How Long Does It Take For SEO to Work and Rank High on SERPs?

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Written By Joseph Dyson

As one of the leading digital marketing firms with practical SEO knowledge, the number one question we get asked is “How long will it take us to get ranked at the top for the keywords?”

Therefore, asking ‘How long does it take for SEO to work?’ is the wrong question. The only acceptable question in this instance is ‘How long until I start to seeing results?’

Remember, it is entirely alright to ask it. After all, if you are going to invest in something you need to know how long it will take to get your desired outcome.

An in-depth understanding of Google’s workings and search engine optimization can guide us to a better comprehension of what it really takes to rank.

Let’s find out the answer below.

How Long Does It Take For SEO to Work in 2019

How long does it take for SEO to deliver results?

The answer to this question is…it depends. Frustrating, we know. But it is the truth.

It depends on the age of your website (takes longer for new websites to be indexed and ranked), how much SEO it has gone through previously. What shape is it in currently, how much content is on there, its link profile, and potentially hundreds of other small but significant SEO factors?

No two websites are guaranteed to generate similar results. Even if each is starting from the same place, and even if they are in the same industry and competing for the same customers.

But, search engine optimization specialists still have a timetable to keep, and clients to satisfy. So here is a generally plausible scenario for the kind of results that can be expected from SEO efforts during the initial months:

Search Engine Optimization Stage 1

Takes the first three to four weeks, at the end of which your search engine optimization experts should be able to give you a detailed report on their research and discoveries. If you are working with respectable service providers, you can look forward to receiving an in-depth website audit, keyword strategy, and planning.

If your website is still in its infancy, going through its first-ever SEO sessions, chances are that the research and discovery can be done quickly. In such a case technical changes to the website may start within the first month.

Search Engine Optimization Stage 2

Expect at least another two weeks of hardcore search engine optimization work that lays a strong foundation for your website. This is where your SEO experts should start making changes on the basis of the results of a site-wide audit.

In extreme cases, thousands of pages may need to be overhauled taking longer than the expected two weeks. Some other activities may also be going on simultaneously, namely: link-building services and content creation. SEO results are still nowhere to be seen.

Search Engine Optimization Stage 3

This stage typically starts at the end of month two and then goes on indefinitely.

Count on your SEO specialists to focus exclusively on content creation. Good content will make a technically sound site soar through the SERPs. This will include web content, FAQs, blogs, whitepapers, articles, product descriptions, and whatever else your website needs.

Any SEO provider who sanctions the budget for content creation without a thorough site analysis is not someone you should be working with. This being said, you should start seeing some improvements in rankings by now. But it is not necessarily a good idea to start expecting leads and sales right away.

Search Engine Optimization Stage 4

Month three of your SEO efforts. Content creation continues, as your site climbs swiftly through the ranks. Your SEO provider should be busy developing a healthy link profile and cleaning up any low-quality links with the potential to devalue your website.

By the end of month three, you should be certain that the SEO is working. There should be enough leads, traffic, and rankings to convince you of it.  

Search Engine Optimization Stage 5

Month four and it is time to dabble in social media. Thanks to competent SEO service providers, content generation, and link building services for your website should be on the auto.

A strong social media presence will only complement your SEO efforts. This also adds to a healthy and natural link profile, helping generate leads.

In addition to social media, many firms also advocate incorporating adding conversion rate optimization to your efforts to develop how the traffic you are receiving converts into leads and/or sales. This is on the menu for many e-commerce SEO service providers by month 6 of the contract.

And so it goes on and on…

You should be seeing more traffic coming in from SEO services by now, and your leads should be mounted as a result. From here onwards, your activities should be focused on content development and promoting that content.

You may also want to work with more creative ideas such as infographics. The type of content you employ really depends on what type of company you are and what kind of website you have.

Many firms that provide SEO services will tell you that it takes three to six months to start seeing results. That is accurate, but keep in mind that this is when you only start seeing results, and these results will grow over time.

Whatever results you are getting at six months should be considerably less than what you ought to be getting at 12 months.

Don’t stop your SEO efforts too soon!

Many companies seriously underestimate how much time and money it will take for them to be successful with search engine optimization.

Just remember that success in SEO by any standard will not be achieved in the first three months, even with a generous budget. Do not quit after two months saying “We just weren’t getting the results we needed to justify the cost.”

If anyone tells you they will get your website to rank number 1 in the first three weeks, they are going to do more harm than good to your SEO game. Search engine optimization is a patient man’s game. Businesses that continuously do SEO always come out on top.

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