SEO may be one of the most integral parts of digital marketing… but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most vexing ones too. A lot of people have the same question when it comes to SEO: why on earth does SEO take so long? Why does it take a good few months to see results?
It’s only natural to have this question. Especially when you’re considering paying a digital marketing agency to handle your SEO. When you put your money into something, you want to know where it’s going. We understand that. That’s why we’ve put together this article.
In this article, we’ll give you the honest truth about SEO and why it takes so long. We’ll even give you some pointers on how to tell if your SEO strategy is working. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Does SEO Take So Long?

If you’ve been working on your SEO for a few weeks, and feel defeated by the results… don’t worry, you’re not alone. As you know, SEO is a long-term effort and can’t get you results overnight. In fact, it takes at least 4-12 months to just get the ball rolling. Though this is a frustrating ordeal, the results you get from good SEO are worth the wait.

Here are a few main reasons SEO takes so long:

1. There Are Many Things To Fix

When you just get started optimizing your website for SEO, there are many past mistakes that need to be fixed. This is the first thing an SEO agency will do as well. It’s important to clean up anything on your website that Google wouldn’t like.
This means an entire revamp of your pages, new content, better keyword targeting, fresh titles, and even enhanced link profiles. Especially companies with new domains. Google tends to be apprehensive about new domains already. So, having non-SEO-friendly content just makes it harder to rank.
Whenever a new client opts for our SEO services, we come up with a bespoke game plan for their website. We do a full-scale site audit to understand just what needs to be improved and where. This data also allows us to work in a timely, step-by-step manner to save as much time as possible. After the audit, we do a clean-up of all your errors and then begin optimizing your pages individually. This in itself is a time-consuming process, so it’s no wonder SEO takes a while too.

2. SEO is Competitive

Another big reason SEO takes so long is that it’s a competitive game. Your competitors are most likely already using SEO to their advantage. This gives them a bit of a headstart. It doesn’t help that every other company in your field is aiming for page #1 on Google. Though each website may use a different level of effort, everyone is still in the same race.
To understand this race, think of a simple math problem: A green car is 5 km in front of your bike and is going 60 km/h. At what point on the road will you catch up with the green car, if you’re going 70 km/h?
Logically, you’d break this down into two main questions: (i) how fast is your competition going?, and (ii) how long will it take to catch up, based on your budget? (here, speed).
Sadly, SEO isn’t as simple as a linear math problem. There are algorithm changes that take place. Apart from that, there’s the fact that your competitors may speed up their SEO efforts. Alternatively, you could create amazing content that blows your website up SEO-wise. The point is that no matter how it goes, your competition is using SEO and you’ll need to keep up with each other to succeed.

3. The Process of Accumulation

A great way to understand why SEO takes so long is by using the process of accumulation. For example, if a person is overweight and wants to lose weight, one intensive workout will not make them magically lose weight. But, if they were to regularly go to the gym and set healthy eating schedules, they’d see exponential results. As long as they keep going, that is. You can’t lose 25 kgs in 2 weeks, but a few months of dedicated work will yield the results you want. It’s all about long-term, sustained efforts over time, not just 1 or 2 massive workouts.
In fact, lots of businesses ask us if we can do a one-off optimization for their websites. As much as we’d love to, we believe in educating our clients first. That’s why we always tell them one-time optimizations aren’t a permanent solution. It may give you a quick, 15 minutes of fame boost… but it won’t get you half as close to the results you want to see.
This is because of the process of accumulation. Google wants to see constant activity to know your website is legitimate. Search engine crawlers seek out regular content updates, on-site optimization, and link acquisition. Keeping your website up-to-date puts you on Google’s “nice” list, giving you better visibility. That’s why it’s important to have someone handling your SEO constantly, looking to improve it every day.

4. Keyword Difficulty Impacts Overall SEO

Now that you know more about the key elements of SEO, it’s easy to see why it’s an important part of any business’s online marketing strategy. SEO-optimized content helps increase your website’s visibility. Your content isn’t just read by people. Search engines read your content as well. Search engine crawlers judge your content based on keyword usage, originality, and reputability. When you stick to SEO guidelines, your content outshines your competitors. This makes Google push your website to a higher ranking.
As you know, a higher ranking leads to more traffic. More traffic leads to more potential sales. In short, SEO is a great way to boost your online ranking as well as get in more sales. It’s also a great way to network your skills and grow your company organically.

5. How Long Your Site Takes Impacts Your SEO

Another major thing that affects your SEO is the loading speed of your website. Websites with slow loading speeds tend to have a higher bounce rate. This means more people “bounce” from your website instead of sticking around. With a high bounce rate and low interactions, Google won’t rank your website high.
One way to curb this is by using a proper hosting provider. You can also use fewer plugins and optimize your images and videos.


Last, but definitely not least. And, we cannot stress this point enough. YOUR CONTENT MATTERS. More specifically, the quality and quantity of your content matter. Without enough quality content on your website, Google won’t be able to read your site and understand it better. This prevents it from ranking you higher too.
In fact, having lots of low-quality content can even be detrimental to your ranking. Even though you may have a lot of content… if it isn’t good content, it’s counter-productive to your growth. Google may even penalize your website. By general rule of thumb, it’s always best to have at least 500-1000 words of good quality content for each page on your site.

How Do You Know Your SEO Efforts Are Paying Off?

Okay, now that you know what takes SEO so long… how do you know that your efforts are even paying off, to begin with?
When your keyword rankings and traffic improve, you’ll know SEO is working. If the keywords you’re tracking are rising in search engine rankings, your SEO strategy is working. Also, if traffic to a specific webpage on which you’ve done SEO is increasing, search engine optimization is working.
When implementing SEO on a website, the best advice is to be patient. It is common for the effects to take several weeks to months to become apparent. That is why your company requires SEO and should perform search engine optimization updates on a daily or weekly basis.

How Long Does Search engine optimization Generally Take To See Results?

SEO typically takes 4 to 12 months to produce results. By then, you should be able to tell if your SEO efforts are paying off. Furthermore, good it takes time to show full results. The results you get after 4 months won’t be as remarkable as what you get after 12 months.
Since Google is in charge of your ranking at the end of the day… why not hear it from them? Here’s a video by Google explaining how long your SEO efforts will take to pay off.
To sum it up, Google said, “In most cases, Search engine optimization needs four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.” Keep in mind, that the initial audit and action plan for Search engine optimization can take up to 30 days on their own. This is to ensure utmost care in boosting your website’s ranking.
SEO isn’t a one-off thing. It requires commitment, time, and constant care. To really see remarkable results, you must keep climbing. You can’t set the ball rolling and then forget about it the next day, because it will stop eventually. Rather, you have to keep pushing the ball till it gets where you want it to be.

Patience Is Key

Success in search engine optimization is ultimately a gradual ascent. It takes months of consistent effort to gradually build up and accumulate momentum. However, once you’ve built it up and reached the top, the rewards are more than worth it. Your online visibility will have a long-term impact on your company, generating quality leads and growth for months, if not years.
The more patience you have, the more likely your website will rank higher with successful SEO. Explosion Digital could be the helping hand you need. Contact us today for a bespoke Search engine optimization plan to help you rise to the top.

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