How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work?
This might be the #1 question that we get regarding SEO. The short answer is that it depends on several factors, and you should be aware of these things so you know exactly what to expect from an SEO campaign. Lets dig in…
But, before I get into the question of how long it will take for SEO to start working, allow me to touch on the subject of timing and what you really looking for.
NEED RANKINGS FAST? CONSIDER STARTING WITH A PPC CAMPAIGN!
If you need more visibility and more traffic from higher rankings now, consider beginning with a pay-per-click campaign. A pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is much faster than SEO when it comes to obtaining top positions. SEO is definitely a long-term marketing game, whereas PPC is fast. You can build a PPC ad campaign in a couple of days and launch it — and be on the front page of Google within hours. So, if you need rankings now, click here to read more about pay-per-click campaigns.
A FINAL WORD ABOUT PPC CAMPAIGNS
Many of our SEO clients will start out with a PPC campaign to get fast, front-page visibility working on behalf of their business while we work on their long-term, organic SEO rankings. Another benefit to a PPC ad campaign is that the reporting engine of Google ads will show us exactly what people searched for before they clicked on your ad. A good PPC campaign contains highly-focused keywords and ads that will bring targeted customers to your website, making the terms they searched for great information for your SEO campaign.
SO HOW LONG DOES SEO TAKE?
There are several factors that can impact how long SEO takes to work. For example, the level of competition for your keywords and the size of the geographic marketplace that you want to rank in are just two of many factors that will play a part in how long it will take.
But, these are important factors to know and to consider carefully about BEFORE you start an SEO campaign.
For instance, let’s say you own a plumbing company and you want to rank in the city of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a huge marketplace and it will take quite the climb to achieve front page rankings. I can tell you, from first-hand experience, that it typically takes anywhere from six months to a year (or more!) to achieve front-page rankings in a marketplace the size of LA, Atlanta, Chicago, or New York City.
It’s not that SEO doesn’t start working from the beginning, because it does. When you make optimization improvements to your website, things start to move. But, how fast and how far are determined by surrounding factors as well as factors directly related to the work done on your website. Think of the money and effort that has already gone into your competition’s rankings ahead of your SEO campaign launch. All of this and more has to be overcome for you to achieve the visibility you want.
Now imagine that you are living in a small town of 40,000 people in rural America. Achieving first page rankings might only take between one and three months. Again, there are several things to consider like how many competitors there are in your industry and how well the competition has optimized their own websites. And, you might also find yourself competing with nationally funded directories like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and many more, for your position.
So you can see that SEO is not an overnight prospect ad that it takes time. Lets break it down by 3 ranking categories.
LOCAL RANKINGS FOR SMALLER CITIES
For local SEO, in a smaller city, you might see a difference in your rankings inside of 45 days, but it normally takes closer to 3 – 6 months. The wait time can be reduced if the competition is doing a poor job with their SEO.
LOCAL RANKINGS FOR LARGE CITIES
In larger cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, or New York City, it will most likely take at least a year for you to experience significant results. We have clients in NYC that took about a year to rank on page one. They are doctors — in a HUGE marketplace — and the competition is fierce! It takes a lot of hard work and consistent efforts, month after month, to achieve and maintain these rankings.
For National rankings, the time needed to rank on page one can be MUCH longer, often taking a year or two, or more. The amount of work it takes just to move from page two to page one can be enormous.
The most important thing for you to know, if you’re working with an SEO company or thinking about hiring one, is that you should expect it to take time and be willing to commit to that time before the start. If your SEO company knows what they are doing, they’ll get you there, but SEO has never been, and never will be, a quick fix.
WILL I NEED TO KEEP WORKING ON SEO ONCE I ACHIEVE FIRST PAGE RANKINGS?
This is another common question we get on a regular basis is. The answer is, yes you will, if you want to maintain your high rankings. The same work it took to get you to Google’s first page is what it will take to keep you there.
Keep in mind that the competition is not setting still. They won’t appreciate the fact that you took over their ranking positions and they will be trying to find a way to get it back. Also, the search engines change their algorithms regularly. In fact, according to dependable sources like searchengineland.com, Google changes their algorithms more than 500 times a year. So, once your SEO campaign has worked and you have achieved your desired rankings, it is important to keep working to maintain them. If you don’t, they will most likely fall off after a couple of months.