How Long Will It Take To See Results From SEO?

You want to optimize your site for SEO and it’s natural for you to wonder how long it will be before you see the first result. The truth of the matter is that there is no standard time: it takes as long as it takes and while that answer might not be very helpful, it is true. The time from starting an SEO campaign to achieving a first-page ranking can vary from can range from a few weeks to several months. But while it may take many months to achieve a top ranking, you will start to see your rankings improving more quickly than that, showing you that you are on the right path. So why is it so difficult to predict? Well, many factors come into play, and these are just a few of them:

Google’s timescale

The first variable is the time it takes Google to index your website. The search engine robots have to find links to your site (or be directed to it by an XML sitemap) and then crawl and index it. Once it is indexed the pages of your site pass through the various search engine algorithms that will determine the positioning of a page for a given query.

After that stage, Google can impose a time from days to weeks to reflect the changes of a site in its search results. The reason is very simple and perfectly logical: Google does that so that SEOs and webmasters can not positively identify a change that impacted a site. This is to reduce the ability to game the system and Google has even filed a patent in for this. This patent shows that, following a single change on the website, a web page may go up and down several times in the results before arriving at it’s “final” position.

The profile of your website

The site itself also has a direct influence in the time that can elapse before getting the first results. Some of the key criteria that Google looks at are: the age of the domain name, its link profile, the website design (CMS, architecture) and its size (a large site takes longer to index). If your site is penalized by Google, that’s another story. In the case of a manual penalty, you must correct the problems identified and submit a reconsideration request to Google teams. That can take several weeks. In the case of an automatic penalty (imposed by an algorithm), the time can range from a month for a Panda penalty (low-quality content) to several months for a Penguin one (bad links profile).

Your business sector

Your industry is another element that will determine the time you will have to wait before seeing significant results of your SEO campaign. The more competitive an industry, the longer it will take to outrank established competitors. A final piece of the puzzle is your budget. There are costs involved in setting up profiles, submitting your site to directories, building links, etc. and with a large budget these can be accomplished quickly. If the budget is smaller, the expense might have to be spread out over the first two or three months, somewhat delaying the visibility of the site and therefore its ranking.