In this article, we will deal with one of the most frequently asked questions regarding SEO: “How long does it take to work?” You have probably skimmed through the results you have found on the web, and everywhere you have seen, the same thing gets repeated: it probably will take 4 to 6 or 6 to 12 months to start seeing results. This is only natural since many SEO companies also tell you that “it depends.” That is generally correct, but remember that this is when you begin to see results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you get at 6 months should be significantly less than what you get at 12 months. At some point, it may become a matter of maintaining rather than growing your results.
Let’s first examine why SEO takes time to show results before examining how long it takes for SEO to have an impact on your business.
Why Does SEO Take So Long to Work?
Google continuously enhances the search engine’s functionality and the algorithm that crawls and indexes pages (Crawling is discovering pages and links that lead to additional pages; indexingis storing, analyzing, and organizing the content and links between pages). When SEO began to be used in digital marketing strategies, there were many ways to manipulate the algorithm, such as by stuffing keywords, to achieve better results. To help users get the desired results, Google has worked to optimize the algorithm so that it cannot be tricked. So, it started to take a lot longer to see the results of SEO as ranking became more difficult. Therefore, you must convince the search engine that you are the best result if you want to rank for a keyword. To do that, the factors that you have to keep in mind will primarily be your business’s industry, the competition level within that industry, and your target keywords. Predicting actual performance is impossible due to the external factors at play. So, if someone approaches you and promises you a top ranking in any specific time frame, that should raise a red flag.
How Long Does It Take for a Website to Rank?
Now let’s delve into the details of the factors that affect how long it takes for a website to rank:
- The role of the website’s history
One of the essential variables that affect how long it takes to see results from SEO is whether or not you are working on a new domain. Given that it has not yet acquired any authority or backlinks, a new domain will almost always take longer to demonstrate success than an established one. In contrast, older websites typically have more pages, more content, and rank for more keywords because they have been around for a longer period of time and have accumulated more backlinks. It also takes more time and money to launch newer websites. As a result, it might take longer for SEO to produce results if you are developing a new website.
However, a well-known domain does not guarantee that you will get quicker results. If the domain has previously been subject to a penalty, a core algorithm update, or SEO work that violates Google’s webmaster guidelines, you probably will not see results right away. Building up a picture of the site’s history is always a good idea when working on a new project. Also, looking at impressions on Google Search Console (a Google web service that allows webmasters to check indexing status, search queries, crawling errors, and optimize website visibility) can give you an idea of how well a site is performing.
- The role of competition
In addition to all the factors considered when optimizing your website, you must also consider the factors used by your competitors since SEO does not exist in a vacuum. Your competitors are most likely using SEO as well. The ranking will take longer if the keywords you aim for are highly competitive. Depending on demand, you may face varying levels of competition. If you attempt to rank a website for competitive personal finance keywords such as “credit cards,” it may take two or more years to achieve prominent page one visibility.
On the other hand, for local or narrower lower competition keywords, promising results could be obtained in 3 to 6 months. A real estate brokerage serving a large city would face less competition than a national mortgage company, while a plumber serving a small local market would face less competition than those businesses. It is only natural that the more websites that compete with yours, the longer it will take to reach the top of the search results.
It is usually quicker and easier to outrank the lower pages, but as you move up the search results, each step will take more time and effort. This is due to the high level of competition as well as the fact that the top-ranking pages frequently have seasoned SEO experts at their disposal. As a result, you must assess every aspect of your competitors’ SEO and consider their past performance. Additionally, you need to look at their activity over the previous few months and keep tabs on it moving forward. To estimate the competitive gap, you can use tools that analyze the keyword difficulty to see how you currently rank against up to other competitors (which you can find at the bottom of this article).
- The role of resources
You have no control over the history of a website or the competition. However, you can (usually) control the resources allocated to an SEO project. It is critical to understand how this affects the length of time it takes to see results from a campaign. The more resources you can devote to SEO, the faster you will usually see results. You could, for instance, employ more content writers to produce excellent content for you. Or you could spend money on SEO tools to make your work simpler, quicker, and more productive. You might even be able to assemble a team to work on link-building for you. There are countless options.
How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work on a Specific Page?
This is also one of the common questions regarding the process of SEO. To deal with this, there is on-page SEO, also referred to as on-site SEO, which is the process of optimizing web pages to raise a website’s position in search results and attract organic traffic. Writing high-quality content for both people and search engine crawlers, including keywords in your metadata, developing an internal linking strategy, and optimizing images are all examples of on-page tactics. The metadata you include, such as the title and header tags, gives Google more information about the content of your page. It is simpler for the algorithm to match your content to the appropriate search queries when it comprehends your content.
Typically, in less than a year, you can reach the first page of results and see some improvements after just two months. Ironically, the more you concentrate on your customers and ignore Google, the easier it will be for you to achieve that coveted position. Learn about your customer, discover what they are looking for, and focus on addressing and resolving their issues. Remember that today’s SEO is increasingly influenced by natural language search. This happens because people are speakingtheir searches into tools like Siri and Google Now rather than typing them in. Also, as people seek to find what they are looking for faster, they include more detail in their typed searches. Because they are less competitive, these keywords are much easier to rank for. They are far more relevant because they include more information, and thus traffic from these keywords converts at a higher rate. And, in total, the number of searches in the long tail often equals or exceeds the number of searches from your “golden keywords.” As a result, the goal of ranking is not to rank for a few top keywords that remain constant over time but rather to focus on a much larger number of natural language searches that are growing and changing rapidly.
Many businesses underestimate the time and money required to succeed with SEO. Success rarely occurs within the first three months, even with a healthy SEO budget. If you cannot afford 6 to 12 months of SEO, you might be better off spending your money elsewhere. Paying for only a few months of SEO is, in many cases, equivalent to wasting your money. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy that should not be viewed as a quick way to generate sales. However, if you make the necessary investments and intend to be in it for the long haul, SEO is a marketing tactic with one of the highest ROIs available. Keep in mind that as the Google algorithm changes, your SEO strategy will also need to change and adapt. Your strategy will need to change as SEO and the world of digital marketing continue to develop. So, remember to keep everything fresh!
Tools for estimating keyword difficulties: