Co-Founder & CEO at HawkSEM, helping brands “crush it” through ROI-focused, results-driven digital marketing programs for over 12 years.
The phrase “good things come to those who wait” probably wasn’t referencing the concept of search engine optimization (SEO), but it applies just the same.
The fact is that good SEO takes time, thought and consistency to cultivate and maintain. Here are six reasons SEO is a long game — and well worth your time.
1. Building page authority takes time.
Search engines are, perhaps understandably, rather opaque when it comes to the exact parameters that affect organic search result rankings. Our experience has shown that, while a new website isn’t necessarily at a disadvantage over an older site, there are some benefits to having been around for a while.
Namely, the longer a site’s URLs exist, the more brand authority, quality content and backlinks they can build up. Backlinks (which are links to your site from other websites) from credible, high-authority sites tell search engine bots that your content can be trusted. The more backlinks you can earn, the better, though there’s no shortcut that’ll get you there other than creating quality content worth linking to.
2. Several factors play into your brand’s overall SEO.
There are multiple pillars of SEO: on-page, off-page and technical. A well-rounded SEO strategy takes all of these into account.
On-page SEO refers to page titles, meta descriptions and other aspects of your website. Off-page SEO includes your brand’s social media profiles and backlinks. Technical SEO refers to crawling and indexing (the information search bots can gather by scanning your site), user experience (including page speed and mobile-friendliness) and site architecture (which encompasses navigation, internal links and URL structures).
Pro tip: Keep tabs on your overall SEO by conducting SEO audits quarterly, biannually or yearly. This will give you and your team a big-picture view of how your efforts are measuring up.
3. Competition for organic rankings can be fierce.
Billions of websites exist online, so it’s no surprise that search engine results page (SERP) competition is no joke. Rising through the ranks takes time and depends on a handful of factors — from your competitor’s budgets to how they leverage keywords.
That’s why so many marketing experts say content is king. These days, it’s not enough to just touch on a keyword topic you want to rank for through a short blog post. Those who do it well know their content must be thorough, accurate, up to date and easy to read while also being optimized for search engines.
4. The algorithm is smart — and keeps getting smarter.
At the end of the day, the algorithm’s goal is to surface the most relevant, helpful and accurate content for its searchers. Because of that, the brains behind the search engines are always working to optimize and update the factors that go into rankings.
That’s why it’s important to stay in the loop, both in terms of the latest algorithm updates and how your SEO performance is tracking. Notice a sudden dip in your rankings? A new search engine rollout may be to blame. One easy way of keeping up with the ever-changing search landscape is by signing up for one (or a few) industry newsletters so you get the latest info right to your inbox.
5. ‘Quick wins’ aren’t what they seem.
Unethical or “black hat” SEO tactics are appealing, sure — they promise big-time SEO results in weeks instead of months. These methods sound too good to be true because they are. Even if the algorithm doesn’t recognize these shady tactics immediately, when they do, they’ll penalize your site and send you back to square one.
Black hat methods include keyword stuffing (repeating exact or variations of a keyword over and over), cloaking (where you present different content or URLs to search engines and users), and hiding “invisible text” in your website’s code.
6. You’re never ‘done’ improving SEO.
SEO is a project with no end date. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is to rest on its laurels once it reaches high rankings on the SERP. If you want your SEO to continue its upward trajectory, you have to keep working at it.
Between the changing algorithm and competitors vying for your same keywords, ranking status is never guaranteed. The best way to keep your SEO on the up and up is by consistently prioritizing and working toward your SEO goals.
Our years of working in the digital marketing space have shown us that, if you want your brand’s SEO strategy to have lasting results, there’s simply no shortcut to success. In fact, those who prioritize speed over quality usually end up hurting in the end.
The good news: The work you put in now to make sure your SEO is top-notch is likely to benefit your brand for months and even years to come.