Myth Busting – “SEO is Slow”

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Let the Myth Busting begin!

Ever since I started working as an SEO Specialist, I have been listening to the same complaints. If you are an SEO yourself, you probably have heard them yourself. 

  • SEO takes forever, and my business needs traffic now
  • Organic traffic is picking up so slow.
  • When are we going to see results?

The line of similar questions/statements can go on forever.

Don’t get me wrong; these are all valid points. One of our main jobs as SEO specialists is to educate our clients around search engine optimization practices. Answering these types of questions is our job, and we should welcome them. 

Here’s the catch, though. During the past decade, I noticed that we moved from the charlatans of “I can get you there in a couple of days” to the ones that ask for a yearly retainer without working on the client’s site till the last couple of days—then asking for more time because “SEO takes time.”

Here’s a little secret, though. SEO is not a shallow one-sided marketing gimmick. There is no “one rule fits all” and “SEO takes time” is just an excuse for “I worked on your site for a couple of hours the past year, and now I am feeling pressured.” Like that kid that didn’t finish their schoolwork on time and now is sweating when the teacher is asking for the paper on “Why methane levels are increasing in our atmosphere.” 

Similar to the reason of the methane levels increasing, these people are full of … cow manure. 

So here’s the deal, SEO does not take time. SEO, at its best, is instant. I don’t mean that you turn on a button, and your site starts ranking, but if done right, you can measure the results of the work on the spot. 

Results for SEO does not mean (just) rankings

It’s our damn fault that we let it slide for that many years. If you, as a client of an agency or you (as an SEO specialist), believe that rankings have something to do with your success, you are about 5-6 years late. 

What if you hold the number one position for a keyword with so many things at the top that you are 1.500 pixels below the fold? Do you feel successful at your mission?

What if you rank for keywords without the proper intent and have a bounce rate higher than the Burj Khalifa?

Rankings are just part of a more complex puzzle. 

An SEO specialist shouldn’t offer rankings. They should provide a full-blown experience. Engines are complex machines; they take into consideration a thousand little things. There are no “200 ranking factors,” and people should stop falling for these marketing gimmicks.

If you are a digital marketing agency, stop promising rankings, if you are an owner of a business stop asking for them. It’s that simple. 

Here’s a list of good things to ask for or promise when it comes to search engine optimization. 

  • Performance Optimization
  • On-page Optimization
  • Technical SEO 
  • Outreach 

Performance Optimization

Performance optimization is the process of making something (anything really) work as effectively as possible. In the example of a web performance optimization, we usually talk about tuning the server to deliver webpages faster. 

Why is that important?

Google has said numerous times that performance is a must for a website to rank appropriately. Not to mention the new Core Web Vitals that are going to become a ranking factor from 2021. Let’s forget for a second what Google noted and try to be as objective as possible. 

Would you instead visit a website that loads in 10 seconds or one that loads in 3? Would you rather have a website that loads in 3 or 1? 

Just keep in mind that loading vs. perceived loading is different. Loading time is not the goal. The goal is to have a website that loads in a way that the user feels happy when they think about visiting it. 

Here’s how Fourth P performs on some major Google defined performance metrics. 

fourth p page insights performance

My website is simple—nothing heavy, not a lot of images or weird animations. I get it. But what about eBay? 

ebay page insights performance

Your performance matters. It’s something that you can work on today and see results tomorrow. 

On-page optimization 

On-page optimization refers to optimizing elements of a web page such as Title, Meta Description, Content, etc. 

I don’t care what people say. If you do this right, you are going to see results very fast. 

On-page optimization is a practice that takes time if you have a website with hundreds of thousands of pages, but slow and steady wins the race. I usually optimize a batch of web pages for my clients in staging before pushing them live on production. 

Keyword research is vital at this stage. It would be best if you spent as much time researching the right keywords, with the right intent for the right users. If you change the title to contain something that you believe is the main keyword of the page, you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Here’s a keyword research guide I follow for most of my clients, along with how I use personas to pinpoint how my users talk, search, or their pain points that they need help with. 

Technical SEO 

Technical SEO refers to optimizing one’s website to meet the technical requirements of a search engine. Some of the techniques involved are optimizing crawling and indexing, optimizing Javascript for better rendering, Schema implementation, Information Architecture of a website, and many more. 

Most of the “game” is decided in this stage. If you want to exceed organically and blow your competition to the sidelines, you need to be the best. 

Imagine being on a race with a thousand websites. The way internet works, a lot of those websites won’t exist in a few months. So doing the keyword research, working on the on-page will probably surpass them within days. The number of sites doing good performance optimization will likely be at the tens instead of the hundreds, which means that if you work on performance, you are already probably going against least than a hundred websites. 

Technical SEO requires not just some coding skills but perception. The ability to perceive what might work for a specific page, of a particular website, in a specific niche, that no one else has done even though we all pretty much use the same tools. 

I usually imagine technical SEO as a small nail trying to push the bubble of SEO a little further. Millimeters will make you a winner. For those not familiar with the Matt Might representation of what a PhD is in pictures. Replace PhD with Technical SEO.

technical seo as matt might phd example

Conclusion

Don’t fall for the trap that SEO is slow, nor the one that says that SEO is fast. Everything depends on everything. Weird right? Welcome to SEO. 

The whole perception of “SEO is slow” exist because people want to keep you in a retainer; they have set the wrong goals or don’t know how to do proper SEO.

Talk soon, 

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