How Long Does SEO Take To Work?

How Long Does SEO Take To Work?

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One question our team at Virtual Stacks Systems is frequently asked by prospective and new clients is “How long does SEO take to work?” This is an understandable question. Owners of small-to-medium-size businesses have heard about search engine optimization (SEO), but usually not more than that it helps to get their website to rank higher in search engine results. These days, especially, making sure your website is found quickly by potential customers is essential to your business’s success. Because we believe that knowledge is power, we strive to provide our clients the information they need to understand the basics of SEO.

How Long SEO Takes to Work Makes a Difference if Your Website is New

A new website can be compared to a newborn infant. Although it looks “grown up,” as far as Google and other search engines (yes, there are others) are concerned, it just arrived on the scene. It will, of course, come up first if searched for by name, but not for searches like “widgets near me” or “custom made widgets in midtown.”

Google describes its process best, in non-technical terms. Feel free to click on this link for the complete (and brief) explanation.

“The web is like an ever-growing library with billions of books and no central filing system. We use software known as web crawlers to discover publicly available webpages. Crawlers look at webpages and follow links on those pages, much like you would if you were browsing content on the web. They go from link to link and bring data about those webpages back to Google’s servers.”

As you would assume, this process takes a while, even for a new website that incorporates a solid SEO strategy and is optimized for speed. According to Erika Varagouli – global content strategist at Semrush – expect to see results for a brand-new website within nine to 12 months.

For existing websites making improvements to boost their ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), Varagouli cites a general time range of six to 12 months.

“A new domain will almost always take longer to show success than an established one, given that it hasn’t yet built up any authority or earned any backlinks. In comparison, an established domain will usually have earned at least some level of authority and have some backlinks pointing to it.

“However, an established domain doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll see quicker results. You likely won’t see quick results if the domain has previously been affected by a penalty, a core algorithm update, or has had SEO work that goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines.”

Other Factors That Affect How Long SEO Takes to Work

Three main factors enter into the equation: competition, inbound links and content. Writing for Search Engine Journal, Spartan Media founder Jeremy Knauff breaks it down as follows:

Competition – The number of businesses in your field has an effect. “For example, a plumber serving a small local market would face less competition than a real estate brokerage serving a large city, which would face less competition than a national mortgage company. As you might imagine, the more competing webpages you’re up against, the longer it will take to climb to the top of the search results.”

Inbound links – Also known as backlinks, these are links on other websites that link back to your website. They help build authority in the eyes of Google. “Generally speaking, fewer, high-quality links from relevant websites will have a far greater impact on your results than a greater volume of low-quality links from irrelevant websites. This is also important because high-quality links are generally more difficult to earn, so they will be more difficult for your competitors to replicate.”

Content – “The content published on your website also plays a role in how quickly you see results, and the first thing you need to know is that quality matters a lot,” writes Knauff. Days of churning out hundreds of 300-word articles you ordered on Fiverr aren’t going to move the needle when it comes to your ranking.” Our blog post – “What is Quality Content? We Answer the Question of the Ages!” – provides a comprehensive guide on what defines quality content and how to make sure your content meets the standards.

Knauff – as well as other SEO experts – recommends adding content on a regular basis. This is best accomplished by a blog, which provides numerous other benefits in addition to improved SEO. According to the inbound marketing experts at HubSpot, businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those that don’t.

Publishing consistently shows Google that new content is added to your site on a regular basis, which encourages its spiders to crawl it more frequently – thus helping to accelerate your SEO progress. Also, writes Knauff, “It encourages users to return to your website more frequently, which may help send positive user experience signals to Google, and as a result, speed up your SEO efforts.”

Our blog post – “The Truth About SEO and How Long It Takes to Work” – covers this topic, with additional details – including why you need to be patient so as not to fall prey to those described next!

Beware of SEO Scammers Who Claim They Can Get Fast Results

Maybe you don’t feel like waiting several months to see improvements in your website’s search engine results ranking. Who could blame you? With all the importance placed on ranking, the more time that passes, the more potential customers may be passing your site by because they lack the patience (that word again) to click past the first page of search results. So you may be tempted to take up the offer of someone who claims to be able to speed up the process and boost your ranking within days instead of months. Be warned that this is one of the times when something that seems too good to be true isn’t true – and will ultimately do harm!

Our blog post – “Beware of SEO and Google Scams – What Every Business Needs to Know” – describes common pitches by scammers, including the following:

Guaranteed rankings – Most SEO scams promise such results as “Guaranteed #1 ranking on Google.” No one can guarantee a first-page ranking on Google – which Google itself makes clear. A similar phony claim is the promise of top organic ranking within a short time period, such as 48 hours.

Secret SEO strategies – Legitimate SEO agencies practice transparency. Ethical SEO specialists will explain how they’ll drive organic traffic to your website. Individuals or agencies that tout “SEO trade secrets” are planning to use black hat SEO techniques that will get you banned by all major search engines at some point.

As we mentioned inbound links earlier, we know that this particular aspect of SEO can be somewhat challenging. Of course, unethical SEO practitioners will offer to sell you links, making it seem legitimate. It isn’t, even if you find such services advertised on Google! The buying and selling of links is another black hat practice that Google explicitly bans. Click on the link in this sentence to read its lengthy page on Link Schemes in its entirety.

The Take-Home Message and Our Blatant Self-Promotion

As Charlie Rose of SEO Mechanic writes, “Think of SEO as a 401k approach versus a roulette approach. Your efforts will begin to compound over time and gradually deliver greater returns the longer you do it.”

Or put another way, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re willing to do the work – or, more advisable, hire our dedicated team at Virtual Stacks Systems to do it – you’ll be rewarded with a high ranking and great leads! We specialize in SEO services and all the elements that integrate to ensure seamless optimization – such as website design and website redesign, social media marketing and pay-per-click marketing.

Contact us to learn more and get started!


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