#AskUsAnything: How Long Does it Take to See Results with SEO?

People ask many SEO-related questions—and one of the most challenging to answer is  “How long does it take to see results with SEO?” The short answer is, it depends on a...

Anissa Maligat
Anissa Maligat January 7, 2019

People ask many SEO-related questions—and one of the most challenging to answer is  “How long does it take to see results with SEO?”

The short answer is, it depends on a number of factors.

A large number of variables will play a role in the success of your optimization efforts, as well as the optimization efforts of your competitors. This makes an already complex question even more difficult to answer.

To gain a better understanding, we asked Marc Samson, Growth Rocket’s Director of SEO, and Gilbert Bermudez, Growth Rocket’s Outreach Specialist, to share their expertise.

How Long Does it Take for SEO to Show Results?

The standard answer to this question is between four to six months, according to many SEOs. However, both Marc and Gilbert say the timeline is influenced by a number of factors.

“This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the website’s standing, niche/competitors, and keyword competition,” Marc said. “There are too many variables to get an accurate read on the exact time frame when results can be seen. SEO is a long-term play. For those reasons, you should never recommend SEO for immediate results or failing businesses.”

Other factors that play a role in how quickly websites will see results include baseline traffic, website design (including UX design), geographic location, and domain age.

According to Gilbert, the team is able to observe improvements in a website’s crawlability, page speed, and search bot rendering immediately after implementing on-page enhancements.

“You can use Google Tools such as Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, and the Mobile-Friendly Test to gauge your site’s performance. However, getting great results on such tools is not enough to conclude that an SEO campaign is successful,” he said. “The truth is, this is just a fraction of how SEO works.”

Still clueless on how to improve search engine ranking? The following list shows possible SEO work that could be undertaken in the first few months:

  1. Research and discovery, site audit, and keyword strategy and planning.
  2. Technical SEO (which involves making changes to the site based on site audit results).
  3. Content development and production.
  4. Site optimization and link profile generation.
  5. Social media management for content expansion and higher direct traffic.
  6. Additional conversion rate optimization.

What are the Key Factors to Getting Good Results Using SEO?

Google’s algorithm utilizes more than 200 ranking factors. “There could be more than that. No one really knows for sure, not even majority of Google employees,” Marc said. “But the factors, in a general sense, are simply to provide the best value and experience for your audience.

“This can be translated into three pillars: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Each of these can provide a great experience for users. I would say that focusing on building the brand authority, user experience, and having great content is key to getting good results. Search is always about providing answers to questions/queries. So be sure that your content (and site) offer something that others don’t.”

Gilbert believes the following elements can help websites rank higher than their competitors on Google:

  1. A strong foundation for on-page SEO
  2. Organized content
  3. Mobile-friendly structure
  4. Good page speed

“As long as you serve the best landing page for a given keyword and satisfy your audience, you’ll stay on top of the search results,” he said.

An iPad with the Google homepage displayed on its screen

How Does a Website’s Niche Affect their Search Engine Visibility?

According to Marc, no business can escape competition, and standing out from the others is the aim of every SEO practitioner.

“You will have competitors. And competitors would most likely aim for the same results you are aiming for. This is why properly building and optimizing your website is key. Google will reward the best sites that provide the best answers for specific queries. It’s only a matter of understanding how Google grades the pages that one can truly outrank competitors. That or just pure luck. So to answer your question, competitors will affect positioning for sure. You may be pushed down by competitors optimizing for the same keywords (and vice-versa).”

The general rule of thumb is, the more competition you have in your niche, the longer it is going to take to outrank them in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

A person writing an SEO blueprint

Are High-Quality Links & Content Still Important for Better SEO Results?

Backlinks and content remain important Google ranking factors, according to both Marc and Gilbert.

“Content and links are integral parts of SEO. This is why for JavaScript frameworks, such as React, Preact, and Angular, it’s important to implement dynamic rendering so search engine bots can actually see your content. This is a whole topic on its own but the point I’m trying to drive here is that without Google seeing the content, it cannot gauge or understand those pages and will only see blank pages, and in return, it will rank poorly or not get indexed at all.

“As for links, yes, these are still strong quality signals that can influence rankings and really move the needle. Links from authoritative sites are vouches of trust. I always think of it as having a character reference for a job opportunity from Bill Gates versus some random guy on the street. Having Bill Gates vouch for you is much more valuable than some random guy that no one knows. That’s one way to think of it.”

According to Gilbert, links can make or break your reputation across the Internet. “Having a strong backlink profile for your website can boost Trust Flow. Quality content can earn referral traffic (as Google loves quality content) and can make your website more appealing.”

When your site earns a lot of high-quality, authoritative backlinks, it hits three important ranking signals:

  1. Number of backlinks
  2. Link authority
  3. Link diversity

There’s also social signals, which can help you gain more high-quality backlinks. In fact, a recent study conducted by SearchMetrics showed a strong correlation between ranking position and social signals across all social media-related mediums. Thus, you can get a better organic ranking on Google if readers share your posts on various social media platforms.

On the other hand, your site can achieve high traffic if it contains high-quality content that resonates with your target audience, which in turn will boost your site’s authority and relevance.

What are the Different Strategies Used to Improving SEO Performance?

There are a lot of strategies and techniques that you can use to boost your site’s performance on the search engines. These range from keyword research to updating and republishing older content. But in our SEO team’s case, they utilize a different set of approaches depending on the client they’re working with.

Before implementing any enhancements to client sites, the team examines key information given to them and performs extensive site audits with a strong focus on on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Eventually, they will seek various opportunities to boost the clients’ SEO rankings. These can include content enhancements for increased page rankings and finding new page type traffic sources.

As for page statistics, the team prepares progress reports to inform clients of their current search engine performance. “A progress report will help clients understand the impact of SEO, driving home the point that it’s a long-term and continuous process,” Gilbert notes.

How Can You Improve Your Website’s SEO Performance?

Need more pointers? Marc shares the following insights:

  1. Continue to test theories and don’t trust mere hearsay.
  2. Concentrate on raising your site’s actual value.
  3. Concentrate on end-to-end user experience.
  4. Establish strong connections with other sites or influencers that are in the same niche as your site.
  5. Creating the foundation should be your main priority in improving your site’s SEO performance.

Gilbert offers the following tips to improve your SEO rankings:

  1. Keep yourself informed on the latest developments in search engine optimization by reading news from sites such as Search Engine Land and Google’s official blog.
  2. Ask and test at your own risk.
  3. Read up on the basics of SEO.

SEO may be fast-paced and influenced by numerous developments, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay ahead of the competition. Consider contacting Growth Rocket’s knowledgeable and experienced SEO specialists to improve your site’s search engine performance.

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