SEO is still the number one digital marketing strategy businesses invest in, and for good reason. Its benefits and value range from building equity in online visibility, to generating a low CPA, and even after SEO services halt it can continue to work (even for years if the strategy is solid).
If done correctly, SEO can be a powerful strategy for spreading brand awareness and increasing revenue. But SEO is a process and it can take time before you start generating leads from its adaption into your marketing strategy, let alone start contributing directly to your revenue.
Even the most comprehensive organic search optimization strategies executed by the best SEO agencies in Los Angeles to those in New York won’t start generating leads and conversion over night; there is a process, and businesses need to be aware of this while holding on to realistic goals.
That said, “the process” is one of the most commonly used excuses by subpar SEO operatives that try milking relationships with their clients while producing zero results. So it’s important you know the signs of the SEO process and how to gauge if the progress is focused on producing results that will lead to revenue growth.
SEO can Take Too Damn Long to Work
There is no magic sauce to add or enchanted switch to flick that will start sending organic traffic to your website. The fact of the matter is that SEO is a process worth waiting for, and investing in. But how long should the process take before you start generating leads from organic traffic and converting them into buyers? Clearly, there are a number of variables that play into the timeframe. Your industry, sales cycle, competition’s strategies, and buyer personas can all impact search behavior and how people search for your products and services, and therefore sets the tone for how competitive it is to achieve high organic visibility for the right buyers.
But what you can expect to see is ongoing improvements in user engagement. Your session duration, new users, bounce rate, pages per visit, and other metrics should be improving, overall, as these are the steps in the process that need to happen before you can rank well and improve your domain authority.
If your rankings aren’t improving, and these metrics are flatlining, then you can anticipate one of two outcomes: a failed SEO engagement, or one that takes too damn long to be worth your investment.
Here’s the takeaway: so long as your SEO agency is able to show a consistent improvement in rankings and engagement, the process is working. Leads and conversions will come, so long as your site is improving in terms of visibility in the SERPs, and with that traffic volume. But generating high-quality traffic is what separates an acceptable SEO strategy from a truly amazing one. And if your SEO efforts are crawling at a turtle’s pace, these three common reasons may help explain why.
1. Poor Quality Links Lead to Slow SEO
Links are still integral parts of any SEO strategy. The problem is that too many SEO agencies use poor quality links. Some of these service providers are trapped in 2005; they syndicate links through low-quality directories, or through referring domains that give the semblance of spam.
Avoid backlinks from domains that have zero relevance to your site’s content, even if the domain authority is high. Google no longer values random links from sites with high authority scores is it ‘s topics and subject matter has nothing in common with the site the links are pointing too.
Instead, seek backlinks from domains with a high authority score directly related to your own content and be sure the link has the “follow” attribute so the search juice can be passed along.
2. Your Content is Biased and has Zero SEO Considerations
All it takes is a few self-described writers on your team to make assumptions about what kind of content you should be writing, and your entire efforts can sail away. Not only that, but once the folly of their ways is proven through a decline in rankings and engagement, it will take additional time to not only resurrect rankings and engagement, but start re-building that momentum that leads to growth.
Choose one singular person whose background is in content and SEO to manage the strategy, and the content contributed by the writing team. In order to appease Google’s new and evolving AI and artificial intelligence algorithm RankBrain, this will mean writing for target customers and for the search engine’s best practices. So really, it’s a win / win because good content that Google loves will also educate and inform readers. But this needs to be done at a high level. Avoid writing on topics that have been done to death all over the internet (or at least put your own spin on the topics) and avoid writing glossaries or blogs that just regurgitate a list of terms. Offer thoughtful topics that can easily tie in to other pieces you have written and that aren’t over simplified.
Finally, do the necessary research to see what people are searching for and reading. Don’t make assumptions about what you think people want to read about, and don’t use data screen shots from CRMs that offer a segmented, partial view. Go to Google Trends, and go deep. You can also check Google Analytics to see what the top-performing blogs are, and the ones that get zero clicks. This will help you make educated decisions on what to write about, and with good decisions comes faster moving success in SEO.
3. Your Blog Has No Structure
There are three main reasons why organizations blog: (1) SEO, (2) to use in the sales process, and (3) to educate customers. In terms of SEO, your results will be slow-moving and likely generate zero to little revenue if the blog lacks proper structure.
2019 will be the year of the topic cluster. SEO agencies that used this structure in 2018 reported greater SEO success, higher conversions, and an increase in new customers.
So what is the topic cluster? This is where a set number of subjects are established, some for SEO value and others to address common needs shared by various buyer personas. Each topic then has a number of blogs that nest under it, and each of these have unique topics. The blogs internally link to one another, and each blog links to a pillar page–a main page on the website that is usually the home page or a primary service or product page.
The internal linking is valuable for SEO for three main reasons: it allows “SEO juice” to circulate throughout the website, helps Google understand how various topics and products are relative to one another, and it provides for a better user experience helping buyers find the information they seek, and this leads to longer session durations, more pages viewed per visit, shorter bounce rates, and other metrics that improve SEO.
Addressing these three considerations will help speed up the SEO process, and with that revenue generated from organic traffic. This will require working with an agency capable of driving a modern SEO strategy that is truly goal-focused, and that has the experience to ensure your investment will continue to pay back for years to come.