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How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working?

In website building, one thing you need to focus is what your site ranking in Google Search (organically). In our experience, a lot of our new customer are asking why they cant find their site in Google Search, while their site was launch yesterday. Theoretically, we can only see the SEO result within 4 to 6 months after the site launching. Some of you might feel frustrated to wait and see the result, but that is the Google timeline for SEO. To get faster results, we always suggest our clients to use Google Ads instead.

New SEO vs Old SEO

Once upon a time the strategy was to identify those keywords that were the most relevant to your business, got the most traffic, and weren’t very competitive. It used to be you would figure out 5-10 keywords that were your “golden keywords” and would bring in the majority of your traffic. When someone comes to us and says “I need to be #1 for such and such keyword,” we know they’re stuck in that paradigm. That keyword strategy is wrong, because with rarer and rarer exceptions, there is no one keyword, and no small group of keywords, that is going to drive a lot of traffic to your website–at least not compared to what you can get from the long tail of search. The bottom line is that if you’re focusing on a small group of generic keywords, you’re probably not being found by most of the people who are searching for you.

SEO today is increasingly driven by natural language search, that is, people doing searches that are more like normal questions than two or three keywords. This is happening because people are using tools like Siri and Google Now to speak their searches, rather than typing them in. And because people are including more detail in their typed searches as they seek to find what they’re looking for faster. These keywords are much easier to rank for, because they’re not as competitive. They are much more relevant because they include more detail, and therefore traffic from these keywords converts at a higher rate. And in aggregate, the number of searches in the long tail often adds up to many more searches than you would get from your “golden keywords.” Therefore the objective, when it comes to rankings, is not to rank for a few top keywords that remain the same over time, but to focus on a much larger number of natural language searches that is growing and changing rapidly.

So, How Long It Takes For SEO To Start Working

It depends. Frustrating, isn’t it? But it’s the truth. What does it depend on? It depends on how long your website has been around, how much SEO has been done on it previously, what shape the website is in, how much content is on it, its link profile, and many other SEO factors. No two websites are starting from the same place, even if they’re in the same industry and competing for the same customers. However, here is a plausible scenario for what your SEO efforts might look like during the initial months, and the results you might expect.

Month 1 – Research and discovery, website audit, keyword strategy, and planning.

Month 2 – Begin technical SEO work, that is, making modification to the website based on site audit results. In some cases the website needs to be overhauled, and this of itself can take months. Other SEO activities such as working on the link profile and building content can be done at the same time the overhaul is happening.

Month 3 – Start focusing on content creation. Blogging, FAQs, whitepapers, articles, expanded product and company information, etc. Ideally you would have started on this right after the strategy and planning, but often budgets restrict what can be done at once, and so a technical overhaul needs to come first. This being the case, you might start seeing some improvements in rankings by the end of this month.

Month 4 – Continued content creation, technical optimization of the website, and development of a healthy link profile (which may include cleaning up low quality links). By this month you could expect to see a marked increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation. It won’t be anywhere close to the improvements you should 12 months into your SEO efforts, but it should be significant enough that you know SEO is working.

Month 5 – By this month or perhaps earlier in the process you may have started incorporating social media management into your plan to amplify your content and increase direct traffic to your website. This can lead to a healthy, natural link profile, and of course generate leads in and of itself. You would continue with content creation and perhaps engage in some PR or media outreach. You should be seeing more and more traffic coming in from SEO at this point, and your leads should be growing as a result.

Month 6 – If your traffic has reached 5,000 visitors per month or more by this point, you could benefit from adding conversion rate optimization to your efforts to improve how the traffic you’re receiving converts into leads and/or sales. From this point on, your activities may be consistently focused on content creation and promoting that content, or you may be doing things that are more creative.

Many SEO firms will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. That’s generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you’re getting at 6 months should be considerably less than what you’re getting at 12 months. At some point, you may see your results taper off, and then it may be a matter of maintaining results rather than growing them.

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