SEO is an incredibly long-term process, and many sites owners don’t have the patience to really “wait it out.” But you can’t just flip a switch and be on top of the SERPs overnight, just because you’ve finally invested in onsite SEO, link building, and content marketing.
While you and I can see the changes immediately, feeling the true effect of those changes (and ongoing efforts) takes time. Are you ready for the long SEO haul? If you’re willing to focus on the long term gain and not lose faith for at least six-to-nine months, the results can be astounding!
Take a look at the graph below to see exactly how big of an impact SEO and content marketing can have on organic traffic to your site in as little as one year (and yes, I realize one year can be a long time for many site owners):
For this particular website, organic traffic increased 175% year-over-year (which is HUGE, quite frankly), but you can see it really started to take off after six months of link building and content marketing. Had this particular site owner called it quits after only two or three months when the organic numbers were basically static, they would have completely missed out! It’s important to remember that what you do today in terms of SEO can take several months to really have an impact.
For instance, depending on how frequently Google crawls your website, the search giant might not see those new pages of content you created for a few weeks, or even a few months, after you hit the publish button. While you and I and other humans might be able to find them by navigating your website, you have to give Google time to catch up.
The same holds true for your link building. While Google Webmaster Tools is an invaluable tool, it does not update your link profile in real-time. You might create or earn a link today that doesn’t actually show up in your Webmaster Tools account for weeks (you might also delete a nasty link that Google doesn’t realize is gone for weeks as well). Until Google recognizes those links exist, you might not get any organic value from them, although they can most certainly send traffic to your website!
For example, the same site as the one above got a link from a New York Times blog post back in August 2013 (we found it in Google Analytics) that has delivered 67 visitors since then…and it still isn’t showing up in Google Webmaster Tools! That link has enormous SEO value and it hasn’t even been truly “counted” by Google yet.
The long-term impact of your content marketing efforts is also something that can’t be understated. I have been working with one site for two-plus years now, and we write two blog posts for them each week. Since May 2012, traffic to the blog has accounted for 24% of the site’s total traffic (over 130,000) with tens of thousands of visitors finding the posts organically. Over the years, that content has been cited on the Fox News website, Forbes.com, Inc.com, popular and powerful industry blogs, and more.
Very rarely, if ever, does a site earn such high quality links from content right away. It takes months, and even years, to develop a style, a tone and a voice that people respond to. You have to fine-tune your message to appeal to your audience, build a rapport as a trusted resource, and slowly earn the attention of powerful names and writers in your industry. This means putting pen to paper time and time again without fail. The more content you have behind your brand, the more possible connections you can make with it.
I realize that not every website can afford to wait for five years for their SEO to have any kind of significant impact, but think about how long it takes to really build a business to the point where it's profitable. Very few brands “make it big” overnight unless they completely change the way the world works. Even mega brands like Apple and Microsoft (and even our dear Google) weren’t instant success stories.
Real SEO success, like everything else worth anything in this life, takes time, hard work and dedication to make happen. But when you play by the rules and build your organic presence slowly and steadily over time, the results will come!
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston SEO agency Brick Marketing. With over 13 years of industry experience, Nick shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 120,000 opt-in subscribers.