How long does SEO takes to show results?
When it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), the most common question a marketing agency will get from its clients is: “How long will it take until I see results?”. It is, perhaps, the hottest and most frequently asked question in the industry.
In truth, the answer is dependent on the individual factors and goal of the SEO campaign. But is there another way to look at SEO and its results?
Businesses want to know when they’re going to see a return on their investment and you can’t blame them. However, SEO is unlike paid media that present results and conversions as soon as they are implemented. It takes time to achieve SEO success. Nevertheless, if we look at research and analytics surrounding SEO, we can find a true timeframe for SEO and results of such search engine optimisation.
What is successful SEO?
Before putting together an SEO strategy, you will form two things: goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These two things will be important measurements of success and/or failure when assessing the results of SEO.
One must be realistic with your goals and KPIs otherwise your assessment of the SEO itself will be skewed. If your SEO results meet both your goals (i.e. increasing revenue over 3 months) and KPIs (i.e. traffic increase, more impressions etc.), then you can conclude that your SEO is successful.
Always have a target; if you aim at nothing, you hit nothing!
Optimum Time Frame for SEO results
As mentioned above, there is nothing wrong with saying that SEO results and when they come vary from client to client and service to service.
However, there is also the expert consensus that it typically takes 4-6 months before you see significant results from SEO. Forbes, SEO Mechanic and the Search Engine Journal, all claim that 6 months/half a year is the organic time frame for the effects and results of SEO.
Within half a year you should see improvement in KPIs such as an increase in traffic or an uptake in conversions. Now, remember, just hitting your KPI targets doesn’t mean your SEO is successful. Has the improvement of KPIs helped you meet your goals? If yes, then your SEO strategy has been successful. If not, then you may need to analyse other KPIs or alter your strategy.
An expert online marketing agency will take into account your website, your online presence and your current SEO before giving you an estimate of their proposed strategy and aims.
SEO takes time to build up trust between your online presence and Google’s ranking of you. Luckily, social media and online advertising experts have been doing it across a whole host of industries for years and are more than willing to offer their services.
What factors determine how long it takes to see results
There are some variables that can determine how long it takes to see SEO success, so we will be going through some of them below:
- Website history
A new website domain will take longer to show SEO success as they haven’t built up any authority or established any trust or backlinks with Google. An established domain may already have some level of authority and trust and therefore has a foundation you can build off quickly. If you have a brand-new domain, it may take 9-12 months before seeing SEO results, when compared to the 6 months for established domains.However, if your established domain has been previously affected by a penalty, core algorithm update or is set up contrarily to Google’s webmaster guidelines, you will struggle to see growth in terms of SEO.
You have to also take into consideration the level of competition within your sector/industry. It isn’t rocket science to state that you will see greater and quicker SEO results if you’re part of a less competitive and niche sector/industry.On the other hand, entering into a competitive sector can lead to the SEO results time frame elongating into the future. For example, the competition in the finance sector is so great that it is estimated SEO campaigns take 2 years or more to gain page 1 visibility.You also need to take into consideration the aggressiveness or passiveness of your competitors when forming your own SEO strategy. If they’re barking and you’re whispering, who is more likely to be heard?
This may sound like the most obvious factor but it really is the case; the more time and resources that are allocated to SEO, the quicker you will see results. Often SEO is outsourced to agencies or freelancers with businesses seeing SEO as a quick afterthought. However, if you position SEO as a major part of your online strategy and have a true passion for improving it, you will see rapid results.
The 3 SEO factors that determine success
There are three key factors to SEO success as detailed by Google itself.
- Technical SEO
The first is technical SEO and this incorporates all the technical aspects of your website. You must optimise your site’s crawling and indexing speed, overall site speed, canonicalization, structured data, duplicate content, sitemaps and more behind the veil factors.Technical problems must be fixed properly and promptly. Usually an auditing tool is used to test websites and highlight areas that need to be addressed.
- Content SEO
Content is King! It is one of the most important factors when determining SEO results as Google always wants to provide the best results for a query – if your content is good, then Google will find it!Your content must be created with the intention of matching a search result or online query. To do this, you must analyse what already ranks highly and is preferred by Google when compared to your content. You can then create something better that will rank even higher!
Poor quality or even average content is ignored by Google and takes far longer to build up trust within SEO.Remember to carefully research and plan your content – it is the very reason that visitors will be visiting you!
- Backlinks SEO
Backlinks are one of Google’s main ranking factors. These are links on one website pointing to another website. Search engines view backlinks as an indicator of quality content as it is being supported by another website.Pages with more backlinks will rank higher in search engine results pages as it has built up trust and expertise amongst the online community. Closing the backlink gap between a new website and established ones can take a significant amount of time.
Google’s Maile Ohye said: “In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefits’
As you can see, the answer to how long it takes to see SEO results is heavily dependent on your strategy and target sector … However, it will be a minimum of 4-6 months before you can even begin to think about results and even longer before reaping the rewards.