Well, that's a loaded question!
How long does it take…to what? What exactly do you want it to do?
Most people, not in “the know,” ask that question, expecting the answer to be a finite, “3 weeks,” but again, to do what?
Let's break this down a bit, then build it back up with an actual answer.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” Well, what does that mean?
First off, a search engine like Google is a website (or app on a mobile device) that you use to search for information.
You may ask, “How long does SEO take?” Google will return about a zillion answers, most of which are completely inane answers to the question.
Or, you may ask, “Which Rocky movie is the best?” If the answer is Rocky IV, they're wrong. Go ask Bing.
What we, as website owners want, is to optimize our website so that it shows up at the top of Google's search results for the term the user just entered.
But the better objective is to optimize our website so that it CONVERTS visitors from “lookers” to “buyers.”
At the end of the day, I don't care how many people show up on my website. What I want is them to “eat what I'm cookin'.”
Like almost everything in real life, the answer is, “It depends.”
The general consensus is that it takes anywhere from 4 months to a year (or more!) to start seeing results from an SEO campaign. Whether that results in more sales is another matter and almost never related to your SEO results.
If you're going for “get my website ranked on the first page of Google for this keyword phrase,” doing so depends on a variety of factors, the most important being these three:
How many other websites are vying for that same keyword phrase? If they're bigger & badder than your website, guess what? They get ranked higher.
Another very important factor to how you rank for a given search phrase is “backlinks,” also known as “inbound links.” The short answer is these are links TO your site from other sites.
You earn those links by providing excellent information on your website.
That comes from your content.
Now, a lot of “SEO's” (the folks who “do” SEO for others for a fee) can get those backlinks through–uh–“blackhat” means…or other non-earned methods…even if your website is rubbish. And it will rank well.
If you're going for high rankings on Google and conversions (you are, by the way), then you need to rely on a fourth thing: Copywriting, which is a whole other ball o' wax.
Not only does your content have to be off-the-charts good, you have to be persuasive in your content creation enough to get visitors to take an action.
You do that through persuasive writing, or “copywriting.”
Think of every single page of your site to be a possible “sales vector.” Therefore, every page should have a call to action, with every paragraph leading up to it building the case that you really should buy this.
To summarize, it will probably take you a few months to see any results from active SEO.
Better yet, create content that answers your potential visitor's question. Over time, if you deliver enough of this kind of content, you will begin getting ranked at Google.
More importantly, you will begin to see traffic from real-world searchers who will buy what you're selling.
Today, I want to share a post with you that has proven very valuable:
It's a post from Yoast (they make the most popular “SEO” plugin for WordPress) that shows how to set up Google Analytics with their plugin.
Watch & Read here.
When you're setting up a blog or website, knowing where your traffic comes from is critical.
This will help you determine that.
Plus, you will know what pages & posts are popular because they will be your most-visited pages.
So, make THOSE pages stand out – and make sure people aren't “bouncing” from them.
Alright – go do it!
All the stupid things “SEOs” do to fuck up search results. Just make a damned good site with content your audience finds worthwhile. That's all you need to know.
Every time we find a new tactic to exploit Google, it gets abused. So how can the SEO industry continue to show value, beyond just rankings?
General ground rules: Take as much space as you need for on-page SEO, but no more than necessary. Put another way, say what needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Adhere to the limits below–but certainly, if it can be perfectly said in 40 characters and you have 70 characters to “fill up,” use 40 characters!
Most search engines limit the title tag to 70 characters. At the 70 character mark, most will present an ellipsis “…” — keep your title tags to 70 characters or less.
For more on the Title Tag — http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/title-tag
This tag is no longer used by Google for SEO purposes; rather, it is a branding / sales issue. That is to say, the SEs don’t even look at the meta description when ranking a site.
However, the search engine results page (SERP) does display the meta description tag. Therefore, humans see it in the SERPs and act accordingly–if it’s a compelling message, people will click on it.
Most search engines limit this tag to 160 characters.
For more on the Meta Description Tag, check out these 2 hot resources:
This tag is no longer used by Google (or Bing, as far as we can tell). Supposedly, it is used by Yahoo and Ask (but seriously, how many people use those search engines?).
However, you never know what “minor” SE may use it and become a dominant or significant player in the search engine realm. Nor do we know if or when a current major SE may decide to use it again.
Plus, it’s an easy tag to implement, so why not?
There is no theoretical limit to the number of keywords in the meta keywords tag. This is not to say that you should go nuts. Limit the number of keywords to 5.
Here’s the way we look at it.
Every page or post you publish ought to START with keywords.
Adhering to these basic and very simple “on page SEO” and keyword best practices will give your website the best chance possible to rank highly for your chosen keyword phrases. Of course, there is more to search engine optimization than on page SEO–getting your off-page SEO is critically important, too.
However, you can do a ton of off-page SEO and never get the results you are aiming for if your on-page SEO is insufficient.
Put another way, get both your off-page and on-page SEO right and the sky is the limit!