How Long Does SEO Take, Really?

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Many business owners know the inherent value of SEO, but are hesitant because of the rumored time commitment. After all, even if search engine optimization is important, why not pay for advertising that gets traffic to your web pages much more quickly?

There are a few factors as to how long quality SEO can take. These encompass some best practices, the ins and outs of high-quality content and blog posts, and how to effectively position a web page on a search engine results page. If you’re wondering how long SEO really takes, here are some key answers.

SEO varies by industry.

Are you in a niche industry that doesn’t see much digital competition? On and off-page SEO might not take all that long before you start seeing results. However, on the other hand, if you’re in a competitive market that is full of industry execs funneling money into digital marketing, it could take longer, even with high-quality content.

This is because when there are fewer sites for a search engine to crawl and assign value to, it’s easier for them to move up and down the results pages more quickly. With more competition, Google and other search engines have to examine some of the finer details to determine what sites get the top spots. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just “buy” search engine rankings. There are a variety of factors that matter — regardless of industry.

Common SEO Factors

If you thought it was as simple as stuffing keywords into your title tag, meta description, and blog post content, you’d be mistaken. While keywords are still a major on-page SEO factor for search results, they aren’t the only ones. Nowadays, on-page SEO is highly dependent upon page content, link building, and user experience. If your SEO strategy is just focusing on meta keywords, you’re going to struggle to make moves and your site’s ability to rank will take a long time to improve.

There are other factors that a search engine algorithm, takes into account as well. These are some more technical SEO concepts like site speed, source code, and mobile device friendliness. Even if you have a relevant keyword in your anchor text, video content, and H1 tag, poor site speed, and mobile optimization can drag you down.

On top of this, content marketers are focusing more and more on on-page content optimization. Content optimization means that a piece of content is scoured for relevancy, the right on-page titles, social media link building, internal links, and appropriate keywords in the title tag, meta description, and so on. On top of this, the content simply needs to be good. Good content is clear, concise, readable, and intuitive. A piece of content like a “Complete Guide,” “Ultimate Guide,” or “How-To” page are incredibly popular because of the value they provide to readers. Paired with video content, these have a high page ranking factor.

Mastering SEO

If you want to take over your market or see improvements when you look at the Google Search Console, it’s all going to come back to search engine and content optimization. For some business owners, handling page optimization and juggling internal links, keywords, and page titles can be overwhelming. This is where agencies come in. A quality content optimization agency allows you to “master” SEO without having to immerse yourself in the granular details. Agencies can improve your site speed, teach you how to craft an effective title tag or meta description, and help each and every web page shine.

SEO isn’t a rapid-fire process. It takes continued time and effort. Whether you have an agency on your side or not, you need to master the core concepts and consistently apply them. Only then will you see those major gains in the search results.