As a time-poor yet ambitious small business owner, it's only natural that you'll seek out quick results in terms of almost anything – receiving payments, getting a loan approved or finding new staff, for example.
In terms of the online aspect of your business, where many tasks can be at least initiated with a mere 'click', delays in tangible outcomes can be extra frustrating.
This attitude can be hazardous however, and in some cases disastrous, when it comes to closely monitored digital sectors such as search engine optimisation (SEO).
As an article on the Search Factory website explains, once-popular approaches to SEO that tested and found ways to cheat the (Google) algorithm, and as a result artificially boost rankings, are becoming something of the past.
“These techniques are known in the industry as black hat or grey hat SEO and they will get you big increases in a short amount of time, but these improvements will not last and can be very dangerous, resulting in a Google manual penalty that may remove your entire website from Google!” the article says.
“The SEO good guys employ techniques known as white hat SEO. These techniques follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines and ensure your site will not be penalised in the future. Unfortunately doing SEO the white way can take much longer to see results.”
Tech and investment journalist Edmund Ingham agrees that SEO should be viewed as a long-term strategy that requires careful planning and patience to succeed.
“The older your domain name is, the better Google will trust it, meaning it will rank higher up,” he writes on the Forbes website.
“This is often known as the 'authority' or 'trust' rank. Experience counts, and the longer your site has been online, the more your reputation will be enhanced.”
“If you want to get the most out of your SEO for a longer time period then you have to be prepared to do it the 'slow and steady way',” Ingham says.
“Create good quality content that will attract natural back links... Build an online tool that’s useful for your community. The idea is to get people to want to link to your website.”
“Unfortunately, instantaneous success is almost completely opposite to the nature of SEO,” digital marketing director Brian Hughes writes in an article on the Social Media Today website.
“Google has gotten very astute at identifying underhanded schemes that deliver speedy results. In fact, Google is now automatically suspicious of any sites that experience a sudden spike in ranking.”
According to Hughes, instead of resorting to these somewhat nefarious tactics, it’s much better to rely on SEO strategies “that are focused on long-term goals and reliable results”.
“Even though this approach requires more time, you’ll be happier with the results in the long run,” he says. “By practising patience and giving SEO strategies several months or even a year to produce results, your site will reap the benefits for years to come.”