Why Does SEO Take So Long?
This is easily the most frequently asked question in the SEO industry these days, but the unfortunate reality is that there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer. There are many variables that can and usually do come into play when developing and implementing a sound SEO strategy.
With nearly a decade-and-a-half of experience in the SEO industry, the only thing we can say for certain is that the days of ranking a site in a super fast time frame are long gone.
We know that this can scare off a lot of potential clients who are hoping for a better answer, but the SEO business in 2021 is far from the lightning fast process that it was even a few years ago.
To illustrate this point, we want to focus today on the second phase of a quality SEO campaign, because the first phase, or on page portion, can usually be completed in a month or two.
But the second phase, most commonly referred to as “off page SEO,” revolves around backlink building and takes a good deal of time to get from onset to completion.
History & Background
First, a brief history lesson. Back in the early years of the 21st century, a couple of third party SEO tricks were available for purchase that could boost any website’s ranking in just a few days.
But these techniques, like Xrummer, were used and abused by so many that the industry was forced to evolve. While Xrummer could create millions of backlinks in just a few days, backlinks that would later get crawled by Google, this process was eventually discovered and shut down by the “Google Police.”
Is creating a million plus backlinks in a few days natural? Well no of course not, and the algorithms put in place by Google certainly know this.
When an SEO company is working on your behalf, the backlinks should be made to look as natural as possible and never automated.
And that is one of the main reasons why good SEO takes so long – it has to look natural!
This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, as a lot of work goes into establishing a solid backlink campaign.
How much? As an example, here are the steps involved with obtaining just one strong/standardized backlink: note * These events are randomly ordered.
1.) Thoroughly research the site where the backlink will be placed. Determine if it has the appropriate traffic, if it ranks for keywords, if it has or has not been penalized by Google and if it’s relevant to the specific niche of the client.
2.) Make contact with the site owner and ask for a backlink. This is not always fruitful as usually only about 10 percent of the emails we send out are actually replied to. Which means we have to send out a larger amount in order to hit our targets.
3.) Determine the topical relevance to make sure we’re giving the client the best possible site for both the article and the link.
4.) Carefully consider the right price for the posting. It’s easy to determine how much a DA or DR 30 link should cost and we need to spend responsibly on creating backlinks or our efforts ultimately won’t be successful.
5.) Ensure that the do follow/no follow mixture is being adequately accomplished. You can’t have 90 percent of do follow high authority backlinks or it doesn’t look natural. SEO companies need to account for both sides of the equation to best serve their clients.
6.) Complete a link gap analysis and take the top three for the main keyword, while creating a chart showing all of the competitors’ backlinks. These should be broken down by type of anchors and do/no follow, and then each link should be counted and broken down by domain authority. See Video below on how to do a link gap analysis.
7.) Ensure that the link sticks and gets indexed.
8.) Build links to the article, which is also referred to in the industry as “Tier 2 Backlink Building.” The ultimate goal here is to build even more authority to the article; to accomplish this, we build other articles and backlinks to the original article, which then directs to the client’s website. Usually anywhere between 10 and 20 supporting articles are needed to really push a lot of traffic to the original article. Social shares and interactions can also help move the needle.
Final Thoughts on Why SEO Takes So Long
As you can see, there’s obviously a lot of work that goes into creating even one quality backlink. And good SEO companies usually deliver between 5 and 10 of these every month for their clients.
If we need to pay for them, and most times we do, we can only go as fast as the client’s budget allows.
Hopefully, this sheds a little light onto the question of why quality SEO efforts take a little longer in 2021 than they did in the past. Go too fast, risk getting penalized, go too slow, you end up falling behind. The right blend and timing is critical to looking natural when it comes to off page SEO when building backlinks.