The first question most SEO specialists get asked is ‘how long does SEO take to work?’
The short answer is: how long is a piece of string?
The longer answer is slightly more complex because SEO involves multiple factors and what works for one website, might not necessarily work for another one.
Are SEO results immediate?
SEO isn’t an overnight solution to growing your organic traffic. You don’t ‘do’ SEO one day and find yourself top of the SERP the next day.
SEO takes time. Best guestimate? 6-12 months.
Google’s Maile Ohye says:
“In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.”
But it’s not just time that determines if your SEO efforts are working, there are lots of other factors (over 200) that affect your place in the SERP (search engine results page) too.
We’ll explore some of these in this article, as well as share tried and tested tactics to help speed up the results.
How to tell if SEO is working
SEO is a bit of a dark art. There are no ‘right’ ways of doing it. There are certainly ‘wrong’ ways of doing it and Google is quick to penalise those who try and take shortcuts.
But because the Google ranking algorithm is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world, the only way you’ll know if your SEO efforts are working is by determining what success looks like for you, and then setting digital marketing goals to help you achieve success and establish KPIs along the way to measure and make sure you’re on track.
- Goals are what you want to achieve with your SEO efforts. Set a SEO goal that is realistic for your business i.e. increase your revenue by 50% over 12 months.
- KPIs are the milestones along the way that mark your progress towards reaching your SEO goals. Establish KPIs that will show you if you’re on track i.e. an increase in organic traffic to your website, an increase in website visibility, and increase in ranking position.
How to get SEO results faster
We said above you should expect to see your SEO efforts starting to pay off in 6-12 months, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have necessarily reached your goal by then. We simply mean you should start to see some progress towards it.
Websites with seniority should see results faster because they’re more established with (hopefully) more authority than a brand new one. Saying that, an established website doesn’t necessarily equate to the top spot. And a brand new one won’t always have to spend ages working their way up.
If you want to rank faster, you have to deliver value to the end user and meet their search intent. Other ways you might get SEO results faster include:
How well the competition is doing
If you’re in a niche with little competition, odds are, you’ll either fly, or flop.
If you’re trying to rank for competitive keywords on the other hand i.e. you’re new to digital marketing and you’re trying to rank for ‘SEO expert’, it might take you a bit longer to reach that top spot…
Try aiming for local or less competitive keywords instead.
Fixing technical SEO issues
Give your site a site audit (we can run a free SEO audit for you) and see if it throws up any technical SEO issues such as crawling or indexing, site speed, duplicate content etc.
Look to fix these things first before considering another SEO strategy. Think of technical SEO as the foundations for your digital marketing strategy. They have to be rock solid to build on.
How good your content is
Spend time creating content that returns the best results for your audience’s search intent. If you aren’t sure what to create, take a look at what’s currently ranking and figure out how to do it better.
Backlinks sit alongside content in Google’s top 3 ranking factors. Backlinks are your social proof – they’re indicators of how trusted your site is, or how popular you are.
The more quality backlinks your site has, the quicker you’ll travel up the rankings. Why? Because people aren’t going to link to a spammy site. Just don’t buy links. That’s black hat SEO and if you’re caught you will be penalised.
Your SEO strategy
SEO isn’t a one and done type of thing, you need to constantly be testing and adjusting. Which is why you need to set goals and KPIs to monitor your progress.
Keep on top of reporting and tweak anything that isn’t working. Google Analytics is your best friend here. Google doesn’t make you feel in the dark, they have created free resources to help you, so use them.
SEO expertise from Market Jar
If you want to get SEO results sooner, you’ve got to put the time and effort in. You need to sort any technical SEO issues early. You must create valuable content that meets search user intent. And you want to build a strong link profile.
That’s a lot to do, and if you aren’t proficient in digital marketing, that’s where an affordable agency such as Market Jar can help.
We have a wealth of experience across all facets of SEO, from onsite SEO to content writing, so no matter your digital marketing issue, we can get your small business ranking. Take a look at our highly popular SEO packages here: https://www.marketjar.co.uk/seo-packages/.