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How long does it take to see results from SEO?

Just like anything else you do for your business, you want SEO to produce results as soon as possible. Here’s what to expect when it comes to looking for results from SEO.

How long does it take to see results from SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, isn’t advertising so you can’t pay your way there. If you want to rank first for a keyword, you need to demonstrate to search engines, especially Google, that you’re the best result. SEO is a process that helps improve your business website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves optimizing both on-page and off-page elements such as content, keywords, backlinks, etc. to make your website more attractive to search engines, such as Google. One question that business owners often ask about SEO is, “How long does it take to see results?”


Unfortunately, there’s no simple, cut-and-dried, answer to that question. The time it takes to see results from SEO varies based on many factors such as your business/website niche, your competition, and how much effort you put into SEO. That being said, you can generally expect to wait at least 3 to 18 months before seeing results from your SEO efforts.


Here are some of the factors that will affect how long it will take to see results from SEO:

  • Website Age - A newly created website will take longer to rank in search engines compared to an established website. It takes time for search engines to crawl and index a new website and to build trust and authority. Also, in general, since they’ve been around for longer, older websites tend to have more backlinks/website authority, more pages, more content, and rank for more keywords. 
  • Competition - SEO doesn’t exist in a bubble and your competitors are probably doing SEO too. If your business’s/website’s niche is highly competitive, it may take longer to rank in search engines compared to less competitive niches.
  • Keyword Difficulty - The time it takes to rank for a keyword also depends on the keyword’s difficulty level. If the keyword is highly competitive, it may take longer to rank for it compared to less competitive keywords.
  • SEO Effort - The more time, effort, and resources you can dedicate and invest in SEO, the faster you will see results. SEO is a long-term strategy and you need to make a consistent effort if you want to see results. You could hire content writers to create high-quality content for you, invest in SEO tools to make the work easier, faster, and more efficient, or even create a link-building team to actively build links for you.
  • Strategy - If you have a detailed plan on how to tackle your target keywords, you’ll have a higher chance of achieving faster results. For example, if you have a bunch of important keywords you’d like to rank for, but they’re all really competitive, you could end up investing all your resources into trying to rank for them, and it may take months or even years before you see any results. A different option would be to build up slowly to your most important keywords by first targeting low-competition topics that have business value. That way, you can generate some organic traffic to your site while accumulating links, website authority, and more for the future.
  • On-Page Optimization - The time it takes you to see to see results from SEO also depends on the on-page optimization of your website. On-page optimization includes things like keyword research, meta tags, header tags, content optimization, etc.
  • Off-Page Optimization - Off-page optimization includes things like backlinks, social signals, etc. For example, the more high-quality backlinks you have, the faster you’re going to see results from SEO.
  • Website Quality - The quality of your website is also a factor in determining how long it will take to see results from SEO. A well-designed, user-friendly, and high-quality website will rank faster and better in search engines than a website that is poorly designed.

SEO is a long-term strategy and the results you get from your SEO efforts will depend on the consistency and quality of those efforts. You’ll have to have patience and make continuous efforts to improve the visibility of your website. If you don’t have the time, energy, or knowledge to do your own SEO, consider finding an agency that you can hire to take care of your SEO needs.

If you want to know more about SEO, you can read our article, “Seven Steps of Effective Small Business SEO”, or contact us.

Tags: SEO, results

Geoff Strauss

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