The Internet Is Immediate. SEO Is Not.

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Four BusinesspersonsOne of the hardest things for site owners to wrap their heads around, especially those struggling with a penalty, is that SEO is not an immediate form of marketing. The work you do today doesn’t help you today…or even next week. Sometimes it takes months to feel the true effects of your SEO work. And while I can reiterate this to clients time and time again, there is always that lingering frustration that things just aren’t happening fast enough. The other day I came across this great post on Search Engine Journal. Neil Patel had one thought in particular about the speed (or lack thereof) of SEO that really resonated with me, and is something I plan on quoting to my clients from here on out.

Perhaps one of the reasons why SEO is mistakenly perceived as a quick-and-easy technique is because it’s lumped in with the whole arena of online interaction—lightning fast connection speeds, instant emails, downloadable media, instant access, online purchases. Everything’s instant, right?

It was like light bulb went off in my head. EVERYTHING we do online is instantaneous. That’s why social media is so powerful and why marketing as we know it has completely changed because of it. When you publish a tweet or Facebook post it can be seen and read around the world in a matter of milliseconds. For some brands this means huge wins (think about the Dollar Shave Club and their viral video). For others it means big problems (all those brands that accidentally post personal rants to company pages). But it all happens at once.

Emails are sent and opened within a few minutes. Banner ads can start driving traffic the moment they are put up. Someone downloads a whitepaper and you instantly get his or her contact information. Everything we do online has some tangible and immediate benefit. In fact, we get real mad at brands that don’t respond instantly; a whopping 42% expect a response within 60 minutes! We are used to instant gratification online, whether we are the ones behind the message or the ones receiving it. So with so much happening in a moment’s notice why wouldn’t we be frustrated with SEO taking forever (in Internet speeds anyway)?

But that’s just part of the SEO game. Google doesn’t operate in real time. You can publish a blog post today but the Google crawlers might not find it for a few days. This means that while you can promote that post in social media and e-newsletters, that post will not exist in the eyes of Google until they crawl it. And even once Google “sees” that post, it has to earn its way up the SERPs naturally. Google may love fresh content, but fresh content doesn’t just pop into existence in the #1 spot! A trusted domain, a post with a tons of shares and links, and a “hot topic” might help that post do better much faster organically, but you can’t say for sure what will happen.

I understand how frustrating this can be to many site owners. It feels like you are putting in so much work and time and effort and getting nowhere for it! But you need to think of SEO like planting a garden. You do a lot of work upfront so you can reap the benefits down the road. I promise, if you do it right, it will pay off in the long run!

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