How Long Does SEO Take and Why Should You Use It?
In 2023, you may be beginning to wonder why SEO is important for business and why it’s still used today despite the continued momentum of social media and influencer marketing. In this 3-part blog series, we explore the features of SEO, the benefits and why you should be using SEO. This is part 3, in which we’ll cover why you don’t want to miss out on SEO and how it can aid your business long-term from increased profit to helping with other marketing efforts!
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the process of optimising your webpages content for both search engines and users. This means you appear higher up in search results, which increases brand awareness and visibility. Not only this, but the higher you appear, the higher your credibility is! There are many benefits to SEO that we discussed in part 2.
How long does SEO take?
Think of SEO as a staircase; each step is a feature of SEO, be it meta titles or alt text. In order to get to the next floor, you need to add to your SEO efforts over time. After each step, however, it is necessary to review what impact the change(s) you made have on your rankings. You may find they shot up, and if it has, know that that was a result of all your SEO efforts, not just your latest one. If your ranking has dropped significantly, think about reverting your change. SEO is a long term strategy that when done well, can provide unparalleled return on your investment of time and effort (ROI).
Generally speaking, SEO can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months and that time range can vary depending on many factors like:
- Competition – You’re not the only one doing SEO and all the page 1 results are competing for that sweet rank 1 position or even the snippet, which always appears above the first rank in SERPs.
- How well optimised your page/site is – If your page isn’t optimised to the best you can do, then the results will suffer. Effort is key to SEO and without it, your rewards will dwindle.
- The search intent behind the keyword you’ve chosen – Your content needs to provide value to the user and if your content doesn’t resolve whatever the query is asking, then search engines will deem your content as irrelevant and you’ll drop in ranks. This is why competitor analysis is an important step for SEO.
- Algorithms – Googles and other search engines’ algorithms are evolving and being updated all the time, which can drastically impact SEO. Keep track of Google updates to stay aware of changes to algorithms that impact SEO. SEO has changed a lot since its inception, so don’t count on it staying the same. For example, keyword stuffing used to be incredibly popular and by using this technique, people were able to somewhat manipulate the top ranks in SERPs. Now, Google deems keyword stuffing/spamming as bad practice and can even penalise you for it.
Did you know? Over 55% of all web traffic globally comes from mobile. Considering search engines account for more than 65% of all internet activity, this is a huge statistic that demonstrates one of SEOs most recent changes; optimising for mobile first. Approximately 40 million people use a smartphone in the UK alone.
The long-term impacts of SEO
We have talked about the range of benefits of SEO in part 2, but since SEO is long-term, it’s worthwhile considering long-term effects and impacts SEO will have that ultimately contribute to business goals. These long-term benefits include:
- Increased profit
- SEO improves your visibility, credibility and brand awareness as you climb through the ranks. By improving your visibility and, more generally, your SEO, you accumulate traffic/users that your content can convert into sales, thus increasing your profit. This ultimately contributes to business goals.
- The domino effect
- The longer you do SEO, the better it gets. By having great SEO, any new pages will also be impacted by it, instantly having a higher rank from the get-go. Having and maintaining good SEO will also impact your other marketing efforts.
- Helping with other marketing efforts
- For example, PPC and solid SEO go very well together. PPC or Pay-Per-Click allows your site to instantly get to the top of search engines by paying a certain amount per click. SEO does the same thing and can be free, but also takes time and effort. Solid SEO helps PPC because both will show at the top in SERPs, increasing credibility and visibility. A page with solid SEO can also perform better in PPC compared to a page with poor or no SEO due to the impact a page with good SEO will have on your PPC quality score. This could also make your cost-per-click (CPC) cheaper too, meaning you pay less for PPC.
- Building your audience
- Going back to that visibility benefit; SEO will also build your audience. Whether it’s progressing your current audience through AIDA or adding to your audience, SEO will grow your audience. This gives you more opportunity to convert as you’ll have a larger audience, which leads back to an increase in profit. As I said in part 1, SEO is all interlinked. Not only this, though, but a bigger audience will also increase your impact on other platforms like social media, especially if you have a “follow us on social media” call-to-action (CTA).
Why should SEO be used?
You may think that with the rise and growing use of social media that SEO and websites are a thing of the past and aren’t important anymore. However, you’d be wrong. In order to maximise your marketing potential, it is good practice to not limit yourself to certain channels. We’ve already gone over the multiple benefits that SEO can have both generally and long-term, and how it can reinvent your marketing strategy. SEO is a huge strategy/technique to make use of that can push you past your competitors if done well.
SEO may take time, but weighing up the cost to reward ratio, it’s no question as to whether SEO is important for business. If you put in the time and effort and review when you make changes, you’ll be able to see your web presence grow in 6-12 months, as well as aid all your other marketing efforts to grow too.