- May 15, 2019
- Posted by: Amanda Meadows
- Category: Digital marketing, Google, SEO
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” (Robert Collier)
When you search for something in Google, how many times do you click past the first page of results?
Unless I’m searching for something really specific deep in the recesses of Google, I rarely go to the second page of search results. And honestly, I rarely even scroll down to the bottom of the first page.
Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies help refine a website’s effectiveness and usefulness so that search engines rank your website higher in the list of search results. If you don’t want your website to be buried deep in the search engine results pages (SERPs), it’s in your best interest to enhance your website’s quality in a number of ways.
But what are these mysterious SEO-boosting tactics? How long will it take for your website to start rising in the SERPs? And how do you keep your expectations realistic in the meantime?
Factors that Affect Your Website’s SEO
The list of factors that affect SEO really could be a mile long. And search engines frequently change their algorithms, which means that something that works today may not work tomorrow.
But here are a few of the main factors that have enduring relevance:
One of the main things to evaluate for SEO is your website content. Search engines read the words on your website in order to serve the consumer the information he or she is looking for. If you have a well-developed website with plenty of well-written, relevant, useful content, your website will rank well. If your website, however, contains sparse or duplicate content, content that is poorly written, or that has keywords stuffed into it, the search engines will not consider your website valuable. Make sure you are writing your website for your customers and prospects, not for the search engines.
As far as Google is concerned, social media doesn’t have a direct effect on SEO, but it is still relevant to SEO nevertheless.When you search for a company name, its associated social profiles show up in the search results. And for many people researching a business or service, social profiles are just as important as the website. If you’re regularly sharing helpful, relevant content on your website and sharing it on your social profiles, your site traffic will (hopefully) grow, giving your website more value and relevance in the eyes of the search engines.
No matter which search engine someone is using, the general rule applies: search engines rank pages based on value and user experience. Well-optimized meta-tags help both the search engine and the user to determine the usefulness of your page as it appears in the SERPs. Each page of your website should have a unique meta-tag that includes a clear title and short description of what is on that page.
If your website is built in WordPress and you have Yoast SEO enabled, you can edit the meta-tags yourself very easily. If your website is built in another platform, the meta-tags are located in the HTML document and require some coding skills to edit.
Learn more at WordStream.
Whether other sites are linking to your site (backlinks) or you are linking to your own content on your website (internal linking), links pointing to your content tell readers and the search engines that you have something valuable to say.
Whether you’re seeking backlinks or linking internally, you must start with plenty of solid, valuable content (see #1). Take the time to produce valuable content on a regular basis and building both backlinks and internal links will come easier. Building backlinks can be fairly involved. But you can consistently link to your own content on your website to build up your internal links.
(By the way–run away from anyone who wants to sell you backlinks! That is a big SEO no-no!)
How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work?
Doing SEO right is a long-term strategy. But how long will it take before you can see results? The answer is different for every website. There are a lot of factors that play into how quickly your website will start ranking higher, including:
- Age of your website
- Amount of content
- How frequently content is updated
- Website traffic
In Neil Patel and Eric Siu’s recent Marketing School podcast episode, they predicted that it could take as long as a year before you see real progress with your website’s ranking! If anyone promises you instant SEO results, you can bet it’s a scam or that they are using “black hat” SEO tactics that will get you in big trouble with the search engines.
As much as we sometimes wish it were, SEO is not a switch that you can turn on and off. The work of SEO is never finished, so you need to be ready to commit to it for the long haul. When it comes to the internet, we’re accustomed to getting what we need almost instantaneously. But when it comes to SEO for your website, slow and steady wins the race.
And always remember: “If you’re doing dumb things because you think Google wants you to, stop immediately” (Sonia Simone, Copyblogger). Write for people first, search engines second. When you take the time to do SEO the right way, you’ll get better, more long-lasting results and a high ROI.