results. It could be much more by the time the full impact of these changes comes full circle. Second, you need to care because it is all about quality content or as I stated in 2006…content is king. Google simply got gamed by the SEO “experts”.  Now, here is what you can do and need to do moving forward.

  1. Provide useful and unique website content for your visitors.
  2. Give your website visitors a reason[s] to come back to your site.
  3. Give your visitors a good reason to share your website with others via email and social media.
  4. Take over all of your social media profiles. Google and Bing have both suggested that social media “likes”, reviews, and fans may become a new metric for measuring websites and ranking websites. I believe this is the future of SEO. The Searchology SEO formula and methodology may look something like this; quality content [see 1 through 3] + likes + fans + reviews + universal search + links = killer search engine rank.

One thing has always been a constant. Don’t game Google or you will pay for it big time. Don’t buy links, don’t create subpar content, and always be creative with your content. The good news in all of this is companies and websites with good relevant content now have a golden opportunity to make positive changes which will impact their site ranking. As Google continues to lop off the heads of very big websites…they are going back to their roots of website content and said content ruling their SERPS.