One of the most frequently-asked SEO-related questions is how long it will take to see actual results. It’s not only a common problem, but it’s one that can become frustrating for both the site owner and the SEO specialist.
When you pay for Google Ads or any other advertising method, you immediately see where you invested your money since the results start to show up almost instantly (increased traffic, for example).
With SEO, things are different – it takes time and patience – it’s a marathon, not a sprint (you probably heard this already, but it’s true).
It is challenging to say how long it will take for SEO to work because several factors influence the timeframe — competition, backlinks, and the content you’re creating.
Even when you analyze these factors and try to optimize each of them – to find gaps in the competition’s SEO strategy and overcome them, to create solid content and get backlinks from authoritative domains – it isn’t easy to estimate how long it will take until you see the first results and then the full potential of the correctly done SEO.
Still, on average, for most sites, that time frame will be between four months and a year.
Below, we will answer all the questions about the time required for a successful SEO strategy to show results.
What factors impact your SEO strategy’s success?
As we mentioned in the introduction, the factors that affect SEO the most are competition, backlinks, and content. Let’s elaborate on this:
If you’re selling breast milk candy, you probably won’t have much (if any) competition, but if you’re launching any of the existing products on the market as a new website, you’re going to face a lot of competition.
Positions on Google’s first page are held by sites that do SEO professionally and pay attention to every detail. The more competitors there are, the longer it will take you to climb to the top of the search results.
You can quickly overtake the results on Google’s second or third page, but outranking the top 10 SERP positions will take a lot of time and effort.
To overtake the competition, you will have to be better than them – analyze their activities, look for possible shortcomings, and then try to outdo them.
Backlinks are the basis of off-page SEO and one of the most critical factors for good ranking.
The more backlinks you get from relevant, high-authority sites, the faster you will rank on Google. Keep in mind that quality must always come before quantity. It’s better to have a few strong links than dozens of weak ones or links from suspicious sites.
High-quality links are harder to earn, and they convey part of the authority of the referring site, thus sending a message to Google – “this site is valuable and trustworthy.”
As a new site, paying attention to how fast you get backlinks is essential. You are new, small, and unknown – it will be unnatural for Google if you suddenly get multiple links from eminent authority sites. You can expect a penalty if you violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines rules. Therefore, the speed of building backlinks should be gradual and natural.
Quality content is the basis of SEO, but you probably already know that – “content is king” (Bill Gates).
When it comes to content, there are no rules as to how long it should be. Don’t write meaningless sentences to reach 2,000 words. There’s also no point in posting 300-word articles on popular freelance sites without value.
Keep the content as long as it will take for your readers to get the valuable information or help they need.
Post articles regularly, especially if you have a new site. Consistency is important and signals Google to regularly send crawlers to your site in search of further information.
Interlink relevant content, make regular revisions, and improve incomplete and outdated information. It will significantly speed up your SEO efforts.
How can you tell if your SEO strategy is working?
So, you will write quality content, take care of site performance, add a Google Business Profile and build backlinks, and the results will be visible in 4 to 12 months? That’s not the best idea.
You’ll monitor how your SEO efforts progress by using different tools, so that you can tailor your strategy to suit your site’s specific needs.
Most of the leading SEO tools on the market are multi-functional. They will provide you with meaningful insights such as impressions, clicks, organic traffic, competitor analysis, essential keywords, number of backlinks, domain and page authority, conversions, etc.
Why doesn’t SEO give instant results?
SEO is a slow process, and when you start investing in this type of marketing, you eagerly await to see the return on your investment. However, you have to be patient. Part of the slow process comes from Google, while part is due to technical limitations.
Google has never revealed what system it uses to rank websites. Even top SEO specialists look for interpretations of Google’s announcements, and only its employees know the absolute truth.
So far, we know that the most powerful search engine expects expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) from sites. Therefore, you must strive to position yourself as a leader in your niche to be rewarded with good rankings.
Furthermore, as far as is known, quality content and backlinks play a significant role in ranking. You don’t necessarily need much time to create good content, but link-building does. Here we come to Google again – there are 1.93 billion websites on the internet – yours won’t be crawled and indexed immediately.
The slowness of Google leads us to think that it does not want to reward instant results, so there is no mass use of black hat techniques. SEO is slow – it always has been, and it seems it always will be. Its results, however, are more consistent than those obtained by any other marketing method.
Arm yourself with patience, and your efforts will pay off – of course, only if you cooperate with a reliable SEO specialist or agency (or do your SEO on your own).
Techniques that will make your SEO strategy pay off
As we mentioned in the introduction, SEO is a marathon. As a new participant in the marathon, it is good to know which running technique will surely place you closer to the goal, focused and without wasting energy. We have some tips for you:
- Do your research. Whether you’re going to do SEO yourself or leave the job to a specialist, keyword and competition research is essential.
- Create original and valuable content. This phrase is repeated over and over, but it’s more important than you think. It’s not enough to pick good keywords and stuff them wherever possible. You write primarily for readers, not for Google. Google uses artificial intelligence components, like natural language processing, to understand your content better. If it is helpful to the readers, you will be rewarded. If the content is a bunch of jumbled words without order or sense, Google will not value it. So, use keywords, but do so meaningfully and naturally.
- Interlink relevant articles. Interlinks serve as a guide through your site. They give Google an idea of your structure and page hierarchy. A user who reads a particular article will go to another related page through an interlink, which could answer additional questions he has.
- Add images, infographics, and video content. This content encourages longer stays on the page and greater user engagement. A long, endless wall of text is tiring to look at, let alone read. Pictures help to enrich the text and make it more attractive. Don’t forget alt tags, so Google can understand what’s in the photos (and you can also rank in image search).
- Build backlinks. Make an extra effort to connect with administrators of related sites with whom you could exchange links. Over time, if you publish quality content, you will establish yourself as an authority in your niche, and others will link to you without you asking them to.
- Share content on social networks. 62 billion people use social networks in 2022. By sharing content with your followers, you increase the chances of new readers. That way, you get a new audience and more traffic, which can signal the algorithm to improve your ranking.
- Make sure the technical aspects of your site are perfect. Today 90% of the global internet population uses a mobile phone for browsing, which leads to the conclusion that you can’t let your site not display well on mobile devices or tablets. Loading speed is also a significant factor. If a site takes more than 2 seconds to load, users will not wait. They will leave it. You can’t afford to lose clients for such negligence, so optimize these elements on your way to better rankings.
Now that you know what factors affect SEO and how to monitor its progress, let’s see if we can give a more concrete answer to the question that bothers everyone – how long does SEO need to start working? As we said, the optimal period is from 4 to 12 months.
Things will move faster if you target long-tail keywords with moderate competition. After 6 months, the results should be measurable – if you have chosen the right SEO strategy, the increase in traffic and conversions will be noticeable.
If there is a lot of competition in your niche, you will need dedicated work and a minimum of a year (and sometimes several years) to get to where you want to be. But the good news is that once established, SEO results last – no one will be able to dethrone yours overnight.
SEO frequently changes, so it is necessary to follow the changes and innovations in Google algorithms and adapt the strategy accordingly.
For non-specialists, it could be an extensive and challenging task because SEO is a complex matter that requires time and dedication.
Popular IT support companies with many years of experience in the optimization field can help you create a unique SEO strategy for your site’s specific needs. It’s up to you to set clear goals – professionals will take care of everything else.