How Long Does SEO Take to Start Working?
In the age of the internet, we expect just about everything to be immediate. We’re used to waiting only seconds to receive the results of a Google search and we expect our websites to load as soon as we hit the “enter” key. So with everything appearing at the touch of a button, it is common to feel a little restless when we don’t see our SEO strategies taking effect as soon as we make our changes and pay for the good SEO costs.
It takes time for our SEO strategy to start paying off, but how do you know how much time is enough time to wait?

How SEO Has Changed

In the early days of how SEO worked, all you needed to do was select a handful of keywords that represented what your company provides or does. These keywords were typically one or two words that told what you sold, what you performed, or who you were. And for a while, that system could bring you to the top of your results.
But as websites evolved, so did SEO. If this is still the strategy you’re sticking to, you’re probably not finding many results.
Today, searchers are coming to Google and creating searches using language they would actually use. Instead of simply putting in a few keywords and hoping Google will put together what they’re looking for, search engine users are giving detail, using full questions, or linking multiple keywords together. These new keywords are known as “long tail” keywords.
Finding the right long tail keywords is not fast, but if you can find one that works for you, you’ll really see the return. If you’re still focusing on ranking first for one or two word keywords, you need to reevaluate your strategy.

How Important is Your Ranking?

You’ve probably been told time and time again that it only matters if you’re in the top of a search results list. While this is true to some extent, it doesn’t matter if you’re appearing first for the wrong set of keywords. Appearing first for a keyword won’t bring you in any new business if no one is searching for that keyword.
On the other hand, not being first isn’t a death sentence for your business. If you are ranking somewhere on the first page for a popular keyword, you could still see a steady increase of business. In this situation, even fifth or sixth for the right keyword is better than first for the wrong keyword.

What You Should Be Focusing On

Instead of thinking of your SEO strategy as only “working” if you reach number one in the search results list, consider instead a successful SEO strategy to be one that increases your sales and generates new business. While your end goal will still be to reach the top of the list, you should start seeing results from your new SEO strategy long before you reach that first place slot.

How Long Until You See Results?

Unfortunately, there is no clear timeline for when you will start seeing results from your SEO strategy. Now that we are identifying a successful SEO strategy has one that brings in new business rather than one that brings you to the top of the list, the amount of success you see all depends on the strength of the connections that you make.
The previous state of your website and SEO will also influence how long until you will see results. If this is your first SEO strategy for your website, it may take longer for you to grab customer attention than it would be for a company that already had a decent system in place. Other influencers include the amount of content on your website, how connected you are with other companies, and if you already have a steady flow of traffic to your page.
Although everyone will not have the same experience with their SEO strategy, here is a possible timeline for what you can expect with your SEO efforts:
Month #1
In the first month, you should be planning for the changes that you will make. Perform a comprehensive technical SEO audit of your website, determine which keyword are best for you, and begin looking for the direction you want your organic SEO strategy to go. Make a list of things you will need to change on your website and begin brainstorming ideas for content that fits with your new SEO ideas.
Month #2
The second month of is the time to begin your technical SEO work, including incorporating the necessary changes you found in Month #1. If there are a lot of changes to make to your website, this step may take longer than one month. For easier modifications, you may be looking at less than one month.
Month #3
Within your third month, you should focus on creating new content that aligns with your re-vamped SEO strategy. Although we are classifying this step into the third month, it can realistically be done at the same time as modifying your website. Whether or not you complete them at once depends on your budget and time you’re able to commit to each project. If you don’t have the means to do both simultaneously, focus first on your website changes.
When creating new content, look at everything from your web pages to future blog posts and articles. If you sell products, you will probably want to re-write your product descriptions to better align with the rest of the copy on your site. As you begin posting this new content, you should begin to see your company name moving up in the search results ranks.
Month #4
In the fourth month of your strategy, you should continue to post new content and make changes to your website. At this point, you should be getting some traction with your new SEO efforts, including finding yourself higher in the list of search results and seeing more traffic to your page. While this amount of attention will continue to grow as your efforts take root, it can still be a good indication that you are doing something right.
You should also take this time to start creating a strong web of links. Be sure that you are linking out to reputable sources that can help to boost your authority and expertise. If you have a lot of old content, you will want to go through and make changes to the links already established if they are not high quality.
Month #5
If you are seeing some success from your new SEO strategy, it is time to start incorporating your social media platforms. Share your posts on whatever posts you may have and look for new ways you can engage with your audiences. If you are creating great content, you will start to see shares from your fans and followers that will add to your link building profile.
Additional forms of outreach can come from PR efforts or partnerships. While your SEO strategy should be able to bring in new customers and clients, you can give it a helping hand by making new connections in the media or in professional bloggers in your industry.
Month #6
With everything set in place, you can begin the “maintaining” phase about about your sixth month. For some companies, this stage may come earlier while for others it may begin much later. At this time, you will want to continue creating great content for your website, tracking how well your efforts are translating into sales and conversions, and making changes if they appear necessary.
SEO is an ongoing effort. It is not something you can set in place and let go. While you can expect to start seeing results from your new SEO strategy a few months into the plan, that rise in business will only drop back down if you ignore your plan. Stay focused on building your SEO efforts consistently and your results will consistently rise as well.

Don’t Give Up

Although it takes time to show results, SEO is important. Don’t convince yourself that you don’t need it just because you don’t want to wait a few months for the results to appear. Invest in your SEO results as a crucial component to your company’s success.