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Don’t Believe the Hype! How Long Should It Actually Take to Get Results From SEO?

Tortoise and the Hare - SEOEvery day, businesses are tempted to work with SEOs who promise immediate results. These “expert” SEOs may claim that they can cause rankings to skyrocket this week, or that they can instantly attract dozens of links. Unfortunately, instantaneous success is almost completely opposite to the nature of SEO. White hat SEO strategies require a great deal of time and patience, so don’t succumb to the temptations of these speedy SEOs.

Speed vs. Success

Even though speedy results sound appealing, the tactics used to make those results happen will usually hurt in the long run. Black hat SEO tactics may have short-term success, but ultimately your site will suffer a devastating penalty from Google.

Google has gotten very astute at identifying underhanded schemes that deliver speedy results. In fact, Google is now automatically suspicious of any sites that experience a sudden spike in ranking. For instance, if you gain 100 new links within the span of a couple of days, Google will likely suspect you of using some sort of black hat link building scheme. In addition, too many guest posts released at the same time look suspicious to Google.

Long-Term Goals

Instead of resorting to these nefarious tactics, it’s much better to rely on SEO strategies that are focused on long-term goals and reliable results. Even though this approach requires more time, you’ll be happier with the results in the long run. By practicing patience and giving SEO strategies several months or even a year to produce results, your site will reap the benefits for years to come.

Still not sure why SEO requires patience and time? Some of the most time-consuming elements of a great SEO campaign include the following:

  • Building links.
  • Analyzing the competition.
  • Establishing authority.

The Challenges of Link Building

As mentioned above, link building might actually be one of the strategies used by black hat SEOs to achieve immediate improvement in ranking. However, once a Google penalty strikes, those links are incredibly costly. In 2014, link-building strategies must be focused on gaining high quality links from relevant sites with authority in your industry.

In order to gain these kinds of links, it is essential to produce great, engaging content on a regular basis. Once that content is published, use social media and industry connections to promote the content and garner more attention. Look for ways to repurpose the content in more sharable ways so that your audience is encouraged to repost and share it.

Analyzing the Competition

Analysis of the competition can be highly valuable as a part of a white hat SEO campaign. The goal is not to steal secrets, but instead to learn from successes and mistakes of others so that you can begin to build a reputation. In most industries, there are several companies or sites that dominate the search results – those are the people that you want to learn from! Since these sites likely had many years to build authority, it will take time for your site to attract enough attention and respect to compete.

The success of the competition is one of the main reasons that good SEO takes time to produce results. To learn from the competition, you need to analyze their strategies over time. Once you begin to identify patterns, you can institute new practices that may be able to compete.

Building Authority

Building authority is likely the most time-consuming element of all. As Google releases more and more updates to ensure that high quality sites are listed at the top of the rankings, authority continues to gain importance. Authority only comes from other members of your industry (such as influencers) taking notice of your work.

If you only publish low quality content and obtain low quality links, Google will never believe that you are a respected member of your field. In order to gain authority, you must publish informative, useful, relevant content that contributes to the current conversations within the industry. As Google sees that you are engaged in your industry, they will begin to accept you as an authority figure.

So How Long Will It Take?

The bottom line is that SEO results always take longer than you want or expect. A good SEO may be able to get results using white hat tactics within a few weeks, but most likely you should expect a longer wait. Before giving up on an SEO strategy, give it at least 3 or 4 months to take root. If you’re actually committed to long-term SEO success, you may have to wait as long as a year to see really outstanding progress.

How long does it take to get great SEO results in your experience?

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