Why is that, you ask?
For two reasons, I answer.
1) Clients. SEO would be a perfect industry if not for clients. Think of the fun to be had tweaking a URL here, re-titling an image there, revising keywords, and editing content without having to explain every single action to a client. Without having to justify every change. Without having to panic every time Google whacks you with a Penguin update.
Instead, you have to hold your client’s hand as you explain the compound results of SEO yet again, and try to talk them out of using their brand name in every sentence.
2) Search engines. Search engines are a pain in the tuchus; always making demands, always making changes, always setting up new fiery hoops for SEOs to jump through, and making everyone wait for results.
Alas, they are both somewhat necessary. Without them there wouldn’t be an us. So we put up with them and do the best we can.
There is actually a third reason why SEOs need the world of patience; it’s something of a marriage between the two above.
It’s that everything done in the interest of SEO, barring PPC, takes a while to take effect.
If you’ve got a brand new site, it could take six months before your hard work yields any tangible results. That leaves five months during which you have to keep clients at bay. Clients do not have the patience of Job; they have the patience of a two-year-old who’s been promised a sweet. They start to get edgy around the three-month mark and may even start making you’re-incompetent-I’m-going-somewhere-else noises.
This is where your salespeople really earn their money, as they have to keep the carrot dangling just closely enough to encourage clients to stick out the remaining three (or so) months before they are astounded by the sudden leap in ROI.
It’s not just the basics that take time
Some websites come your way after they’ve been ruined by unscrupulous or incompetent SEO companies. This usually makes business owners more demanding and less patient; which is unfortunate because fixing someone else’s mistakes can sometimes take longer than getting a new site off the ground.
You might also find that companies which have kept most of their SEO efforts in-house ‘know’ much more than you do. Dealing with them requires an extra dollop of patience.
Then there is the social media side of things. Many business owners are under the impression that as soon as they have a Facebook page and a Twitter account they will instantly see dramatic improvements in their traffic and conversions. They can get quite cross if they don’t.
Building a credible social media presence takes time; this applies just as much to blogging as it does to other social media platforms. The dearth of immediate results is usually why business owners give up on social media after the first few months.
What’s that about a virtue?
It’s ever so difficult for SEOs to embrace all seven virtues, but patience is perhaps the most trying.
However, it could also very well be the most important. So get yourself a mini Zen garden now, and start practicing.
Image credit: ofrango, via stock.xchng