For many businesses, SEO can be a tricky beast with lots of factors and pieces having to be in their place before results can be seen, even after many months. Many people want to see results quickly, but you can’t just try SEO for 90 days and expect significant or lasting results. Let’s take a closer look at the many elements of SEO and explain why it often can take between four months to over a year to see real results.

Generally, How Long Does SEO Take?

When starting almost completely from scratch, you need to be prepared to invest at least four months to a year (or more) before you see significant results from your SEO efforts. Even then, SEO is an ongoing effort that requires consistent management in order to maintain and improve performance results.

Why Does SEO Take So Long?

There are several reasons why it can take a while to see results from your SEO efforts. Here are some of the contributing factors that can determine how long SEO results may take for a particular site. 

Fixing Technical Issues is Tedious

  • Technical fixes like improving page speed, adding structured data, and removing 404 errors can take time, especially if there is no developer on the team. Since technical SEO is the foundation for great SEO, it is crucial that sites work on any technical fixes that are needed before diving into content and other elements of SEO.
  • How fast these technical issues are found and resolved will affect how long it takes to see SEO results.
  • Sometimes prioritizing and addressing low-hanging fruit, such as adding or improving meta content, can have a quick and significant impact like it did for this (un)Common Logic client, who saw a 29% increase in organic clicks and a 12% increase in average rank position in only 2 months following meta content optimizations.

Building Domain Authority Takes Time

  • There are two main components that determine rankings compared to competitors: authority/backlink profile and content quality. Becoming viewed as an authority by search engines takes time since it requires backlinks and a solid backlink strategy to get them.
  • Continuing to build backlinks over time helps to improve domain authority and perceived credibility, which will improve ranking and overall SEO performance in time.

Domain Age Can Factor into Rankings

Older domains tend to have an easier time ranking than new domains (though this isn’t always the case, it is acknowledged as a ranking factor). So, older domains may find quicker success with SEO initiatives than newer domains. Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • Age of domain: Older domains may have an advantage in this regard because they have had more time to establish their authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of the search engine.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks, or links from one website to another website, can be a strong signal of the quality and authority of that website. Older domains usually have had more time to accumulate backlinks, which can help them rank better in search results.
  • Content: Older domains may also have an advantage in terms of content. They likely have had more time to build up a library of high-quality, relevant content, which can help them rank better for specific keywords.
  • Domain authority: Finally, older domains can have an advantage in terms of domain authority, which is a metric used by some search engines to measure the overall strength and credibility of a website. Domain authority is typically built up over time, so older domains may have a higher domain authority than newer domains.

Target Keyword Difficulty

  • The competitive landscape for your business niche and corresponding target keywords can also affect how long SEO takes. For much more competitive niches, time to see success may be longer and SEO efforts may require additional effort to pass the competition. On the other hand, less competitive keywords will be easier to rank for and can lead to SEO results much faster. If a keyword is less competitive, it is possible to get faster results by focusing on optimizations like updating featured snippets to improve ranking, as this B2B SAAS client learned when they saw their most important keyword increase to the #1 ranking position within 60 days of onboarding with (un)Common Logic.
  • Keyword volume (the average number of searches your targeted keyword generates a month) may play a factor in how long SEO performance takes, as improvements in rankings for higher volume, higher competition keywords may lead to the desired results faster than low volume, low competition keywords.

Content Writing Done Well Can Be Difficult

  • Having a great SEO content strategy is key in improving visibility and generating SEO traffic more quickly. Content is one of the main levers to pull when it comes to SEO and is the best way to begin ranking for target keywords, as this is the main way that search engines determine the relevance and authority of a website.
  • When creating content, it is important to focus on providing value to the user while also using relevant keywords and phrases in a natural way. This will make it more likely that your content will rank well in search engine results and attract targeted traffic to your website. In addition to helping with SEO, high-quality content can also help to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry and build trust with your audience.
  • Because of how important this content is, your pace of writing the content is also a key determining factor as to how long SEO results take. If there is a content writer on the team, SEO content output may speed up and performance can come quicker.  But, if the content process is not well managed and topics are not outlined early around high-volume, relevant SEO keywords then the content process can slow down and thus lead to slower results. Consistent content can have huge payoffs for organic results, as portrayed by this niche B2B client who saw a 136% increase in year-over-year traffic as the result of implementing a consistent content strategy.

How Can I Monitor SEO Progress in the Meantime?

  • There are a few key indicators for performance metrics in SEO, so that even from early in your efforts, you can know where to look for the first signs of growth. Keep an eye on keyword performance and ranking (reaching page 1 of results) as the main metrics for initial success.
  • Improvements to site traffic and organic conversions are the next places to look for increases, though this will likely take several weeks to months to see full results.

Get SEO Help from Experts That Get Clients Results

It’s important to keep in mind that SEO is a long-term strategy. It’s not something that will produce results overnight, but rather something that requires consistent effort over a period of time to see the best results. Be patient and stay the course, and the rewards of a strong SEO campaign can be well worth the wait, as one of our clients in the K-12 education software space learned when their organic pipeline revenue grew by $19M following their first year of partnering with (un)Common Logic’s SEO team!

If you know your SEO is lacking but you don’t have the bandwidth to manage it, our team of experts may be able to assist you in transforming your SEO efforts.

The team at (un)Common Logic has years of experience and we’d love to talk with you about your business goals and how improving your SEO results can help achieve them. Contact (un)Common Logic today!

Want to learn more about our approach to SEO? See whether or not your business really needs a site redesign or how local SEO can grow your business!