I have to remind myself constantly that good SEO does not produce results overnight. I am a stickler for instant gratification, especially when I have worked so hard for it. It is easy to work at optimizing your site to “perfection” just to watch the stats and see very little change. These kinds of changes produce results a little too slowly for my taste, and it is really easy to run out of patience and consider letting it go. This is normal and you should always expect it.
Here are a few things to remember:
Google takes a minute to crawl your site
Even if you optimized your site and entered your sitemap into Google and Bing Webmaser Tools, it still takes what seems like forever for Google to take note of your site. As always, we are at the mercy of Google.
The best backlinks take a long time
I have always thought that submitting a site to directories is tacky, so I like to wait for the natural backlinks to occur. And they will, but it could take months (and months) for that to happen. We all know that good back links get us ranked well in the engines but if you build it, they will come. (You just have to wait).
Social cannot be the basket that you lay all your eggs
Social will bring great traffic to your site if utilized properly, however it will typically not bring enough traffic to hold you over until your site is indexed the way you want it to be. Use social (and it does help a bit), but don’t rely on it.
Give your goals some time
Don’t tell yourself your perfect site will rank on the first page of Google in a few weeks. Change that into months and that will be a bit more more realistic. If you have a lot of competition with a lot of age under their belt, change that to a little over a year. Longevity on the internet plays a role, so keep that in mind. You want “long tail”, not quick results that come from “black hat” techniques so always do the right thing and be realistic.
Don’t give up too soon
I have seen well optimized sites take up to 6 months to start bringing in the fruits of your labor, and labor is what it is. Stay on top of it. Check, optimize, check and check again. It will take time, but the reward will come.
I both love and hate when Google releases an update to their algorithm, however their latest update comes with a great bit of understanding from me. Many of their most recent updates seem to revolve around user experience and as a user, I am happy to see it.
How many times have you searched for something specific, then land on a page only to be bombarded with ads and being forced into a scavenger hunt for the information? I know for me…it is frustrating. On a previous release, I always found the newer popup screenshots with the information highlighted with a red box extremely helpful. This at least gives the user a “treasure map” pointing to a general location.
From my understanding (do we ever really understand these updates?), Google is going to start pushing websites that have the most valuable content above the fold to the top of results. This is excellent for the user, and myself as I have always avoided “top heavy” methods of layout and design.
But what does this mean for your SEO?
Hopefully nothing. Placing valuable content above the fold has been a suggestion that should be embedded deep into your brain cavity. But if not, I can offer a few suggestions to make sure your content gets found:
- Move Ads Down
If you have ads, and you know what I mean…move them down. Now if you are a site that hosts one sponsor banner at the top..I don’t mean you. Consider a sidebar method of layout if you don’t have it already and push those pesky things off to the side so your key content is ideally above but at least even with your ads.
- Push Your Blog to the Homepage
If you blog, put it on the homepage. Even if it is just a small box that showcases some recent content titles…promote it to the top. Right after the header if you can. Keeping as much fresh content on the top of your homepage is valuable to this update.
- Utilize Your Metas
You should be doing this already, however making sure your title and meta description are short, relevant, to the point and feature your keywords has always been a valuable asset. However..make sure those keywords are in the content –> on the homepage and –> above the fold.
- Audit Your Navigation
Navigation has always been vital to page quality so make sure it is near the top and links to optimized pages that enforce your keywords and message. Showing those bots that you have great content on the homepage and have available links for additional information will increase the overall quality of your page.
- Alt Your Images
Many of us have images in the header or just below. Make sure they have alt tags. Images offer valuable real estate for promoting your site’s message. This includes your logo, your social icons…anything.
Don’t just optimize your homepage. Optimize them all, audit them all and check them all. While you are at it…check them all again. Your homepage is not the only content being crawled by Google.
A little off topic now but am I the only one who is ecstatic that the Google+ iPhone app FINALLY allows you to manage your pages????