I believe that SEO is the most powerful tactic for driving high-quality traffic to your site, but it’s different from other strategies like digital advertising and social media marketing. Its scope is much wider and incorporates a variety of disciplines, skills, and tech to do it well.

Typically, SEO does not equal fast growth. If you’ve ever spoken to an SEO expert, they’ll likely tell you that SEO takes time – months and months – to really show value and ROI. 

That said, there are tactics that you can utilize to help move the needle in the short term. Because the SEO discipline is so diverse, there are different ways to structure your strategy to generate short-term results while you work towards your long-term goals.

Below is an SEO Q&A with common SEO strategy questions and our recommended tactics for quick(er) results.

Are fast SEO results possible?

This is a common question, especially for those who are considering signing up for SEO services. As we mentioned above, the concept of “fast” and “SEO” are typically mutually exclusive.

SEO works by making changes to a website, then allowing search engines like Google to index those changes and rank the website or webpage favorably for specific keywords or customers. That process takes time because there is a lot involved:

  1. Make website changes and publish live on the site
  2. Allow Google to crawl the new web page, indexing new information
  3. Google’s algorithm takes that new information and determines what is new/different
  4. Google then has to cross reference it with all other available information available in their index
  5. Using a complex set of factors, Google determines which search terms should trigger the new content
  6. The content appears in search results
  7. Google measures how users interact with the new content
  8. Based on interaction, Google then decides if it should be moved up or down

Over time, if your new page performs well with users, Google is likely to move it up in the rankings because they feel it has valuable information.

As you can tell, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes when you try to improve SEO for a web page. It’s a lot more than just throwing up a website, especially when you start factoring in backlinks and other metrics like Core Web Vitals.

So to answer the question: yes, fast SEO results are possible, but quality, long-term results are unlikely to happen quickly.

What can I do in 1 month to improve my SEO?

Luckily, there are short-term tactics you can utilize in SEO to help drive quicker results. Here are a few ways to approach it:

  1. Focus micro-changes that impact a lot of pages
  2. Focus on a single product or category relentlessly
  3. Fix technical issues that are present on your site

What is the #1 SEO tactic to show improvement immediately?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Honestly, I would have to say that it depends on the site, their industry, their competitors, and what their goals are. There really, truly isn’t a tactic that you can use on any site that will show improvement.

For new sites, your best bet is to focus on the keyword optimization in your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. That’s where you’ll be able to have the most immediate impact, though it wouldn’t necessarily be a game changer.

For established websites, I would recommend looking into technical or architectural improvements to enhance website performance. It’s not uncommon to find websites that have been around for a long time with lingering technical issues that have gone unnoticed or untended. 

When should I start prepping for the holidays?

For SEO, you should be preparing to take advantage of increased holiday traffic near the end of summer. If you think about it, the holiday shopping season starts in early November. Because SEO typically takes a few months to see a decided impact, starting an optimization campaign for products and/or categories you expect to be popular during the holiday season gives you enough time to optimize those pages and allow the changes to be picked up by Google. 

When does SEO start showing results?

Here’s what we tell all of our clients: SEO typically takes 3 months to start showing real results. It’s not uncommon to see traffic changes sooner, though that traffic is often unreliable and can fluctuate quite a bit, making it hard to determine what’s working or not. More often than not, by month 3, we are able to determine the efficacy of the strategy and either continue on the same track or pivot. 

Now, there are instances where SEO can take longer to demonstrate results. Notably, one of our specialists worked with a client years ago where we didn’t hit our SEO goals until around the 12 month mark. Our focus was heavily catered towards On Page SEO, despite our recommendations that the client get a new responsive, mobile-friendly site. They resisted, and while we were able to show modest improvements, it didn’t drive ROI for the client above what they were spending on their SEO strategy. Ultimately, the client decided to move ahead with the responsive site, and traffic – along with conversions – took off almost immediately afterwards. 

So, the short answer is typically 3 months, but it can be earlier or later depending on the situation.

What is the fastest way to improve organic traffic?

If you want solid, steady organic growth, start investing in your content. A great content strategy can do a number of things that will help quickly improve organic traffic:

  • Showcase your topical authority in your market or niche
  • Build trust in your brand with your customers by providing plenty of great information about your products
  • Help you rank for your target keywords
  • Demonstrate your market expertise or unique value propositions
  • Improve your site speed by optimizing your web images with an image compression tool

The combination of giving your website more keyword coverage and expanding content authority is a good way to rise in the ranks and build awesome organic traffic. A great content strategy can mean working with an SEO expert to help you with keywords, analyzing your competition to find out what sets you apart, working with experts in your niche to make sure you can really demonstrate your expertise and authority, and reinforcing great pieces of content by sharing them on social media.

How fast does my website need to be for good SEO?

Site speed is not an exact science. Website owners have been talking about site speed for years as a ranking factor without really understanding how it factors into Google’s ranking criteria. A “fast” site has always been something “good” to have for the user experience, but until recently, we weren’t really sure if it was a boon for SEO.

That is all about to change.

Site speed is going to become a ranking factor in 2021 with the launch of Google’s Page Experience update. Specifically, a Core Web Vital metric called “First Contentful Paint” is designed to allow Google assess the speed of a website with a concrete metric and incorporate it as a ranking factor. 

Let’s be clear: first contentful paint doesn’t directly equate to site speed or a fast website. 

First Contentful Paint is a unit of measurement that tells Google when a website loads the first bits of visual information in the browser, providing immediate visual feedback to the user. So while having a “fast” site is nice, that isn’t the exact metric that Google is looking at. You can improve perceived the speed of a web page while still receiving poor marks for Core Web Vitals metrics. Even if you think you have a “fast” site, if your FCP score isn’t great, it’s not going to help your ability to rank come 2021.

In order to have “good” site speed, you need a FCP score between 0 and 2 seconds, according to Web Core Vitals.

Wrapping Up

As an SEO expert, I feel it’s my job not to over promise results. All the strategies listed above only work if you follow best practices and focus on high quality content, good strategy, and making your website a better place for your users. This is not a guide on how to get better SEO results overnight – that’s not really how it works. 

If you want some insight on a good short term SEO strategy, feel free to get in touch with us here.