Google chrome logoAs mentioned elsewhere around the web, it’s hard to effect a quick change in search engine results page (SERP) rankings. It’s a long-haul process that takes time. It’s less of a sprint and more of a marathon. Depending on the competition for a given search keyword (i.e. the keyword that one is attempting to rank for), it can be less of a marathon and more of an ultra-marathon relay across the contiguous United States.

The Challenge

There are a number of reasons why SEO takes time. There is the aforementioned search keyword competition, the hundreds of Google’s search engine ranking factors to operate around, and the ever-shifting landscape of Google’s perpetually updating search engine algorithms.

To complicate matters even more, Google often updates their search engine algorithms without the public’s knowledge. So, figuring out the ins and outs of Google algorithm updates is much like trying to play pin the tail on the donkey, only the donkey keeps metamorphosing into different types of animals (penguins and birds and bears–oh my!)

Fortunately, there are some great SEO thought leaders out there (Moz, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch) that are always on the lookouts for algorithm updates. However, even the knowledge of these great organizations is finite.

Are you starting to get a sense of challenging SEO can be?

A Case Study

The way that Google utilizes all of its search engine ranking factors is constantly in flux. One day backlinks (links on other sites that point to yours) may be the best way of getting your site up to the top of Page 1. So, you plan and execute a strategy to get as many sites possible linking to your site. Phew! What a lot of hard-work. But it looks like it’s paying off. Over time you see your site jumping from Page 5 to Page 3 to Page 2 to Page 1. Your strategy is working. Time to rest on them laurels.

Then the next day, you see that your site is on the bottom of Page 2. You think “HOW?!?” You check the latest developments on an  SEO news publication and discover that a new Google algorithm update suddenly makes backlinks passé and good content that is geared toward people (not search engines) the best tactic possible.

Fair enough.

You rehash your strategy and make sure that all of your content is as unique, authoritative, and user-friendly as can be. You crank out some great 1000-word content. You share it over social media, you get other sites to feature and reference it, you begin to see results. Again, your site seems to make its way to the top of Page 1. Success! Your strategy is working…

…Until you hear about a new Google update called Mobilegeddon that penalizes sites that are not mobile friendly. You notice your site had dropped in search results once again and you’ve become painfully aware of the site’s early 2000’s, static, and otherwise not-mobile-friendly design. Shoot.

The Take-away

So you see, Google’s algorithm updates make SEO a dynamic arena that constantly challenges the champions who enter it. SEO can be frustrating and it can be rewarding, but in the face of so many moving parts, one thing always holds true: it takes time.