Since working for different clients within digital marketing, particularly SEO, I am often asked the same question: how long does SEO take to work?
My answer is, “how long is a piece of string?”
SEO is a bit like a long-term relationship. Consistency is key. There are several initial things you need to do within the honeymoon period, and then continue to put the effort in to maintain good SEO practices to ensure expected growth for your site (date nights and anniversary cards) and to prevent separation or divorce from top Google search results… see what I did there?
Several factors can impact the speed at which SEO efforts start affecting a site. And because I’m such a good egg, I’ll share some of the top things I always look at first to get site rankings.
Hello Meta, My Old Friend
Metadata is an essential part of any site structure. Meta titles and descriptions can directly impact a site's appearance in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). You should view your site’s meta description as a mini advertisement. Simply: why should people click on your site? A unique and optimised meta description and title can positively impact your engagement rates and, eventually, organic traffic.
Of course, metadata is a great way to include keywords and call-to-action phrases. There are strict rules for metadata, particularly regarding the number of characters that can be included.
A good rule of thumb for a meta title is around 60 characters, including punctuation and spaces, and around 160 characters for a meta description. A common issue with many sites is that their metadata is far too long. Google is a bit like Goldie-locks when it comes to meta. It can’t be too long or too short- it has to be just right.
Also, having too many characters within your meta description or title is pointless, simply because Google will cut out any excess words when it displays on search results- basically interrupting your page summary.
Having solid metadata is a good starting point for any SEO campaign and is one of the first things an SEO exec will look for. The key to good meta? Punchy, persuasive and personable is an excellent way to go. Oh, and if you can squeeze a keyword in there, too, that’s all the better.
Less Is More
Good SEO evolves around target keywords and popular search phrases. Yes, inserting the same keyword into every single paragraph of your e-commerce blog can be tempting. But, this is probably one of the biggest sins of SEO.
Keyword stuffing is when “content” writers take it upon themselves to overuse a specific keyword or target search phrase within a web page or a blog article. There needs to be a considered approach to any form of content optimisation. Picking a few target keywords for a blog or a page on your site is easy, but knowing when and where to use them is tricky. A good fail-safe option for SEO beginners is to try and fit some keywords into the meta description and the Heading Tag (<H1>). Use keyword variations, as this can help prevent keyword stuffing even more.
For example, if your target keyword was “Italian recipes” it would be a good idea to insert alternative search phrases like “recipes from Italy” or “easy Italian meal ideas,” as this still matches the primary user intent but keeps a good mixture of keywords and search phrases without going overboard.
Patience is a virtue
Do you know the saying “good things come to those who wait”? Well, when it comes to SEO, it should be a daily mantra. SEO is a process rather than a quick fix and should be seen as a marathon instead of a sprint. How long SEO takes great depends on the website, customer base, and economic and trending factors. A lot of these external contributors cannot be controlled by an SEO campaign. Still, consistency and an effective optimisation strategy can make a massive difference to any size site or online business.
Seeing the positive effects of an SEO campaign could take weeks or even months, but it’s important to remain focused on the long-term goals. Rankings and domain authority don’t typically improve overnight, but it’s a good idea to choose a strategy and stick with it for at least a few weeks or months to give it enough time to show effectiveness.
In Need of SEO Assistance?
If you feel like your marketing campaign could benefit from some specialist SEO strategies, contact Eyeweb today. Our brilliant and knowledgeable team will be happy to help set up the ideal SEO and digital marketing strategy tailored to your business and goals.