How long does SEO take to work?

September 26, 2013Blog

The scenario: You have started looking at search engine optimisation for your website and you have already spent a significant amount of money doing so. The last thing you want to hear is that it is going to take months or longer to show up on the first page of Google. The answer is, that unless you represent a very niche market and have little to no competition, your site will take time to appear.

Effective SEO takes time to work

Why does SEO take such a long time? Isn’t there just a switch that needs to be flicked? There are many so-called SEO ‘experts’ who promise top search engine results in as little as 48 hours. To be blunt, this is utter rubbish. They are not only trying to rip you off, they are also feeding you thoroughly unrealistic expectations.

Search engine optimisation is not always difficult if you know what to do, but it can be extremely time-consuming. The website and its content must be analysed and optimised – this can mean editing, rewriting, or often both of these.

Google takes time to re-index and recognise website changes so it can adjust its ranking. Effective SEO usually includes taking time and effort to acquire links to the website from quality, relevant sites and through social media. Finding great links and obtaining a strong web presence just doesn’t happen quickly; (see it as building a good reputation).

Staying ethical

One of the many ways Google decides which sites are the most relevant when a user makes a search is the implementation of good inbound links or backlinks; this factor is amongst the most important. You’ll need links to your site to prove your worth to Google and that you are an authority in your field.

Whatever you do, DON’T procure thousands, hundreds or even dozens of inbound backlinks all at once. You may have seen dodgy-looking adverts selling ‘10,000 links for £30’ – STAY AWAY! Playing the system IS destructive and will be detrimental to your website’s rank. If your site goes from just a few links to hundreds in a short period of time, Google does not assume this is because you have just launched an amazingly popular website.

Let things happen naturally

Google likes organic, natural links. If too many links appear out of nowhere, Google penalizes your site and it will drop in rank. Be REALLY naughty and you may be knocked out of the search results completely. Links should also be relevant and come from good quality sites that are at least somewhat relevant to yours. All this takes time.

Not forgetting the competition…

It takes time to catch up with already-established sites. This is a big obstacle and requires time, research and good old experimentation.

Site Content

Original, high-quality website content is essential. Enough said.

Keeping up with Evolution

The web is still young! Google, Bing and Yahoo are changing and evolving all the time. This is in order to provide a better service and more relevant search results for their users. SEO strategies must change accordingly. Keyword selection must fall in line with the language of the day and current trends.

Being Strategic

Read this blog post on strategic online marketing. This must constantly evolve to remain effective.

The craft of good SEO

Good, ethical and effective search engine optimisation is a craft requiring time, dedication, constant research. Those who optimise websites are required to adapt to changes, learn quickly, stay abreast of technology and have the ability to successfully work with trial and error.

SEO at its core follows simple laws, however it can be complex, and often confusing; plagued with scammers and questionable credibility. Of course, when you run a business, you want results and an idea of what you’ll get and timescales, but the most honest answers often seem a little vague. If your site is new or has never been optimised, you may expect to see some success within around 2-3 weeks, but it can take longer.

Hopefully, a better understanding of how SEO works will help you be patient. Any SEO company worth their salt will provide you with regular progress reports, even when there is little or no improvement. Patience is the order of the day.