In digital marketing, we tend to focus a lot on consumer expectations: fast websites, fast results, accessible information, everything served on a platter, ripe for the taking. But all that can be said for business owners and marketers as well, can’t it?
Unfortunately, marketing efforts don’t always come with fast results, especially if we talk about search engine optimisation, the process of improving a website as a way to increase its ranking on search engine result pages. A lot of people will say that SEO takes around 6 or even 12 months to truly show results, but in reality, it can sometimes take longer than even that.
In this article, we’ll look closer at the topic of how long does SEO take to start showing results and what would happen if you suddenly quit all your SEO efforts.
What Is SEO and Why Does It Take so Long?
SEO stands for “search engine optimisation” and it’s a lengthy process that pretty much translates into making your website accessible to consumers and search engines.
1. SEO and Search Engines
Improving your website’s rank in the SERP is essential on many different levels, but the most valuable perks have to do with:
- Increasing traffic
- Improving brand recognition
- Being more trustworthy, as pages on search results are generally considered high-quality by users.
Search engines have the job of answering the web’s most pressing questions. For instance, if a user types “best haircuts 2020” on Google Search, the platform will bring millions of potential results. But it also needs to rank these results in a particular order, and the top results are often the ones most likely to get a click.
This is where ranking factors come in:
what exactly do search engines need to put a website on the first page of the SERP? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to that, as search engines don’t tell us all their secrets, but we do know they care about user experience.
From a search engine perspective, it’s all about how fast they can understand your content and figure out if it’s relevant to the search query. They will use web crawlers to literally go through all the different possible answers, and the crawlers bring back the list of indexed websites.
But the web crawlers cannot actually read your content – it’s a piece of code, programmed to look for certain signs, which in marketing are known as ranking factors.
The top-ranking factors for search engines have to do with your website’s ability to provide the best user experience, such as:
- Having content that’s relevant to the search query
- Having fast-loading sites
- Using the right keywords
- Optimised navigation
- Mobile-friendly design
- Pleasant, visually-pleasing design
- Good click-through-rate
- Engaging content
- Social media links
- Good meta descriptions
- Link building strategies, etc.
As you can see, there’s a lot to cover here. It’s why any SEO strategy is considered a move for long term implementation, as you likely cannot cover everything right away.
2. SEO and Users
Search engine’s ranking factors are users’ ranking factors as well. What user in 2020 would take the time to wait for a page to load passed the 2-3 second mark? Or what user would keep scrolling through an article that’s clearly not relevant to them?
Your SEO strategy isn’t just there for search engines to be able to read your site – it improves your overall user experience. A decent SEO campaign can bring in more users from the search engines, but it can also help you convert because what they find caters to their needs.
So, how long does SEO need to start working? Well, it depends on how well you make your website up to part with user and search engine expectations.
What If You Stop Your SEO Efforts?
For SEO to work, it needs time and effort. Now, you may think you don’t have the time, and your efforts are needed somewhere else, so what happens if you just stop?
Well, that’s a rather complex question, and we can have multiple answers, depending on how you look at it.
First, as far as search engines are concerned, SEO never stops. If Google knows about your website, then it will take it through the same process over and over again; a web crawler will scan it, and bring it back to the SERPs. Except, without SEO efforts at all, you’ll likely be looking at a ranking on page 20+ of the search results.
Then, all your other digital marketing campaigns may suffer as a result as well. Think of efforts like:
- Content marketing
- Social media campaigns
- Email marketing
- Pay-per-click marketing
They all require a good website, don’t they? You can create high-quality content that’s engaging, informative, and essential to your customer base, but if the user experience prevents them from easily accessing that content, then your content marketing campaign won’t generate any results to boast about.
The only way you can argue that you don’t need SEO at all is if you don’t need a website. If you don’t need to reach your consumers digitally or are content with just using social media or directories to promote your brand, then you can skip creating an SEO strategy. Whether that will bring enough business growth, however, is another matter altogether.
Be in It for the Long Run
For SEO to start working and generate the results you want, you need patience, a good strategy, and the resources to invest in its long term implementation. You may also need to talk with a team that can offer SEO services to help you.
Book a free 30-minute strategy session with a Search Engine Optimisation Expert Australian Internet Advertising now to reach our SEO team and start planning your next steps.