Many business owners who decide to start blogging and using social media for the first time go through a wide range of emotions:
- Exhaustion (coming up with ideas, writing, editing, re-writing, adding SEO and photos, cross-linking…this stuff takes work.)
- Relief (finally hitting “Publish” and watching your new content appear is a huge weight off the ‘ol to-do list.)
- Exhilaration (sharing your work with your customers on social media and getting engagement is both exciting and motivating!)
But after those initial waves of emotion hit, you’re left with another emotion you probably didn’t anticipate: expectation. Namely, when do my search rankings start improving?
You give your published post a few days and then you start checking Google…but nothing’s really happened. You put in the keyword you chose for your post, but the post is nowhere to be found in your results. Your social media accounts aren’t even showing up. WHAT GIVES? Before you chuck your laptop against the wall, take a quick breather. Stuff is happening…you just can’t see it yet. Here’s why.
Improving Your Search Results is Never Immediate
The nitty-gritty, unpopular truth about content marketing is that it takes a). time, and b). consistent effort. In order for your blogging content and social media accounts to show up in search results, you have to be prepared (and patient) to play the long con. This goes for any brand or business: the more content you have, the better your search results will be. We talked about this a bit in What to Expect After Your Website Goes Live, but here is a real-life example that illustrates this.
Take a look at Charlie Hustle, the popular KC-based clothing brand, for example:
When I type in “Kansas City clothing brand”, they’re at the very top. Why? How did they get here?
Now, search “Charlie Hustle”, and this is what pops up:
So.Much.Content. Dozens of product pages. A blog. An active social media presence. Locations. If you keep clicking on additional search results pages, you’ll see gobs and gobs of content: articles, news promos, and more.
This didn’t happen overnight.
Charlie Hustle has been building an online presence built around a quality product for almost five years now, and for all intents and purposes, it’s helping them achieve that coveted ranking on the first page of Google.
While you may not own a vintage t-shirt company that collaborates with the MLB and other heavy-hitting brands, the rule still applies: building your online presence requires quality content, diligent effort, and the patience to let Google do it’s thing. Your first blog post will help put you on that path, but you cannot expect your search results to soar through the roof the first one, two, or even five times. It is not exact and it is not immediate.
So When Does It Start Working?
Good question! It’s different for every brand and it depends on what you’re putting out there, how often you do it, and even how old your domain is. Newer domains are not going to have the same authority as older ones…especially if those older ones are continuously publishing new content. Hell, even if they put out loads of content for years and haven’t for a while, they could still have more presence than your relatively newer content. But it’s not to say that you won’t see the results you desire, because you most definitely will…if you put the work into it.
How Social Media Affects Your Search Results
How social media affects search results is not an exact science. Even the experts can’t seem to agree on how social media truly affects search results. While your social media will definitely HELP, there’s no exact reasoning as to how it does work. The important thing to remember about social media, however, is that it will contribute to building your overall brand. Your customers can find you in so many different ways, and social media also plays a role in that.
The Bottom Line: Don’t Get Discouraged
Long story short, if you’ve been blogging for a few weeks and you’re making a consistent effort on your chosen social media accounts, well done! That is something worth celebrating. Content marketing on the whole requires great thought, execution, and persistence. This is why there’s an entire industry built around blogging, and social media: if it were easy, EVERYONE would do it!
Keep growing your presence by sticking to your content strategy (even when you don’t want to), publishing blog posts, posting daily on social media, and connecting with others online. The search results will eventually come. Focus on authentically growing your brand and your hard-fought work will pay off. Don’t lose hope: you’re off to a great start!