The hope with any marketing content you produce is that someone will actually see it. To do that, you want to make sure that you’re as close as possible to the top of the appropriate Google search. If you’re curious how long it will actually take your website to rank, the general consensus is two to six months. That said, there are a few factors to keep in mind if you want to make sure that your time to rank falls within that window.
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Are You Ranking a New Website, or a New Landing Page?
An entirely new website will take longer to rank than a new page that’s added to one that already exists. This is because young websites and domains need to be evaluated as trustworthy — which can take an average of six months — versus those that are established and already receive plenty of web traffic.
It’s the same concept that applies to email prospecting: proving to others who have never heard of you before that you’re legitimate and not spam. While prospecting deals with cold emails to drum up interest from new leads, websites perform a similar function of demonstrating market authority and authenticity by using material that your content marketers develop.
What Are the Factors That Influence Your Ranking?
Beyond the age of your website, there’s also the question of how well it’s organized. By this, we’re referring to the H1 through H4 tags you may be using (i.e. the titles and subheadings of your landing pages), as well as the keywords you want to rank for.
Tags and Keywords
Using tags makes it easier for visitors to scan your high-quality content for the information they need, and for search engines to crawl your site to analyze it. They can also be used to form a table of contents on pages where you have a lot of material to share.
Keyword analysis tools like Semrush can help you identify the keywords you want to include in the content you develop. These can include competition keywords, which are words that others in your industry are using to improve their rankings. These tools can also offer guidance on the recommended word count you should aim for on a given page, as well as who in your industry has already ranked for this material.
Keep in mind that these variables can change at any time as others attempt to rank for the same things — even you, once you finally post!
Quantity vs. Quality
Does that mean you should stress about meeting the word count, like a student trying to pad an essay?
At the end of the day, word count is a guideline, and the quality of your content is arguably more important. You just have to make sure that it: a) gives visitors answers to what they’re looking for, and b) keeps them interested enough to want to stick around your website. The first can be made easier with the use of long-tail keywords, those phrases or questions your leads are most likely to type into Google searches. The second comes from being direct and truthful with your readers.
That’s why the short answer to this blog’s title is given in the first paragraph, while the long answer is what we’re digging into here. And if you’ve been kind enough to stick it out this far, we think you’ll continue to find value in what comes next.
If you have several images on your website to help break up the written content and also offer credibility to your services, we strongly recommend that they include ALT text. This offers several benefits.
First, it expands your reach by being accessible to those with disabilities. At minimum, that’s respectful and considerate; at maximum, it’s opening doors with potential leads you may never have known you had.
Second, it allows web crawlers to “see” what you’re posting, which aids your keyword search.
Third, it meets 508 compliance, which is another validator for your page rank with Google.
Ideally, you want to develop content and landing pages so authoritative that others will want to link back to them. These backlinks improve your SEO clout because search engines will identify them and how they influence web traffic.
But backlinking is also one of the hardest aspects of digital marketing to master, especially if you’re in a very competitive industry with deeply established influencers.
So what can you do to stand out?
First, start by backlinking to other credible sources in your own content. This use of third-party material to reinforce your message will demonstrate that you’ve done your research and you’re looking to educate others.
Second, ask other players in your market if they’d be willing to partner with you. One of the easiest ways to do this is by offering them syndicated content, which is material you’ve already written that can simply be republished on a partner’s website with backlinks to yours. You get added visibility with your partner’s network, and your SEO gets a nice little bump at the same time.
What To Avoid
The one “strategy” to avoid when ranking your website is keyword stuffing. It’s the act of padding your content with keywords as many times as you can, with the idea that a higher quantity will equal higher rankings.
Except, it doesn’t work.
For starters, this kind of content won’t sound natural. You could write a blog about how you offer the “best marketing solution for new business development,” but if you repeat that phrase 20 times, it’s going to look distracting and disingenuous.
Plus, Google’s had plenty of years of practice learning how to catch it.
It’s the same reason we discourage clickbait: it misleads your readers, and can ultimately hurt your website credibility.
How Does Pay-Per-Click Affect Your Ranking Position?
At the same time that you’re developing content that will rank higher, you may also be considering pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. For those who don’t know, PPC is essentially bidding for digital ad space. When we’re talking about PPC for search engines, we’re referring to those ad spaces you see above the tops of search results. When someone clicks on your linked ad, you pay the PPC company that placed it.
These ads are effective because a) people see them before the results of their searches, and b) it’s easy to click on them without recognizing that they’re ads. The only difference between them and actual search results is the word “Ad,” displayed in a small font right beside their displayed URLs. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, try a Google search right now and see if you can spot them.
While PPC can be lucrative, it shouldn’t be considered a replacement for proper SEO. It may feel like it’s ranking faster than traditional content, but that’s simply the power of advertisements mixed with the itchy click fingers of most web users. If the time comes when you decide that PPC is too expensive to maintain, your company will immediately disappear from those ad spaces the moment you turn off those services — which means if you don’t put in the SEO effort to rank for the long term, you’ll be right back to where you started.
Need Help With Your Ranking?
We ask again, how long will it take your website to rank? The short answer is two to six months. The long answer is two to six months, depending on how well you manage the factors above.
At the end of the day, you want content that you can count on to establish your market authority. That involves the proper use of tags and keywords, focusing on quality over quantity, improving your website’s accessibility, and leveraging backlinks as available. Plus, make sure to avoid misleading information like keyword stuffing and clickbait!
While all of this can take time to implement, it’s well worth the investment. If your team would like assistance when it comes to any of these ranking factors, we’re ready to help! Click below to schedule a free marketing consultation to see which services are the most appropriate.