When you’re paying real coin for SEO, it’s natural to ask how long it will take to see SEO results. Unfortunately no one, not even the nerdiest of SEO nerds (read: this team right here (hi!)), can give an exact answer, and that’s because there are so many variables that contribute to SEO success. Let’s dig into what affects SEO the most and how it will impact your digital presence. 

Why does SEO take so long? 

 

Most SEOs are reluctant to give hard and fast SEO time frames because there are just too many factors at play. Still, if we absolutely had to estimate, the short answer would be that SEO results take a minimum of 4 months, but more likely a year or longer. 

Are you giving your screen major side eye right now? Because that’s fair. A year is a long time to wait for results! 

According to a study by Ahrefs, “only 22% of pages that rank in the Top 10 were created within 1 year. 40% of top ranking pages were three years older or more.” 

BUT. Getting to the first page of results can mean the difference between making money and disappearing into the digital abyss, because really, who clicks beyond page one of Google? 

To get you the traffic and leads you need, your digital marketing agency will build an SEO strategy centered around a laundry list of factors, but let’s drill them down into three major areas. 

SEO Content 

 

You’ve probably heard that content is king, and this is one rumor that’s 100% true! One of the biggest components of creating a solid SEO strategy is producing helpful, well-researched content that answers questions, illustrates insights, and solves your customers’ problems. 

Why? The whole reason search engines exist is to help people find what they need; in fact, you may have searched for “how long does SEO take?” to find this article. When Google connects users with the right content, it helps them look smart and brings you traffic: a win win! Content comes in many forms, including: 

  • Blogs
  • Landing pages and other web pages
  • Social posts 

But content strategy isn’t just about creating new content, it’s also about getting rid of what no longer applies. Isn’t it annoying when you land on an outdated site? Yeah. Editing or deleting underperforming or irrelevant pages proves that you’re committed to releasing only the most helpful, up-to-date information, earning you cred with the algorithms. 

Consistent curating and optimization is so important, which leads us to… 

SEO Consistency 

 

SEO isn’t about reaching a final end point; even when you hit #1, you can’t say, “Well folks, we did it!” and walk away. Nope. 

In addition to producing a consistent, steady stream of helpful content, you’ll need to update and optimize your site and past work to ensure it’s meeting today’s best practices. Algorithms are always changing, so tricks that may have worked in the past may be considered black hat practices today (keyword stuffing, anyone?).

When was the last time you: 

  • Performed a site audit
  • Tested user experience
  • Assessed your internal link strategy
  • Reviewed your metadata
  • Updated your website

Even if you’re creating the most targeted content of all time, it won’t perform at its best unless the above points are solid. Think about it this way: you can’t decorate a house without a foundation, so likewise, you can’t add new content to a website that’s broken. 

Even after all of this is in order, one final thing that will affect your SEO timeline is… 

SEO Competition 

 

Your industry, product, and service will have a huge impact on how long it takes to rank. The more niche your offerings, the easier it is to stand out. For example, lots of retailers may sell “women’s accessories” making keyword competition fierce, but there’s probably less demand for a search term like “women’s toe rings made from recycled bottle caps.” 

Anyone who’s been at SEO for quite some time will have an advantage, because when you compare SEO vs. SEM, SEO is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. But that doesn’t mean you can’t overtake whoever’s in the top spot. Grab a protein shake and start your race, pacing yourself for that eventual glory. 

That frustration you’re feeling about how long this takes? Your competitors are struggling too, and may tap out before they can see results. GOOD. Let them! Because you’ll still be there, killing the game with smart content that outlasts. 

Maximize Your SEO Strategy

 

Get the most out of your agency when you collaborate on an SEO strategy designed to meet or exceed your goals. Launch Digital Marketing loves diving deep into data to turn your weaknesses into wins and blind spots into focus areas. Contact us to boost your digital presence! 

Meet Crystal Mack

Crystal Mack is a Senior Copywriter at Launch Digital Marketing. With a master's degree in Mass Communication and several published books to her pen name, she is a self-proclaimed word nerd and staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.