How long does it take for SEO to work?

You may have already heard thousands of times about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and how it is the magic formula that will take your business to the next level. You've probably been told that this tool will bring more traffic to your website and it will fix all your problems because that’s how the Internet works. However, most businesses don’t understand how it works or even how long it takes to have a positive impact on your business. We’re here to respond to that question and we wish we could give you a simple and unique answer of X number of months. The reality is a bit more complex than that, but we promise that by the end of the article, you will understand what factors could affect your business’s SEO and why it is worth the effort.
  • Mel Gibbons

    15 July, 2021

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At this point, you’re probably thinking that this is not as simple as it sounded at the beginning and you’re not wrong. Despite being one of the most commonly used strategies on the Internet nowadays, the truth is that SEO is not a simple strategy in which you include a couple of words on your website and Google will bring millions of users to your site.

The actual path is a bit more complex and the first thing you should know is that the time required to get the traffic you have been dreaming of depends on several factors, which could make the process last between 6 to 12 months of consistent work on the content and the structure.

But… is SEO worth it?

The short answer to this question is YES, it is. Being the process of increasing a website’s visibility in organic search results, SEO is basically a way to organise the content on your website to include specific keywords that will show search engines (like Google) how good it is.

As a result, putting effort into having a good SEO strategy will increase the traffic coming from search engines (organic traffic) and will save you money that otherwise you would have to spend on paid strategies or more demanding ones such as email marketing. It is definitely better to publish your content in a specific way and just leave it there for people to find, rather than trying to catch people’s attention by spending money or time. 

What do you want to achieve with SEO?

Having said that, you’re likely to continue this exciting journey because you will motivated and the first step is to have things clear. One of the most common issues that people have when creating an SEO strategy is that they don’t know what will be a success for them and how to achieve it. That’s why you need to clearly define what outcome you want to obtain (objectives) and how you will measure if the strategy is working or not (metrics).

For example, let’s say that you want to increase revenue on your website by 20% in the next 6 months. In this case, the objective to be achieved is increasing the earnings as a result of online sales and the metric to measure that objective would be the number of sales.

To do that, you need to implement SEO-related changes on your website and keep track of the number of sales, it would be a measure before and several measures after for a few months that will give you the information on whether or not your SEO strategy is having a positive impact. Whatever goals you aspire to achieve, make sure they’re both realistic and measurable.

Some other metrics that you can use to measure your objectives are:

  • Keyword ranking
  • SERP visibility
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Bounce rate
  • Authority score
  • Backlinks
  • Page speed
  • Time spent on page
  • Impressions

What factors can affect the time required to see SEO results?

You have already done 50% of the job by creating quality content, using SEO strategies, defining objectives, and selecting metrics to measure it, what now? There are some external factors that will affect the time required to achieve your goals: 

Is your domain new?

Efforts on a new domain may require 9-12 months to see results, while we could say that SEO results on an existing domain could easily start as early as 6 months depending on each specific website.

What is your website history?

The history of your website will provide key insights into how quickly your SEO efforts will work. If it has been penalised by Google in the past or has some severe issues that need to be resolved, this will mean that more time will be required to achieve those goals.

How are your competitors performing?

A competitor analysis is a sensible first step when creating an SEO strategy. If they are doing a great job with their strategy it will be harder for you to improve your performance compared to theirs. On the other hand, if they are not good you will see results sooner.

How much effort will you make? 

As a long-term online strategy, SEO isn’t something you can switch on and walk away from, it requires attention and consistency to reach your goals. More resources will mean more focus and consistent attention to SEO actions and tasks, the more attention you give to it the better your results will be.

What issues could affect your SEO?

Of course, some problems could happen during this process. Technical SEO issues (SEO health) and URLs on your website not being used are two common ones that could hurt the strategy. Search engines can get bogged down trying to understand your site under those conditions and cleaning up the URLs that you no longer need to improve the chance that the ones you want to be noticed are.

Furthermore, creating high-quality content should always remain at the forefront of your online marketing strategy and will be key to boosting (or delaying!) the success of your SEO efforts, much more if it makes other people want to share your content on their websites (backlinks).

In summary, every website is different and will come with its own unique history, site structure, content, performance, results, and a combination of technical SEO issues. All these factors need to be considered when putting together an effective SEO strategy and just by understanding them it is possible to tell an approximate time required to achieve the objectives you have in mind.

SEO is a long-term strategy that is worth the investment and could improve your business’s performance drastically, but it requires consistency, resources, and patience. Take a step forward today and start to build this amazing structure that will change your business and its performance forever.

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