Organizations diving into search engine optimization for the first time often want to know: “How long before we start seeing results?” The query points to a larger question: How long does SEO take to work? Unfortunately, the answer is complex! Providing an absolute timeframe is nearly impossible. Multiple variables play into how quickly results can be seen – some are immediate, others take time.
How long after starting SEO can you expect to see results? In the content below, we explore several impactful variables in an effort to answer this deceivingly simple question.
The Simplest Answer
A dozen variables impact how quickly results can be seen, including the specific SEO results an organization is looking for. Some are immediate, others take longer. For example, updated content and website organization are instant results that impact long-term success. Even certain keyword phrases with minimal competition can show increased rankings within weeks.
However, organizations investing in SEO often expect #1 rankings, boosts in website traffic, and increased conversions. In general, websites begin to see results such as these within 4 to 6 months of starting SEO. With continued search marketing efforts, the results should continue improving.
Why do some websites see results in 4 months while others observe positive change within 6?
The Variables Involved
1. New Websites vs. Established Domains
Search marketing efforts on a website with a brand new domain will take longer to produce results than an established website with many high-quality pages. Many websites fall somewhere in-between.
New website domains with no previous activity tend to experience a period of rapidly changing rankings before the SERPs settle and consistent growth begins. Getting over this hump can take six months or more – organizations must understand that investing in SEO resembles a 401k not a roulette table. The temptation to become easily excited and dissuaded during the period of ranking fluctuation can discourage a long-term marketing investment.
Established websites often experience an increase in rankings and SERP settlement faster.
2. Domain Name:
Although not a magic bullet technique, domain names with rich keywords can speed up SEO efforts. For example, a coffee shop with the domain localcoffeeshop.com may gain a valuable ranking for the keyword “local coffee shop” before their coffee shop competition: cupofjoe.com. However, this is not an absolute variable. Domains with SEO-rich keywords can rank poorly while domains without may rank for a variety of valuable phrases.
Also, brand new domain names take longer to develop trust and legitimacy on search engines. If you bought an existent domain that was previously penalized for malicious activity, reversing the damage will take time.
Any organization offering a product or service that real people will acquire face some degree of competition. Of course, a niche business in a small town will experience less competition than a real estate brokerage in New York City. Regardless, the level of competition encountered by an organization often impacts time spent waiting for results. Ranking difficulty and time required to rank typically follow a bell curve.
Additionally, larger companies in competitive industries often have the capital to spend money on marketing endeavors, further increasing the level of competition. Outperforming companies in competitive fields often takes longer than niche industries.
4. Inbound Links:
Inbound links play a significant role in SEO, including how fast results are seen. Three primary factors impact the rate of success: number of links, quality of links, and the speed at which links are acquired. Generally, more links show Google value, helping your website rank quicker.
The quality of inbound links is equally important. A plethora of low-quality links from spammy websites can actually hurt your rankings and slow progress. Gaining quality links from relevant websites is key to positive growth.
Finally, links should be acquired over time, in a steady upward trend.
An abrupt jump in link number could indicate a successful campaign or an unnatural means to manipulate rankings.
Keywords are among the most significant components of search engine optimization. Keywords have the power to drive targeted, conversion-ready traffic to your website. Thus, strategic keyword research that takes user intent, search volume, difficulty, and relevance into consideration will help organizations see results faster.
Content is another critical SEO component. Articles published on your website play a role in the speed of results. What kind of content ranks well on search engines? In essence, high-quality content that provides value to the reader. Although general word count suggestions may play a role, a 500-word blog that solves a visitor’s problem may rank better than a 2,000-word piece that provides unnecessary, unhelpful information.
Furthermore, publishing content on a regular basis can encourage search engine spiders to crawl your website more frequently and encourage users to return and discover new content.
RivalMind: Results-Driven SEO
Managing client expectations is a significant part of an SEO professional’s job. Search engine optimization is a worthwhile investment – organizations investing can expect some instant results and plentiful long-term return.
At RivalMind, we offer results-driven SEO. Our genuine services are backed by decades of experience working with clientele poised to grow.
We would love to get in touch about the SEO health of your website. To talk to an expert, feel free to call us at 630.492.0470 or submit an online inquiry.