Businesses are often curious to know the impact of their investment in SEO.
This is precisely why “how long does SEO take to show results?” has become the most commonly asked question in the digital marketing space.
Truth is, SEO isn’t as fast as its paid media counterparts.
While it takes time, channelized SEO efforts can produce long-lasting results.
So, let’s break down the factors that drive SEO success to figure out the ‘how long’ part of it.
What is SEO Success?
As you know, SEO success is your main objective.
But, how do you know you have achieved success?
How do you measure it?
Your SEO success depends on your goals and KPIs. While your goal is to boost your return on investment within a specific time frame, your KPIs in SEO can be increasing organic traffic to your website, boosting your online visibility, achieving top search engine rankings, and more.
So, if you reach these milestones with your SEO efforts, you can consider the mission accomplished. This is how it works.
Why SEO Success is Not Immediate
Search engine optimization is, of course, a dynamic space. SEO did take time to refine itself and transform into what it is today.
In fact, there was a time when all that mattered was simply finding out and using keywords that could drive more website traffic. Plus, you could build as many backlinks as you want and get away with it just like that.
As the process was simple, people started trickling search engines by stuffing keywords and building bulk backlinks with no botheration about the link quality. In other words, they tricked search engines with cheap tactics to pull up their websites to the top of SERPs.
This, in turn, prompted search engine giants like Google to rollout advanced algorithm updates advocating enhanced user experience from time to time.
Given the scenario, SEO today is being driven by natural language search that involves user queries consisting of one or two keywords.
Plus, web pages with high-quality, relevant links are pulled to the top while their spammy counterparts are penalized by search engines. After all, a search engine penalty can lower the rankings of corresponding websites in no time.
So, SEO isn’t mechanical anymore as it now heavily relies on changing user searches with a major focus on satisfying the user intent.
You have to come up with innovative strategies and execute them gradually to meet the altering parameters to achieve your goals and KPI
This is precisely why you cannot achieve SEO success overnight.
Silos of SEO Success
Now that you know what SEO success exactly is, let us decode the three silos that determine how long SEO takes for you.
Do you know a technical error of any form can drive both users and search engine bots away from your website?
Yes, this is why you need to run a technical audit and fix bugs at the earliest. Technical SEO includes checking on the following components and more.
Content is one of the top search engine ranking factors. Google prioritizes fetching the best search results for a user query over anything else.
Creating low-quality content means it takes longer to see expected SEO results. In the worst-case scenario, it may not happen at all.
So, you need to make sure you create high-quality content that matches the user intent and addresses search queries accordingly.
To do this, you can read relevant content that performs well, figure out what makes the difference, and come up with a better version.
When it comes to publishing new content on your website, ensure that you stick to a consistent schedule for two reasons.
One, this signals Google that you add new content to your website on a regular basis.
Two, it prompts more visitors to return to your website frequently, which denotes a great user experience.
Creating backlinks means improving the credibility of your website.
Yes, backlinks tell Google that your site is a reliable source of information.
However, as said earlier, spammy link-building practices for high rankings don’t work anymore. Ultimately, link quality is all that matters.
Given the scenario, gaining fewer high-quality backlinks from relevant websites will produce a greater SEO impact.
In other words, a relatively stable link velocity (the speed at which you gain links) is what is healthy for your website.
If you adhere to Google’s guidelines, it shall happen naturally.
Factors Determining the Time Frame for SEO Results
The time frame to show SEO results usually depends on the following factors.
Your website history certainly influences the time taken to see SEO results.
For instance, it should take more time for a new website than an already established one. This is because an existing website might have built a domain authority and at least, a few backlinks.
On the other hand, for a new website, you have to do everything from scratch and that makes a big difference in SEO.
However, it also doesn’t always mean that an established website can lead the way in SEO because it depends on various factors such as search engine penalty, algorithm updates, and much more.
The competition in your industry or business is something you cannot ignore when optimizing your website for search engines.
Yes, the more the competition, the longer you need to take your website to the top of SERPs.
So, you have to identify the intensity of competition to rank web pages, channelize your SEO efforts and find more innovative ways to perform better than the other industry players.
Keywords are your trump to rank for relevant user searches online. So, you need to rightly identify keywords based on keyword search volume, length, popularity and user intent.
Poor keyword targeting may cost you all your dedicated efforts while producing a negative SEO impact.
Use keyword research tools such as SEMRush, AHREFs or UberSuggest for effective keyword research.
When you insert relevant keywords in your content, make sure they aren’t stuffed but fit the natural flow of the content.
Website Structure & Design
Your website design and URL structure also play a crucial role when optimizing the website for search engines like Google.
For instance, if a user finds it complicated to navigate between different landing pages of your website or meets a dead-end displaying a 404 error because of a broken link, your website is certainly not user-friendly.
And, Google isn’t fond of web pages that don’t advocate a smooth user experience.
So, it is mandatory to optimize these components of your website, especially if you want to boost your SEO progress.
Also, run a mobile-friendly test to make sure you don’t miss out on the visitors who access your website from a mobile browser.
The budget you have in mind is another factor that decides how long SEO takes to show results for you.
So, when you build an SEO strategy for your website, you have to ask yourself if you have a predefined budget to stick to in order to execute your plan accordingly.
From this standpoint, a convenient budget can be one of the driving forces behind your SEO growth.
The Timeframe for SEO
Now, let us answer the real question, “How Long Does SEO Take?”.
From what we have seen so far, the timeframe for SEO depends on various factors. After all, no two websites start from the same place even if they belong to one niche and face the same competition.
Generally, with the right SEO strategy in place, 6 to 12 months should do to see your efforts working. This subsequently catalyzes your business growth.
However, Here is a bigger picture of what your SEO pathway looks like and the results you can get out of it.
The first month shall cover research and discovery, technical audit of the website, keyword planning, and strategy.
The research and discovery phase may sometimes take an entire month. But, if that is done soon, website audit and keyword planning shall follow.
Once the technical audit is done, you can pass on to making changes according to the audit results.
While the modifications are happening, you are still doing SEO but cannot see results. This is because the impact will start to take place once the overhaul is completed.
Meanwhile, you can work on building link profiles and high-quality content for your website.
Start placing a major focus on content production including, blogging, whitepapers, FAQs and other business-related content.
By the end of the third month, you will start seeing improvements in your website’s search engine ranking.
This is because the technical overhaul should have ended by now. Pairing this scenario with content production, you will begin seeing your SEO efforts work.
Besides improving your search engine rankings, if your leads start translating into sales, that’s an extra perk.
With more content creation and technical optimization of your website, you will be able to build a robust link profile.
In this month, you can expect an increase in website traffic, lead generation and search engine rankings.
While the improvements won’t be anywhere near the progress you should make in12 months, It’s certainly significant enough to know that your SEO efforts are working.
In fact, as per Google, in most cases, SEOs need 4 months to implement improvements and see potential benefits.
So, it’s a win as of now.
It’s a wise move to start including social media management into your SEO plan by this month or even earlier.
With social media incorporation, you can promote your content better and boost direct traffic to your website.
You can also initiate PR and outreach activities to drive more traffic and gain qualified leads.
You should be witnessing more incoming visitors to your website.
From now on, you can concentrate on producing more engaging content and promoting the same across platforms.
You can personalize the process based on the unique needs of your business. Make sure you follow a consistent schedule.