How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work? - Virtual Stacks U.K. Ltd.
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seo how long

How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work?

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Every website owner wants to get to the first page of Google, and they want to get there fast. However, the scope of Google is enormous, and first page space is limited. This can make the competition steep for landing on the first page search results for your target search terms. Fortunately, a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can  boost your website’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking.

Developing an effective SEO strategy isn’t a quick fix, one-time deal. In other words, it’s not magic! Many elements of digital marketing strategies work together to build your SEO. An SEO strategy for your website is an ongoing process that requires patience and diligence before achieving your desired results of higher SERPs and increased web traffic.

So, just how long should you wait to see if your SEO strategy is working? In this blog post, we discuss how long results can take, what you need to do in order to rank on page one of Google, and how to choose the right search engine optimizer to help you reach your goals.

How Long Does SEO Take, and Is It Worth the Wait?

Our digital world is fast-paced, yet building an effective SEO strategy and seeing the results can take some time. So as a business or website owner, you may wonder whether or not SEO success is worth the long-term wait.

First, let’s have a quick refresher on SEO.

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. These practices involve directly optimizing elements of your website — such as text, images and formatting — as well as optimizing your website’s presence in other areas through quality backlinks and published content on other websites. Search engines like Google plug all of these data points into complex and ever-changing algorithms to produce what they believe to be the best-quality results for search engine users — the first page of search results.

So, how long can these efforts take? After all, your business has sales and marketing goals that need to be reached sooner rather than later. There is no set timeline to see improvement in your search results rankings from your SEO strategy, but it can often take up to six months to start seeing improvements, with an additional 12-18 months to see a full return on investment for your SEO tactics.

In order to make the investment worthwhile, your business will need to set clear KPIs for your strategy, which should be based on SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely). You’ll also have to be willing to make adjustments to your SEO practices, as needed. The benefits of implementing an SEO strategy include the following:

  • Increase quality traffic to your website.
  • Help brick-and-mortar businesses target local search.
  • Provide higher-quality content to your audience.
  • Improve your reach to mobile users.
  • Help prevent your business from falling behind your competitors.

Ultimately, SEO is the foundation for achieving long-term success for your website.

What Gets to Page One of Google?

There are over a billion websites. How can you compete against all of them to land on page one of Google for your target search terms? There is no magic formula to land your website on the first page, and anyone guaranteeing to accomplish that for you within a month is likely running a scam. As we just discussed, improving your search ranking with an SEO strategy takes time.

So, how much do rankings matter? While you may want your website to rank on page one for every single one of your desired terms and keywords, that goal is far removed from reality. For example, you could be trying to rank for generic keywords that have too high of a search volume and tough competition, which will leave your website in the dust. On the other hand, you could be trying to rank for keywords that have too low of a search volume, which means that not enough people are searching them, leaving your website low in qualified traffic. It’s all about having the right perspective.

Your goal should be to attract your target audience and lead them to making conversions on your website, and that first starts with knowing your audience and targeting the most relevant keywords and phrases based on search data. Only then can you begin to effectively aim for ranking on page one of Google.

To improve your search rank, it’s important to be aware of some influencing factors with Google’s ranking algorithm:

  • How new or old your website is.
  • The amount of competition for your target keywords.
  • How popular your website is among users.
  • The industry/products/services you want to be ranked for.
  • How your website is currently ranking for your keywords.

It can take years for a new website to rank high for high-volume keywords, because building SEO from the ground up takes the longest time. Growing a brand-new website’s ranking will require a thorough digital marketing strategy that develops your brand’s niche and provides relevant content for your target audience, which can help your website earn more links, gain popularity, and rank better for more high-volume keywords over time.

Older and more well-established websites, on the other hand, can improve their search ranking for specific keywords through such practices as developing content for those keywords, internal linking, providing high quality external links, and promoting the keywords/topics on social media.

To improve your search ranking and aim for reaching the first page of Google, you need to make sure you do the following:

  • Implement an integrated marketing strategy.
  • Developing a thorough content strategy for your keywords/topics.
  • Establish your brand’s niche in the industry.
  • Use social, paid and email campaigns to grow your audience and brand reputation.

Reaching page one of Google is possible for any website! It just requires time, effort, and a strong understanding of SEO. 

What to Ask When Choosing a Search Engine Optimizer

Do you have the tools to conduct SEO keyword research for your website, your target keywords, your audience, your industry and your competitors? Do you have the skills to make sure your website is optimized on-site for keywords, alt text, images, and mobile responsiveness? Do you know how to grow your off-site SEO?

If you answered “no,” to any of these questions, it’s likely that what you need is an SEO specialist. Business owners are already busy enough and don’t have the time or the experience to implement a complete SEO strategy for their website. An SEO specialist will work with you to ensure that your digital marketing initiatives align with improve your website’s search results rankings and increase overall sales. 

However, it’s just as important to make sure your prospective SEO specialist is fully up to the task. Here are some questions you will need to ask:

  • Do they have previous work examples and success stories?
  • Do they know and follow Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • What other digital marketing services do they offer, if any?
  • What is their anticipated timeline of results for your website, and how will they measure success?
  • Do they have experience conducting SEO strategies for your industry?
  • If your business is based locally, do they have experience with local SEO in your area?
  • Have they conducted SEO for international websites?
  • What are their most valued SEO techniques?
  • How long have they been doing SEO?
  • What will communication look like?

Your SEO specialist should be genuinely interested in your business and helping your website succeed. As a business owner, you don’t have to settle for someone who makes your business feel like an afterthought. Signs that your prospective search engine optimizer is genuinely interested can include them asking you some of the following question:

  • What’s unique about your business, products or services?
  • Why is your business valuable to customers?
  • Who are your customers in terms of demographics, interests, values and concerns?
  • How can improving your search ranking directly improve your revenue generation?
  • Do you have any existing advertising strategies?
  • What are your competitors like, and who are they?

Don’t just take your SEO specialist’s word for their skills and experiences — speak to their references and clients, as well! This can give you a better idea of whether or not their services will meet your needs. You may also want to ask the SEO specialist to conduct an SEO audit of your current website and provide their initial analysis and recommendations. This audit may come at a charge, but the results will be worth it if the SEO specialist is sufficiently skilled.

Every Business Can Benefit from SEO

If your business has a website or is looking to create a website, then you need an SEO strategy. Otherwise, your target audience won’t be able to find your website, and it might as well not exist. SEO is a key element to a modern marketing strategy. At Virtual Stacks Systems UK, we provide SEO services for business of all industries and sizes. Our digital marketing team is committed to learning everything we can about your business, industry and customers — and to helping you reach them effectively online with comprehensive SEO and digital marketing strategies. Contact us today to discuss the digital marketing needs of your business!

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