How Long Does SEO Take To Work?
Aah, the killer question. ‘How long does SEO take to work?’
You can guarantee our experts hear this question pretty much every day, from both new and existing clients.
And it’s no surprise. SEO is a long-term strategy which requires time, effort and patience.
The short answer is it depends.
So, How Long Does SEO Take To Work?
Here’s the long answer.
As a guide, we recommend that it will take from 4 months to 1 year for your site to rank in the first page of Google.
Competitive keywords can take well over 1 year reach a top ranking position.
However, you should start to see results within 4-6 months.
Some websites can even begin to see results in the first 2-3 months if there is little competition for their keywords.
Bear in mind, the above guide is only relevant if you carry out a clear, targeted campaign.
Factors That Affect Your Google Ranking
While we can only tell you a rough estimate of your potential ranking progress, there are many factors we can assess that will give us a better idea of how long a ‘good’ ranking position will take.
There are hundreds of different variables that can affect how fast your site begins to rise in search engine rankings. The main ranking factors to consider are:
You’ve found a search term you want your site to rank for – great. The keyword must have a good search volume and be a realistic goal for your site. For example, a more established site that earns a high number of backlinks is likely to give you stiff competition.
Effective keywords that lead to a high number of conversions are those that match the user’s search intent. It’s not enough to rank for random keywords related to your services; they must fulfil a need such as an answer to a question or to find a specific product page.
Similarly, do you know your site’s Domain Rating (DR) or Domain Authority (DA)? This is a score out of 100 that determines the quality and authority of your site. SEO software such as SEMrush will show you how well your site is performing in terms of engagement, content and usability and structure. A higher score is a trust signal to Google and is likely to lead to a higher-ranking position in search results.
Backlinks are one of the most important aspects of SEO. They’re easy to overlook but are vital if you want to boost your online presence. (Check out our Beginner’s Guide to SEO if you need a refresher on how backlinks work!).
We always recommend quality over quantity – you don’t want to get penalised by Google for buying low quality links. Creating shareable content is the best way to see a natural gain in good quality backlinks.
Once you establish which keywords you want to rank for, you need to create quality content that appeals to your user. Incorporate your keywords into the copy in a natural way – it needs to appeal to humans as well as Google! Your content should be engaging and offer value to your reader. We recommended that you share your expertise and knowledge.
For example, we rank no 1 for hundreds of search terms such as ‘SEO Company Leeds’. We’ve spent years optimising our pages and building a reliable bank of content including blogs and detailed service pages to achieve this.
It’s always a good idea to take a look at the top 5 search results for the keyword you want to rank for. If the top sites have a high domain rating and valuable, in-depth content, it might not be worth your time if you’re still building up your Domain Rating. However, if you can identify gaps in your competitor’s content such as information they’ve missed out or ‘thin’ content, it’s easy to better it and secure a place on page 1.
How To Speed Up The Process
If you’re wondering how to start the SEO process or need an informed answer on ‘how long does SEO take to work’, we can help.
To rank effectively and climb the Google search results, you will need to create a clear, targeted strategy bearing in mind the factors above.
In order to see the best results from a campaign, it must be consistent, provide valuable content and stay fresh – don’t be afraid to adapt your strategy to boost underperforming keywords.
The bottom line: Time, effort and patience will reap the biggest rewards.
Why Does It Take A Long Time To See Results?
The Google Algorithm has a lot of work to do. There are billions of pages on the web.
The aim of Google is to show users the most relevant results for their search term.
It has to crawl and index each webpage and organise the information it finds. It will then begin to rank webpages according to the quality of the website and content in relation to its competitors.
For instance, a webpage with high quality, relevant links pointing to it is more likely to rank well compared to a page with lots of low quality links.
Luckily, SEO software such as SEMrush keeps track of any keywords you want to rank for. It allows you to follow progress and keep up to date with any changes in search volume, competition or site issues that may affect your rankings.
Is It Worth The Wait?
Can You Pay Google To Rank Higher?
You can’t pay search engines to achieve higher organic results for your keywords. That would make the internet a pretty sad, useless place – it’s unlikely searchers would be able find the most useful information relating to their search query.
However, you can pay for PPC (Pay Per Click). This is a ‘sponsored’ ad that appears right at the top of search results for a search query, above the no 1 organic ranking.
SEO vs PPC
PPC is a short-term solution and a quick way to get your services noticed. It is important to consider that although PPC can return good results quickly, you’re back to square 1 once your budget runs out.
In comparison, SEO is a long-term strategy that will provide a reliable source of organic leads over time. For maximum results, we recommend a in-depth SEO plan alongside some PPC depending on your specific business goals.