As with everything in the SEO world, the most direct answer is “it depends”. The answer to this question is opaque because each SEO campaign has slightly different objectives and there are many different metrics to measure success. However, there are ways to measure ROI and the success of campaigns as well as points of comparison within the industry. This article clarifies how long SEO campaigns generally take, what business owners need to be aware of in the process, and how SEO specialists explain their results for optimization.
If you have knowledge of digital marketing (and honestly, even if you don’t), chances are you’ve heard of the importance of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. SEO is so important that 70% of marketers believe it’s more effective than pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
Even if you have a great SEO strategy in place, you might find yourself a bit frustrated when you don’t see the results you expected right away. This is especially true if you’re looking for a return on your investment and want to know how successful your campaign will be.
So, how long does it take for an SEO campaign to yield results? Unfortunately, the honest answer is “it depends.” There are multiple factors to consider when it comes to the creation, implementation, and success of an SEO campaign. There is no set time as to when you can expect results.
What’s important to know is what Google and other search engines take into consideration when determining where you’ll rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Let’s take a look at what your campaign should include to yield quicker results, and mistakes you should avoid when implementing your strategy.
The Four Top SEO Ranking Factors
In a 2016 Q&A session, Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, said that two of the top-ranking factors Google takes into consideration are links and content. However, there are four important ranking factors to consider that Google looks at today. They are:
- Content: This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Content has always been considered “king” in the marketing world. Not only does Google love fresh, relevant content, but you can actually calculate your content ROI by determining the time you put into your content, calculating your metrics, and figuring out your gross returns.
- Backlinks: Backlinks aren’t what they used to be as Google’s algorithms have gotten smarter. The search engine can now differentiate “good” and “bad” links, so it’s not enough to link to a smattering of different sites just for the sake of backlinking. They need to be strong links that are relevant to what you’re saying.
- Mobile-Friendly UX: A mobile-friendly experience is becoming increasingly important. As of 2019, an estimated 72% of people used only their phones to get on the Internet. If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, not only will visitors quickly move on, but you likely won’t get ranked very high. Make sure your site, especially if it’s an ecommerce site, is designed with user experience in mind.
- Technical Factors: Google takes a lot of things into consideration when ranking your site. Some of the technical factors include headings, encryption, and anchor texts.
SEO and Schema
Another aspect of your SEO strategy that you should be familiar with is schema. Schema markup might sound complicated, but it’s really not. Simply put, it’s a type of data markup with the HTML code of a website. It helps people who are searching to get more information from the search engines themselves. It also allows engines to better understand your webpage and what it’s about, so they can rank you appropriately.
Schema creates what is known as a “rich snippet,” which makes searches more comprehensive and meaningful so engines can really give users the information they want.
Schema markup is one type of structured data. Google uses other metrics that can be marked over time once they are implemented in an SEO strategy. All of these actions will affect how quickly your campaign will start to see results. Some of the most important metrics include:
- Keyword rankings
- Traffic from specific keywords
- Conversion rates
- Click-thru rates
- Sources of traffic
It’s important to include all of these factors into your strategy and monitor them closely throughout your campaign. Don’t just pick and choose different areas of SEO to focus on. If you do, you could be missing out on something that could drive your traffic and make your campaign a bigger success. Take time to analyze the data you collect, but don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis. Identify what your goals are and use those to guide your analysis.
Mistakes to Avoid
Knowing what you need to include in your SEO campaigns is only half the battle, and should only make up part of your strategy. SEO is not a “one and done” form of marketing. There are plenty of things to consider, and many mistakes that should be avoided.
One of the biggest mistakes is keyword stuffing. This has been considered bad form for years now, and yet some businesses still cram their content full of keywords thinking it will help. In reality, it ends up hurting their ranking. Stuffing your content with keywords is glaringly obvious and creates a negative impression/user experience. Google and other engines quickly pick up on it and drop your spot in the SERPs. Additionally, you don’t have to use exact-match keywords. They typically sound unnatural and don’t reflect how people actually talk.
Another common mistake is writing a lot of lackluster content. Yes, the more content you put on your site the better, but it has to be quality content that is relevant to who you are and what you’re doing. Your content should be detailed, informative, and easy to read. It should be rich with keywords that flow naturally within the content itself. Don’t update your site with content just for the sake of content. If you’re going to publish articles on your site, they need to add to the user experience, not take away from it.
Knowing how long it will take for an SEO campaign to yield results is impossible to determine. In some cases, you can see some action in a matter of days, while in other cases you won’t be able to fully determine your ROI for months. The best thing you can do is to focus on the right practices for SEO campaigns and to avoid some common pitfalls. In doing that, you can give your campaigns a boost and start to see results faster.
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