Not a Quick Fix: A Patient & Persistent SEO Approach for Reaching the Top

SEO isn’t a one-time quick fix. Rather it’s a long-term investment and practice that you have to constantly devote yourself to – whether this is done by regularly adding unique content to your site, adjusting your keyword strategy, or offsite measures aimed at achieving high quality backlinks.


All too often, prospective customers will approach an SEO agency with what they think is a simple request: “I’d like to rank #1 for this key term.” Needless to say, this approach isn’t always realistic and that key term they’re aiming for is the most obvious and competitive one available. Meanwhile, the low hanging fruit is being ignored – key terms that are super valuable and receiving solid search volume, but may not be as obvious. In this scenario, it’s best to start small. Maybe that keyword you’ve always dreamed of ranking for will eventually be within reach, but you have to build your way up before you can rank for it.


You can rank #1 for a really valuable key term, but if prospective customers reach your website and don’t like what they see, it’s all for naught. Simply said, they’re not going to convert. Google may be rewarding you for your site’s longevity and quality content, yet other factors may be neglected. Your navigation may be difficult and your site’s design may look like it’s from the 1990s. Web design efforts that include simplified navigation should go hand-in-hand with onsite SEO.


While you might not immediately boost up to the number 1 spot for all your preferred key terms, once you’ve optimized onsite content with title tags and keywords, some ranking changes can be expected once Google crawls all your webpages. Don’t be surprised to see some fluctuation after this. Continue to focus on expanding and improving your onsite content. The longer your website has been around, the better it should perform in search results.


Your site’s rankings might not be doing too well, but it shouldn’t be hard to figure out why. Instead of just waiting, make sure you’re consistently looking for news regarding the latest search algorithm changes (sites like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, & Search Engine Roundtable are all great resources for keeping up with the latest news).

Why is the above important? SEO tactics that were considered acceptable in the industry just a few years ago may now not only be obsolete, but also a bad idea – causing your rankings to remain low, and potentially getting you smacked with a nasty penalty from Google. And while sites can incur penalties for a number of onsite factors, a bigger problem that results in getting penalized is having bad backlinks – a good reason to regularly audit where your backlinks are coming from.

If high quality websites link to you, your site can benefit. However, if those sites linking to you are low quality, it could negatively impact your SEO efforts. Auditing your backlinks can be accomplished through Google Webmaster Tools. If you find anything low quality, irrelevant, or just plain weird, contact the sites and request that they remove your link. If you’re having trouble receiving a response, submit a disavow request with Google – something that will tell the Internet giant to discredit any negative PageRank those sites are passing along. Types of bad links in this category can include the following:

  • Reciprocal links (They agreed to post your link because you agreed to post theirs)
  • Links that were paid for
  • Links appearing in low quality/general web directories
  • Links included as keyword rich anchor text in guest blog posts
  • Links on sites completely unrelated to your own (These can sometimes result from negative SEO attacks/crawlers).
  • Links intentionally placed in forum posts with the intention of passing PageRank

Staying proactive will give you a better idea of what Google likes and doesn’t like – allowing you to adjust your site accordingly, even as new algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin come down the pipeline.

For more information regarding how to disavow, read Steering Clear of Manual Penalties: How to Disavow Links using Google Webmaster Tools.


Writing and adding quality content to your website is something that can be done at your own pace – though we’d suggest sooner rather than later. However, helping other sites realize your website is something they want to link to takes time. It’s obvious the content should be unique and add value for viewers, but sharing it over social media simply doesn’t go far enough. Performing outreach is something that should be done – but it involves putting the ball in someone else’s court and waiting for a response. Stay persistent, yet be patient.

For more information on achieving quality backlinks that pass positive PageRank, read Link Power: A Guide to a Determining Factor in Google’s Ranking Algorithm.


Before others can see your website in search results, Google first needs to crawl it. This often times means that the ball is in the search giant’s court. However, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you’re being indexed as soon as possible. These include:

  • Adding your site to Google Webmaster Tools (Google will actually provide recommendations to increase site visibility)
  • Setting up Analytics (Here you can track your site to make sure you’re getting a traffic boost)
  • Creating a sitemap via a plugin (really easy, especially if you’re using WordPress)


As we noted in the introduction, SEO requires a long-term committed approach. There’s no simple answer to how long it’ll take your site to rank for this or that. But by committing yourself to constantly improving your onsite content, you’ll ensure that you’re headed towards the summit of the rankings mountain. Eventually, you’ll find that the return on investment is worth all the hard work you’re putting in.