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  • Why Does SEO Take So Long?

    Why Does SEO Take So Long?

    SEO takes longer than it used to to generate results.

    It can take between four and six months to produce measurable rankings improvements and even longer to notice profitable gains.

    For the most competitive terms, ranking in coveted top positions for your money keywords can take between 3 to 5 years.

    Source: https://ahrefs.com/blog/how-long-does-it-take-to-rank/

    Which begs the question: “is SEO worth the cost?

    Furthermore, “why does SEO take this long?”

    Many Things To Fix

    When an SEO company first contracts with a business, there are usually many things that need to be fixed, as far as Google sees it.

    You could need better titles, content, keyword targeting, a better link profile, reformat of pages, and more.

    Also, some companies have a new domain, and it takes a while for Google to trust your unique brand.

    Competition is Fierce

    website competition for SEO
    For the top terms, there can be hundreds and even thousands of competing sites.

    One of the most significant factors that make SEO take longer is that you probably have a lot competition in your space.

    Usually, your competitors are working on their SEO, too. How hard and effectively they are working varies, but getting a top page result will take work when dozens of other companies are shooting for the same effect.

    But there still remains only 10 results on Google’s coveted page 1 for your given keywords.

    Your SEO needs to figure out two things: How far ahead is your competition in ranking, and how long will it take to catch up, based on your budget?

    The thing is, SEO isn’t quite this linear and direct. At any time, Google can alter its algorithm, your competitors can dump more money into SEO, or maybe you just wrote a piece of stunning content with dozens of backlinks.

    The point is that companies you compete with are doing SEO too, which means it could take some time to catch them.

    The Accumulation Process

    An effective analogy to understand SEO is that of getting into top physical shape. If I’m 100 pounds overweight, I need to clean up my diet and exercise routine.

    But how much effect is one intense exercise session going to have on my appearance? Almost none.

    However, if I set a goal of going to the gym five days per week for six months and make some diet changes, the results will appear a few weeks and months into the program. After six months, I could quickly drop 50 pounds or even more if I stick with it.

    What matters in weight loss and SEO is a regular, sustained effort over the long haul. And, if you’re trying to compete with or catch-up to a dominant player in your space, you have a veritable mountain to climb. You’ll need to play catch-up in content and link building in a major way. And, by the way, you’ll want your link building to remain natural.

    Some companies want SEOs to do a one-time project to optimize their site. That’s fine, but if you’re going to have long-term results, you need to have a long-term strategy that includes regular link building and content production.

    Good SEO is an accumulation process. Google wants to see regular updates of content, acquiring links, and optimization of the site. This is how Google trusts your site and gives you better visibility.

    This is the reason that investing in SEO each month is vital to your long-term success. Having a targeted approach to ensure you’re doing these things well and regularly is what you need.

    After you have an excellent SEO foundation built up, it’s easier to see measurable results from adding a new page than if the site just launched.

    Remember To Account For Variables

    It may take six or 12 months of SEO work to see results. For more competitive keywords and in order to start to garner thousands of organic daily visitors, it can take three to five years. Yes, you read that right. But it’s hard to say exactly how long because there are many variables in play:

    • The topics and keywords relevant to your business
    • How suitable your content is to your keywords
    • The age of your site and domain
    • Quality of website design
    • Your location in the country
    • Amount of social activity
    • Quality of your competition
    • How your site reacts to new trends
    • How fast you implement changes

    Each of these variables can affect how long it takes for your SEO effort to bear fruit. Usually, the timeline should include a lot of time for discovery and research with website audits and then getting to the technical SEO tasks. It can be up to three months before seeing new content becoming part of the SEO campaign.

    Budget Matters

    SEO Budget Calculator

    How much you spend on SEO will affect how fast you see results. A higher budget allows more professionals to work on SEO, researching your niche, and creating unique content.

    However, just because you have a huge budget doesn’t mean you’ll have superior results.

    Also, your budget does affect how fast the campaign runs, but it won’t affect how quickly you rise in Google rank.

    No amount of cash ensures that you’ll get a top ranking fast, no matter what any SEO company says.

    This is why it matters to look at much more than price when you choose your SEO firm. If you establish goals to boost traffic and conversions instead of getting #1 ASAP, you will probably get more value for what you spend.

    Didn’t It Used To Be Easier?

    Years ago, SEO was more straightforward than it is now. Back in the early 2000s, SEO was essentially a matter of finding the right keywords that would give you the most traffic, optimizing your site for those words, then building links like mad.

    It was a simple, mechanical process. But it wasn’t sustainable over time.

    People would use shortcuts to get to the top of the rankings, but they couldn’t stay there. Even firms that used these strategies that were accepted couldn’t stay #1 for long.

    Keep It Slow And Steady

    At the end of everything, SEO success takes time, and it’s slow, but it’s certainly not a waste of your money.

    Your team needs to make a regular, intense effort to build momentum over months.

    However, once you finally have gotten a reasonably high Google rank, you’ll benefit tremendously from the results in terms of exposure and sales. You’ll still need to make a regular effort to stay on top, but maintaining it is very doable once you get to the top.

    Now you should have a better grasp of why climbing the ranks takes time. But don’t worry: With a solid budget and consistent effort, you’ll enjoy more conversions, traffic, and ranking with time. Contact us to find out how we can help!

    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) services - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing, assisting in everything from SEO for lawyers to complex technical SEO for Fortune 500 clients like Wiley, Box.com, Qualtrics and HP.

    Tim holds expertise in building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

    When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter