In an age of instant results where success is demanded yesterday, it appears as though the long game is a thing of the past. When money is put down for a project, there is an expectation that investment will yield immediate dividends, but reality is quite different when it comes to the domain of search engine optimisation (SEO).
The bottom line is that patience is key in SEO. The methods you will implement to obtain that number one ranking on Google for your particular niche will rely on a multitude of factors that revolve around keyword research, user-friendly compatibility, links, domain history and a range of other influences that will occur outside your control.
Search engines are incredibly profitable outlets for online marketers to use, yet the notion that they move in sync with the influx of cash is a misnomer. The very best websites did not emerge from a draft to reign as king on day one of operation. They needed continual tweaks, updates and maintenance to stay on top of the competition.
These are the central themes that explain why SEO is a task that elaborates beyond other online activities.
Research Takes Time
Forget the quick fix because there isn’t one. If it existed in SEO, then it would have been spelled out in black and white by now. Research remains a process that requires the user to sift through data, information and trends and while it can be incredibly time consuming, the knowledge that is gleaned from doing so will be a reward down the line.
The first step that has to be undertaken is finding out your website’s SEO performance. This can be done through a variety of online software applications, informing you on keywords, links and ranking based off the competition within the industry.
General SEO Tools
- SEO Web Page Analyzer
- Site Analyzer
- Website Grader
- Google Analytics
Once this task has been completed, there is the matter of competitive analysis. Some of the above tools will help in that regard, yet there are others than specifically specialise in this field.
This will help you pit your own operation against peers who will likely be ranking above you on search engines, giving a guide as to how much work has to be done to catch up.
SEO Competitive Analysis Tools
Rankings Are Complicated
Those that see online search engine rankings as static are completely missing the point. Platforms like Google, Yahoo and Bing essentially work as schoolteachers or university professors who oversee the entire apparatus in the classroom. Assessments come thick and fast with weekly and monthly turnarounds, so those that might be top of the rankings for one grade could quickly fall in the following cycle.
Rankings will fluctuate based on key factors. What they all center around is the concept of organic growth i.e. websites that become popular from techniques that are not manufactured through sheer investment or a quick influx of links and content. If you take this route, it is just a matter before the cracks that are papered over become obvious to the search engines.
Ensure that the following topics are thoroughly considered in the realm of rankings for the sake of SEO performance.
Keyword research is a topic all unto itself, yet it is paramount that the terms that are utilised throughout all of your written content are well regarded by Google. Check related searches and discover exactly what your market is looking for online and cater your content to that audience.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a good starting point, allowing you to formulate a campaign using keywords that will rank highly and utilised throughout the headings, sub-headings, descriptions and tags on the site.
A website’s SEO grade can be compared to many things, but it can be viewed as an organism that requires assistance to keep it breathing, healthy and visible to the outside world. There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to SEO, yet there are a number of basic principles that have to be upheld to ensure the domain is running up to date.
Content must be legitimate and timely, while avoiding any penalties from Google where backlinks can be inserted too readily. They will see through any gimmicks from sources that are recognised through their system, so be vigilant.
As a user, you must be able to appreciate the complexity that Google utilises as a means of ranking your site. Every single page, link, piece of multimedia and word that is spread across the site form the overall content, yet they can be and will be picked apart individually.
Scores are given on trustworthiness and reliability, forming part of what Google call a TrustRank. This is what you want to send skywards as soon as possible because the higher your TrustRank is, the better performing the operation will be on SEO.
Anything that resembles spam will be immediately flagged for removal and it can be a long, drawn out process to being back in their good graces should this be infringed upon.
Google Trends will give you an assessment on the competition. This will vary depending on what your niche is – from sports to beauty products, plumbing tools or luxury car designs. Any type of offer, service or subject will fall within a unique peer group.
It is among these other websites that your SEO performance will ultimately be judged and the more dense this field is, the longer it will take to be ready to compete.
Another great differential will be determined by those freshman starting out on day one against those that have been established for months or years on end. Brand new websites take longer to convince Google that they deserve a seat at the table.
Following a Strategy
Implementing and sticking to a strategy in SEO is not just a day-to-day exercise, but an hourly process that needs to be kept on top of. This is where time becomes a major factor and often a hindrance and stumbling block causing many to fall off and drop out altogether.
All it takes though to preserve is a following a handful of practices to keep the website up to date and healthy.
Simply inserting links that have some rough relation to the topic in question is simply not going to cut it for SEO performance. Inbound links from authoritative sources has to be priority number one in this activity, because sites like Google look kindly on those that are sociable and have a solid understanding of the field that are showcasing.
Backlinks must be:
- Unique to the competition
- Highly ranked
This sounds like a daunting prospect, but simply going through an individual search and finding those that are peer-reviewed and interesting will improve your own SEO standing. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that your site will be a one-stop-shop for all content in this domain because in a marketplace as diverse as the Internet, that is never going to be case.
Should your website be difficult to navigate around, Google will look poorly on you. How it operates across a variety of platforms like desktop, tablet and smart phones will inform the search engines as to your compatibility, effecting traffic from a variety of sources.
Websites that score big for SEO do so from hits that arrive from all of these domains, so it is paramount that content can be viewed and consumed the same from one location to the next. Any new piece of content that is uploaded has to be run through these filters and one application that caters to this need is SEO SiteCheckup.
How Long Should You Wait For Results?
If every single one of these practices are followed through to the letter of the law, keeping a diligent profile of every element of the website, then the rankings should expect to accelerate within a couple of months. The best domains that became strong in SEO do see the earliest results by 3-4 months and a tangible rise up the rankings by 5-6 months.
As we said earlier in the peace – forget the quick fix because patience is key in SEO.
You could follow all of these steps, but one alteration to Google’s algorithm could change the game. Very profitable businesses have had to turn the tables on their strategy because of these external factors.
What this should tell you is to keep your finger on the pulse, be adaptable and ready to change. Failure to do so on any topic related to SEO will have your operation lagging well behind. This inherent risk is at the heart of a process that is very time consuming.
What are your thoughts on SEO and the time it takes to stay on top of this critical activity? Have you found an application that helps you to streamline this process better, or is it simply a case of ticking the boxes and following the regular procedures? Continue the conversation in the comments section below and let us know.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.