When done right, search engine optimization can help build your business. You can attract traffic to your website by ranking on top of Google for your keywords.
However, here’s the sobering truth:
You can’t succeed with SEO if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to generate lots of traffic and revenue.
And even if you follow the best SEO practices, it would take weeks or even months to start seeing results.
In this post, you will know the answer to how long does SEO take and why. We will also discuss the factors that affect the speed of ranking for your keywords and what you can do to fast-track your site’s progress.
So, How Long Does SEO Take?
In a nutshell, your site should be able to see considerable gains in organic traffic after 6 months.
However, SEO efforts could take longer before you can rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO has always been a tricky practice because there’s no clear-cut answer to every question.
Therefore, the answer above is not meant to be a conclusive one. 6 months is ultimately a sign that you need patience when it comes to waiting to grow your organic traffic especially if your site is brand-new.
Its success will depend on the many variables involved in building it so you can predict the best time where you’ll see results with your SEO.
What are the Factors that Affect Your SEO Results?
To fully understand why your SEO results aren’t up to your liking or why the results took effect faster than expected, you must know the contributing factors to it.
Below is the list of variables that come into play for predicting the long-term results of your SEO efforts:
Your domain age is not directly a search ranking factor. However, it is indicative of the investment put by site owners to have it online as long as possible.
The longer the site is active and maintained ideally by the same owner, the more weight Google puts into the domain when indexing it for search queries.
However, this only happens if you as its owner observe the best SEO practices on the site consistently.
That means the age of your domain in itself won’t help sway Google to rank it on search results.
In your case, you need to create great content optimized for their respective target keyword day in and out.
Even then, your work is still cut out for you.
Ahrefs gathered data of search results on the first page for 2 million random keywords. Based on their finding, only 22% of pages ranking within the top 10 were published within a year.
What’s even more important to point out is that, out of the 22%, only 3% of those were from brand-new sites with low Domain Rating (DR).
So, even if you create optimized content, ranking on the search engine remains an uphill battle until you’ve built enough authority for it.
Not all topics are the same. For example, using Google Trends, there’s greater interest in basketball than bowling in the US.
You can even narrow down basketball into subcategories like shoes, jerseys, skills, and others.
It should be evident that your site’s niche will determine how long your SEO campaign will bear fruit on SERPs.
Because if there’s a great demand for your topic, it should follow that there’s also great competition abound.
That means you won’t be able to rank as fast as you can because you’re also up against lots of brand-new sites to rank on top of the search engine.
But if you chose a topic that has low competition and is not dominated by brands, you have a good chance of getting results within the next 6 months.
To know for sure, you have to do your research and analyze the landscape of your niche. While it’s unlikely that a popular niche will have low competition, it’s still plausible especially if you research your topic very well.
When optimizing your website, your chosen keywords will play a role in how soon your site can rank on Google.
The kind of SEO terms you will optimize for your site is dependent on the authority of your website.
For brand-new sites, you can’t rank your site for search phrases with thousands of search volume and high keyword difficulty.
From an SEO perspective, your site doesn’t have the authority to compete with sites ranking on top of these keywords. You could rank your site for these keywords, but not right now.
Therefore, for starters, you must start with long-tail keywords. They have low search volume and are easy to rank for due to low competition.
Optimizing for these keywords allows you to create a baseline for your site. Once you start ranking your website for these terms, you can move on to more competitive terms.
Publishing content serves as the bedrock of your SEO efforts.
Of course, you must ensure that your content is well-written and covers the topic in depth. Only if it provides value to its audience that Google will consider ranking your content on search results.
Also, while you should develop an SEO strategy for your blog posts, focusing on writing about a topic is just as important. This means you must cover subtopics relevant to your keyword to help build a correlation between your content and your target keyword.
Google has gotten smarter in identifying content that should rank on result pages because it looks at its topical relevance.
If the article mentions a group of words and phrases related to its target keyword, it would rank the piece of content higher compared to those that optimize just for a search term.
By optimizing for different inter-related long-tail keywords, you can help increase your site’s relevance for its topic, thus helping it perform better on organic search!
It’s not good enough to create individual content for your website.
Similar to the approach of writing them, you must strengthen the relationship among the content within your website. By linking them with each other, you help increase your site’s topical relevance and help inform Google what your content is about.
From the get-go, you need to have an idea of how to structure the content on your site. This is where the concept of content silos come in.
Below is an example of a content silo for power tools:
Source: Bruce Clay
The idea is to build different content silos about your topic (power tools) and create supporting articles under each category or landing page (cordless power tools, electric power tools, etc.).
Through this approach, you deliberately create content to build your silos. This allows you to focus on publishing different articles about your topic and its categories and linking the related ones with each other.
Internal linking for SEO worked wonders for Spencer Haws when he was able to grow his site’s traffic through this tactic.
By creating 103 links across his 47 articles, he was able to increase the search rankings on most of his pages after two months.
Source: Niche Pursuits
Granted, the site wasn’t completely brand new so it didn’t take long for the SEO to work and the results to kick in.
Nonetheless, this remains proof that internal links can help your SEO in the long term.
There’s no denying the quality of your link profile is the most important ranking factor.
The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website should be ranking on Google.
And while users can find sites without backlinks on the first page of search engines, they are mostly few and far between.
For new sites, it’s perfectly normal to have no backlinks at all. It’s best to focus first on creating content that other website owners would want to link to.
Eventually, however, you must develop a link building strategy to help you acquire links naturally to influence Google results to your favor.
A study conducted by Upper Ranks shows that the links they built helped increase their site’s rankings over time.
Source: Upper Ranks
They acquired 103 links from authoritative websites not known to link out to other sites. Also, they have .gov and .edu backlinks, which are known to be some of the most valuable due to the sheer difficulty of landing a link there.
It’s important to point out here that Upper Ranks built links a year after creating content and monitoring its performances. This goes to show that you must develop and implement a content strategy first before you begin acquiring backlinks.
As the saying goes, there’s no better ability than AVAILability.
If your site is always down and loads slow, users will most likely bounce away from your site and visit your competitors instead.
Also, if Google can’t crawl and index your site pages, then you won’t rank on Google, plain and simple.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best content about your topic online. If people and search engines can’t access it, it is useless.
Technical issues related to users is most likely a server issue. This is common among cheap hosting companies that use poorly maintained servers to host your sites.
Running your site using Google PageSpeed Insights should give you an idea if your server is the main culprit of its performance.
If you’re using WordPress, it’s best to use a caching plugin that will help and combine minify your site’s style and script files. This way, they won’t add up to the time needed to load your site completely.
Issues related to getting your site indexed is a more complicated issue. It may deal with your robots.txt or .htaccess files in your server or a setting in your SEO plugin that disables getting your pages indexed.
Either way, it’s best to leave this to developers to work to prevent the issues from getting worse.
Patience (and Knowledge) is Key
There’s no way around getting your SEO to work the way you want it to.
You’ll have to start working on developing a sustainable SEO campaign that you can implement consistently. Over time, you should see results on Google and reap the benefits of your SEO activities.
We’ve discussed what the factors are that affect how long SEO takes. But we’ve never fully delved into how you can get these variables to work to your favor.
In my FREE e-book “SEO For Beginners – Learn How To Get Onto The First Page Of Google,” I show you the exact steps how to optimize your website the right way and get your SEO to work sooner than later.
Below are the things I covered in it:
- Ensuring that your website will be crawled and indexed by the search engine
- Creating content optimized for keywords and topics
- Monitoring the results of your SEO campaign and what you must do next to improve its results
- And more!
To get a copy of my FREE e-book, click here!