“How long will it take to rank?” is the million-dollar question that all search engine optimization (SEO) service providers get from business owners eager to bring in more traffic quickly.

While business owners are often, understandably, eager to bring in quick traffic, patience is truly a virtue when it comes to capturing a prime spot in Google’s search results. Over the next several weeks, we will be breaking down this topic that mystifies so many.

First off, a successful SEO strategy should always rest on a solid foundation of trust and transparency, with expectations being laid out at the start.

From a high level, a website needs to have a few things going for it to reach the coveted position of page one of Google’s search results. This is achieved when a site has built up enough authority, trust and powerful links to earn that spot. One way to think of it is that, over time, you’re training Google to trust that your site is worthy of being referred out to on its search engine.

There are a few key factors that any SEO expert will incorporate in your SEO strategy to achieve this. First up, let’s discuss on-page SEO and factors that can be controlled right within your site’s content.

High-quality content:  As the adage goes, content is king. The content you put on your site should have a clear goal, such as informing or entertaining site visitors. Well-crafted content with purposeful messaging will not only help your site rank, but it will influence your potential buyers or clients to act.

Content optimization: Once you nail your content down, it’s time to optimize. Strategic placement of primary keyword variations in your URL, titles, headers, metadata, tags and content will help Google categorize these in its database. Over time, your site’s discovery will improve as you “train” Google on the sites you’re similar to.

Navigation and inner linking: Your site visitors are busy, which means you have limited time to get them the information they are seeking. It’s so important to make your content easy to navigate, so visitors don’t get frustrated and go to another site that meets their needs more effectively. Prioritize the essential information such as contact information, links, buying information and frequently asked questions.

Backlink authority: If content is king, then links are the queen. Google loves to see sites that link out to other high-authority sites relevant to your industry and niche and uses this as a barometer of trust in determining a site’s credibility and worthiness of ranking. Without this vote of confidence, it’s likely your site won’t improve its ranking.

Image optimization: Images often get left behind or are an afterthought for SEO, but these are your secret weapon. Take advantage of all image optimization tools, including alt text that helps the visually impaired understand the images.

This is just scratching the surface on what it takes to rank. Next week, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of off-page SEO.

While you can attempt to go at it alone, we always recommend investing in a trusted expert. In the long run, it will save you time, money and many headaches. We would love the chance to earn your trust with a free site audit. Contact us for a free consultation and site audit.

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