Going beyond the myths: SEO results in less than 3 months
In the SEO world, we often hear clients, co-workers, executives and others say that in order to see results, you need six months. Having become practically a running joke in the field, this understanding is often the elephant in the room when it comes time to start conversations with clients and prospects, who ask:
“How much time will it take before we see results?”
Our infamous answer being:
While as a general rule, you won’t see results until after a minimum of three months, it’s still possible to obtain faster results under the right conditions. In this article I’ll present a few examples of quick wins and explain what you can do to maximize your chances of getting these faster results.
Example 1: 635% increase in clicks in 2 months
A client in the financial sector experienced a significant increase in clicks almost instantly after the search engine optimization of a blog article. Thanks to a close alignment between what users were looking for and what we were offering them, Google swiftly grasped that our content was among the best, and we were quickly positioned in the top three for a keyword that had a fair amount of volume.
This is what was produced in Google Search Console:
Example 2: 485% increase in clicks in 3 months
This same client experienced a similar increase after we optimized another of their blog articles. Once again, we used the same strategy and obtained the following result:
What did we do?
SEO professionals around the world agree with me when I say that there is no such thing as a magic recipe or guarantee you’ll instantly appear on Google’s first page. Google is the one that ultimately decides where you rank.
That said, you can still maximize your chances that the algorithm will judge you favourably. With this in mind, here are three tricks that I’ve used and which might also help you too.
Match as far as possible what the user is looking for
We’re referring here to the infamous “search intention.”
It’s been the case for some time that Google has been able to determine the intention behind a search request. Is the user looking for information? Do they want to purchase a product? Or find a service? Its algorithms know what the user wants, and therefore promote the content aligned with this intention.
By going beyond the query itself and asking what the user is really looking for when they are typing it, you can better align your content’s format with the search intention that Google has assigned this query, thereby maximizing your chances of ranking well.
Make use of SERP volatility
First off, what is “SERP volatility”?
The volatility of a search engine results page (SERP) refers to its degree of stability over time. The more volatile a SERP is for a given keyword, the more your site will change positions.
At first glance, this volatility might seem harmful. Why would you want to expose yourself to changes in your positioning (and therefore your traffic)?
The answer lies in the “why” behind this volatility. Basically, a SERP is volatile for two general reasons:
1. The search intention is vague and Google is having trouble understanding what the user really wants.
Take, for example, the query “internet.” Google can’t be sure of understanding what you want. Do you want to know what the internet is, its history, its origins? Or do you want to obtain internet services for your new home? Or maybe a business services package for your company?
Depending on what you want, the type of content that is most relevant to you will vary widely, which can be seen very clearly in the chart below of SERP positions for “internet”:
Each colour represents a different webpage. As you can see, there’s a lot of movement!
Inversely, take a very clear request: “internet service montreal.” Google can really understand here what you are looking for—the intention is clear. Here is a chart of SERP positions for “internet package montreal.”
A lot less noisy!
So this is one of the reasons a SERP might be volatile.
Now let’s look at the second reason.
2. No content that clearly and completely answers what the user is looking for exists yet.
This is where the interest in a volatile SERP comes in. If the query isn’t vague but the SERP is still volatile, chances are good that you land in the second category.
Which means that, in general, Google is expecting THE content that clearly and completely answers the search intention.
This is your big opportunity.
Produce content that will truly help users, and which is complete and of higher quality than what has been done elsewhere, and there’s a good chance Google will quickly put you on top with a stable ranking.
Benefit from solid authority to make use of more competitive keywords
While it’s certainly possible to quickly earn a position at the top of the SERP without any incredible amount of domain authority, you will generally be forced to target less-competitive and lower-volume search intentions, such as long-tail keywords.
Increasing your authority through a range of public relations strategies and link building (which we won’t be covering here) will allow you to be more competitive in the SERP and therefore positioned more quickly when you publish or optimize your content for keywords that are more difficult, but that generally have more volume.
In our case, our client already had a good amount of authority, being recognized within the financial sector. This enabled us to aim higher, then outperform the competition quickly thanks to high-quality content.
Don’t forget that content is king, and higher domain authority isn’t beneficial if you publish low-quality content. It will help you, of course, but it won’t do the work for you!
Enrich content during an optimization
Given that content is king, performing a search engine optimization of your content is an excellent opportunity to enrich it. After all, since you originally published this content, things have changed, and so have your users.
Are there any questions related to your users’ current search intentions that you are not answering in an article?
By enhancing content with answers to these new questions, you keep your content fresh, which is something Google really likes, while also maximizing your chances of quickly being ranked.
Why “quickly”? Because it’s highly likely that you’ll be the first to answer this new question and, thanks to the semantic wealth of your original content, the enhanced content that answers the new question and related issues will be stronger than that of your competitors, who are only answering the new question.
SEO remains a long-term commitment
As we’ve seen here, it’s entirely possible to get results in SEO before the six-month mark, and even at three months! By combining winning strategies and finding quick-win opportunities, you can definitely reap the benefits of your work more quickly.
Which is not to say that if your agency or SEO manager doesn’t produce results in three months, you should fire them! SEO is still a continuous process and a long-term endeavour.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
The difference between a good SEO manager and a great SEO manager lies in their capacity to find quick wins for your specific business and industry which will monetize this marathon, while simultaneously working on the major long-term projects that will provide you will continuous, enduring results.