At what timeframe should you expect your SEO effort to start reaping result?
In other words — How long does it take SEO to work?
As a digital marketing professional and SEO expect, I get to hear this questions every day from clients and trainees.
Everyone expects that after putting so many efforts on getting their SEO right, they should be rewarded by seeing their website on the first page of search engines within the first few days.
But this doesn’t happen The reason is that they see SEO from a different angle. Like ordering a pizza and getting it delivered within a few minutes.
But in reality, SEO is like investing in stocks. You have to wait till it ripe enough to give you millions.
There was a time when SEO was pretty easy to do, all you required was the right keywords and boom. However a few years now, with search engines, particularly Google changing their algorithms every now and then, the rules behind SEO as equally changed.
We can’t really say — Sometimes it takes longer and sometimes shorter. I for one have seen my content rank for it keywords within a few days and others within a few months. There are so many factors that can affect how to quickly you can rank.
There is traffic, website structure, domain age, content length, keyword competition, target market, domain age and so on.. For a website that has rightly done it SEO without any Google penalty, the average time frame is between 4 to 6 months.
But then again, I for one see the “How long does it take SEO to work” question very irrelevant.
The question you should rather ask is — what do you expect from SEO? When we do SEO, its for a reason — we want more organic traffic, generate leads and make sales.
When you want to get to the top of search engines for a particular keyword, you will have to outrank all the competitive website that are ranking for that same keywords.
This could take years or months. But say you are doing SEO to attract leads and organic traffic, then you might start seeing answers within a few weeks or months. With all have said above,
I’m sure you are asking if there are any factors you need to focus on for your websites to rank. Yes, there are and we are about to look at them. Note — this works for both new and old website — faster for an older website.
Before your website can appear on the Google search engine, it has to be indexed first. While this doesn’t really mean you should have so many pages ranked on Google, It means having quality pages indexed. There are studies that point to a relationship between indexed pages and rankings. The more quality pages rank, the better but don’t fall into the trap of creating pages for the purpose of ranking.
Contents are the major key to ranking on Google. In short, it is the only factor that we SEO experts can vouch for when it comes to ranking factors. But then not any type of content gets you to rank. Your content has to do/give something extraordinary to the person reading it. Your content can make or destroy all your SEO efforts. Hence your content needs to be original, and unique, have at least 1000 words and well presented for readability.
I would have just stated keywords but then that will be too competitive. Keywords help search engines crawler know what your page or content is all about. It is what also help users find you when they make a search query.
The thing is keywords are now becoming rarer and small groups of keywords aren’t going to drive enough traffic to your website because of their competitiveness.
That is why I mentioned long-tail, keywords. People nowadays carry out searches that are more like normal questions than just one, two or three keywords. People now ask more detailed questions in search queries. Long-tail keywords are normally less competitive and thus drive more traffic to your website. They are easier to rank on.
Another factor you need to consider is the competition level within your niche or industry. There hundreds if not thousands of website struggling to get to the front page of search engine result like you. This means that for SEO to work for you, you have to do a lot more work than them. That is why we advise people to remain consistent in their efforts, create unique contents and maintain patience.
The age of your domain name also affects SERPs (search engine result page rankings). In short, it is the reason why hear blackhat SEO doers always recommending you buy an old domain. What would take 6 months + for a new website will take less for an older website. Google prioritise older website more especially those without any Google Penalty.
Another factor that has a huge impact on how long you SEO is your target audience. Are you targeting a local audience (your country, province, state or street,) or a Global audience? Local targeting helps your content might rank faster as there is less competition compared to a global targeting. If you do your local SEO correctly i.e “Marketing agency in Montreal”, you will rank faster than targeting “marketing agency”.
I want you to picture SEO as a tree. You plant the seed, water it, give it sunlight and good soil. You watch it grow. You continue to nurture it until it is matured to bear fruit. My point is, for SEO to work you have to give it time. Be consistent, avoid focusing on generic keywords and stay focus on your marketing plan.