You have worked hard on your business website. You’ve put loads of content on your blog, and you’ve managed to get some links from other websites. Or you paid an SEO like me to do this for you.
Either way, it’s 2 months down the road, and you’re still not seeing your website showing up on Google’s first page for the keywords you want. Why not?
I get this question a lot from clients around the 2 month mark after contracting my services. A lot of things have changed on the website, I’ve been acquiring quality links from other related websites, and more importantly, the client has been shelling out for my services. Yet no joy on the rankings front ! Why not?!
This article attempts to answer this question.
2 Elements of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Optimising a website involves 2 main elements:
- On-page optimisation – this includes adding content to the website like blog posts and videos
- Off-page optimisation – getting links to the website from other websites
I’m going to focus on off page factors (number 2 above), as this helps explain better the time lag between making changes and getting the ranking your website deserves. However, some of the reasons below also relate to on-page factors (what you change and add to your website).
1. Google Passes By When It Feels Like
When you get a link on another website, Google might detect it very quickly. However, it can take weeks for Google to pass by and do its “crawl”. This comes down to how often Google feels a website updates its content. If that’s every 3 weeks, Google won’t waste its server resource to pop back every day. It will adjust and visit much more occasionally.
So it can take days or weeks for Google to detect a new link to your website.
N.B. This is also why updating your own blog regularly means you get ranked quicker. Google will detect you blog regularly, so it will crawl your website much more frequently, and find all that lovely new content.
N.N.B. To put this in perspective, Google crawls news sites like the BBC every few minutes ! But if you think why that is, it’s because new content is added to the BBC website every few seconds.
2. Google Ponders About Your New Link
Google doesn’t just accept your new link once it has found it, and boost your rankings. It will vet it, check it with other data, and see if it is a valid and non-spammy link. Google doesn’t want spammers and spammy websites in its rankings, as that’s not what searchers want to find.
“But I’m not a spammer” I hear you cry. You know that, I know that, but Google doesn’t. Google is essentially a computer programme, which will only act on logic (not emotion) and data it can find. So it will take its time to collect other data from other websites to decide if your new inbound link is good or not.
This might take a few days, or it could take a couple of months.
3. Google Changes Your Ranking…At Last!
Finally, after finding your link, and thinking about it, Google will then update your ranking. Hopefully moving you up the rankings for the keyword you have targeted. But it can take 2 weeks, or 3-6 months for this to happen. In a nutshell, Google passes by, then ponders, and then finally ranks impact of your new link.
This is why I try to set expectations with my clients upfront. After 3 months of using my services, they should see small changes to the level of site traffic and website enquiries. But it’s normally at the 6 month mark that they will see some big increases, and start to see an ROI for my SEO services.
I’d like to add to additional points to this:
- Social Shares are not Links – people sharing your content on Facebook is great for spreading the word, and it will drive new visitors to your website. But they don’t count as inbound links…yet. Traffic from social is important as it’s generally people more interested in what you have to say, but it doesn’t directly help your website with new inbound links.
- Links Get Better with Age – links which you’ve had for a few months+ might be valued more by Google than newly acquired links. It’s likely Google will trust an older link just by the fact it’s still linking to you after a period of time, so likely from a reliable source.
If you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of this, this article about Google Ranking’s Time Lag is a great read.
Please share your Google ranking frustrations below, as I’d love to hear other people’s experiences, or answer any questions.