4 minute read

Playing the Long Game

How long does SEO take for you to see noticeable improvements in your website’s rankings and organic traffic? The short answer is, “As long as it takes.”

That might seem like a smart-ass answer (which it is). But it’s actually the truth of the matter. It can easily take at least a month, if not months, before you start to see noticeable results. As we continually point out to our clients, measurable SEO results typically don’t show up until anywhere between 4 to 12 months.

SEO is an investment that does provide appreciable returns. But just like you don’t expect a wise financial investment to yield significant returns in a couple of days, SEO is an investment that takes time to garner results. Anyone who tells you differently is playing an SEO churn-and-burn scam—don’t fall for it.


Let’s look at why that is

The time it takes to see results from SEO varies depending on various factors, such as the:

  • Competitiveness of your industry
  • The current state of your website
  • Quality of your content – especially with all the thin AI content out there
  • Effectiveness of your SEO strategies
  • Ever-changing search engine algorithms


What Are You Up Against?

In a highly competitive industry, SEO results take longer than in smaller, niche markets simply because you are trying to differentiate your business from so many others who are also engaging in SEO to make themselves rank higher. It’s sort of like the more teams in a league that play each other, the longer the season and the more time it takes to finish first.


How Good is Your Website, Really?

One of the first steps to any SEO strategy is a website audit. If you don’t have a website, obviously, it takes time to design and publish, as well as time for search engines to notice it. If the website is old or you bought it from a previous owner of the business, it’s going to take just as much time, maybe even more, to update it or, typically in most cases, replace it with an entirely new design and approach.

Even if you think your current website is pretty good, a website audit might conclude that it really isn’t. The good news is that the audit can explain why it isn’t and point you in a better direction.

The key to any website design is to ensure it is responsive, meaning that no matter what device users view it—smartphone, tablet, desktop, Apple Watch—users have the same experience. Buttons work the same, graphics are clear regardless of screen size, shopping carts load properly, and users can log in.

But equally important is making it easy for search engines to find it. Search engines need time to crawl and index your website, evaluate its relevance and authority, and then rank it accordingly.


Content Quality

One of the most important elements of a successful SEO implementation is content creation. There was a time when stuffing website pages with keywords ( what search engines look at to determine relevance and ranking), regardless of whether posted content was coherent. It didn’t take long for Google and other search engines to get wise to this strategy (if you could call something short-sighted like this a strategy).

Which is why content is key. It’s a combination of inserting keywords in your site’s meta descriptions (the underlying coding of a website or blog page) as well as employing the keywords in what users actually read. Without getting too deep in the weeds, there are different types of keywords, and there’s a lot that goes into selecting the right keywords that help get the content a high search engine ranking. That takes time. Additionally, it takes time to build high-quality backlinks, improve on-page optimization, and create engaging content that resonates with your target audience.


SEO Effectiveness

Just because you’ve done it once doesn’t mean you can just sit back and watch. SEO is a long game. What seems to work over the last few months may not work in the next few months. The beauty of the internet is you get real-time data about who is viewing your website content and related social media, what they are clicking on (and what they aren’t clicking on), and what is performing best. Even something like color schemes are evaluated. Do users click more on a red Call-to-Action (CTA) button than they do an orange CTA? An A/B test can determine which variation gets better results. And it takes time to do this.

It takes time to implement SEO best practices into all the pages of your website and related social media. Nothing is static. You need to constantly and consistently add new content, or search engines start to ignore you. Adding new content and revising existing content requires time to write, edit, design, and publish.


Changing Search Engine Algorithms

SEO strategies are in a constant game of chess with search engine algorithms. For one thing, there is no one algorithm but rather a massive collection of algorithms, each with individual assignments that also connect with one another holistically. SEO strategies try to figure out what this massive collection is up to. And because all the algorithms are constantly changing, SEO strategies need to evolve with them.

There’s no magical way to plug into what search engine algorithms are doing. The best SEO strategies can do is test what is working, figure out what isn’t working, hypothesize why, and react to evolving conditions. And then see if that’s actually getting the desired results. A lot of SEO is trial and error. The ratio of failure to success is something like 70% to 30%. Figuring out that 30% takes (you guessed it) time. But it is time well worth spending to achieve optimum results.


An Ongoing Process

SEO is an ongoing process, and results accumulate over time. Continuously optimizing your website, monitoring analytics, adapting to algorithm changes, and staying updated with the latest SEO trends is how you achieve long-term success.

Tag Marketing offers several monthly SEO pricing packages to match the needs and growth of small to medium-sized businesses such as yours.

Whatever your situation or budget, we can get you a return on your investment. Request a custom quote by filling out our short form, and we will give you a call to discuss your needs, wants, timeframe, and audience. Then, we will send you an email with the custom SEO pricing package along with deliverables to reach your goal.