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April 9, 2021

How Long Does SEO Take?

SEO team planning marketing strategy

When it comes to SEO, sustainability trumps speed. Still, if you’re a business owner, it makes sense to question investing your time and money into something that doesn’t provide an immediate return. How long does SEO take is a common query that rarely provides a definitive answer for two reasons;

Firstly, no two companies are the same, and no one understands that better than The Saber Team. Secondly, and more importantly, many variables impact the SEO process.

This article will expand on this topic and talk more about realistic expectations on how long it will take to see results in your business from the SEO efforts.

Factors That Impact How Long SEO Takes

First, let’s give the shortest possible answer to how long does SEO take. For example, a fresh new website in a niche market will likely be able to show significant ranking improvements in a very short period.

If you adopt an aggressive SEO strategy, it can take as little as three months to show results. However, if your business is in an already ultra-competitive market and many SEO basics are already covered, it will inevitably take much longer to see an improvement.

Typically, it can take between six to nine months. On average, you may be able to see a 30% increase after six months in organic traffic. With the help of our SEO experts, the growth can only become exponentially higher in the months that follow.

However, you must keep in mind that typical results and expectations are just that – typical. The final time frame before the SEO practices will provide results can widely differ depending on the client and several factors we will discuss.

How Fast Changes Can Be Made

This may seem like an obvious variable, but it’s too often overlooked. If we assume that most improvements will be related to on-page SEO, the process will be a lot quicker for small to medium-sized businesses.

Large companies usually have other processes that slow things down significantly, approving specific changes from one team to the next. Decisions can often be made much quicker in smaller businesses.

An SEO company with a rich and versatile portfolio like ours will always focus on quality over speed, while we still take the most efficient approach that will deliver results.

How Much Can You Invest

This point is also worth reiterating. Smaller SEO campaigns are likely to see slower growth than larger campaigns.

While more firepower in terms of energy, time, and money isn’t the only thing that matters, it’s inevitably going to deliver higher ranking and more traffic faster.

The Competitiveness of the Market

Google search results are not static, despite how they sometimes may seem. When you’re optimizing your website for better ranking results, it’s not like you’re passing immoveable competitors.

They are also trying to climb the SEO latter, so you’re all likely swimming in the same direction. If your business is in a less competitive market, you are in a better position to experience faster results.

On the other hand, if you’re racing through a satiated market, your SEO efforts will likely take longer as everyone else has the same goal and is using similar tactics.

Your Starting Position

To generate quick improvement, you’re likely better off starting from a base level than a business with an established base.

When you’re starting to implement SEO practices from scratch, such as working on low content volume or fixing metadata, you will see positive results right away. Advanced SEO strategy with a rich starting base will take much longer to have an impact. Even if it does seem somewhat counterintuitive to a business owner, the results will be worth the wait.

Your Competition’s SEO Strategy

Undoubtedly, if your competitors have plenty of content and links and an overall sophisticated SEO strategy, your SEO investment will take longer to show results.

That leaves some industries at a disadvantage. However, it’s possible to penetrate even the most competitive market with the right SEO strategy.

Why Does SEO Take That Long?

Even with the knowledge of all the moving parts that affect SEO, you may still feel that it takes much longer than expected. According to Ahrefs.com, less than 6% of all pages will rank in the top 10 results after the first year of publication.

This statistic speaks volumes. Yet, it is no reason to be discouraged, but rather to adapt a better SEO strategy created by the Saber Team.

You may still think that SEO takes longer than it used to., and that observation would be accurate. Over the years, SEO has changed significantly, and a viable SEO strategy entails a lot of work. But what does that mean exactly?

Old SEO vs. New SEO

SEO used to be much easier in the past. You’d have a specific formula to follow, and the road to the top of the search engine listing would be relatively straightforward.

Today, SEO is incredibly competitive. There are over 600 million blogs on the internet and close to 1.8 billion websites.

Each year, over 2 billion blog posts are being published around the world. These numbers are staggering if not a bit frightening for someone trying to improve their business’ online visibility.

New SEO has allowed search engines such as Google to have their pickings and to continually adjust who gets the top spot in the search results. What precisely has changed?

First, keyword research has drastically changed. Before, it would have been enough to focus on generic keywords and smaller groups of words. Nowadays, your website must have over 50 and often close to 100 keywords to stay competitive.

The notable shift from old SEO to new SEO can be seen in content as well. In the past, you could write content and implement a specific keyword density to ensure a better ranking spot. Unfortunately, search engines don’t view the keyword density as it used to.

Google algorithm will prioritize well-written and informative content over keyword density, especially when it impacts the content’s quality. The focus has shifted to providing answers to specific user questions, and the pages that offer such experience as favored by the search engines.

Strategic SEO Is a Lot of Work

Even if you didn’t have the disadvantage of dealing with SEO rules changing all the time, the right SEO strategy for any business is a process. When an SEO company performs an audit and website structure and content analysis, they will first have to do some keyword research.

Next come the content planning and writing phases, followed by crawling and indexing. These processes are time-consuming and the results of those efforts are not immediate.

There are also inevitably halts due to editing, re-publishing, and continuous analysis. For Google ranking to reflect tall that work, that too will take time.

Typical SEO Timeline

To get a better understanding of the SEO process and its duration, let’s look at a typical SEO timeline and what it entails on a month-by-month basis. However, keep in mind that these SEO practices won’t always take the same exact amount of time.

Month 1-2

Assuming that you’ve chosen an SEO company to work with, in the beginning, you’ll be looking at specific strategies to implement. This phase includes detailed research, website audit, and extensive keyword planning.

During the second month, an SEO company will typically perform specific website modifications and implement technical SEO tactics. This process will differ depending on the current state of your website.

For example, if you’ve purchased a website from someone else, you’ll likely be looking at an SEO overhaul. However, it’s possible that you already have an excellent foundation, so some lighter modifications will be sufficient.

This phase also includes ensuring that your website has a responsive design and that it’s easy to navigate for your target user.

Month 3-4

In the third month, you can expect all energy to be invested in keyword selection and content creation. Deciding on target keywords is essential, as each lends itself to different types of content.

There is a lot that goes into this stage, but what follows is even more critical. Content rules in any SEO campaign. This entails settling on the word count, topics, types of keywords to use, writing, and editing.

At the four-month mark, you’re looking at continuous content implementation and regular technical fixes. This is where link building becomes more important to keep the SEO strategy moving. Your SEO agency should be reaching out to other brands in the industry to ask for links to your content.

Month 5-6

When you’re around month five, social media implementation should become a part of your website. At the same time, it’s an excellent opportunity in the SEO strategy to analyze the results you have experienced up to that point. It’s an SEO company’s job to report accurate and thorough results and suggest a change in the approach if necessary.

Around the sixth month, an SEO company will likely increase the social media exposure and continue link building. You may benefit from adding a conversion rate optimization to improve traffic and get more leads and sales. However, at this stage, the specific actions will vastly vary.

SEO Button Doesn’t Exist (Yet)

Even if the button did exist, Google and other search engines will still take their time to reflect the changes made. SEO is also not finite, and you don’t just get to do it once and call it a day. As some SEO rules change, companies like ours stay on top of all the trends and innovations.

To reiterate, remember that even though some companies will see significant improvement in ranking and online visibility in as little as three months, the real SEO impact will only be visible between six and nine months.

While discouragement can be a natural reaction, especially if there is a dip in the growth, it’s not a reason to give up. Instead, it’s better to go even harder. Persevere, and ultimately, you’ll see the results you expect.