When it comes to search engine optimization (or SEO for short), a few common questions tend to arise: ‘How much do I have to wait until I can see the results?’ or ‘When will my site rank as the first result?’ or maybe the classic ‘Is SEO even worth it?’
These questions are all expected from stakeholders who have the final say in allocating a company’s marketing budget.When However, to answer them, we have to dig a bit deeper into the workings of SEO and search engines.
Your website matters
Your current website plays a major role in determining how quickly your SEO efforts will become visible. If your website:
- isn’t maintained properly, or is built upon an open-source framework
- or doesn’t comply with Google’s rules and best practices
then it is safe to say that it is outdated and you will have to put a lot of effort and time into SEO. It’s not just that Google doesn’t “like” your website – these flaws are also costing you a lot of customers and revenue.
So, how long do I have to wait for SEO results?
Generally speaking, it can take up to weeks, or even months before SEO results really start showing. But even then, you’ll have to take a look at those past weeks in order to really understand what happened.
You see, SEO results don’t happen overnight. Search engines won’t magically put you up in the top SERP positions the day after you’ve optimized a few pages. They are constantly crawling the web, indexing new and updated content, to rank them against other pages that are relevant to users’ queries.
By looking at your rankings for certain keywords over a longer period, you will be able to notice the slow, but steady changes of your SERP positions. By getting more backlinks, adding more quality content to your website, and ensuring its speed, stability and security, it will confidently climb towards those top spots.
The speed really depends on what you’re trying to achieve, your website’s current SEO, and your competition. Smaller companies will need different SEO strategies from huge, international enterprises, and they can expect different waiting periods before results really start showing.
How can we “speed up” the SEO process?
SEO is not something that you can do once and call it a day. It’s a constant project that consists of much more than simply “tweaking” your website.
First of all, you will need a CMS that supports SEO (meaning you can edit your content, and all its most important meta-fields easily).
Many “SEO experts” will tell you that you only have to do basic optimization, but that’s simply not true. This “basic” level of optimization only gives you about 34% of what could be considered “complete” SEO.
More complete SEO projects require more time and money as well, however, you have to think of these of long-term investments.
The process can be sped up, of course, but one has to consider all the rules that Google has set for webmasters in order to prevent the use of manipulative techniques. Most “quick” SEO methods are frowned upon by Google (and other search engines), which is why you can’t take shortcuts, and think of SEO as a process that can take weeks, or even months.
The best way to speed up SEO is to put more time into it. It is a long-term investment – you’re not paying for the top spots, but for the methods that can take you there.
That’s still pretty unclear
We know – we’ve not yet given you a straight answer regarding the speed of SEO, or how to get quicker results. Here’s why.
SEO is both an art form and science. If you’ve been paying attention, and know a bit about how search engines work (with their constantly changing algorithms, and all) you will quickly start to realize why the results can take so much time to become noticeable.
Also, you have to consider that a website can have up to hundreds of pages, all of which may rank differently for certain keywords. You can’t optimize a website and expect every single one of its pages to rank proportionately higher as a result.
SEO factors to consider
Search engines use dozens (maybe even hundreds) of factors to determine rankings. Nobody knows what these are, exactly (they are well-kept trade secrets, after all), but here are the ones that we generally consider the most important ones:
- Keywords: You have to use the correct keywords in order to target the queries of your ideal audience. On their own, keywords don’t do much. Used in quality content, however, they ensure that people will see your website among the top results.
- Your domain: Your SEO success hugely depends on your website. There are several factors to consider here. For instance, how much search engines trust your domain. Your backlinks and link profile play a major role here, as does the age of your domain. Also, if you’ve purchased your domain from someone else, and it’s been hit by Google’s penalties in the past, you will have to work hard to gain back its trust.
- Your content: SEO only works if it’s done to quality content. As mentioned above, keywords don’t do much on their own, and have to be placed inside great content to have any chance of ranking. Content quality is Google’s main focus nowadays, and the speed at which you can upload fresh, amazing content to your website will determine how quick your SEO efforts will come to fruition!