Updated October, 2012.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long term marketing investment company’s make in their business. The goal of SEO is to improve a website’s useability, so it appears more often in Google’s organic search results.
We focus on Google because for now, it’s the only search engine that matters. You can rank all day in Bing, but you’re not going to get any traffic. Google is where the action is.
Playing By Google’s Rules
So, as long as Google is running the show, we’ve got to play by their rules. Attempts to “game” their algorithm in order to manipulate search results could work in the short term, however, this approach is not sustainable. We’ve seen multiple cases where sites have performed well in search results for a few months, only to be penalized later as Google updates its algorithm to weed out the garbage.
Businesses considering SEO as a way to provide a quick fix or overnight success are bound for trouble. Slow and steady wins the race.
How long does SEO take to work?
This is a difficult question to answer as there is no way to guarantee improved search rankings.
It depends on several factors:
1. Quality Of Website Content – Does your website communicate a clear purpose? Is it easy to navigate and does it give people what they want? If you have a website with poor content and a bad layout, your visitors are just going to leave and your bounce rate will through the roof. With a bounce rate near 100%, Google is never going to reward you with sustained high rankings, no matter how much SEO work you do. Simplify your site’s purpose, clean up your layout, and watch your site’s bounce rate drop in Google Analytics. Your visitors will stay longer, visit more pages, and Google will reward you accordingly.
2. Frequency Of Adding Content – We’ve seen hard proof that adding fresh, quality content on a frequent basis has an enormous impact on the amount of traffic your website attracts. Each time you add a piece of content, you give potential customers new ways to find you.
Plus, Google loves content, so the more the better. But don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. You are trying to build a following and you don’t do that by adding poor quality content. When you speak about your business, give insight, share strategy, and educate. Build trust and you will build traffic.
As for frequency, we recommend adding content as often as you can – that speaks to your target customer – either by writing it yourself, opening your site up to guest bloggers, or paying to have someone else write content and post it to your site for you (after you proof their work).
3. Links – Until recently, it was fairly easy to manipulate Google’s search results by creating low quality, spammy links with keyword rich anchor text. Since the Penguin update was rolled out in April of 2012, those days are long gone.
Links still matter. In fact, Getting links to your website is generally considered the “meat” of search engine optimization work. The quality, relevancy, and diversity of incoming links to your site’s pages have a big impact on how well your site ranks in Google for various keywords.
4. On-Page Optimization – On-Page SEO refers to the optimization of the titles, header tags, descriptions, image alt tags, internal linking and many other factors on each of your site’s pages. If your home page content is wonderful and talks all about restoring old cars, that’s great. But if your title tag says “Home”, your images “alt” tags are blank, and you have no header tag, you don’t do yourself any favors toward higher search rankings. You might want to check out our free eBook: Killer On Page SEO: The Guide The Pros Use.
5. Competition. The strength of your competitor’s websites is a key factor in determining how long it will take you to achieve high rankings in Google. If you want to hit #1 for a keyword and the current #1 site is a Goliath, it could take years of adding content and creating backlinks to wrangle the #1 spot. You might be better off fine-tuning your niche and ranking for less competitive keywords, then taking on Goliath later down the road, once your site has achieved some authority within Google.
SEO’s benefits are long lasting. It is easier to keep a #1 ranking than it is to achieve a #1 ranking. Once a company achieves multiple #1 rankings with quality SEO and online marketing work, they are often locked in to a permanent flow of organic traffic that can dramatically impact the growth of their business.
But it’s not all about rankings. In fact, traffic is the most important indicator of successful SEO and internet marketing. Successful online marketers see a steady rise in search traffic (save for seasonality), as they continue to add quality content, fine tune their site per Google’s webmaster guidelines, and work on building relationships with other sites and businesses found online.
This is where we can help you. We specialize in working with businesses to help them achieve greater sales and a more valuable website, through SEO and internet marketing strategy.
Contact us for a consultation to learn how SEO can help increase sales and improve your company’s bottom line.