Breaking Down the Basics of SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of getting web traffic from organic, or natural, search results on search engines. SEO campaigns help businesses rank higher in search results, increase web traffic, boost brand awareness, and most importantly, earn more revenue. As opposed to a marketing strategy like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising that works almost instantaneously, SEO campaigns generally take longer to produce results. This means that websites using SEO won’t jump to first position rankings the very day SEO is implemented.
Using SEO takes search engines time to determine variables such as page relevance to a user’s search, reliability of the information if keywords are used in legitimate context, and how many backlinks are utilized, for instance. Currently, Google gives the highest rankings to websites that have dynamic content that uses keywords in context-correct ways: gaining those top spots takes time because it takes time to gather and analyze these data.
The difficulty involved in attaining high search engine rankings is what makes them so valuable and rewarding. SEO rankings cannot be purchased or negotiated: they must be earned, which takes time and skill. In fact, research by Ahrefs found that the time it takes for the average page to get to the top of Google search results is just under 950 days. SEO works like compounding interest: at first, the amount of interest earned is small. However, as the interest adds up, the amount of interest earned also grows.
Time is the Essence
SEO is an investment that requires maintenance and continuing attention to see sustainable results. Consistency is important when it comes to any kind of SEO: time and commitment will result in search engine traffic results. All SEO efforts should continually build on themselves. Building this structural framework may require months or years of consistent effort to begin ranking. Prioritizing speed over sustainability is not a sustainable tactic: it takes time, planning, and careful readjustment to achieve and maintain rankings, return on investment (ROI), and traffic.
Researching the market and competitors along with performing necessary analyses and producing SEO-optimized content takes time. Since quality content reigns king for producing SEO results, spending the time to create a content strategy and implement it effectively is key. Being able to see results from SEO efforts can also take a long time because competitors are also investing in SEO. Common wisdom is that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. This is generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when results start. Since SEO results grow over time, results at 6 months will be considerably less than what will exist at 12 months.
General SEO Timeline Structure
The first month of an SEO campaign involves research and discovery, website audit, keyword strategy, and planning. Month two usually begins technical SEO work. This includes modifications to the website based on site audit results. In some cases, the website needs to be overhauled and this alone can take months. Other SEO activities such as building content or developing links can be done at the same time the overhaul is happening. The next step is to focus on content creation: FAQs, whitepapers, blogs, articles, expanded product and company information, etc. This step might result in improvements in rankings, but shouldn’t necessarily be expected yet. By month four, there may be a marked increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation; however, these increases won’t be anywhere close to the improvements 12 months into SEO efforts. As the months progress and SEO continues to be optimized and developed, more leads should be occurring. From this point on, activities may be consistently focused on content creation and promoting that content to continue to refine SEO progress.
Don’t Stop Too Soon
Many companies underestimate the time and money required to be successful with SEO. Success by any standard rarely comes within the first 3 months, even with a healthy SEO budget: it is crucial to budget at least 6-12 months for a successful SEO campaign. Paying for just a few months of SEO is generally not a wise expenditure of a business’s funds. SEO is, without a doubt, a long-term marketing tactic, and should not be seen as a way to generate sales quickly. With SEO having one of the best ROIs out there, the investment will pay off over time. An SEO strategy is the best answer to meeting the ultimate goal of generating organic search results, increasing web traffic, boosting brand awareness, and most importantly, earning more revenue.
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