How Long Will It Take Me to See Results from SEO Services?

florist on laptop

Here’s What SEO Agencies Know About the Long Game

Unlike other digital strategies, SEO is not an advertising campaign. It is a consistent technical process of updating your website’s content, coding, structure, and relevance in the eyes of search engines. SEO requires hard work and a long-term strategy, but it comes with significant rewards.

If you ensure your website is a useful destination for users, search engines like Google and Bing will reward you by putting your website at the top of their search results pages. You don’t need a study to tell you that these are the results people click, but there are plenty that prove it.

This is why SEO matters. It brings users to your site, so they can learn, decide, and buy. Think of search engine results as real estate. The goal of committing to SEO puts your website on Main Street where everyone stops and looks. Failure to invest in SEO puts your website in a back alley that most folks want to avoid.

Earning this precious real estate takes time. You need to create an experience for users that they respect and trust – and that doesn’t happen overnight, either online or on Main Street. Yet, like any business endeavor, persistence pays off.

Keep reading to find out how long it will take to see the benefit of a sound SEO strategy, why this timeframe exists, and what you need to do to get started on the work.

What’s My Average Time Frame to See Results from SEO Services and Why?

Conventional digital marketing wisdom says that it takes four to six months to gain momentum, and up to a year to turn that momentum into a sustainable force.

Why? Because it takes work. Two kinds of time-intensive work have to happen first to get your site noticed and positioned by Google.

  1. Your responsibilities: It is your role to make the best optimizations for the actual people who are using your site, so that Google rewards your efforts with high rankings when users search. There’s plenty of work to be done, including on-site content and user experience optimizations. You also need to be well-versed in technical optimizations, including indexing your site. Indexing is the process of creating a file that explains the relationship between your pages and individual files. Once your sitemap is indexed, Google can “crawl it.”
  2. Google’s job: Google’s software “reads” or “crawls” your site to understand what it offers users. The data its “crawlers” provide are interpreted by complex algorithms that make determinations about which websites should rank high in their search results pages and which shouldn’t. Estimates of how often Google crawls your site range from a few days to every few weeks.

When your SEO strategy and content marketing are firing on all cylinders, Google will begin ranking your pages, which can mount into high-quality, high-volume website traffic if you take your work seriously.

What Specific Work Do I Have to Do to Rank Well in Google’s Search Results?

Semrush, arguably the leading tool for analyzing your business’s search engine ranking, recently released its 2024 study of the factors that put companies at the top of the results pages. To better understand the work you need to put in, let’s use a florist shop as an example.

Here are just a few of the many conditions your florist must meet to get visibility when people are looking to learn about, decide on, and buy your flowers:

  1. Text relevance: Is your website relevant to what users are looking for? Let’s suppose your users want to understand how to keep flowers fresh. Does your website have the most definitive information on this particular subject?

    Now, let’s suppose your users now want to understand the difference between flowers that last a long time after they’re cut and those that don’t. Does your website also provide the most definitive comparisons?

    Finally, your users also want to know where to get the best flowers in town. Does your website provide a significant amount of information explaining how they can buy directly from you?

  2. Content quality: Text relevance is one thing, but the quality of the content you produce is another. According to Google’s resources on creating content that helps users, it must do the following:

    • Provide complete, helpful, insightful information.
    • Deliver expertise on the subject at hand.
    • Offer a great experience for users (e.g., you provide a secure site that’s easy to navigate and much more).
    • Publish content that is truly designed to help people, not Google’s crawlers.
  3. Keyword coverage: At a high level, it is essential to ensure that your content is relevant to users and provides a trustworthy experience. However, your content has to meet users’ needs at a granular level: the words you use. Analyzing, selecting, and using keywords is a key signal for users and Google that your page is relevant to the very words a user has searched.

    If users are searching for “best Mother’s Day flowers,” “what flowers last longest,” or “flowers near me,” your content should include these phrases. This aspect of content marketing strategy on its own can be a time-consuming process. You’ll need to invest time and effort to ensure that your content reads naturally and isn’t stuffed with robotic keyword phrases, hoping that Google won’t notice the difference. (Spoiler alert: Google – and your site visitors – will).

  4. Technical Considerations: Your site needs to provide more than just quality content that is relevant to users’ search queries. Although offering what users are looking for constitutes a successful online experience, using your website isn’t possible unless it’s technically sound. You should consistently monitor and optimize your website to avoid technical issues that lead to users bouncing off your website and going elsewhere. Your technical SEO strategy can include:

    • Fixing broken links
    • Discovering the cause of and repairing error codes
    • Writing URL slugs that articulate what your page is about
    • Effective HTML website coding
    • Security and encryption measures, like HTTPS

A leading SEO agency could list many more optimizations that make a difference in how your business ranks online. In fact, a Semrush study of ranking factors is nearly 100 pages long for a reason. SEO results don’t just happen. You need to make a significant investment in an agency for content marketing services, technical SEO services, and web development to get the kinds of results that SEO provides.

I Get It. I Need to Put in the Work and Invest in SEO Services. Where Do I Start?

Most businesses don’t have the time or resources to commit a full-time team member to SEO strategy. These businesses rely on an SEO agency to perform a long list of tasks, including:

  • Monthly technical SEO tasks
  • Website updates
  • Keyword research
  • Content marketing strategy
  • Content writing, editing, and publishing

What About AI? Can AI Speed Up My SEO Results?

Although it’s true that using an AI content generation tool will help you create a massive amount of content in an instant, the question becomes whether that content’s quality is high enough to rank on search engines’ results pages.

It has been widely reported that Google penalizes AI content on search ranking pages – and the penalties are serious. Some sites have been completely de-indexed. Google won’t crawl poor quality websites, and that means those sites aren’t going to show up in search results.

What’s wrong with AI content? It’s not exactly because AI content is “bad,” but because AI content is often poor quality, repetitive, and recycled. This kind of spammy writing is exactly what Google doesn’t want to provide for its users.

Although some businesses might feel relieved that AI could potentially cut down on their writing and editing tasks, heavy reliance on AI isn’t going to do them any favors in the search results.

Quality matters to Google. And, no, it’s not because they love well-written content and technically optimized websites for their own sake. They love quality websites because Google provides a service for users. We depend on Google to give us the answers we need. If Google starts recommending weak AI content when you’re searching for “the best flowers for Mother’s Day,” you won’t trust Google anymore. You’ll go elsewhere.

The Bottom Line: Build a Website People Can Use. It’s Worth Your Time.

If you want to show up when people search for your business, an authentic, persistent SEO strategy is necessary. However, not every business has the time to put in this effort.

For those unable to go it alone, consider an SEO or content marketing agency that can provide technical and content services that build up your site’s relevancy for what users want. Make your business easy to connect with. Give them answers to their questions. Help them make decisions. Show them how to take action. Keep it that simple.

And don’t worry about time. There are short-term wins to be had along the way. As you develop your strategy to get the SEO results you want, you’ll discover many ways to measure your progress and experience success, including small, quick SEO wins.

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