One of the most frustrating aspects of being a digital marketer is working as hard as you possibly can only to have the client discontinue your relationship after 3 to 6 months. It’s frustrating on many levels. First and foremost is the frustration that comes with working so hard and still not pleasing the customer. Second is the equally frustrating fact that time is not the enemy of SEO. It is actually a very good friend.
Somewhere along the way the SEO community has created the false impression that well-executed SEO generates nearly instantaneous results. Whether or not that was back in the early 2000s – when everybody was focusing on keyword stuffing – remains a source of debate. Regardless, it happened. Now the industry finds it necessary to correct a misconception they created.
Time Is a Friend: By the Numbers
If you are skeptical about time being a friend, consider a 2017 report from Singapore-based Ahrefs. This company specializes in creating tools that help SEO developers better serve their customers. According to their research:
- The average age of top 10 pages is 2 years
- The average age #1 pages is 3 years
- Just 22% of top 10 pages are less than a year old
- Just 6% of web pages appear in the top 10 within a year for at least one keyword
- Roughly 94% of web pages do not make it into the top 10 within a year
The Ahrefs data makes it abundantly clear that effective SEO takes time. There are those pages that somehow break into the top 10 right away and stay there for a long time, but they are the rare exception. It generally takes a year or more to crack the top 10; two or three to get to #1 for a given keyword.
This implies that both SEO developers and their clients need commitment to patience. They need to be in it for the long haul. If either party expects outstanding results in three months, they might just as well write a letter to Santa Claus asking for help.
Taking Advantage of the Time
Understanding that time is not the enemy naturally leads to the question of how to best take advantage of it. Webtek Interactive says the secret is understanding the cumulative effect of solid SEO strategies. If you are a sports fan, think of it in terms of Major League Baseball.
No MLB team becomes world champion just by playing five decent games in October. An MLB championship is the result of an entire season of playing good ball. The cumulative effect of sound mechanics and passion-driven play from March through the final game of the World Series is what wins the pennant.
Getting to #1 in search engine rankings requires that same kind of cumulative approach. Web developers employ sound SEO mechanics that are combined with the passion the website owner has for his company. The two work together over many, many months to build a site with a highly valued collection of content.
Over time, SEO strategies and rock-solid content begin inching the page upward. When it finally cracks the top 10, visitors are immediately impressed. They start telling others while the SEO developer continues to do what he or she does. The site eventually reaches #1.
Time is not the enemy of SEO. It is, in fact, a good friend. Anyone willing to invest the time and effort into building a solidly performing website can take it to the top and stay there. But it will not happen in three months.