When embarking on search engine optimisation for the very first time, one thing many businesses feel they need is an exact timeframe to help them to plan their return on investment. Whilst that’s understandable when it comes to SEO, it’s rarely possible to set specific targets and stick to them. Here we explain that SEO is a long-term strategy – and why results never materialise overnight.
SEO strategy is dependent on Google’s processes
One of the main reasons SEO takes a ‘long time’ is Google itself – and its ranking and indexing process. Google ‘sweeps’ the internet periodically, in order to index new sites and pages and re-categorise existing ones. There is no public schedule for this process – and although it’s regular, it can be done on a monthly or six-weekly basis. This means that although necessary changes have been made it could be nearly two months before your site is even indexed. The ranking process comes after that, adding more time overall. You could be lucky – and have maintenance work finish the day before indexing. Or you could find that it’s three full months before your traffic starts to increase and your ranking goes up. Therefore when SEO providers are vague about when you’ll see results and how significant they’ll be, it’s because nobody is really clear on how Google operates and when the secretive search provider will be indexing next.
Your site may need a lot of work to become SEO-friendly prior to optimisation
Some sites are well built – or have been built professionally with SEO in mind. For these sites, SEO is a swifter process, and getting up and running on Google takes less time, resources and money. For some businesses however SEO is not so simple. Their sites were poorly built or put together by companies without SEO expertise – so they need to be pulled apart, re-hashed and re-jigged in order to make them fit for purpose from a Google perspective. Naturally this adds significantly to the overall SEO timescale.
SEO is complex
SEO has a reputation for being ‘mysterious’ – because it is a complex discipline. It involves many different techniques, activities and even professions (when you add social media and content writing to the mix) – and therefore the process takes time when executed properly.
SEO evolves and changes with your business – and with Google
SEO isn’t a quick fix – it’s a constant thing – you need to have a monthly plan in place to see results. As soon as you cease SEO activity, you’ll likely see a dip in traffic and a decrease in sales. The great thing about the continuous nature of SEO however is that it adapts and incorporates fresh perspectives and techniques as your business grows to suit its developing needs. Similarly, Google’s algorithms and priorities remain fairly constant – but the intricacies of them are constantly changing. What this means is that SEO is sophisticated and a necessary aspect of all business’ online strategies. But it can also take time to get things right – especially if Google is currently implementing an algorithm change, or your business launches a new product range.