This a question every business would love a definitive answer to, unfortunately, it isn’t a stationary goalpost or a set timeframe for all.
The other important thing to understand about SEO is it isn’t a task that can be completed and ticked off the list. It requires consistent attention, development, and new content to see your efforts come to fruition.
It can typically take anywhere from 2 – 8 months to really start seeing the benefit of your hard work or investment, however, there really is no set rule. SEO is a principle that requires patience, understanding and rigorous data analysis to ensure you’re making the most of the opportunities that are out there.
It’s also important to remember that each business has a different starting line. For example, if your website has been live for 10 + years, even having never invested in SEO services or completed any dedicated SEO work on the site, you’re likely to have far greater organic search traffic than a business that has invested in SEO services from the start, but is only 6 months old.
This is because over the 10 + years, even without the intention, the website will have likely developed backlinks, seen various content changes, received plenty of engaged users, etc. which all have SEO benefits.
Moz developed a Domain Authority score, which is a really quick and simple way to check how likely your website is to rank in SERPs (search engine result pages). Often we see older businesses that haven’t dedicated thousands of pounds towards SEO services still have a better DA score than newer businesses. Checking on your DA score is a great way to establish whether you’re likely to rank for short/long-tail keyword phrases once you’ve put the optimisation work in.
What does this mean if you’re a newer business?
Patience is paramount.
If you expect to be ranking at the top of page one after a month or so, the only thing you can guarantee is a disappointment. To be successful in the SEO game you need realistic expectations/goals and meticulous planning to make it happen.
Research, prepare, plan and benchmark!
So many businesses either perform poor keyword research or simply don’t do it at all. Without knowing what your potential customers are searching for, or how you can help them, you really are just wasting your own time guessing! In addition, it would be wonderful to rank top of page 1 for across the UK for a term that gets 56,000 searches per month, but if the KD percentage (keyword difficulty %) is high, you won’t stand a chance anytime soon.
It’s about finding those quick wins that will generate traffic and have lower competition, as well as planning for bigger topics, broader locations, etc.
Prepare a plan of how you’re going to carry your optimisation work out, and make sure it’s achievable. It’s easy to do thorough keyword research and get so busy with the day-to-day of running your business that it never gets implemented. Fail to prepare your implementation plan, or prepare to fail.
Don’t forget to benchmark! Measurement is key in any instance, but it’s so important here to understand where you’re starting from. This will let you know whether your devised strategy is working over a longer period of time and keep you motivated and on plan to keep improving.
Quality content and website optimisation
This one seems really obvious, but once you’ve planned and done your research you need to methodically work through each page of the site, understanding the objective of that specific page and complete in order of importance.
Quality content is key! Whether you’re producing blogs, whitepapers, FAQs etc. You need to be utilising the research here and producing really great and informative pieces that target a long-tail keyword phrase. A great way to find which ones to go for is using the keyword magic tool in Semrush and switching the tab from ‘all’ to ‘questions’ in the top left. You should be answering those that are most relevant with the highest number of average monthly searches and lowest KD percentage (keyword difficulty %).
Don’t forget about technical SEO
You can pop keywords into a website until you’re blue in the face, but if it’s riddled with 404 errors, can’t be crawled, your robots.txt file has format errors, broken image links, and terrible server response time, your efforts are wasted.
Either use a system such as Semrush to produce an audit for you, or contact an SEO specialist to produce a comprehensive technical audit and explain to you what each area of this means.
You need a strong backlink strategy
The best way to do this is really great positive PR outreach! It’s free and first hand we know helps you develop great relationships with journalists that can be utilised further down the line. If you have newsworthy content and approach at the right time with the right pitch, you’ll get great backlinks and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.
Guest blogging is another great way of building legitimate backlinks to your site and showing your authority within your area of expertise. In addition to this, you can try asking businesses you are working with/have affiliations with to link to you, however, it isn’t guaranteed that they will, and often involves some back and forth and explaining why this is beneficial.
Use listing websites, but always check the legitimacy! A toxic backlink can do a lot more harm than good, so it’s really important to check the legitimacy of the listing you’re adding your site to. Sometimes industry-focused listings require a yearly fee, but if they have a great DA score this can help your optimisation by generating a great link from a relevant source.
Just keep going at it! SEO is never-ending, but once you have a proper plan and structure in place, it’s just like anything else, another weekly task that needs to be done. Dedicate a small amount of time each week to developing and implementing your SEO strategy and if done correctly, you will reap the rewards.
If you would like to book in a free 30 minute consultation with a search engine optimisation expert online or in our Worcester office space, you can do so by arranging a time directly in our calendar, getting in touch via email, or the contact form.