Digital Trends | MIN READ

How Long Does SEO Take? SEO Timelines+Tips for Quicker Results

Miriam Wambua

SEO Writer

On average, SEO takes between three and six months to show results. However, it can take up to a year to realize consistent results.

But why does SEO take so long to show results? Isn’t there a better way to do it? What can you do to obtain quicker results? These are the questions you want to understand before giving up on SEO.

This article discusses SEO timelines, factors affecting how long it takes to see SEO results, and tips to improve your SEO results.

Let’s dive in!

Why Does SEO Take So Long to Show Results?

SEO takes 3-6 months to show results. But it can take a shorter or even longer, say over a year, to see consistent results. That’s quite a long time compared to other digital marketing strategies.

For instance, you can use paid advertising and realize results in a day or a week. However, the success of your paid advertising may not last as long as the success of SEO.

One of the reasons SEO takes so long to see results is Google’s search algorithm. It takes time for the algorithm to crawl and understand your content.

The easier you can make it for search engines to understand your page content and intent, the shorter it takes to see results.

However, the search engine’s algorithms keep changing, and you must evolve with the changing requirements to see consistent results.

Another reason your SEO efforts may take time to yield results is that it takes determination and consistency to implement SEO best practices.

For instance, your page must be considered valuable and authoritative to gain links. To establish your page as an authority means adding consistent, valuable content and updating existing content.

In a nutshell, SEO is an ongoing process with the potential to reward you with timeless results. 

Hence, it calls for patience and understanding of how SEO works to improve and see better results.

Various factors determine how long it takes to see SEO results, from your SEO approach to your competition. 

So, to understand the SEO timelines, let’s look at the factors influencing your SEO success.

Factors Influencing SEO Success

SEO success is measurable. You can tell when you have achieved your intended results. And there are several factors influencing how long you realize that success, including your SEO goals, approach, competition, and resources.


#1 Your SEO Goals

What do you want to achieve with SEO? Most marketers focus on organic traffic, ranking #1 on search engine results pages and lead generation.

Ranking #1 on SERPs: It’s not surprising to optimize your page and rank on the first page of the SERPs the next day. It means your content is valuable, and the search engine algorithm was able to determine that.

Ranking high is definitely the goal of every business, as it forms the basis for any other goals. But there’s more that goes into maintaining that rank.

Driving organic traffic to your website: Another goal for SEO is organic traffic. If you want to improve your organic traffic, rank high on the SERPs for keywords targeting your website.

Additionally, you want to ensure visitors reaching your website find it valuable. Search engine algorithms may penalize your website with a low rank when they realize a high bounce rate.

Hence, it takes continuous measuring and improvement to gain consistent results.

Lead generation: If your SEO goal is to convert your website visitors into buyers, it takes at least six months to see consistent results.

High organic traffic may imply high chances of conversion. However, your conversion rate relies on the relevance of your content and your service/product offering.

It also depends on how easy it is for potential customers to navigate your website and hit that buy button.


#2 Your SEO Approach

So much goes into an effective SEO strategy, including local, on-page and technical SEO.
Here’s an overview of the primary considerations for an effective SEO strategy.

Optimizing your website
You need to optimize your website before directing visitors to the website. Check the following aspects when optimizing your website.

On-page SEO: Optimize title tags, meta descriptions, headers and images. Use descriptive URLs and link together related pages for easy navigation.

Technical SEO: Ensure your website adopts a structured design, loads fast, has a relevant call to action (CTA) for every page and is optimized for mobile users.

User experience: Ensure your website employs a world-class design with visual appeals and is user-friendly.

Page load speed: The longest it should take for your website to load is 8.6 seconds. If you can reduce that to 2.5 seconds, the better.

While 47% of users expect a website to load in less than two seconds, 40% leave a website that takes over three seconds to load.

Optimizing your Content
Content optimization entails blog articles, landing pages, and social media content. Ensure you check the following for your content optimization.

Keyword research: Contact keyword research to understand the search terms your target audience is using. Check the keywords your competitors are ranking for.

Content quality: Valuable content is educative, entertaining, and informative. Determine the searcher’s intent from the search terms you identify to give your target audience what they seek.

Backlinks: Internal and external linking is essential. Link to relevant and authoritative sites in your niche. Also, link to relevant content on your website.

Content structure: Every form of content has a unique structure. Generally, ensure a structured structure (H1, H2 and H3) for your landing pages and blog articles. Also, ensure you use the right keywords for all your content.


#3 Your competition

If you are starting an ecommerce business selling laptops and shoes, it can take a long to rank for keywords like “Laptop backpack” or “Nike running shoes”

This is because Amazon, your competitor, is already ranking for these keywords. Also, Amazon has already established a brand authority, making it even harder to rank for the exact keywords.


#4 The resources you have

Investing in the best SEO tools and hiring the most qualified SEO specialists contribute to the long it takes to see SEO results.

With SEO tools, you can identify the highly competitive and low competition keywords to focus on. You can also track the results of your SEO efforts to find areas to improve and optimize the performance.

For instance, you can count on SEO agencies’ expertise, experience and team collaboration. This is because an established SEO agency has technical and on-page specialists and SEO content writers to execute an effective SEO strategy.


#5 New vs. Older Websites

New websites take more time to rank than older websites. This is because search engine algorithms need time to crawl and understand your website content.
Older websites have established an authority since they have existed for some time. Also, the website owners have implemented, measured, and realized the best SEO strategies for their business.

4 Quicker Ways to Get SEO Results

If your SEO efforts are not yielding the desired results, there are quick ways to fix it and improve your performance. Here are ways to realize quicker SEO results.


#1 Target Low-Competition Keywords

Low-difficulty keywords are usually of low competition and the go-to for any new website or poorly performing pages. They are more specific keywords with a low search volume and the potential to attract quality leads.

Low-difficulty keywords have fewer websites and pages vying for the top position on search engine results pages. They are descriptive (long-tail keywords) and, hence, easy to interpret the searcher’s intent.

Besides, users who search these low-competition keywords already know what they want, implying a higher click-through rate and quality leads.

For instance, Let’s say you started a new fitness blog. Instead of targeting keywords like “best fitness tips”, which have a high search volume, you can target low-competition keywords like “home workouts for beginners.”

Obvious opportunities to find low-competition keywords include social media platforms, Q&A webpages and online forums such as Reddit and Quora.

Additionally, you can use tools like, Moz Keyword Explorer, Ubersuggest, etc, to analyze and identify low-competition keywords.


#2 Tweak Low-Ranking Pages

Do you have pages ranking on pages 4-5 of the SERPs? Google already thinks your content is relevant and valuable.

Making a few adjustments to these pages can push it to the first page.
For instance, you run an ecommerce site that sells gadgets and accessories. One of your product pages is ranking on page four for the keyword “Smartphone chargers”

Tweaking this article can include:
Replacing the high-competition keyword, “Smartphone chargers”, with low-competition keywords like “Fast-Charging USB-C Smartphone Chargers” or “Wireless Smartphone Charger for iPhones.”

Analyze the quality of the article to include customer reviews, user guides, compatibility information and product descriptions if they are missing.

Check the title tag, URL description, and meta description to ensure they are optimized for your keyword.

Check the internal linking to ensure related pages such as “cables and accessories” link to each other.


#3 Conduct Regular SEO Audits

SEO audit helps uncover your website’s health and performance. Conducting regular SEO audits helps identify issues that are affecting your search engine visibility.

You gain insights into your site structure, outdated content, broken links, missing meta tags, site speed, etc.

With these insights, you can make informed decisions and execute an effective SEO strategy to improve your SEO performance.


#4 Update or Remove Outdated Content (Content pruning)

Content pruning entails removing low-performing, thin, or outdated content from your website for improved SEO performance.

A single low-quality page can lead to poor SEO performance for your website. This is because when users find your content unhelpful, they leave your page and may not return. A high bounce rate signals your website isn’t worth visiting, hence low rank.

Users find your website helpful by removing the low-quality, low-performing and thin content, improving performance.

How Do You Know SEO is Working?[4 signs]

All your SEO strategies must be measured to understand how close you are to meeting your goal. Here are the signs that your SEO is working.


#1 Low bounce rate and users spending more time on your website

A high bounce rate indicates that visitors cannot find your website valuable. But if your website is recording a low bounce rate and extended time spent on your website, then your SEO efforts are working. It signifies your visitors find the website helpful.


#2 Increasing organic traffic

Check your website traffic before you start implementing the SEO strategies. Track the number of visitors to your website through search engines such as Google or Bing.
If your website traffic is increasing, that’s a sign that SEO is working.


#3 Improved page ranking for quality keywords on SERPs

Ranking on the top three SERPs indicates that your SEO is working. However, the accurate measure of your SEO success is ranking for quality keywords in the first three positions of the results pages.

Quality keywords align with your target audience’s intent at all three levels of the purchasing funnel.

Here’s an example of how ranking for quality keywords for the top, middle and bottom of the funnel for an ecommerce store selling women’s clothing should entail.

Awareness stage (top of the funnel):

Fashion trends for summer 2023
How to style a maxi dress

Consideration stage (middle of the funnel):

Best women’s jeans brands
Comparison of leather vs. faux leather jackets

Decision stage (Bottom of the funnel):

Buy Levi’s 501 Levis jeans online
Customer reviews of Michael Kor’s handbags

Ranking for quality keywords implies a high conversion rate as you attract quality leads.


#4 Improved Conversion Rate

Your SEO efforts aim to convert your website visitors into customers. An improved conversion rate implies an increased number of visitors taking action on your website.

It could be purchasing an item, filling out a form, or subscribing to your newsletter. If you are recording such an increase, your SEO is working.

Over to you

SEO takes time, dedication and commitment to measure and improve your performance. However, you can realize quick results with the right tools and expertise.

And if you need help devising and executing an effective SEO strategy, there are various reasons you should use an SEO agency, including expertise and experience.

Hence, if you need quicker results for your SEO, let us know, and we’ll be happy to help.