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Patience: The Most Important Ranking Factor

One of the most frustrating aspects of SEO is the amount of time it takes to see the results you want. 

When clients begin working with an SEO agency, it’s common for there to be a lot of excitement. They’ve heard about the importance of SEO and they’re ready to hit the ground running!

However, when the work actually commences, a little uneasiness sets in. Sometimes we’ll get questions like: 

“Why is my link being placed on this random tech blog I’ve never heard of?” 

“Who is this random SaaS blogger that’s mentioning us?” 

SEO link building is different from PR link building, which involves mentions in high-profile publications like Forbes or Yahoo. 

The downside here is that PR links tend to be nofollow–so while they’re great for raising brand awareness, the SEO benefits are blunted since algorithms have been taught to disregard nofollow links. 

It’s on us as an agency to spend time educating clients about the value of links, even if they’re from sites they don’t immediately recognize. 

When evaluating the quality of a backlink, it’s important to look at things like: 

  • Page authority (UR)
  • Domain rating (DR) 
  • Contextual relevance 

Still, even with good quality links, it takes time to fully realize the benefits from them. 

Why Building Trust Should Take Time

From a business standpoint, it makes sense why clients want to see an ROI quickly. But thinking about the downside of fast rankings from a searcher’s point-of-view can help put things into perspective.

As a searcher, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of performing a search and not finding the information you wanted. Or maybe you found the information you were looking for, but it was low-quality. 

This is the exact scenario Google is trying to prevent. By scrutinizing a site’s content and trustworthiness (i.e., links), Google is better able to achieve their goal:

“​​Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”  

The key word here is useful. Most searchers would agree that the more trustworthy the info, the more useful it is. Therefore, building trust with search engines should take time. Otherwise, low-quality sites would dominate the SERPs, leaving searchers disappointed. 

SEO Rewards Patience

We understand that it can feel nerve-wracking to spend thousands of dollars a month without seeing a traffic landslide. 

But the reality is: it takes time for links to boost your site’s authority–sometimes days or weeks, but most often, months.  

It probably comes as no surprise, then, that clients who trust the process and commit for 6+ months usually see outsized results. 

In a recent analysis of our clients’ sites, clients who consistently built links for 12+ months saw an average traffic increase of more than 400%. 

We help clients achieve these results through white-hat tactics only: good content, high-quality links, and patience.

Trust the Process

One of my favorite things about SEO is the fact that we don’t have to guess what works–we can simply search our target keyword, see which websites are performing well, and study them. As my colleague Jess Kim likes to say: “We have the answers to the test!” 

From there, it’s a matter of reverse engineering a strategy that is 20+% better.

Still, for marketers who don’t have much SEO experience, engaging with an SEO firm feels incredibly risky–and that’s okay!

As you evaluate potential link building partners, here are some helpful questions to ask so you can feel confident moving forward: 

  • How long does it take for your clients to see results? 
    • If they tell you you’ll see results right away, RUN!
  • What is the average traffic increase for your clients’ sites? 
    • Most reputable agencies will provide you with case studies to support this information.
  • What kind of websites do you use to build links?
    • A good agency will only build links from authoritative, contextually relevant sites. 

Final Thoughts

The clients who are most successful with SEO understand that they won’t see results overnight. But a good strategy combined with some time and patience will pay dividends for many years to come. 

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