Why Does SEO Take So Long?


Explained: The Lengthy Timeframe for SEO Success

SEO can be one of the most important and impactful investments a company can make. Traditionally, it ranks among the top ROI producers across all platforms.


There’s a reason why it continues to be an integral part of most marketing plans, but among the array of arrows in a company’s marketing quiver, obtaining SEO success can be unique in one key category: timing.

Long-Term SEO Takes Effect

Unfortunately, most of the time, SEO takes a while to produce direct and measurable results. 


In fact, the guide on how long SEO takes discusses the factors that cause the process to take at least 4-6 months, sometimes even up to 12 months, to generate noticeable SEO success. However, most other marketing efforts produce relatively quick returns. PPC, for example, can start yielding results almost instantly. Likewise, direct mailers or other forms of ads often find fast returns as well.


Why does SEO take so long?

When educating companies on the variety of factors that go into SEO success, they begin to understand why it can take so long. No matter the stage of a business or its website, there are bound to be a number of things that could use some TLC, especially in the eyes of Google crawlers. 

Professionals Increase SEO Speed

While SEO results won’t necessarily appear quicker by simply hiring a website optimization company, their experience in analyzing SEO metrics allows them to develop a game plan that will generate SEO success much faster than most. 


After auditing the site, website optimizers can get a much clearer picture of how long it will take to fix errors throughout the website and move on to the optimization of the individual pages themselves. The scope of this effort varies from website to website.


SEO Success Factors

It’s necessary for businesses to become aware of the factors included in optimizing their website for the best chance at increasing their ranking. 

Targeting keywords throughout any content is more complex than throwing in any industry-specific word and calling it a day. There are multiple steps to take to ensure the keywords intended to improve SEO rankings will actually do so. 


To properly target keywords for SEO success, it’s necessary to first perform research on the business’s audience and competition. This research will provide insight into what users are searching for and the content topics that are currently successful or unsuccessful.


The content that needs to be optimized will determine the length and quantity of the best keywords to use. For example, when optimizing a webpage, it’s best only to use one primary keyword and one to two secondary keywords, as this content tends to be shorter, and including too many keywords will cause keyword stuffing


Similarly, properly targeting keywords in titles is also specific in the number of times they’re used. To avoid spam-like titles in blogs, for instance, it’s necessary to aim to include the primary keyword only once in the H1 heading and a total of one to two times in the H2 headings and H3 heading throughout the content.


Restructuring Webpage Formatting

Considering the hierarchy of webpage relevance is pertinent in formatting websites for SEO success. 


Choosing to structure webpages from the general home page and slowly moving to more niche pages will result in the most SEO-friendly formatting for target audiences. Not only will users have a better experience when interacting with the website since it’s easier to navigate, but Google crawlers will also see this as an indication to increase its ranking. 


Restructuring webpage formatting in terms of SEO efforts can also look like including a clear CTA, changing headlines to a larger font, focusing on text and background colors, and including images. 


Profile Linking

Expanding website links to various profiles like social media, blogs, review sites, and forums is an extremely helpful tool to create SEO success.

Profile linking can fall into three different categories:

  • Internal linking: linking webpages within one website to connect one topic to another.
  • External linking: linking subjects within a piece of content to other reliable sources that support the subject statement.
  • Linking root domains: links to a website from directories and guest posts that help to bring in new audiences.

However, it’s essential to allow links to build up naturally so as not to cause a red flag to search engines, creating the opposite effect and decreasing its ranking. The best way to ensure links are naturally implemented is by getting a link analysis for the website. This analysis will show which links are creating traffic, as well as highlight links that are only causing clutter.

Slow and Steady SEO 

SEO success takes consistent effort, gradually building up and accumulating momentum over a series of days, months, and years. Reaching success in SEO is an inevitable slow climb, regardless of skill level. 

Senior Superiority SEO Success

An element many newer companies need to consider when wondering why SEO takes so long is the age of their domain. For example, suppose a business has a brand-new site. In that case, it takes time for Google to begin indexing it as a reliable and authoritative source, causing SEO efforts to take longer to produce results.


Older domains have the upper hand in Google rankings simply because they have had more time to publish content and receive backlinks that help them carry more value. 


However, more than this criteria is needed to hold a significant amount of weight, and it’s necessary for the older domain to continue putting out valuable content for its minimal impact to remain valid. 

Climbing with the Competition

A significant factor in why SEO can take so long revolves around what a business’s competition is doing. In most cases, competitors are also actively striving to achieve SEO success.

While the extent of their efforts will differ for each company, achieving first-page rankings will be a moving target.

Think back to those classic high school math problems: A blue car is 5 miles ahead of your vehicle and is traveling at a rate of 60 MPH. How far down the road will you catch the blue car if you are traveling 70 MPH? It’s necessary to determine two things: First, how fast is the competition “driving?” Second, how long will it take to catch up based on the budget allocated to SEO?

Unfortunately, SEO isn’t as linear as a math problem. Algorithm changes can take place, competitors may accelerate their SEO efforts, or your business may produce a tremendous piece of content that helps greatly increase the speed of SEO success.

Regardless, the fact that competitors are likely doing SEO means it will take some time to catch up when first starting out.

Process of Accumulation

Accumulating SEO success has everything to do with regular, sustainable efforts over the course of a long period of time.

Many companies reach out to professional optimizers with hopes of a one-time optimization project for their website. While this service is offered, it’s vital for businesses to understand that results will be short-lived, and it usually isn’t enough to get them to where they want to be.

SEO efforts are indeed a process of accumulation. Search engines want to see regular content updates, link acquisition, and on-site optimization. That’s how websites build trust and get rewarded with better visibility.

Monthly SEO services are crucial to a business’s success. Having an intentional and targeted approach to ensure they are not only doing these things but doing them well will put their company in good faith with Google.

Once a good foundation is built, it’s far easier to see results from a new page addition than it would be in the infancy of a website.

SEO Efforts are Worth the Wait

When you’ve finally built it up and made it to the top, the results are more than worthwhile. A business’s online visibility will have a lasting impact on generating quality leads and growth for months and possibly years to come.


Begin SEO efforts now and get in touch with Firestarter SEO to find your game plan for long-term SEO success. Your future self (and SEO metrics) will thank you. 


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