How long is it going to take me to rank? SEO experts get this question all the time from business owners who need more traffic and long-term stability for their company to succeed.
One thing, however, is clear – once a website has built up enough trust, authority, and strong links to and from other websites to reach Page 1 in Google, the number of visitors and sales massively increases to reach the goal of long-term business success.
But how long does that process of positioning a website on Page 1 take? The answer is, “It depends.” There are specific factors that help a website gain ranking more quickly or slow it down. Once you understand these factors, you and the SEO agency you hire can more accurately predict the time range, marketing budget and expected ROI to create a workable SEO strategy that works.
The Main Factors that Affect the SEO Ranking Timetable
To help give you an idea of what an SEO expert can do to help you appear higher on search engine inquiries, let’s look at some of the determining factors that will help them, and you, assess a timeline.
On-Page Factors that Speed Up Ranking
There is a lot you, as a business owner, can do to create excellent content to give visitors a rich user experience, but also rank your website.
- High Quality Content: Well-written, informative, and clear text about your business is one of the most important factors that will not only help rank your site, but also help you influence people to buy your products for services.
- Content Optimization: Placing your main keywords and variations of them in your domain name, page title, headers and content will help Google categorize these words in its database to compare it to other similar sites to determine the niche, relevancy, and authority.
- Navigation and inner linking: Make it easy for visitors to your site to find all the information they need quickly to make their buying decisions, including contact information, forms, and links to information on other pages.
- Outbound authority linking: Google wants to see your site linking out to other high-authority sites that are relevant to your industry and niche, and that build trust in you as a business owner.
- Image optimizations: Include unique alt text for each image and to assist seeing-impaired visitors in understanding the images.
Ten Technical SEO Factors that Block, Slow, or Speed Up Google Ranking
Technical SEO deals with how well Google’s “spiders” can crawl your website and collect the data it needs to index your website, categorize it, and compare it to all the other similar websites in its database. The SEO agency you hire should check for and correct the technical aspects of your website, including:
- Page Load Speed
- SSL security status
- XML sitemap
- Identifying and fixing crawl errors
- Check for duplicate or missing metadata, and optimize meta-descriptions
- Check for duplicate content
- Check for duplicate or missing image alt text
- Check for and repair or re-direct broken links
Off-Page SEO Linking to Power Up your Site Ranking
How does Google’s search engine and database determine if your website is important and valuable? It’s similar to your own credibility as a business person. How many of your customers write reviews about your product or services? How many recommendations are you getting?
When people love what you offer, they tell other people about it. It’s the same on the web regarding your business website. When people and other businesses or sites link to your website, it’s like an endorsement or a vote of confidence. The more links your site has, the more “popular” it is.
Google not only looks at the number of links you have, but even more importantly, they look at the quality of those links and how relevant they are to your business niche. If you have hundreds or thousands of weak, spammy links, your site might never rank or even get a penalty.
On the other hand, if the links going back to your website are from recognized, strong, and highly-relevant websites, then every vote of confidence will strengthen your own link “profile” with the reliability and authority that can position it at the top of the search results.
How Long Does SEO Take to Work?
Taking the above factors into account, and answering the questions below, will help your SEO expert determine a realistic timeline for your site to show up on the first page in the search results.
- How much competition is there for the keywords or key phrases you want to rank for? A longer key phrase in a smaller city, such as “emergency plumber Clearwater FL” gets 20 searches a month and the competition for that keyword is very low at 0.1, so ranking will be quicker.
- Is your website brand-new or has it been online for one or more years? A study conducted by com found that less than 4% of Page 1 rankings are from sites less than one year old.
- Is your keyword in your domain URL? Have you optimized your on-page content for both user experience and clear wording so the search engines can crawl and categorize it accurately?
- How much trust and authority does your site already have? How many other trusted websites are linking to your pages?
- It also depends on your marketing budget. How much can you invest in creating great content and links, and how quickly are you working?
Greg Morrison, successful SEO researcher and ranking guru says, “It comes down to a combination of all these factors. There’s no specific timeframe for how long it’s going to take to rank; it depends on every case. The answer is, the less competition there is, the more quickly you’re going to be able to rank. The more competition, the longer it’s going to take. An average term for local SEO is going to take you between 6 months to a year to rank, whereas a highly competitive term in a large city like “Los Angeles lawyer” can take one year, or even up to two years.”
Get Expert Help to Rank Your Website
Hiring an SEO professional who understands what Google wants to see in a well-written and authoritative website, and who is experienced in optimizing for the most important ranking factors is what will get you to your goal.
Give your SEO expert the time needed to get your site on Page 1 for your keywords, and in return, you should receive regular reports on how your website is performing in a way that you can see the rankings increase. For your website to dominate in the Page 1 results, you need to pursue a complete search marketing strategy, including on-page, technical and off-page SEO. It will be worth allocating those additional advertising funds to the SEO budget when you get the long term results down