It seems like every month there is some big new sea change in the world of SEO. However, since day one there has been one single question that crops up in every single discussion and that is:
“How long will it be until we see results?”
Of course answering this question is never easy or simple. The first challenge is in defining what these ‘results’ are, as well as what the clients particular goals are. Too often, a client demands to get the top position for a particular big keyword. You need a much more wholesome approach to SEO and that targeting any specific keyword with a link building campaign or something else is just short-term thinking manifesting in your business.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that too many SEO agencies out there have no problem telling clients to expect results in 3 to 6 months as a simple, no-brainer response to satisfy a client’s questions. This however, only makes things harder for everyone including themselves. To really give a client a well-rounded view of the process and to manage their expectations correctly, one would be doing them a disservice if you didn’t mention their overall business goals, competitors, monetization, content plan, site structure and development. Companies are not being totally honest and transparent with their clients when they need it the most.
Google has always been striving to deliver the very best results they can for their searchers and with the latest updates like ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’, things have changed a great deal. At the end of the day this is for the best of everyone online today. Google has gotten rid of the bottom feeders and has made the internet a much more valuable place as a result. Google is now unashamedly favoring websites that have established brands because they feel that this is closer to how the real world works.
It’s true, people love brands.
People trust them because they stand for something, they have built their reputation over many years, sometimes decades, have plenty strong links from other authority sites and their related social media accounts are thriving. All of this is impossible to fake, so Google feels much more confident in ranking these types of sites on the first page.
These bigger brands have the capital to invest in a solid SEO strategy that the smaller guys simply cannot compete with. They can easily afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars per month on a well-rounded, smart SEO plan and most see a very good return on their investment. Ironically however, these big brands don’t need to spend on SEO as much as the little guys who need to climb up the Google ladder and exploit every advantage they can get. The small fish need to work hard to collect as many of these branding signals that Google loves if they want to compete, and this is no easy task, especially if their budget is limited, which it most often is.
However, there have been many notable instances where large brand websites have had SEO critiques done and some of the most basic optimization strategies had not been put into place. Things like title tags, keyword optimizations and broken links were found to be holding the sites back. Chances are they were so big and had so much traffic already, they didn’t even consider improving their site for more traffic.
However, smaller businesses still have the option of using PPC and other paid marketing strategies to grow their audience and monetize. Of course the big brands have this option as well and will most likely continue using it.
So the sad, but honest truth is that the small guys need to buckle down, plan for the long term and invest slowly but steadily to improve their rankings. This could take months or even years, while the big boys can literally just improve some on page factors and increase their traffic and rankings immediately, sometimes leading to thousands of extra dollars each month in revenue.
If you’re one of the small but determined fish in Google’s sea, you will need to continue persevering and work harder than ever before to ensure you get your due.