The conversation about SEO’s ROI is as common as it is tricky. If you’re investing hundreds -- if not thousands -- into a marketing strategy, you, as a business owner, need to know when you’ll start seeing a return, but Search Engine Optimization is an investment that pays future dividends.
Think about a vegetable garden. Do you expect to get a fresh tomato the day after you plant your seeds? Of course not. Growing luscious vegetables takes time and effort. You have to water the plant every day and make sure it gets enough sunlight.
Just like a vegetable garden, growing your website’s organic traffic through SEO takes time and effort. You need to optimize the site, post fresh content periodically, and build links month over month over month.
Of course, blogs and links are not dirt and water. So why is SEO a long term strategy anyway?
Domain authority is one of the most critical ranking factors. The more authoritative your site is, the better it’s going to rank on keywords and the more keywords it’ll rank on. It’s a rising tide that lifts all ships.
In order to improve your site’s authority, you need to build links to it. Links are like votes. The more votes you have citing your content as an authoritative source -- linking to it -- the more Google will respect your site.
However, not every vote (link) is created equally. A link from the New York Times is going to have a bigger impact than the link from your sister’s cookie blog. The more authoritative the referring domain, the stronger the link.
Relevancy is also important. Authoritative links that are also relevant are the best votes you can get. They are also the toughest to get. It can also be effective to get a mix of authoritative and relevant links. Link diversity is also something Google’s algo is taking into account.
Building links takes time in and of itself, which is part of the reason why SEO is a long term strategy, but there’s more to it than that. Link velocity is also a factor. If you build a ton of links in no time at all, Google’s going to see that and penalize your site for it. You need to build your links quickly, but consistently.
Recently, we pulled a random sample of 189 campaigns and looked at their domain rating week over week for the first 45 weeks of their respective cycles.
We found that the average starting domain rating of our cohort was 13.8. After 45 weeks of link building, the average DR was up to 20.6, an average increase of 6.8.
Secondly, SEO takes consistent effort. It’s not a one-and-done strategy. You need to keep your site updated, post new content, and build new links.
Think of it like building muscle. You can't go to the gym just once. You have to go time and time again to get the results you want, doing harder and harder exercises.
SEO is the same way: You have to keep working on it to climb the rankings (and maintain them).
Take a look at a few examples of campaigns that have had the same exact service plan for at least 12 months:
(A daycare center in New Jersey)
(A medical device manufacturer)
(A shipping container retailer)
While seasonality and Google’s ever-shifting landscape both play a part in most organic search campaigns, the trend is clear: Consistent effort is what it takes to achieve SEO results.
Time & Effort
SEO is ultimately a long term strategy because it takes time and it takes effort.
In order to rank well, you need a strong, diverse backlink profile, which you need to build mindfully or else Google may penalize your site. The better your backlink profile, the more authoritative your site will be. The more authoritative, the better its rankings will be.
SEO is not a one-and-done project. Sure, you can spend some time optimizing your site and not worry about it for a while, but doing work only once will not get you the rankings you need for a profitable search marketing campaign. You need to keep at it until your site earns enough organic traffic to get the phone to ring -- and ring enough times to make consistent sales!
All great things take time and effort. SEO is no different.
If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch today!