One of the most common questions we encounter from our prospective and newly signed clients is “how long does SEO take to work?”. We frequently read platitudes such as “SEO is a marathon and not a sprint” when we see SEO timelines discussed on the web, but is it always the case that SEO takes an extended period of time to deliver outcomes, and if yes, why?
Continue reading to find out how long does SEO take to work, or if you’re ready to give search engine optimisation a try, get help from a Brisbane SEO expert. Get in touch with us at Resurge Digital today, call 1300 659 035, e-mail [email protected] or enquire online to get started.
How Long Does SEO Take and Why?
The short and sweet answer is that SEO takes from 3 to 6 months, but the specifics depend on many factors that can affect the actual length of a hypothetical SEO campaign. Broadly, a few of the key aspects that will determine how long does SEO take to work in the case of a given website are:
- In SEO, we are always working to influence a third party with no direct stake or interest in our website doing better or worse in search results – we are working to influence the decision making of a third party owned search engine – in most cases Google.
- The keyphrase in the process is “to influence” as there is a lot that we can do to send various rankings signals, but very little direct control that we can exert over a search engine’s decision making that determines which websites rank where and for what keywords.
- A great deal of search engine optimisation happens directly on the website being optimised. This always takes time to implement. For example, if we are dealing with a website that contains a home page and five internal pages, we first need to at least conduct keyword research to find possible keyword targets for those six pages, we need to prepare content briefs for writers to ensure that the creative team properly incorporates SEO elements into their writing, then the optimised content needs to be written, reviewed and finally uploaded to the website which may also require design adjustments to accommodate the new text. And this is just the on-page content side of the SEO process. The more pages which can be optimised for keywords a website has, the more of this work will be necessary, which naturally takes time to just carry out.
- Even after we make the changes which we can, based on our experience, expect to positively influence a website’s keyword rankings, it can still take time before the search engine finds, accounts for, and acts upon those changes.
- The possible SEO work extends well beyond content and depending on a website may also encompass things such as technical fixes, and tweaks. This means that the initial quality of the given website at the start of the campaign will be an important factor in how much work is required, and consequently how long will the process take. The more a website is missing in terms of features or content, the more technical tweaks and fixes it needs and the more pages it has, the longer is the process liable to take.
- Some industries are harder to deliver results for and may require additional time to outperform competitors and show any business outcomes. The reasons can range from the regulatory restrictions of more tightly controlled industries such as highly technical trades, elective medical procedures, financial, or legal services, to high levels of competition or even just higher profile of competitors in some sectors – for example, this is frequently the case in retail trade where older, and well established brand chains dominate their market, making it extremely hard for a newcomer to break through.
- There are also factors that are virtually impossible to directly address at all, and need to be worked around. For example, it is not possible for a newcomer business to become one of the well-established, well-known-brands and household names with decades of history overnight, not without actually existing and being in business for decades.
All of the factors broken down above and more, combine and compound to contribute to how long does SEO take to work. Depending on the website itself, its needs, quality, size, its target audience, any pre-existing optimisations and their quality, the industry it operates in and the competing businesses it has to outperform – and this list of influencing factors is not even fully exhaustive – the SEO process for a given website will have need to address its specific circumstances which can take more or less time based the particulars of the situation.
In practice, the answer that SEO takes from 3 to 6 months is a good ballpark figure for most scenarios. That said, we ourselves have had clients who saw excellent results in as little as one month of just touching on best-practice fundamentals, to as long as over two years of hard work, strategy reviews, pivots and complete direction changes before we have arrived at an approach that finally worked.
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We have asked Bing Chat a similar question and received a similar response in a similar format.