Close your eyes. Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Let all expectations of instant search ranking improvements float in and right back out of your consciousness. In our practice today, we'll be covering the realities of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) timelines.
Tadasana: Introduction to SEO
At this stage in our SEO flow, we are aware of the benefits of continued practice. The expectations for instant gratification and bumps in search rankings may still linger, but progress is progress. In the beginning stages, we might have taken a look at the elements of SEO that should make up the foundation of your continued efforts.
We've added unique meta descriptions to every page. We've streamlined content so that each page is useful and informative to website viewers. We've added alt tags to images and created contextual links. At this point, we're 2-4 weeks into our practice, and yet Analytics and Search Console are showing little to no improvement in our web traffic and rankings.
Remember your breathing. This is all part of the journey.
Downward-Facing Dog: The Real Work Starts
SEO is a commitment. It's 2020, and long-term commitment may be hard to find in some other areas of your life, but you'll have to get cozy with SEO if you have any hopes of getting past first base.
Once we've addressed the glaring SEO red flags, it's time to get into the more technical aspects of improving your website. At this stage in the practice, we've got some movement in our SEO flow. We might also need to put in a little more work. Break a sweat, if you will.
Examples of technical SEO improvements may include minimizing and reorganizing code, compressing image sizes and serving them in web-friendly formats, and even considering the way your website is cached.
But there's more to improving rankings than just getting the tech-y bits right. A good website is one that provides value to the targeted user. With the BERT update that rolled out late last year, Google's index is much better at serving up content related to user search queries. At this time, I would like you to direct your attention to your content strategy. Optimizing solely for keywords isn't going to cut it anymore. In 2020, you have to be optimizing for the person (or indexing crawler) that will be reading and understanding your content.
We might be 8-12 weeks into our practice at this stage. Thanks for sticking with me through this process.
Shavasana: Don't Fall Asleep on Me
If you've ever taken a beginners' yoga class, you've heard the joke that at the end of class, you get to take a nap. But experienced yogis and SEOs will know that now is the best time to refocus on our goals.
For the next 3-6 months, you'll continue your practice by making small improvements. Inhale...remove redirect chains...exhale...implement proper pagination. Google themselves has laid an expectation that SEO overhauls will take up to 12 months to result in improved rankings.
SEO is both a time and monetary investment. Before you decide to invest in SEO, it's essential to set realistic timeline goals. Improving the organic visibility and performance of your website is a practice that will take months to master. What's great is that SEO, just like yoga, is a dynamic practice. There will always be things to improve, and the light at the end of the tunnel is always moving.
Now that I've FULLY exhausted this metaphor, if you'd like to get started on your SEO strategy, start a conversation.