How Long Does it Take For SEO to Work?

May 30, 2016

One common question we hear buzzing around the digital space is 'How long does it take to rank in Google?', however this question never comes with a simple answer. The success of your SEO efforts heavily relies on a multitude of factors including the size of your website, your target market, on-going SEO efforts and the ever changing landscape of the Google algorithm updates. This blog endeavours to add clarity to how and when your SEO efforts will begin to see results.

SEO has changed drastically over the past 5 years. Organic search engines had to adapt to accommodate the huge increase in keyword competition and the recently labelled black hat SEO tactics that used to help your rank, actually hinder your chances of reaching the top of Google. Search marketers are now scrambling to find ways around all the rules to get to the top positions.

A SEO strategy is not going to come into fruition over night and to gain quality SEO results, this effort will require a long-term investment. Once you start to think about your SEO efforts in a long-term mindframe, you can begin to expect certain results to start popping up along the way. Here are some guidelines as to what you can expect to see.

If you are just starting to work on your SEO strategy, or you have just partnered with an SEO agency to help with your SEO efforts, you should expect that it will take 2 months to plan your SEO strategy. During this time you will likely conduct an SEO audit to assess your website for SEO health. During this period of time you will uncover any existing high and medium priority errors on your website that need to be fixed. Depending on how many errors you uncover, it can take some time to fix the initial problems you find.

Following the discovery stage of your SEO strategy, you will begin to implement your tactics and this is where the time it will take to see results may vary. From the start of your discovery, through to implementation to results can be anywhere between 1 to 6 months. Even though your keywords may begin to perform faster, it takes time to build a reputation to achieve sustainable results. However, our research has shown that simple technical as well as content optimization can boost your rankings within weeks not months.

SEO is not a fix it and you're done type of effort. It is on-going and requires a dedicated individual or team to be worth the investment. It goes without saying that the more effort you put into your SEO, the more opportunity your business will receive and the more revenue you will grow. So, how do you invest in the right SEO effort for your business?

There are many options for a business seeking SEO support. There are some important things to consider as you choose between hiring internally or bringing on an external agency:

  • Timeframe - If you want to hit the ground running, it may be a better idea to bring on an agency. Agencies are armed with all the up-to-date information on SEO strategy and will likely have the technical know-how to implement many of the technical changes, such as page speed, efficiently. Hiring an in-house team to do this can take time and requires the 90-day onboarding period. Even though an agency may be faster during set-up and implementation, the results will still take time to come into effect as mentioned above.
  • Cost - Depending on the size of your business, it may be more cost-effective to hire an agency over a team of employees, However there are benefits to having an internal person focused solely on SEO as well. You might consider combining both an internal team and external agency to maximize on knowledge and effort for the least amount of money.
  • Resources - A huge part of your SEO effort will focus on tweaking current content on your website and developing high-quality additional content to support new keywords and trends as they emerge. If you have enough capabilities in-house to handle this additional work, great, however, you may want to consider hiring an additional copywriter or agency to handle the content piece.

Do you have an SEO strategy that isn't seeing results or need help getting started? Contact us to get a full marketing audit.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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