Having an SEO Strategy: How Long Does it Take?

February 15, 2023
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Search engine optimization is not a sprint, but a marathon. It takes time to complete, and you need to put in incremental effort to see results. It will take months, even with keyword research, compelling content, and proper formatting. SEO professionals always work toward constant improvement. You can argue that their job is never finished. As long as there are updates, your providers will have to adapt and refine SEO for your website.

SEO is a new industry, but it has been around long enough to show 'phases' of development. Success in the past looks different from how it does today. For one, the time it takes for you to see results has gotten longer. Here are a few things to know about how long it takes to see results in an optimization campaign.

SEO Success: Then Versus Now

Success in SEO used to be reliant on keywords. It starts when SEOs identify about five to ten "golden keywords" that bring in most of their traffic. Then, they target only these in their posts and increase Google rankings in this way. This method worked in the early days of SEO, but it won't bring in the same results today. Unless you're using long-tail keywords, you are not going to drive traffic to your website. If you focus on a handful of generic keywords, you might as well throw money down the drain.

Today, search engines rank based on natural language. Resources that follow human speech and writing patterns land high in rankings. It makes sense to do this because people are becoming reliant on voice search. Instead of typing their queries, they're likelier to use voice search tools like Alexa and Siri.

Another offshoot is that people are using more detail in typed searches. Voice and long-tail keywords are easier to rank for; they are both relevant and detailed. The goal for pages today is to focus on natural language and keep adding keywords as they emerge.

Rankings are important, but they are not the sole metric for SEO success. It takes more than including the right keywords for a page to rank, and outputs are different from outcomes. When it comes down to it, the number of visitors isn't directly related to sales conversions. Getting rankings is only one part of building a strong online presence. The traffic you get should translate to leads or sales. Aside from on-page and off-page SEO, you should look at what it takes to get conversions from traffic.

Factors That Determine The Effectiveness of SEO

Various factors come together to influence how fast your SEO strategies will work. Website history, the competition, and how much resources you put in all contribute.

1. The Newness of the Domain

If you're working on a new domain, it will take longer to see positive results from SEO. Established domains have earned some authority, and they would have backlinks to them. Meanwhile, brand new domains should see results in nine to 12 months. Established domains might also see slower results if they experienced a penalty. Websites affected by core algorithm updates will also see slower results.

2. The SEO Of Other Businesses

Low-competition niches or keywords with low search volume tend to show quicker results. Ranking a website for 'organic beddings' might take two years or more. Local or narrower phrases, meanwhile, might show results in as few as three months.

It's vital to check the competition in a saturated market. Study what they are doing to maintain their ranking. Other people's competitiveness will inadvertently affect your strategies' effectiveness. Using a keyword gap tool to help you assess competitiveness is a good first step.

3. What Resources You Set Aside For SEO

Focus on things you can control instead of ones you cannot. Understanding how much time you should spend on an SEO project is the key to success. To make things efficient, you should clarify action points before the campaign starts. Meet with your SEO provider and give them a list of priority tasks. Include nice-to-have points; if the project does well, you can proceed to these.

SEO Success: The First Six Months

No two websites are the same, and ranking depends on so many factors. SEO for your website might mean a longer timeline, especially if it is new. You can expect a rough pattern, though, like the one below.

First Two Months

During this time, you must do an SEO audit, keyword strategy, and planning. If you can do a rapid implementation, technical changes will appear in the first month. For complex domains, it will take longer than a month to finish researching keywords.

After a site audit, you must make the necessary changes. In some cases, websites need complete overhauls. You can start writing while  designers rebuild the website.

Next Two Months

Once you have the groundwork, you can focus on content. Articles, white papers, FAQs, and knowledge bases all fall in this category. When you provide readers with a variety of content, it helps Google see you as an authority in your field.

Keep combining content and technical optimization while building your link profile. It will take at least this long to see improvements in your website traffic. If you are consistent in your SEO efforts, though, you are sure to see results.

Month Five Onwards

Amplifying your content includes having a social media management strategy. If you have several resources up, you should see an increase in traffic after you promote on social media. After five months, you can continue content creation or proceed to PR outreach. At around the six-month mark, some websites see about 5,000 visitors per month. If you have been consistent, you could start with CRO or conversion rate optimization.

This should also be the time you start a second content audit, so you can identify what articles need a refresh. The six-month point is when most domains start seeing actionable data. So, you should not expect significant changes until after that point.

In Conclusion

Generally, results will come after four to six months of consistent implementation. Note, though, that this pertains to when you begin seeing results. Once these developments happen, you should keep working to see them continue.

Rankings are not permanent; your ranking will go down without SEO for your website. Also, you cannot keep writing articles and expect different results. You need to have a backlink-building strategy to go with your content. Otherwise, you might not see improvements, even if you release thoughtfully-written articles.

Build a digital presence meant to scale for the long term when you partner with Ranked. We provide affordable, simple SEO solutions designed to keep rankings and acquire backlinks. Get in touch with the team for details, or activate your account today!