HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEE SEO RESULTS?
We’re used to getting things done fast in the age of the Internet, but some aspects of our online lives still take patience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts get asked (a lot): “How long does SEO take to show results?” Climbing Google’s search rankings may be an immediate concern to your website’s success, but SEO changes can take months or years to manifest. That investment of time and effort is well worth it in the long run, and the quicker you get started, the sooner you’ll get to see the benefits of your work!
There are many variables involved in moving up search engine rankings, things like content updates, structural changes, and technical fixes. As such, the time it takes to see ranking improvements is just as variable, and most experts will quote a window of somewhere between four to six months to begin to see results. Depending on your site, it can take even longer.
Knowing how long your SEO process is expected to take is important for planning your brand's other marketing and advertising strategies. Be Found Online wants to keep you on the frustration-free path to successful SEO, so we've put together this in-depth guide to help you understand what goes into SEO and when you can expect to start seeing positive returns on your pages and site.
What Factors Influence the Timeline for SEO?
Achieving good search engine rankings can be tough in today's digital world! SEO is as much an art as it is a science, and neither aspect can be rushed due to the number of variables involved in the process.
Domain Age and Authority
Knowing how long your SEO process is expected to take is important for planning your brand’s other marketing and advertising strategies. Be Found Online wants to keep you on the frustration-free path to successful SEO, so we’ve put together this in-depth guide to help you understand what goes into SEO and when you can expect to start seeing positive returns on your pages and site.
- Bullets are great
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- Turning visitors into leads.
Google and other search engines look at the age of your website’s domain to determine how reliable it is. More specifically, the domain’s registration length is considered as more valuable (legitimate) sites tend to have long-tenured registration. Think about it: a website that’s been live for three years is bound to have more content, authority, and backlinks compared to one launched last week. Generally, new sites take longer to show significant SEO results. If, however, your website’s history is one of steadily declining rankings, it may take more time and resources to turn the trend around.
Authority is a tough aspect to fully define. Basically, Google and other search engines have created a long list of ranking signals by which they will determine how authoritative a website is on a given subject. Factors such as strong metadata optimization, a low-spam backlink profile, and high-quality content are just a few factors that can help sites rank higher organically.
When it comes to SEO, aiming for specific keywords or market areas can be a daunting task, especially if those targets are highly competitive. Those difficult keywords may be desirable, but they take time to achieve. That’s why if your site is just beginning its SEO journey, it’s best practice to start by optimizing for keywords with a lower keyword difficulty (KD) score, indicating that it will be easier to rank for those keywords. Focusing on these more achievable targets like precise long-tail keywords can lead to faster rankings and more successful SEO outcomes.
In today's world, where there is a plethora of content on the internet, it can be overwhelming to stand out and get noticed. There’s a lot of mid-tier and downright bad content out there to rise above. That’s why it’s on you to aim higher and create better content if you want to earn those eyes on your page. An effective strategy is to create longer articles with more in-depth analysis and coverage of a given topic, packed with relevant keywords to enhance search visibility. Good content creators follow the E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) method to attract the positive attention of search crawlers.
The size of the website itself, the amount of new content creation, the restructuring of existing content, and other aspects of an SEO project’s scope can have a sizable impact on how long it takes to see results. Larger websites will naturally require more work. More competitive keyword goals will need more research and resources to create a result-driven strategy.
To handle such a complex process, it's best to have a team of experts. Having not just a talented core of SEO professionals with a diverse pool of skills— but also IT and development gurus, social media specialists, and PR professionals— will yield the best possible results. Trust us, it's much better than depending on a lone intern with a bachelor's in communication!
Understanding the Timeline for Different Types of SEO Work
Let’s break down the three fundamental types of SEO work: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. They’re all essential to a successful SEO strategy but differ in time and level of effect.
On-page or on-site search engine optimization is the process of updating your website’s content, title tags, headers, keywords, alt tags, external links, and more. This is everything you can do internally to enhance the quality of your website for both users and search engines. By creating custom content that is optimized to meet keyword research goals and coincide with readers’ search intent, you can improve your website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
While on-page SEO is an ongoing process, the results can be worth the effort. You can typically expect to see the results of early rounds of content development and/or improvement and keyword building around 4-6 months after starting. However, bear in mind that search engines often shift, and your competitors consistently try to outrank you. Therefore, to remain on top, you must keep refining and enhancing your on-page SEO tactics.
Off-page or off-site SEO refers to all the optimization activities that you can perform outside of your website. These activities include strategies such as backlinks, social media campaigns, content marketing, local SEO tactics, influencer marketing, guest posting, brand mentions, and more.
While on-page SEO focuses on optimizing elements on your website to improve ranking, off-page SEO is involved in building your website's authority and increasing your online presence through the various channels and practices mentioned above.
It's important to note that effective link-building and acquisition require time and effort. Allocate at least 3-4 months for link acquisition before expecting to see any improvements in your website's backlink scores.
This is the pure science SEO work, the nitty-gritty tweaks that get made under your website’s hood. Even though it’s third on our list here, Technical audits should be the first step of every SEO project, as their findings help to create a stronger baseline on which to build a more holistic SEO strategy.
Conducting a technical SEO audit entails delving into website elements such as security and crawlability, evaluating site speed, and scrutinizing metadata to uncover any blind spots or missing pieces that could impact overall search results. By identifying these vital areas, improvements can be recommended and implemented, ensuring that your site is optimized for maximum search performance.
Technical fixes can be some of the quickest and simplest aspects of the SEO process, and as such, your site can see an almost immediate improvement in search results within the first month or two (depending on how much the audit finds and changes).
Technical SEO Terms
When trying to understand the ways that technical SEO work can juice your results fast, it helps to know a few terms:
What Is Indexing in SEO?
Search engine optimization indexing plays a pivotal role in the search engine algorithm's decision-making process. Essentially, web crawlers scan pages and categorize them into an index, used to rank personalized search engine results. This process involves analyzing page content for keywords, meta tags, and other information to ensure a better SERP ranking. Optimizing content is a must, and using a sitemap can guide web crawlers across links, indexing every page.
Submitting a sitemap not only ensures page updates but also informs search engines of website change frequency. Indexing is an essential aspect of a technical site audit, and keeping an eye on content structures and quality is vital. High-quality and well-structured content will always rank well on search engines, guaranteeing increased visibility.
When bots or spiders visit a webpage, crawling is the method they use to extract relevant links to other pages. This keeps indexes current with new content and enhances SEO indexing, which boosts your online visibility and chances of landing on top of relevant search results. So make sure to get your pages crawled regularly!
What Is Sight Speed (SEO)?
Site speed is a critical aspect of your website’s optimization. It refers to the speed at which users can interact with the webpage, determined by three measurements of latency: load time, the execution speed of interaction, and the speed of the browser parsing the document. The average of several sample pages on the site is taken into account. If a page is too slow, visitors will be discouraged and unwilling to explore further or stay on the site. This increases the bounce rate and lowers the overall SEO ranking of the website. Investing in technical optimization, such as compressing images, minifying code, caching content, and reducing redirects and plugins can help you achieve optimal speeds for your pages.
Canonicalization involves adding canonical tags on a webpage to indicate to search engines that the page is the original one. This helps resolve the problem of duplicate content and ensures that the desired URL version is displayed in search results.
Canonicalization is useful for site mapping and prioritizing important pages, as well as in deciding between HTTP and HTTPS. Adding canonical tags helps improve overall site speed and performance, and can help crawlers scan and index your website faster and more accurately.
What Is SEO Structured Data?
Structured data is all about organizing data in a specific way on a webpage and tagging it with appropriate text groups that allow us to understand the context of information and present accurate results. Essentially, it's the behind-the-scenes code that tells browsers how to organize and display information in the search engine results page.
When set up properly, structured data can produce a wealth of organic search benefits for your website. It can result in better visibility in carousels, video results, featured snippets, and knowledge panels. Some examples of on-site structured data elements include Breadcrumbs, FAQs, Articles, Recipes, Events, and many more.
What Is SEO Duplicate Content?
The silent killer of SEO. It refers to identical, or very similar, content appearing on different web pages. - exact replicas scream "copy-paste" and kill website ranking on search engines. Strive for originality, use plagiarism detection tools, and watch your organic traffic, indexed pages, and penalties. Don't risk a decline in SERP rankings. Create as much unique content that expresses the voice of your website as you can.
Duplicate content can harm your website’s rankings and even incur a penalty from Google that can lead to deindexation, but Rel Canonical tags are a great way to prevent it. They're better than blocking duplicates or using 301 redirects, which take time to take effect. Here's a tip: in addition to a permanent 301 redirect, also delete extra copies of a page and check your robots.txt file to avoid crawling. Watch out for keyword cannibalization as well as over-use can impact your rankings. No one likes their keywords eating each other, am I right?
Duplicate content can come from many sources like technical issues, scraping, or content syndication. Search engines can penalize sites with too much of it, so don't ignore the issue. Take action fast!
What Is an XML Sitemap (SEO)?
In addition to including URLs and metadata, XML sitemaps can be organized in a hierarchical structure, making it easier to understand the relationships between different pages and enabling webmasters to set specific crawl priorities for each page. By including frequently updated pages and those with high priority in the sitemap, webmasters can maximize the search engine's ability to index relevant pages.
While sitemaps aid crawlers in discovering all URLs, search engines may not index all pages even when a sitemap is used. An XML sitemap is a website roadmap used to help search engine crawlers find and index all of a site's critical pages. It provides a standardized method of organizing posts and pages and is especially useful for larger websites, where manually listing all site pages can be a daunting task.
When new pages are added to a website, it’s important to update the XML sitemap and ensure they are included in the list. That way, the next time the site crawlers come looking, they will find the page and add it to the search engine results. It’s recommended to regularly update an XML sitemap even if new pages aren’t consistently being added to your website.
What Is Hreflang?
One thing that makes Hreflang valuable is the guarantee that the right content reaches the right users without raising any duplicate content concerns. This tag attribute ensures that search engines prioritize the appropriate website version for each user, leading to a better user experience and improved search engine rankings. Consider using Hreflang to ensure that your localized content ranks well, even in a highly competitive environment.
Hreflang is a powerful tag attribute that is crucial in informing Search Engines about the language utilized on a webpage. As businesses continue their efforts to cater to multilingual audiences, Hreflang has become an essential element as it allows companies to serve the language-specific version of their homepage to users from corresponding countries. While Hreflang is useful for geotargeting content, it's important to note that it's merely a signal and not a directive. As such, your localized pages could still get overridden.
Realistic Expectations for SEO Timelines
It’s nerve-wracking to wait for returns on your business investments, especially in a tech-driven society where we’re always chasing fast results. But for SEO, quick wins aren't always the case. Bad keyword research, low-quality backlinks, changes to search rankings, and many other factors can all slow you down.
Just keep in mind - optimizing your website is a long-term game. Don't worry if you don't see instant results for your website's SEO! It can still take weeks for even quick technical fixes to have an impact on your rankings. When they kick in, though, be ready for your boosted visibility to lead to more traffic, which ends in more sales/leads.
Developing an effective SEO strategy is no easy feat; it takes effort, planning, and time. You have to be realistic along the way, too, adapting to potential obstacles. SEO isn’t magic, and can typically take six to eight months before seeing the big-picture results. Don't fall prey to dubious claims or unrealistic promises like topping the rankings of a competitive keyword like "food near me" in under a month. Shortcuts may provide short-term results but ultimately do more damage than good to your website's ranking. Sustainable growth takes time, and now and then might even look like a step back. If you're patient and determined, though, long-term success is guaranteed to follow.
If you want a successful journey toward your business goals, keeping your project timeline updated is a must-do. It's an important way to ensure things run smoothly. Collaborate with your SEO professional(s) to build an initial timeframe that aligns with your business goals and strategy. After the technical audit, review the timeline again to make sure that your goals remain feasible, and adjust it accordingly.
Maintaining polished, up-to-date timelines is essential to leveling up your SEO game. By doing so, you can ensure your efforts are moving forward smoothly while still allowing flexibility along the way. Keep your content strategy and timelines on point to stay ahead of the crowd!
Tracking and Measuring Results
Suppose you want to know whether your SEO strategy is improving your rankings and overall site health. In that case, you’ll need a reliable system to track and measure progress.
Want better results with less guesswork? Keep track of what's working and what needs attention. By fine-tuning your approach over time, you'll be able to optimize and get the results you desire!
Developing a tracking system can be a little daunting at first, but several techniques can make the process more manageable. From simple tools like Google Analytics to more robust software, there are options suited to every level of expertise and budget.
Keeping track of your SEO progress is like checking the map during a road trip—it helps you stay on course and avoid taking the wrong turn. Invest the time upfront and develop a system that works for your business. Your website's visibility and success are worth the effort!
To kickstart the process of monitoring the performance of your website, start by tracking organic traffic to your site. A simple way to do this is by using Google Analytics, which provides valuable insights into visitor behavior and helps you tailor your content to meet their needs.
Haven’t set up Google Analytics yet? No problem! Our team of analytics experts are always available to chat about how to get you ready and rolling with up-to-date strategies for Google Analytics 4 and beyond. Drop us a line!
To keep track of keyword position changes like a pro, focus on the most relevant ones for your business. Reliable tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can help you with this. These tools not only track ranking positions but also provide insights into the competition and allow you to optimize your SEO strategy for better results.
Finally, it’s essential to monitor the rankings of your target keywords over time. Consistent tracking helps determine the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, enabling prompt modification to strategies as required. By ensuring that your website is optimized for search engines, you'll attract more organic traffic, gain visibility, and ultimately elevate your online presence.
At Be Found Online, we're passionate about boosting your online visibility. Our metric-savvy analytics experts thrive on driving traffic, generating leads, and boosting ROI - all to maximize your website's potential. Trust us to help increase your online presence and take your brand to the next level!
A seasoned BFO analyst can equip you with the tools and guidance you need to grow your business like never before. Want to step up your SEO analytics reporting? Let's chat today, and together let's unleash the power of expert insights into your data!
Although it might seem tedious, SEO improvements are key to your website’s success. These tweaks align initial progress with long-term growth by providing valuable datasets that shape content strategy and help optimize site performance.
While executing these technical updates, building backlinks and creating structured information architecture can make a significant difference in improving your site's discoverability across search engines.
As your site grows, nurturing it with high-quality content supplemented by SEO strategies can further drive traffic and engagement among your target audience. Be patient, persistent, and keep your timeline realistic - success in the world of website development and digital marketing is often gradual and requires long-term commitment and effort.
Need help building a stable SEO strategy? Reach out to Be Found Online for the assist! We build timelines that consider your website’s unique factors so you know what to expect from moment one.