There is not a straight answer to this question as a lot depends on where the starting point is. How long it will take for SEO to have a positive effect on traffic, or how long it will take to gain top 3 results for certain keywords is also another factor. Let’s start at the beginning and understand that everything in this article is based on Google traffic, not social media, or other search engines. But I will give some opinion using very basic examples. So here goes – How Long Does SEO Take?
A Brand-New Website How Long Until I get Organic SEO Traffic?
When a website is brand new it has zero trust or authority with Google, with no reason to say this website will be better than any other, except maybe the keywords within the URL that may give some relevancy to search. This is an important factor because how often Google will crawl any website is based on its popularity and how important Google thinks it is.
Cleary a website that is crawled every day is likely to gain SEO improvements quicker than a website that is only crawled every 6 weeks as an example.
Starting from the beginning with little content and no backlinks, there needs to be an understanding that updates to the website will be found slower than if the site was more active and popular.
These facts should dispel any hope of a website competing for competitive keywords to rank quickly, most web projects are based on medium to long term predictions.
Personally, when setting up a new site, I do not expect any real results within at least 6 months of starting., based on how much time I have available to create content etc.
What most strategists will do at this point is create long tail easier to rank content, to gain at least some traffic or visibility on Google. How much traffic this will be, will depend on the niche and how well the content was written.
Ranking For Unique Brand Name
There are some exceptions for example ranking for a unique brand name. If a website URL matches a brand name that is unique to all others, then it should be reasonably easy to rank for this, often with no backlinks, just a bit of content. Obviously, the only traffic that will be gained from this, is if the website is being marketed on other platforms or media.
The next exception is if this website represents something brand new and there is no competition, a new pop star for existence or new science discovery. Being the first to publish on a specific subject can really help.
An Existing Website, With Backlinks How Long For SEO
In this scenario the process should be quicker, providing Google does not have a negative history with website. There are already some trust signals from backlinks and the domain now has some age to it. Looking at server logs and the search console should give the owner an idea of how important Google thinks this website is by how often it crawls certain pages and the site.
With right keyword research and a targeted content campaign, there should be no reason not to improve traffic within a 3-month period. Clearly the more content that is written that is relevant and useful to your users will help with this timeline. Publishing just one article a week, may have a much slower impact.
How much traffic is gained, will all depend on the competitiveness of the keywords and the niche the website is in. I would expect bigger gains for a local plumber than a national finance company.
How Long To Rank For A Top 3 Position?
This is a question that cannot be answered here without a full detailed look at the website and niche and budget that is being worked with. The truth is, in some niches a top 3 position may never be able to be achieved within that budget or resources available. In other smaller niches, it may be possible in a relatively short period of time.
Only by doing a full competitor analysis and a full audit report on the money site, can some sort of strategy be put in place. Most people underestimate the cost to rank so high for competitive keywords or fail to put in the time or effort to understand what is required t get there.
I will finish my opinion on this, by stating that the question of “how long does SEO take” is a very subjective question where every website and every project is different. Each keyword never mind niche, has its own competitive level, of backlinks, word count and relevance required.
Add to this, visitor metrics as a Google guide to how your visitors like your website, all add up to how long it will take for Google to reward that website with better visibility and higher rankings.
How Often Your Backlinks Are Crawled
It is not just about how often Google will crawl the money website, but another factor is how often Google crawls the websites that are linking to you. A backlink has no effect until Google finds it. If the website with the link is only crawled every 6 weeks to daily, then this will slow down any gains of the money website.