by Les Kollegian
Recently I’ve been hearing the same question come up in many conversations with clients: “When will I see results from our SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plan”? My response is the same to every client, regardless of the situation. “It depends. It could take a couple weeks or a couple of months. You have to be patient.” Jacob Tyler’s SEO process is very intricate and time consuming. That being said- it works. Below is an explanation of why SEO campaigns take some time to get off the ground, and why our SEO is more ‘process’ than ‘result’.
Receiving Links Back from High Page-rank Sites is the First Step.
First things first, securing inbound links is never a speedy process. One aspect of a typical search marketing campaign will involve writing to other web directories and websites, inviting them to link to your own, which takes time. However, without this crucial step, links from other websites take MUCH longer to develop. I usually tell my clients to think of an SEO campaign as a process that speeds up what would occur naturally.
Webmaster response can also take a considerable amount of time. Even if you or your SEO consultant completed 150 requests in a day, the webmasters of those 150 other sites may not get back to you immediately. In extreme cases, it has been 10 – 12 months before I have heard back from some webmasters. So you’ll get some links quickly, and other links will take much longer.
The importance of receiving these links is that search engines count inbound links as a “vote”. Sites that have more “votes” are perceived as being stronger, in addition to having higher rankings.
Getting your Inbound Links to be Indexed
So let’s say that a few weeks have passed and you’ve secured 50 valuable inbound links from 50 great websites. Even though you’ve requested 150, you will never get every link you ask for, it just doesn’t happen. Some webmasters will never answer your request, and some simply will not link back.
So you have some links pointing to your site, now what?
Now the long and detailed process moves on to Google and Yahoo and they don’t get around to indexing those 50 pages for days or weeks. Google will generally index most sites within 3 – 4 weeks, whereas Yahoo takes longer and MSN takes much longer. As second-tier search engines like MSN improve their technology, you can expect the indexing speed to catch up. Additionally, until the search engines update their indexes of the pages that link to your site, it’s as if the link doesn’t exist.
Search engines are picky and they don’t index pages just because webmasters index them. So, if Google comes upon a web page with a link to your site, it may index that page immediately, or it may return a few times before the page is indexed. In that case, some links may take months to be indexed.
The Sites that Link to You have to wait for their Links as well
You also can’t forget that the sites that link to you are “living” websites too. The strength of their web presence is based on the links they receive – and that landscape is constantly changing. When your site is new, the sites that are willing to link to you are going to usually be new as well. As such, the inbound linking power of the sites that link to you will tend to be weaker than websites that have been around for a longer period of time. However, those sites will grow into stronger sites as they age, and then the inbound links that you have from other sites will grow as well.
The Sandbox Effect
And then, on top of everything else, there is the Sandbox Effect. The Sandbox Effect refers to the phenomenon of a temporary ranking penalty applied to newer websites that undergo rapid expansion in either inbound links or size. The Sandbox Effect is heavily debated and never conclusively proven either way.
Google spokesperson, Matt Cutts, has publicly stated, “There are some things in the algorithm that may be perceived as a sandbox that doesn’t apply to all industries.” Mr. Cutts’ statements are very well prepared, extremely rare and he is widely regarded as a knowledgeable, reliable source.
And so, the Sandbox Effect may serve to temporarily slow down the effects of any promotional campaign you undertake.
All of these factors combine to form the long and often frustrating process of a typical SEO campaign. Depending on your website, it can be a quick and pain-free experience, or it can be a slow and testing process. It depends. You have to be patient.