It’s difficult to reconcile anything taking time on this planet of immediate gratification we find ourselves occupying together. Why does SEO take so long? We’ve had clients ask us this question. Here’s our answer.
Fair question. If I can type something into a search engine and get immediate results, why is it that adding something for my business wouldn’t help me rank immediately? In other words, why won’t Google recognize and legitimize me now?
Let’s dive in.
What is SEO?
By now, most people, especially business owners, have an idea of at least the SEO basics. But, just in case you’re new to this world, here are a few rudimentary snippets.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In essence, what you need to do to stand out online is optimize each page on your website, social media profiles, business profiles, and any other place you’ve claimed some online space.
Your online presence is somewhat like real estate because it’s your plot of land. You want people to know you’re there, and you want them to come to you for products and services that you offer that are relevant to their needs. That’s what SEO is all about.
It seems simple and straightforward enough, right? So then…
Why does SEO take so long?
There are three main factors impacting the amount of time SEO takes:
- Your Competition
- Your Content
- Your Links from external websites
It’s critical to know that even with the tons of data behind these variables, there is no 100% formula to answer this question. Estimating the time required to reach your SEO goals involves evaluating three variables, beginning the effort and tracking to see what results are achieved quickly, and then using that data to predict how long it might take to hit a target.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely never stop saying it… the truth is, Google is high maintenance. It’s difficult. It’s particular. It requires your constant attention. But, if you get it right, it will repay you in kind.
I make light of it as if Google is some snarky and annoying date you had to take out to please your great-aunt, but here’s the thing to know…
Google is about matching the most authoritative websites with the searchers of the world. It wants to ensure that customers searching online can find what they’re looking for from trusted sources as quickly as possible. For Google, it’s all about creating a better user experience and truly is on the side of both the consumer and the business owner.
Let’s cover the competition factor. Are you feeling nervous? We often hear the word competition, which sends us into a spiral. Here’s the deal. Knowing your competitors is essential for the success of your business. Knowing what they do right and wrong and how is extremely important and can be powerful. If you know these things, you can emulate the good and improve the not-so-good.
You need to know what your competition is up to and what content they’re putting out there. This will help guide you. Especially if you already know what your ideal customer wants. Put those two things together, and you’re on your way to mining gold.
We’ll cover this a bit more when discussing links and external websites.
The content on your website is one thing. It should be organized and to the point, making it easy for your customers to find exactly what they need quickly. Less is more when it comes to website copy. That’s why you need to get your messaging nailed down.
Read this for messaging tips How To Apply The StoryBrand Marketing Strategy In 90 Days.
Then it’s all about putting out regular content in the form of articles. These are known as blogs; if you’ve been sticking your nose up about this, it’s time to stop. Regular blogging can accomplish a lot for a business. When you write blogs, you’re writing about what your customers are interested in and want to know. You’re covering your products and services and anything related to those things.
When you write these blogs, you will upload them to your website and work on the SEO associated with the backend of blogging. If you’re suddenly feeling insecure about all this, stay with me, I promise you’ll get this. Part of the backend SEO includes external links, which are links to other blogs and companies that are related to your space. I know… this also sounds scary. But hear me out…
We live in a world with astute and capable consumers. They want all the information they can get about a product or service before they purchase. But this gives YOU, the business owner, an excellent opportunity to educate your customers. If you don’t, your competitors will.
I say it’s better you do the educating. This is why the links you choose to use in your content to the external websites of the companies relevant to your business and customers will be the juice that helps to validate YOUR business’ products and services.
Your Links from external websites
Let’s call this juice the milk and honey, shall we? Trust me. It’s all the milk and all the honey.
For example, bigger companies, like Forbes, have higher authority scores because they have smaller companies, and individual bloggers always link to them. Think about it this way… it behooves big banks like Wells Fargo to include links to Forbes.com in the articles they post on their sites. You will link to reputable sites to educate your customers properly and honestly.
So, linking to reputable sites will serve you well by helping you build your reputation.
Upon hearing about this, we get many questions about whether or not it would be beneficial to partner up with relevant companies to have them backlink to your business and vice versa. This is called guest posting, and while it is a gray area and not necessarily frowned upon by the powers that be, the best practice is to get backlinks organically.
Let’s talk about some of the things you could be doing to upset, ahem, a certain search engine…
What Google Doesn’t Like
Things it doesnt like.
- Thin or shallow content on pages or posts (1000k-1500k words is best)
- Poorly written content
- Irrelevant content and links
- Spam links
- Purchased links
*people sometimes purchase links, and Google does NOT like it. It’s not worth the risk*
Here are some of the things you can do to appease and please…
What Google Likes
- Google wants original copy.
Any writing on anything is called copy, and Google expects it to be original. Gone are the days you could get away with plagiarism because some half-witted teacher wouldn’t know the difference anyway. Google knows. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by a post or an article that you’re like, oh yeah, that’s how it is.
- Google likes deep copy that uses outbound links.
It loves when content is thorough with outbound links that will help the searcher find more information on the blog topic. This is where your backlink game will come in handy. You must link to relevant and reputable sites and blogs. External links should number anywhere from one to two per blog. We don’t usually recommend more than two unless the third is vital.
- Google likes it when someone stays on your page.
The longer they stay, the better. It’s called session time, and it’s monitored. That information is then used as another way to legitimize your site. A lengthy stay equals customer satisfaction, at least in how they get the information they were looking for. This signals to the search engine that you have at least some authority. The more this happens and the more backlinks you get, the more authority you have in your space.
One thing that helps this is the three-click rule of thumb. It’s important that your potential customers can get to what you offer in two or three clicks. They will bounce from your site or page if they can’t find what they need. This is why your website pages need to be optimized properly and have a call to action visible, whether they’re your regular copy on each page or blog content.
#1 SEO Strategy (in our opinion)
RebelFish Local has helped hundreds of business owners find their ideal customers with properly done local SEO, so we feel qualified to let you in on these goodies.
Original, well-written content using legitimate and relevant backlinks.
The best way to accomplish this is to write new and original content all the time, increasing your chances of being noticed by other similar businesses that may backlink to your blog and website, thereby increasing your authority.
Plus, the more you’re willing to thoroughly and honestly answer your customers’ questions, the more you’ll gain their trust.
Do you feel like you’re losing the SEO game for your business? Schedule A Call with us, and we’ll help you figure out the best next steps for your business.