When I meet someone new who wants to appear in search results, there is often a question about how long it will take to start ranking organically. To any seasoned SEO, the answer is always that it depends. The fastest way to show up in search results is to learn fast with Google Ads. Google Ads is a pay-to-play (or pay-per-click) option for you to learn quickly how to create a great user experience that can improve your overall website —and, therefore, your organic search performance.

The SEO Marathon

SEO is following all of the best practices to create a good search experience that builds expertise, authority, and trust in your website. It is also known as “E-E-A-T“. You just started a website and think you provide the best service ever. Well, it’s one thing to say it; it’s another thing to demonstrate it, and that’s when you start to put E-E-A-T into practice. Examples of E-E-A-T are providing knowledge in your area of expertise – creating a blog that showcases that you know what you’re talking about or going more in-depth about a product or its benefit that you want to elaborate on beyond the product details page. Authority, in my interpretation, is when others validate that you are legitimate, either by talking about your brand on their websites or linking to your site with relevant anchor text. Authority can also come through press coverage, networking, and/or experience. And last but not least, Trust. Especially if your website is meant to convey an exchange of goods or information (subscribes), you need to provide users with trust in your website that you will not use their information maliciously and will provide what you promised. Ultimately, your content must match the intent and relevance of the user’s search query and expectations. Any experienced SEO should know the Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines).

In other words, SEO is a three-legged stool, where each leg plays a crucial role. Technical SEO focuses on the website’s infrastructure, ensuring it’s crawlable and understandable by search engines. Content SEO involves creating high-quality, informative content that users find valuable and relevant to their search queries. Outreach builds backlinks, essentially votes of confidence from other websites to yours, signaling authority and trust to search engines. All three work together: a technically sound website can’t rank well without valuable content, and amazing content might struggle to get noticed without backlinks from relevant sources.

Remember that this is a summary of SEO boiled down into a blog post. There is much more to unpack regarding SEO, including nuances, niches, and history. There are no guarantees when it comes to SEO, as search is becoming more personalized and even AI-generated, but there is a lot of long-term value if you put in the effort. Here is one of my favorite visuals for explaining all that goes into SEO:  https://searchengineland.com/seotable

The Google Ads Sprint

If you want to quickly move to the top of search results with no SEO experience, the best way to enter is through the auction with Google Ads. Google Ads allows you to bid on your desired keywords and have control over your ad messaging. With Google Ads, you can start to understand the behavior of your users and what works and what doesn’t quickly, which can help inform your SEO strategy.

Here’s an expansion on how Google Ads can inform your SEO strategy:

  • Keyword Research: Google Ads offers valuable insights into user search behavior through search terms reports. These reports show you the exact keywords users are typing to find products or services like yours. You can use this data to identify keywords you might have missed during your initial SEO keyword research.
  • Understanding User Intent: Analyzing which keywords convert best in your Google Ads campaigns can help you gain a deeper understanding of user intent. This tells you what users are truly looking for when they use specific keywords. You can then optimize your website content to match that intent, improving your organic ranking for those terms.
  • A/B Testing Ad Messaging: Google Ads allows you to test different ad copy variations to see which resonates best with your target audience. This A/B testing can also be applied to your website content. By understanding which headlines, descriptions, and calls to action perform best in your ads, you can optimize your website’s messaging for better SEO results.
  • Negative Keyword Targeting: Through Google Ads, you can identify irrelevant keywords that trigger your ads but don’t convert. These “negative keywords” can then be added to your SEO strategy to prevent your website from appearing for irrelevant searches, improving overall search relevance.
  • Landing Page Optimization: Tracking user behavior on your landing pages from Google Ads campaigns can reveal areas for improvement. Are users bouncing quickly? Are they not converting? By analyzing this data, you can identify weaknesses in your landing pages and optimize them for both conversions and SEO benefits.

Using Google Ads as a learning tool, you can gain valuable insights into user behavior and keyword performance that would take much longer to acquire with SEO alone. This knowledge can then be applied to your SEO strategy to create more relevant, engaging content that can help you perform better organically.

While Google Ads offers a fast track to the top of search results, true SEO success is a marathon, not a sprint. By combining the insights from Google Ads with a well-rounded SEO strategy that includes technical optimization, high-quality content, and strategic outreach, you can establish a strong foundation for long-term organic growth. However, navigating the ever-evolving SEO landscape can be complex. If you’re ready to take your website to the next level, contact me, Erika Austin, your trusted digital marketing consultant. I offer SEO Audits and hourly consultations. Let’s work together to have your website discovered in search and drive sustainable website success!