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How Long Does SEO take, FOREVER? OF COURSE NOT!!

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already a believer in the value of search engine optimization (SEO). This article will help you understand what SEO is and how it works, why it matters to your business, and how to choose an SEO Company.

The basic logic of SEO, or search engine optimization, makes sense to you: The more visible you are in search engines, the more traffic, leads, and sales you’ll get.

SEO is an intimidating topic, and it’s easy to become obsessed with the minutiae of it all. But despite various attempts at getting SEO to work, you just can’t seem to gain any traction in Google’s results pages.

So what’s going on?

In most cases, it takes time for you to see results from your SEO efforts. There are many factors that contribute to your success, and none of them happen overnight - but with the right strategy, you can be successful in your organic search marketing efforts.

Patience is key when you’re following the proven strategies and best practices of a proven system. There’s no magic formula that will make your competitors submit to your wishes overnight.

We can help you craft a winning SEO strategy—one that will help you see better rankings, increased traffic, and higher conversion rates.

SEO is a long-term strategy, but it’s not a pipe dream. In this post, we’ll give you a better sense of just how long it takes to see SEO results, describe what you can expect during different phases of a typical SEO campaign, and look at what you can do to get results quicker.

How FOR EVER does it take for SEO to produce results? (just kidding).

How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working?

It takes most brands 6 to 8 months to see results from their SEO efforts, in our experience. And by results, we mean sustained increases in organic traffic, leads, and revenue.

You don’t have to wait THAT long to see improvements in your SEO efforts in some cases.

Sometimes, the biggest gains from on-site changes happen very quickly. However, that doesn't mean you will see huge results overnight. If you make changes and leave them there, that’s about when you’ll start seeing a serious increase in traffic and conversions.

In general, it takes about 6 to 8 months from the time of a website’s launch until it starts seeing improved search engine rankings. Of course, the SEO timeline will vary significantly depending on your site’s level of authority and credibility versus its competition. If you want to see quicker results, we highly recommend investing in premium SEO services to help establish your site quickly with long-term positive results, LIKE OURS! Set up an appointment, don't be shy.

And so the amount of time it will take for your site to gain some positions on Google will depend on various factors, including:

  • The level of competition in your niche, business, or geographic zone

  • Which keywords you’re trying to compete

  • Your domain’s age (this is not 100% true, but everything helps)

  • How much optimization does your site have (optimized images, meta tags, tags h1, h2, h3, etc.)

  • How much quality content you already have

  • The quality of your backlink profile (the sites that are referring to yours)

  • How well you execute your optimization strategy

  • And last but not least, unfortunately, your SEO budget

With that in mind, this is it! Let’s take a look at 6 months of a typical SEO campaign could look like.

1 To 6 Of A Typical SEO Campaign. This is WHAT HAPPENS.

The reality of how long does it take for seo to work

Here’s a realistic SEO timeline for a typical campaign planned and implemented by a high-quality Search Marketing agency like Kendall Development 😎.

This is the process of improving your site’s visibility in search engines such as Google and Bing. But before starting out on any SEO campaign, it’s essential that you first have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve so that you and your SEO team can better prioritize tasks and track progress.

6-Months SEO Roadmap of How Long Does SEO Take to Show Results

how long does it take for seo to update

There are many different goals that a search engine optimization campaign can achieve. Depending on your business and customer needs, you might be looking to increase overall traffic or improve conversion rates, boost your number of leads, or build brand loyalty.

SEO is a long-time term game, but keep in mind more ambitious your aims, the longer your strategy will take, and the longer you will take to reach them.

Month 1 (Planning the drama)

The first month of the SEO roadmap is all about research and discovery.

Getting a complete picture of your brand and the competitive landscape surrounding it is a crucial part of the SEO process in this phase. This involves getting a better understanding of your target audience’s main pain points, the unique selling proposition (USP) of your business within your niche, and what your competitors are doing well (and not so well) in their SEO efforts.

One of the first things is keyword research. Your SEO team will conduct this during the first month in order to target the right keywords. They’ll also figure out how well you’re currently ranking for those keywords (if you are ranking...), which will help them decide where you should start with your SEO efforts. Your SEO team will conduct a technical audit of your site during this phase of the program. This will uncover problems relating to your site structure, user experience and content quality or coverage.

They will also continue to monitor changes in ranking positions and organic traffic over time making adjustments as needed (I know what you are thinking, this is A LOT!! Yeah, this is Month 1).

While the majority of your initial SEO audits will focus on longer-term changes, occasionally you’ll get lucky and uncover a few quick wins that can have a big impact. These are ideal for an initial audit because they don’t require any development time, yet still deliver a positive impact on your site’s performance.

Always begin with a thorough overview of your website, browse through your analytics and check out how your traffic is currently performing. Your SEO team can then begin to build and prioritize a plan of action for getting your website in better condition.

Month 2 (The drama begins)

Once the diagnosis is complete, it’s time for the optimization work to begin. If you are doing this research yourself, this section will tell you exactly what your SEO team will be looking at when they begin analyzing the problem areas of your site.

Based on what they uncovered in the technical audit, your team will start to modify your pages. For example, they might update on-page elements like meta descriptions and image alt text, compress images to improve page load speed, or implement redirects to ensure users and search engine crawlers end up on the correct pages. They'll continue to improve these pages as they see results from Google's index.

At this point you will be running out of budget... (just kidding).

At this point you will in the SEO timeline, your team will begin a project-specific brainstorming session about how you want the site to look and feel. The more your content ideas can capture the search intent behind your target keywords, the more likely you’ll be able to rank for those keywords and become a millionaire... because this is all about right? Yeah, it is, let's do it!!

During the audit phase, you are likely to see a focus on link-building strategies. If they haven’t done so already, your SEO team will conduct a thorough audit of your backlink profile during this phase to reveal any questionable links pointing to your domain and give you an idea of what kind of content tends to generate the most links for you.

Month 3 (Be patient, do not hate us)

At this point, your SEO team will likely have already implemented any quick fixes, and your overall website hygiene will be steadily improving, with little or no effort on your part.

This is a "Gap of Disappointment" and can occur when you notice early signs of progress beginning to decline. While this might feel discouraging, it’s important to remember that SEO takes time and the upward trajectory wasn’t borne out in reality due to a natural fluctuation in search engine rankings.

Things will get better. They always do. This dip in results is perfectly normal, and remember that if this were easy, everyone will be swimming backstroke on Franklin's (you know what I mean).

Graphic of How Long Does It Take For SEO To Take Effect

how long does local seo take

We are sorry for the graphics, we want to be very clear with you, and we hope you will understand.

So, one of the main SEO activities introduced by Month number 3 will be content restructuring, which means this:

Organizing your existing content to help maximize potential rankings in the search engines. For example, it might make sense to re-categorize certain pages into specific clusters of related content, or consolidate some pieces of content into one larger piece.

In Month 3, you'll begin to see search engine rankings increase. The goal is to form and nurture relationships with high-authority and trustworthy blogs and earn backlinks from them via guest posts.

By acquiring well-built diversity of backlinks, you will get a strong profile that will influence your future ranking improvements.

Month 4 (Mamma mia, should you ask for the cancelation of the contract?... just kidding)

The phase of content production and publication in the SEO timeline is.

Rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, we’ll be creating content that addresses specific keyword and funnel stage gaps identified in your audit. This will help you generate more leads at each stage of the funnel and boost sales.

Whether you are creating the content or outsourcing it make sure the content reflects the user’s search intent, and provide a valuable experience for the users who visit that page. Also, when creating the content add fully-optimized on-page elements, like title tags (H1, H2, H3, etc), and internal links embedded in contextual anchor text.

Your SEO team will also begin the task of link reclamation in Month 4. This is the exercise of identifying broken links either on your site or pointing to your site and fixing them so that they pass on as much value as possible.

Month 5 (I see something...)

By now, you should start to notice more and more SEO improvements as your new content (and newly-optimized content) begins to climb up Google’s rankings, and your backlink profile starts passing more link equity to your domain. Beginners may see significant results in one or two months, while others may need several months before they start seeing real improvements in their organic rankings.

Your SEO team will continue working on creating and publishing content. They will also create a list of potential keywords that can be used for new content.

The team will also focus on link-building by publishing guest posts on other blogs.

Month 6 (IT'S HAPPENING!!!!)

At this stage of the SEO journey, it’s common to notice significant and sustained increases in your organic traffic and search rankings.

WAIT!! If you got 'til here, just contact us, and I will give you the FIRST 2 MONTHS FOR FREE, just because I can't believe you are this invested.

Of course, if this hasn’t happened yet, there’s no need to be disheartened. No two sites are the same, at least no when you have 7+ just working for you, so you just need to stick to the process.

SEO is an ongoing process. Once you’ve achieved success, you need to work to maintain it. To keep your site at the top of search results, your SEO team will continue with the iterative cycle of content ideation and production, on-page optimization, link building, etc.

If your monthly traffic is in the thousands, your SEO team may suggest that you start conducting A/B tests to improve the site experience and optimize for more conversions.

What Factors Can Speed Up the SEO Timeline?

Read and stop asking how long does seo take to start working

SEO results take time to materialize, but the time to see improvements varies from site to site. But what can be done to speed up this process a bit more?

Here are our top suggestions:

Create First-Class Content

(like this one by the way 😎 😉)

Fully committing to producing high-quality content is the key to getting quick results from your SEO efforts.

Producing grade-A content, thoroughly-researched, well-written, and beautifully-presented that provides more value than the pieces of advice of your grandma will naturally earn you links naturally as people rush to share it. And the more backlinks you receive easily your website will scale.

Hopefully, you are understanding that this is A LOT and that DETAILS MATTER!!

Prioritize Collaboration Between Stakeholders

Poor communication can be just as dangerous as an actual lack of skill. One of the main causes of avoidable delays in any SEO campaign is poor communication and misalignment between stakeholders.

SEO is a team effort. Companies that are successful in SEO campaigns almost always require the cooperation of multiple teams and managers, from the client and the SEO agency to web developers, social media experts, copywriters, and IT technicians.

Granted, the more streamlined you can make your approval and implementation processes, the quicker you can expect to notice results on your campaign.

Set Easier Targets

I know that every business owner wants to have their site at the top of Google's rankings for their main target keyword and receive hundred of thousands of visitors a day.

SEO is all about smart and steady progress. But to succeed, it’s more practical to focus on reaching near-term milestones than trying to measure your success relative to some ultimate goal.

We’ll be honest: We don’t want you to be overly targets focused. Sure, we are pushing you to aim high and set goals that may seem unrealistic right now. But when you do the work and achieve smaller steps toward your long-term vision, those results will give you more confidence and keep you going.

SEO Timeline: FAQs

Are SEO results immediate?

Are you serious? Hopefully not, and if you skipped the whole article I invite you to read it and you will have an HONEST & REALISTIC answer by Professionals.

But, here is your answer by the way...

You might not notice the immediate benefits of SEO until around 6 months down the line, there are some quick wins to pick up early on. Spammy links and site-wide crawl problems can be fixed quickly, and if you’ve got poor hosting speeds and issues with your website’s performance these issues can also often be quickly addressed.

Why does it take so long for SEO to work?

You really have to be kidding!... (we are joking do not take it personally, we love to educate with sens of humor, these topics are intense, and we want you to laugh while learning so you don't get bored.

Your answer now...

Many SEO ranking factors contribute to the appearance of your website's pages in Google search results. Examples of these are page speed, backlinks, and visitor engagement. These factors can be improved with time and effort.

On average the time it takes for a website to see the impact of link building is ~3 months, this data was collected in a link builder survey performed by Authority Hackers

how long does seo take to work 2023

How can I speed up the SEO timeline?

You are driving a Bugatti Chiron, my friend...

But I have to say that it is possible, some of the best ways to limit the time it takes to see results is to commit to creating best-in-class content, making sure that different teams involved in your online marketing campaign have a good working relationship, good communication, and view the progress of the site through the lens of smaller milestones.

My Final Thoughts

SEO is a long-term game. It involves multiple moving pieces, like good planning, patience and a willingness to see results get worse before they get better. After all, you can't improve what you don't measure.

I hope this post has given you a better idea of how soon you can expect to see results with SEO and what work goes into bringing those results about. If you’re still wondering whether or not it’s worth the time, energy, and resources for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out! We love talking about our work and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.


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