How Long to See SEO Results?
When your goal is to get your website noticed, you have one of two general options. The first is to use ads. When you buy ad space, it can be a fast way to boost your traffic and rank higher. When you buy ads, you’re bidding on keywords. It gives you quick spikes in traffic to the landing pages you choose. While paid ads are an important part of digital marketing strategy, it’s just one part. Ads can become expensive if they’re the only way you’re increasing your traffic, and some visitors don’t trust ads as much as they do organic results. That means your ad strategy should be paired with search engine optimization or SEO results.
SEO means you’re creating your site and content in a way that includes keywords and technical elements to help it match with what people are searching for. People are then organically finding your site, services, or products. SEO is less expensive than ads, but the downside here is that it can take a lot longer to see results. So, how does SEO work, and how long does it take to start seeing significant results? We detail the answers to these questions below.
How Does SEO Work?
The process of SEO is one where you get traffic for free. People find your site through natural search results in a search engine. Your entire goal with SEO is to push your site or content further up on the search results pages. The higher your site is listed, the more people will see it and the more likely to click on it. Good SEO is multi-faceted. You typically start by identifying keywords people search for with a decent amount of traffic or search volume. These keywords should be relevant to your business.
Once you identify keywords, you can begin to create optimized content with them in mind. You want to try and obtain links from high-quality sites back to your content. You then measure your results and refine them as needed. To determine what is successful with SEO might look like, you need to have goals. To measure how well achieving your goals, you’ll set KPIs, which are specific metrics that show your progress. For example, your KPIs for SEO might include growth in rankings, organic traffic, or visibility.
How Long Does It Take to See SEO Results?
In general, your results from SEO should start to be significant within six to 12 months. There is a huge amount of potential variance in this timeline, though. As far as what’s meant by results, usually, it’s an increase in traffic, leads, and conversions. You may not have achieved all of your goals within this timeframe, but you should be seeing some traction and progress.
While it’s impossible to provide a specific timeline, the big takeaway is that it takes time to improve your search engine visibility. Over the years, Google has made it clear that the goal is to provide the best possible experience to users. It means that you need to create a site and content that deliver this experience. If you don’t see immediate results, it’s important to stay the course with SEO. This is different from paid advertising, where you can figure out pretty quickly whether your strategy is working or needs adjustment.
What Impacts How Long It Takes You To See Success?
Some of the many factors that can influence how long it takes you to start to see the impacts of your SEO work include:
- The history of your website—if you’re working to increase the rankings of a new domain, this may take you longer to start to see the effects of your work. New domains take longer than established websites because you haven’t yet earned backlinks or established your site as an authority. Established domains tend to have at least some level of authority and a few backlinks pointing to them. If you’re brand new, you might expect at least nine months of effort to see real results for your SEO.
- If your site is established but has been hit by a core algorithm update or a penalty, it could take longer.
- Your competition is relevant. If you have a low-competition niche, or you’re using relatively low-competition keywords, you might see results faster. If you’re trying to rank for very competitive keywords, it can take years for you to improve your visibility. To figure out how competitive keywords are, you can use Keyword Difficulty tools. These will predict how hard something is to rank for so that you can start to estimate a timeline for yourself.
- How much effort or how many resources you put toward your SEO will affect how fast you start to see results. You need time. However, you also need to ensure that you’re consistent with your SEO work even when you feel discouraged. You might need to work with a professional who understands things like technical SEO, backlinks, and content. If you hire someone who’s working on SEO for you and they’re doing it five days a week, you’re going to see faster results than if you’re doing it yourself and you’re really only working on it a day a week or less.
SEO Results – A Long Road
What’s important to realize when you’re thinking about revamping your SEO strategy or creating a new site is that it’s not something that’s one-and-done. SEO is very much an ongoing process and even practice because you’re finding out what works and what doesn’t. There’s never going to be a point where you feel like it is the end of SEO because that’s simply not how it works.
Instead, you’re frequently looking at analytics and reporting. You’re investing in SEO over the long term, and your results are cumulatively building. You add new elements to your SEO strategy and adjust your current ones. The more resources you put toward SEO, the faster you might see results, but timing isn’t something you can measure in any exact way.