Our Answers To Commonly Asked Questions About SEO
Search Engine Optimisation does not produce instantaneous results. This is why Optillion recommends that clients who need to generate website traffic immediately initiate a pay-per-click or social media advertising campaign to run concurrently with the initial stages of website optimisation. The advertising campaign can then be scaled back or stopped when the SEO campaign starts to produce significant levels of search engine referrals.
The length of time that it takes for an SEO campaign to produce results depends on the competitiveness of the key phrases for which the site is being optimised. An SEO campaign targeting uncompetitive key phrases may produce significant ranking improvements in less than a month. However, with competitive phrases it would take between 3 and 6 months for the site to enter the target zone of a top 30 ranking in Yahoo and MSN, and up to a year for the site to achieve stable first page rankings.
Achieving results in Google is significantly slower, usually taking up to 3 months longer to reach the equivalent ranking targets in Google than in either Yahoo or MSN. This is because Google’s algorithm works more on a principle of trust, requiring a website’s links to originate from high-quality, relevant websites. It should also be noted that when a website is first indexed by Google it receives a significant ranking boost, the 'Google Honeymoon Period', which may last for up to 4 weeks, after which it will fall to its natural position in the search engine results. This drop in rankings is recognised Google behaviour and does not indicate failure of the SEO process.
The timescale for optimising websites for competitive key phrases is longer and much less predictable. In part this is due to the inherent competitiveness of the target key phrases, which means that more intensive on page optimisation and significantly larger numbers of inbound links are required to achieve high search engine rankings. The matter is further complicated by the Google ‘sandbox’, a filtering mechanism which appears to be triggered by sites which are targeting competitive key phrases acquiring large numbers of links either in a short space of time or with little anchor text variation. Sites which are ‘sandboxed’ remain in the Google index, but are omitted from Google’s results, even for uncompetitive search terms, for a period of between 3 and 12 months. Adding links over a prolonged period and using greater anchor text variation may prevent the Google sandbox filter from being invoked, but will also lengthen the time it takes to achieve results in all three of the target search engines.
Optillion’s Search Engine Optimisation campaigns have a minimum contract length of twelve months. One would expect an SEO campaign targeting uncompetitive key phrases to have fulfilled its objectives within the contract period. SEO campaigns targeting highly competitive key phrases should achieve significant improvements in both search engine rankings and referrals by the end of the first year, although it generally takes a longer period to achieve optimal search engine rankings. An Optillion SEO proposal will include a precise estimate of the timescale required to achieve ranking results for an individual website and its set of target key phrases.
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