If you are looking to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in order to boost your ranking in search results, increase traffic, or attract a certain audience, you may be wondering how long the SEO process takes? When will you start to see results from your efforts? These are common questions that SEO professionals are asked very early on in the process.
Unfortunately, unlike paid advertising where you can see results almost immediately, SEO can take a bit more time. But before we can give you an idea of when you might start seeing results, we need to address what factors into a successful SEO plan and how long those processes may take to start returning on your investment.
What is a Successful SEO Strategy?
An SEO strategy looks a bit different for every client. That’s because every client and website is different and has different needs. Some websites are already performing well in the area of keyword optimization, but perhaps they need help with backlinks. Other sites may be performing well in content, but there may be technical issues that could help the site perform more effectively.
To that end, the first step in SEO is establishing goals. What is it that you want to achieve from your SEO strategy? Next, we need to determine which metrics will tell us how your SEO strategy is helping or hindering your goals.
Here at EraBright, we like to set reasonable and measurable goals that our clients can review and see how things are progressing. Often, we set up milestones – monthly, quarterly, etc. – so our clients can see small improvements here and there, and larger overall improvements over time. Remember, sometimes it takes time for search engine algorithms and analytics programs to catch up with changes, so some SEO strategies may take more time than others.
When You Can Expect to See Results
With the idea in mind that SEO is a process and not an overnight “fix”, it is recommended to set some goals, like one month, six months, or 12 months. Setting goals in increments gives you time to see measurable increases in things like traffic or conversions. For most SEO strategies, 6 to 12 months is adequate time to start seeing results.
Now let’s discuss some of the factors that determine how long it takes for you to see results from your SEO strategies.
1. Website History
If you are starting a new website and domain, it will take longer for you to see changes than if you are optimizing a well-established domain. That’s because an established domain will already have some level of authority and likely will already have some backlinks. Therefore, an established site can easily see some results in 6 to 12 months. A brand new domain may take longer, around 9 to 12 months.
The amount of competition you have will also factor into how quickly you can expect SEO results. If you are in a low competition niche, then you may start to see results in as little as 3 to 6 months. If you are in a very highly competitive niche, then it could take up to two years before you really start seeing results – especially improvements in your ranking.
You cannot control or change your website’s history or your competition. What you can control, however, is your resources. The more resources you can allocate for SEO work, the more likely you are to see better results sooner. SEO takes time, and SEO specialists need time to work their magic. Our recommendation is to put together an action plan that includes your goals, measurable metrics, and an allocation of resources. Next, prioritize your plan of action around your available resources. As the plan progresses, you can always reallocate resources or pull in more resources.
4. The 3 Silos
There are 3 “silos” of SEO success that can impact how long it takes for you to see results. These silos are:
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO refers to the site and how it performs. Some technical SEO metrics to consider are:
- Site Speed
- Indexing and Crawling
- XML sitemaps
- Structured Data
- Content: The old saying “content is king” continues to reign in today’s SEO realm. Content is one of the three leading SEO factors that Google considers in its algorithms. Some key elements of content to consider are:
- Creating content that matches searcher intent
- Understand what key terms are ranking and how to beat them
- Make sure that content meets Google’s quality guidelines
- Regularly update content on your site and blog
- Backlinks: Backlinks are another of Google’s top three ranking factors. Backlinks are an indicator of trust and authority. Some elements of backlinks to consider:
- More quality backlinks to your site mean that Google will rank you higher and your domain authority will increase.
- Low-quality backlinks can be flagged as spam by Google
- Avoid acquiring a lot of backlinks at one time, as this can be viewed as unnatural and Google can penalize your site for it
It is frustrating to know that you are making improvements on your website, but you can’t tell if they are helping. Unfortunately, that is the nature of SEO, especially if your site needs a lot of help. Even Google’s own SEO experts recommend allowing at least 4 months and up to a year to start really seeing improvements from SEO strategies.
While it is understandably frustrating, it is important to practice patience. Keep up the work you are doing to improve your SEO, and don’t give up if you don’t see results right away. As always, if you aren’t sure what you are doing is working, or if you aren’t sure where to start, you can always reach out to the SEO experts at EraBright for help.