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Is SEO Getting Harder? What You Must Know As a Business Owner

Back in 2010, SEO seemed to be a walk in the park. All you needed to do was stuff a few keywords and build a backlink or two to see quick ranking results. It wasn’t surprising that most people who knew what they were doing were seeing fast and effective results.

Fast-forward to 2022, and SEO is a lot more complex and thorough – all done to provide users with high-quality content that matches their search intent.

In this post, Red Search brought together five key reasons why SEO has become more challenging and why it remains crucial for Australian businesses to get a head start in their marketing and start SEO early.

More Frequent Google Algorithm Updates

SEOs in the industry know how Google’s algorithm updates have increased frequently. The leading search engine updates its core algorithm many times per day while also constantly testing features that directly impact how search results are displayed.

In other words, keeping up with rapidly changing search landscapes is harder than ever. Some strategies and tactics that worked in the past may not have as much impact in today’s volatile search environment.

Increase in Competition Across All Industries

It’s a fact that more businesses are entering the digital space. As a result, about three new websites are added every second. Competing for the first page on Google gets more difficult every passing year.

Statistically, there’s never been a better time to kick off your website’s SEO marketing than now.

Ranking Highly Takes More Time For New Websites

Considering more websites are entering the digital playing field, Google has made it their mission to only rank the best websites at the top of their search results.

This means implementing stricter criteria for new websites by focusing on Google’s E-A-T and building topical authority.

Many SEOs have even speculated that Google incorporates a ‘sandbox’ where all new websites are grouped before being granted any real ranking ability.

The time in the sandbox is estimated to be an average of 6 months for new websites. Google has since denied the existence of a sandbox on many occasions. However, with all things considered, many reputable SEOs still believe in its existence.

Google’s Search Results Are Shrinking

Typically, Google would display ten organic results in any given search query. However, it’s not uncommon to see search results showing 7~9 website results per search.

With Google testing this shrunken concept rigorously over the past few years, it’s not going to be a surprise should they choose to make this change permanent. As a growing business considering starting SEO for the first time, this fahoptor is partially important to consider.

Rise of Search Ads & Other SERP Features

Google Ads account for about 55% of Alphabet’s revenue. Furthermore, Google dominates about 94% of Australia’s search engine market share.

There is a clear advantage in placing ads in web searches, particularly high-volume queries. Google’s SERP features, such as featured snippets, local packs, and images, also take up large portions of search engine real estate, further diverting attention away from organic results.

Sometimes, you must scroll three times to get to the organic results. So if you’re barely ranking on Google’s first page, these features may push you further away from your target customers.

Why Your Business Should Start SEO

SEO success doesn’t happen overnight. With white hat SEO, building authority and reputation around your brand to Google and users can take months or years, depending on the competition of your niche.

Here are some useful tips to help make your decision easier.

Plan Your Marketing, Don’t Leave it Until It’s Too Late

The sooner you start SEO, the more time you will have to catch up on your competitors and capitalize on a high-performing website.

Google’s search algorithm trusts established websites that consistently produce high-quality content. It’s imperative to plan out your SEO strategy and budget costs early to avoid making rushed decisions down the track.

Users Trust Organic Results than Ads

80% of all people who make a Google search ignore paid ads. That means that about 20% of users click on paid ads.

Implementing a well-planned SEO strategy that establishes E-A-T and topical authority can see your business capitalizing on a large stream of customers looking for the product or services of an organically high-ranking website.

When Done Right, SEO Starts a Positive Feedback Loop

SEO has proven to be one of the most effective digital marketing strategies that produce a real long-term business return on investment. It’s no surprise that SEO takes time for results to become apparent. This applies more to new websites than larger established brands.

However, it’s worth noting that all businesses have to start their SEO efforts somewhere, and for yours, starting sooner is likely better than starting later.

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