How fast is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? Setting realistic expectations for your business

The world of digital marketing moves at a breakneck pace. So much so, trying to improve the visibility of your web pages can seem a bit like ice skating uphill. Hence the question that plagues businesses and organisations worldwide: how fast is SEO?

Although speed matters (you don’t have the luxury of time) setting realistic expectations from the start is important. You shouldn’t expect miracles overnight either.

So, how fast is SEO really? Let’s find out.

men running on track for charity

How good are your website’s credentials?

Having an established domain isn’t quite having a magic pass to the kingdom. But it helps. If your domain is a few months old it will probably have built some rapport with Google – provided you’ve published content often and have a few backlinks pointing your way. 

How fast is SEO for an older web, then?

This will depend on whether:

  • Your website has been subject to penalties in the past
  • Google has changed its algorithm (this is beyond your control)
  • Any published content has inadvertently breached any of the following SEO webmaster guidelines:
    • Uncrawlable links
    • Keyword stuffing
    • Googlebots blocked

This list is not definitive. Learn more about Google webmaster guidelines here if you want to learn more. In terms of SEO speed, though, if you’ve followed the rules expect to see results from month six. Brand new sites will have to wait at least 9.

How niche is your sector?

How quickly your SEO campaign sees results will depend largely on the competition. A new burger chain launching its first high street restaurant will need to invest at least two years of its hard-earned time and money to rank well on Google for the term ‘burger restaurant.’

Why is SEO slow for popular terms? Type in the above-mentioned keyphrase and you’ll see there are 914,000,000 or so results on Google. Cutting through all that competition will take time.

sales vs biz dev

How much time do you have?

How fast is Search Engine Optimisation if you have a full-time team devoted to turning your company’s website into its most valuable marketing resource? The answer: significantly (probably a few week’s faster).

This makes it harder for small businesses to compete against rivals with larger budgets and in-house marketing teams who can focus exclusively on executing slick SEO campaigns.

Working with a digital marketing agency can give SMEs and sole traders the time and resources needed to stand toe-to-toe with rivals and increase the visibility of their pages to Google.

The three types of SEO you must master:

  • Technical SEO – for example, XML sitemaps, crawling and indexing and site speed
  • On-page SEO – which refers to any activity that occurs within your website
  • Off-page SEO – a term that refers to tactics deployed outside off your website

If you do all of these things, how fast is SEO going to be? To see small improvements, a minimum of four months. But each business is different.

Monitor, adjust – then repeat

Ranking for high-priority keywords and phrases is an ongoing process. That’s why you should be dipping into the backend of Google Analytics and Search often to track performance – then adjusting your strategy in cases where desired pages aren’t improving. 

Need a helping hand?

If resources and time are holding you back contact us for an informal chat so we can learn more about your SEO strategy.

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