How long does SEO take? Is SEO a good investment? Who can I TRUST?? In this mammoth guide, I answer all these questions and more…
But just in case you haven’t heard of SEO, here is a quick definition:
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of increasing the traffic to a website by improving organic search engine results. It helps a website to be easily found on popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
That’s great but...
Does SEO Work?
SEO works if it is done with all of its components working together. It is not an overnight process and due to the ever-changing algorithms, a website needs to be constantly updated. If a website is still using old SEO practices, chances are it is not getting the visibility it needs.
How Do I Know If SEO Is Working?
Analytics tools can determine if SEO is working for a website but there are other factors to consider as well. Here are 5 key performance indicators or KPIs that will tell you if SEO is working for your website:
- Website traffic
If a website is receiving higher organic traffic over time (the key word being organic) then you could say that SEO is working. This indicator is a direct result of another indicator which is keyword ranking.
- Keyword ranking
Knowing where a website’s golden keywords rank in search engines is very important. This is the main indicator of whether SEO is working or not. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, it means the SEO was unsuccessful.
- Time on page
The amount of time a user stays on a site’s page is also an indicator of great SEO. When a website is still new, it is only normal to have low views. But with good content creation, the time on site metric should increase over time.
- Bounce rate
Bounce rate refers to how many users leave the website as soon as they open it. If there is a high bounce rate present, it means that users did not find what they were looking for on the page.
- Conversion rate
Quite possibly the most important KPI, conversion rate refers to the result of all the other indicators working together. The main goal of SEO is to increase the leads or sales of a website. A high conversion rate ultimately means that SEO is working.
However, there are four fluctuation factors that can make it hard to determine if SEO is working or not for a website. These are website changes, Google algorithm changes, competition, and searcher behavior changes.
- Website changes
Any kind of changes done on a website whether it is a design revamp, back-end changes, or in the meta-tags, will affect the optimization. These on-site changes should be monitored to see if they could have impacted the sites search engine optimization.
- Google algorithm changes
Google constantly changes its algorithm in an effort to fight against spam and improve its search results for all users. While this might not directly affect a website, monitoring SEO results and following modern guidelines will minimize the effect of a Google update.
The competition is also evolving. When they make changes, it will also affect a website’s ranking. To combat this, study their backlink profile and their on site changes.
- Searcher behavior changes
As time goes by, search engine users have changed how they behave online. It’s estimated the voice search will continue to grow in the future and websites that capture this trend will benefit.
Rank Tracking Tools
Keyword rankings can’t be used solely in isolation to determine whether SEO is working or not. Keyword rankings must be considered in combination with organic traffic stats and conversions
There are three main types of rank tracking tools:
- Web Browser Plugins. These are browser add-ons which mask the scraping tool as a web browser e.g. Mozbar
- Desktop Applications. These are the programs which are directly installed in the computer e.g. WebCEO
- Web-Based SaaS Applications. Also called as web-based software as a service, this rank tracking tool is run by a third-party provider which makes it available to those who have Internet and a web browser e.g. Authority Labs
Organic Traffic Stats
Organic traffic refers to the visitors that visit a website through a search engine excluding paid ads. Monitoring these stats is a great indicator that SEO is working.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
Before determining the SEO cost for a website, there are some things to consider such as the size of the site, the industry it caters to, the location where the site is based, and if the overall structure of the website is SEO friendly. Basically, if a website already has a good digital presence, there are only minor tweaks needed. But if it doesn’t, an overhaul might be needed.
There are four pricing models when it comes to SEO services. These are project-based, monthly retainers, hourly rates, and performance-based.
This is the most popular SEO services pricing model by SEO agencies. The cost per project depends on the scope of a website’s needs. The price ranges are from:
○ $1,001 - $1,500
○ $1,501 - $2,500
○ $2,501 - $5,000
○ $5,001 - $7,500
- Monthly retainers
SEO agencies who offer monthly retainers want to have a long-term relationship with their clients. This pricing model is best when outsourcing an SEO agency to manage a website’s campaign from end-to-end. The cost varies from agency to agency.
- Hourly rates
Hourly rates are a good investment as the client could monitor the activities and how much they will pay. However, noticeable improvements might be slow especially if only getting the services of a single expert instead of a whole team. This is only a good choice if the website is small or outside help is not of importance. The most popular price range for this model is from $50-$150/hour.
Performance-based cost is a relatively new pricing model for SEO services. This mostly caters to small business owners who cannot afford monthly retainers as the cost is only determined if there are significant results.
Is Paying For SEO Worth It?
This is a question a lot of people keep asking. For websites who are just starting out, the pricing of SEO services can be quite a shock. So, how does one determine if getting SEO services is worth it?
SEO has one of the best long term ROI’s of any marketing channel. The issue with SEO in comparison to something like Google Adwords is that it can take much longer to see positive results. SEO is a long term investment and companies that take this approach will reap the rewards in the long run.
How Long Does It Take For A New Website To Rank On Google?
In an article by Ahrefs, it was discussed that most of the high-ranking websites in the search engines have a domain age of 2-3 years. It is perfectly understandable that new websites have lower ranking. However, these new sites can get into the top 10 by building a higher domain rating. Typically, SEO takes 3 to 6 months or more for a relatively new website to rank in Google with good SEO execution.
Why Does SEO Take So Long?
The improvement of a website’s ranking doesn't happen overnight. It takes months before significant results are seen and this is because of the several factors that affect the whole process such as competition, domain, inbound links, content, location, and keywords.
There is a huge amount of online competition in almost every market which is one of the key factors why SEO takes so long to show results.
SEO tools such as ahrefs, majestic and moz attempt to determine the authority of a domain. The main factor is the strength of the pages that link to the domain. The combined strength of all the links is what these tools measure and call domain authority. Websites that have been around longer tend to have a higher domain authority.
- Inbound links
The number of links connecting to the client’s website can also affect its ranking. Quality links from quality websites will result in improved rankings. However, it is important to note that a large increase in inbound links might trigger Google to think that the website uses shady tactics which will result in penalization.
Content marketing is the new way to boost a website’s ranking. If visitors are satisfied with an article, this is measured by the search engines and has a positive effect on SEO. Having a content publishing schedule will get faster results as opposed to irregular posting.
This heavily relies on the location’s language and purpose of the website. Global websites have the upper hand since they usually have the option of having multiple languages. Larger cities are more competitive and therefore will take longer.
Keywords are still as important as other factors. Long tail keywords are easier to rank for and you can rank for them much faster. High volume keywords on the other hand are typically much more competitive.
Transitional Rank Patent
Many websites use spammy tactics and black hat SEO to boost their rankings. In 2012, Google was granted the “Ranking Documents” patent. Google tries to combat spam by giving the page a transitional ranking. This means that Google adjusts and readjusts the rankings of websites randomly to identify black hat tactics used by spammers.
When a web page is given a transitional ranking, Google monitors it for an undetermined period of time. A spammer will try to counter the fluctuating ranking by adjusting the optimization continually. If Google catches these techniques, it will penalize the page in the final ranking which is also called “target rank”. Legitimate business web pages don’t need to be worried about transitional ranking as Google would restore its normal ranking as long as they don’t make any changes during the transitional period.
How Long Does It Take To Implement SEO?
One of the most asked questions by clients is how long will it take to see results. Some clients expect SEO to be done quickly but the real answer is that it will take months before you see any positive movement. If monitored closely and constantly, SEO efforts will show positive results in 4 to 6 months. Of course, there are several factors that will affect it such as age and authority of website, penalties, content strategy, and backlinks.
How Long Do Backlinks Take To Work?
Backlinks are one of the most important factors for Google. These are also called inbound links or links from other pages that will redirect back to the client’s website. It takes between 14 - 60 days before a backlink will have a positive impact on rankings.
How Long Does It Take To Rank In Google?
With constant effort, a website can rank in Google after 3-6 months.
Why Do I Need SEO Services?
Since almost everything is using a digital platform nowadays, SEO is a good investment for a business since it can help its growth. Users always click on the highest ranking site when they are looking for a solution. SEO helps in the improvement of a site to make it user-friendly and gain the top spot in search engines. It is important to use SEO service because it will build up the client’s reputation and be able to create relationships with users.
Best Places to Buy SEO Services
How Long Does It Take To Get Organic Traffic?
If a company generates content which is what their audience wants on a regular basis, chances are it can increase the flow of traffic in a matter of about 3 to 4 months. The important thing in getting organic traffic is to always keep posting content which is highly relevant to your audience.
Why Local SEO Takes Time?
There are many reasons why local SEO takes time. Some of them are the following:
- The amount of competition in the area
- The content of your website website
- The keywords you’re targeting
- The number of backlinks to your website
- The age of your website
- The relevance of the site to a searcher/user
- Whether your GMB listing has been properly optimized
- The consistency and accuracy of your business citations
If SEO has been done correctly, results might show in 3 to 6 months. To make sure that SEO is working, constant studying of the competition and user activity will be key.
How Long Does It Take To Be An SEO Expert?
SEO is a constantly changing environment. There is no definite answer to how long a person can be an SEO expert. The theoretical aspect of it can be learned in just a few weeks but the most important thing is to learn how to do it in action which can take months to master. Experience is a person’s best friend when doing SEO as it always changes and one has to keep up. There are training programs for SEO but it can be expensive.
Can You Do SEO Yourself?
For those who are short in time and money, they can learn and do SEO by themselves. DIY SEO is mostly done by small businesses who don’t have the budget to hire an agency. To start, research about SEO and the basics of it. Understand and practice the techniques then apply it to the website. Look out for techniques that give results. Continue to study the ins and outs of SEO because that’s where a person will get the hang of doing it.
Best Courses to Learn SEO
- SEO 2019: Complete SEO Training + SEO for WordPress Websites (Udemy)
- The SEO Playbook
- SEO Class Online (Skillshare)
- SEO Training (Moz)
- Free SEO Training Course (HubSpot)
- SEO Specialization (Coursera)
- Advanced SEO Certification Training (MarketMotive)
- SEO Training and Tutorials (LinkedIn Learning)
- Online SEO Training (Yoast)
What Can I Expect From An SEO Agency?
An SEO agency will study a website first before creating a strategy around its content and audience. After finding more about it, they would make changes to improve its SEO. Agencies will monitor the efforts and would report it back to the client regarding any results. A good agency will share the findings and communicate with the client on what other improvements needed for the website.
Investing in an SEO agency is important for the growth of a business. Without it, potential customers will not find the company at all. Good SEO agencies will help in reaching the business goals of a client.
I hope I've answered your question how long does SEO take in 2019 and that you have more confidence knowing that it takes a while but it's totally worth it.