Good Search Rankings Come To Those Who Wait
Search engine optimization, while one of the most technical and difficult online practices to consistently succeed at, often requires something far more human: patience.
Good search rankings rarely happen overnight, especially for smaller businesses. This can be frustrating, to say the least, for clients who pour money into SEO and content marketing hoping for an immediate impact.
However, for those who are able to see the long-term value of SEO, there is good news. The talented folks over at Moz have just published the results of an intensive study to determine what content factors (if any) are likely to influence search rankings.
The big takeaway: even the most well written and highly optimized content takes about one hundred days before it starts to really perform well in search results. That’s just over three months, on average. Some content will take more time to mature, some less. But, again, it just doesn’t happen overnight.
What About Other Businesses?
Moz looked specifically at data from one website – Brafton – so naturally it begs the question: is their data true for any business?
To try and get an answer, we dug into the analytics of some of our own clients. What we found is that the conclusions Moz came to largely held true for our client’s analytics as well.
Here’s an example:
In the example above, the blog post was originally published on April 4th of this year. In the first image, keyword tracking data shows that the targeted term entered the top ten results in late July this year (the 28th, to be exact), bounced in and out for a couple weeks, and then started gradually moving up in mid August.
In the second image, Google analytics shows that traffic to the post starts to pick up (unsurprisingly) in the late July/early August range – just as it starts to climb up in the search rankings.
So, from publication to the first appearance in the top ten results was 115 days. That’s right in the ballpark of what Moz’s research said to expect for a well-optimized post of good quality.
In other words, the correlations they observed in their client’s data are likely true for almost any type of SEO effort, regardless of the type of business.
What Does This Mean For You?
What all of this means at the end of the day is that if you’re just starting an SEO campaign, you’ll have to be patient before you see meaningful results.
And unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that publishing a post and waiting a few months will see your content suddenly start ranking well. Depending on what type of business you have, the quality of content you produce, and how competitive the search landscape is, it could take more or less time to see good results.
However, if you work with an experienced SEO professional, you improve your chances of getting the results you want. Waiting a hundred days for Google to “kick in” may not require deep technical know-how, but everything else that goes into making your content successful does.
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