Is there a right answer to the question “how long does SEO take to deliver results”? SEO strategies depend on many variables, so having a concrete answer can be very challenging.
The concern of many webmasters may be to determine how long SEO takes to give results, since, in most cases, the visits to the sites depend on the success of the strategies implemented. Therefore, we will tell you how long it takes for a website to receive visits and we will share some of the best tips to position a website with fast SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), comprises a group of strategies that help websites to be crawled and their content to be noticed by search engines more effectively, which makes it easier for them to be found on the internet. This is why it is concluded that, without SEO, it is unlikely to be found in the digital landscape.
SEO strategies have become an indispensable action in any online media, such as websites, blogs, and even social networks, because they facilitate a greater number of users finding our content, in addition to increasing organic traffic.
However, these marketing strategies include a large number of variables, so it is sometimes complex to determine whether the results that will be obtained in the end will be as expected. In fact, on many occasions, the results can be confusing for specialists, the main reason being the time it takes for SEO to have its first effects.
According to a study carried out by the positioning company Ahrefs, it takes between 2 to 6 months for a website to reach the first page in Google’s search results, just by implementing SEO strategies and taking advantage of organic traffic. But is it really possible? Or can it be achieved in a shorter time?
To determine how long SEO takes to deliver results, we will provide a series of tools with which to analyse the variables that influence your websites, some of the best techniques to follow to position a website with fast SEO and tips to know if your strategy will work.
Positioning: Why does SEO take so long?
To determine how long SEO takes to deliver results, it is necessary to understand why these techniques take time. For starters, Google regularly updates and improves the search engine’s functionality, focusing on how the algorithm crawls and indexes web pages.
In the early days, SEO strategies used multiple tricks and shortcuts to get the algorithm to deliver good results, which was considered to be an ill-advised way. Today, Google’s development team is working hard to optimise the algorithm so that it cannot be fooled by primitive tactics, and so the platform aims to help users get the information they want, rather than finding irrelevant web pages that use cheating techniques.
This led to a series of bans and infractions on thousands of websites, which were severely affected by the rules imposed by the old Google Penguin, and ranking on the first page of search results became an increasingly challenging task and began to take longer to get results.
On the other hand, SEO converges some of the best practices that can directly influence the performance of Google’s algorithm; due to the many different factors that work together to impact the results. The most important ones, considered by digital marketing experts, are:
The algorithm is able to distinguish between good and bad quality content, as it takes into consideration variables such as the time a user spends reading the information. Additionally, it is able to analyse the punctuation, grammar or usefulness of the content. Therefore, any element posted must be optimal or it will negatively affect the SEO score.
Each page should load at an average speed of 1.29 seconds, otherwise, it will be considered annoying to users.
This refers to the trustworthiness, authority and relevance of a web page in cyberspace. For an SEO strategy to achieve the expected results, it must have these three variables.
It is extremely important to take care of the health of the site and be aware of any possible threats, viruses or hacks.
In order for images to have a positive influence on SEO, they must be of good quality, indexable and have alternative text, in this way it is possible to attract organic traffic through Google Images.
According to the behavioural patterns analysed by Google, internet users enjoy interacting with elements on websites, such as: questionnaires, content with a call to action buttons, calculators, among others.
How do you know if SEO is working?
To date, there is no exact formula to know if the SEO strategy implemented will work, but there are several ways to verify it. These are some metrics that you should observe and master, to analyse the strategy and understand how your positioning is working:
- Organic traffic: Comprises the traffic of internet users who arrive at your websites through search engines, after accessing the first results of a query.
- A number of positioned web pages: Number of own pages that occupy a good position within the search results.
- Domain authority: Relevance that the website has within its niche or specific topic with respect to others.
- Page authority: Relevance of the different web pages within the theme or niche to which it belongs.
- Impressions: The number of times users have clicked on your links, discovered your websites, content or advertisements.
- Clicks: Number of times users have clicked on your links or content.
- A number of backlinks: Takes into consideration the number of links from other sources that connect to your web pages inbound.
- Referrals from other sites: The organic traffic coming to your websites from links from other sources, pages or sites.
- Brand mentions: Referrals from other sources or sites that directly mention your brand, services, products or content.
- Conversions: Comprises the number of actions users take on your website, which can be: filling out forms, clicking on a link, providing information about themselves, entering an email or accessing a newsletter.
Variables that determine how long SEO positioning takes to work
Digital marketing experts consider that, in order to evaluate the trajectory of an SEO strategy, it is necessary to take into account a series of determining variables that directly influence its effectiveness, the most relevant of which are the following:
There are keywords that are more complex to position than others, these vary according to their search volume. When trying to position generic keywords such as “entrepreneurship” or “sale of clothes”, discouraging results are obtained, due to the fact that, being such common queries, there are other well-established websites among the first places.
For this reason, the long tail strategy is used, which consists of adding certain words to the main keyword. In this way, “entrepreneurship” could become “entrepreneurship without investment”, which would completely change the difficulty of positioning these keywords among the first search results.
However, it is important to note that search volume, cost per click and domain authority will vary considerably between keywords, so it will be necessary to test to identify the best opportunities to rank higher in a shorter time. Additionally, the newer the website, the more effort you will need to put into providing fresh, quality content, so that your domain authority will grow in the face of Google’s algorithm.
2. Market: Local or international?
The competition will vary considerably according to demographics, so local, state, national or international positioning will not be the same. If your website is aimed at offering services locally, this is the approach you will need to master, so that your target audience becomes your visitors through organic traffic.
For example, by using the keywords “clothing sales” you can include your location to form a long tail and increase your chances of minimising competition, so “clothing sales in Miami” will get higher results.
On the other hand, the inclusion of the location will indirectly serve as a filter, which will influence the people who perform such a search; in this way, they will get visitors who are likely to make purchases or who have serious intentions of making a transaction. In this case, the business should ideally grow as the website improves its Google ranking.
3. Amount of content produced
With the latest updates, Google’s algorithm has become a tool that seeks to provide answers to all questions related to a specific topic. For this reason, it is vital that the content created is sufficiently complete to leave users satisfied. Although brief information is usually the most sought after, it lacks sufficient substance to provide all the required elements, which is a feature that is highly valued by the algorithm.
It is necessary to be constant with the publication of content, as they will allow them to include more keywords, topics of interest or create new windows that are visited by Internet users. In this way, the greater the number of potential visitors, the more opportunities to increase the authority within the topics and, consequently, a significant improvement in the positioning in the search results.
Statistics: Time it takes for a website to receive visitors
Now that you understand why SEO strategies take so long and what metrics you need to evaluate when verifying SEO performance, let’s explore the final time it takes to deliver its first results. However, the short answer is: between 3 and 12 months.
SEO involves a large number of elements that, when successful individually, create the space for a website to be valued enough by search engine algorithms to improve its ranking. That is why all decisions and actions are important; for example, by implementing low competition keywords, the first results may come within the first 4 months, although some experts claim that it is even possible to achieve this within the first 3 weeks.
However, other variables such as increased traffic and user conversions begin to show results within 6 months to a year; this is one of the actions that take the longest to take effect. Likewise, keywords with a high level of competitiveness, increasing the level of domain authority and improving page authority can take years, as these are the most solid metrics that a website possesses, which is why the algorithm takes these metrics into great consideration when positioning a website.
On the other hand, another study conducted by Ahrefs, which evaluated two million websites, revealed that only 5.7% of the portals were analysed by Google and reached the first page of the SERPs in a period of 2 to 6 months, 19.5% managed to position themselves between the 11th and 100th position, while 74.8% did not enter the top 100 using SEO strategies. A priori, the big difference is due to the fact that the top rankers achieved their positions using keywords with low search volumes; only a few achieved their positions using keywords with high search volumes. However, the high competition for the latter type of keywords prolongs the wait for results by up to 1 year.
Likewise, each action developed in the SEO programme will yield individual results, which must form a large unit that allows them to accumulate enough points to be considered by the algorithm. However, determining the exact time in which a strategy will deliver its maximum effect can be an impossible task; although we can estimate how long it will take to reach each small stage within the big goal.
7 techniques to increase the success of an SEO strategy
Unlike other marketing strategies, SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant work to achieve the desired results; because it is not possible to change some elements on the fly and expect significant results.
However, there are some actions that can be done continuously to increase visits and directly influence web positioning:
- Write for the audience. To move up in the SERP rankings, it is necessary to go one step further than keywords, it is essential to provide users with content that generates satisfaction. In this way, they will increase their authority and trust, gaining leads and organic traffic.
- Create headlines that generate impact. Eye-catching headlines are 50% more likely to get visits than standard headlines, so coming up with some that contain keywords will be ideal to attract the attention of visitors. In addition, getting a higher number of clicks will improve your rankings in the search results.
- Use rich keywords. For years now, keyword stuffing has no longer worked as a tactic to trick the algorithm. Even so, many digital marketing experts claim that using rich keyword phrases to attract the attention of search engines is an excellent way to increase your chances of success.
- Structure content with best practices. The designs and structures of the posts play a fundamental role in the web positioning; since the layout is a point that is highly valued by the algorithms present in the search engines.
- Include images. Images are elements that provide usefulness to the content; this is the main reason why the algorithm takes into consideration the images that accompany the information, as readers react better to publications with illustrations. Therefore, to improve your ranking in search results, you will need to include images in your posts, making sure to perform on-page SEO in the backend as the alternative text.
- Include interactive elements. They are another way to encourage interaction with visitors and content, questionnaires, buttons with CTA, e-books or newsletter subscriptions, are some examples of interactive content.
- Boost content on social networks. When we push content through social networks, using useful hashtags and eye-catching texts, we can attract more readers to the sites. Additionally, we encourage algorithms to rank websites even higher thanks to increased traffic.
Conclusion: How long does SEO take to deliver results?
Determining exactly how long it would take for a website to rank within the first search results is a challenging task, there are many elements that converge to make this situation possible. In fact, there are cases where two different websites have obtained completely different results, using the same techniques. However, implementing a digital marketing strategy with SEO is necessary for the healthy growth of any website.
On the other hand, the time it takes for a website to receive visits can vary according to all the elements involved: content, niche, target audience, keywords, web design or even the time of year.
However, the most important thing when considering this type of programme is that they must constantly adjust to the changes that the search engine algorithms undergo; as they undergo many changes every year that seek to improve the user experience and minimise the fraudulent effects that webmasters can use. For these reasons, staying ahead in terms of optimisation will be essential to position a website with fast SEO.
Finally, determining exactly how long SEO takes to deliver results may be an inexact science; but that does not mean it is impossible. To widen the range of possibilities, they will only have to do excellent research on the keywords they will use, analyse the results page to evaluate the competition and build quality articles that meet the needs of users. In this way, you will reach the long-awaited first page of the search results.