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SEO - How Long Till I See Results?

by Brian Rideout • February 12, 2016

A common question asked by SEO Clients is "How long till I see results?". The short answer is it depends. SEO results depend on many factors.

SEO Results Timeline

SEO Results Factors

Age of Domain / Site

There is debate in the industry as to whether or not the age of the domain or how long the site has been on-line and indexed by Google is a SEO factor or not. In our experience it is. As an example we built a new site for a client after he had lost his domain name. We had to add an inc on the end to use his company name for his domain. We did our usual on-site SEO work making sure titles, H1 / headlines, body copy, meta descriptions, etc. were all as they should be. Site went live and we created a few in-bound links to the site for Google to find and index the site, created a Google Webmaster Tools account, and submitted an .xml sitemap. This is our standard practice on a project and it's served our clients well. In this instance the site debuted on page 3 of the search results for our primary keyword phrase, rose to page 2 within the first 4-5 months... and then stayed there. During the following months we did absolutely nothing. Didn't create new in-bound links, didn't change the site in any way, absolutely nothing changed. In month 13 the client went from the middle of page 2 to #1 on page #1 of the Google search results. This is why in the debate over domain age being a factor, I come down on the side of yes, age is definitely a factor. I tell client's not to expect much in the way of results until after the site has been up at least a year. Anything we get before that is a pleasant bonus. Note: When we talk about rankings results here I'm talking about generic keyword searches like SEO Company in Phoenix, not a specific company name search. Generally clients can be found for their company name very quickly.

Competition

The next SEO factor I want to talk about is the competition. Both competition to rank for a specific keyword phrase and competition from other companies. They keyword phrase you want to rank for, and whether or not there is a local component to the phrase will determine just how much competition there is for the phrase. For example, if my goal is to rank for SEO Company, I'm competing with everyone in the United States or even the World to rank for that phrase. If my goal is to only rank for people searching for that phrase within the Valley, I've got less competition. If I change my keyword phrase to SEO Company in Phoenix, now I've got a longer, more focused keyword phrase, and I've narrowed down that geography even further. This makes SEO much easier because we've reduced the amount of competition for the phrase.

The other competition we need to look at is how many other websites or companies out there are targeting that same keyword phrase. In Phoenix, typically it's quite a few. There may be 200 other websites out there wanting to rank for that same Phoenix SEO Company phrase. So factors such as how long have they been around (see age factor above), how often do they add new and fresh content to their site, and how many in-bound links do they have to their site and from what sources. Often when starting a project we find that competitors already have 1,000 or more inbound links to their site. We then know from day one this is going to be a long term project with lots of link building needed to beat the competition. The competition for the phrase and what the competition is doing for their own SEO efforts often dictates what the budget for the SEO project should be.

SEO Budget

We deal primarily with small businesses. It's often difficult for them to set aside $1,000's of dollars a month for an SEO Campaign, so typically we are working with a $500 or $1,000 a month budget. For local rankings, i.e. SEO Company in Phoenix, that's often sufficient depending on what the competition is doing. If the competition already has 1,000 inbound links built already and they are continuing to build more, we may never catch them with a small budget. In this instance, we either need to increase the budget so we can build links faster than they are, or switch tactics away from SEO to other traffic generation approaches. That budget also dictates how long it will take to catch and surpass the competition. If we are gaining links very slowly, it's going to take longer to catch the competition. Please note: Link building is only one tactic, but it's an easy one to illustrate how a new client is often playing catch up to established players. A similar situation would exist if the competition is blogging daily adding fresh content to their site while while your budget only allows for weekly posts. You'll never catch them at that rate. That's why competitive analysis needs to be factored in when developing the SEO Campaign Budget.

Answer to SEO - How Long Till I See Results?

As you can see there are many factors. In our experience though, with an established site that's already over a year old, we can typically see measurable gains in the SERP's (Search Engine Result Pages) within 3 to 4 months. Getting to page 1 may take longer and is dependent on what the competition is doing. If you have very little competition, we've positioned client's #1 on page 1 of the results in as little as 6 months. We've got other clients with extremely competitive keyword phrases that we are still working to move them to top 5 results a year later. If you'd like a more definitive answer, please Request a SEO Quote so we can analyze your competition and give you a more accurate answer. I think you'll like our transparent and accountable approach to how we handle SEO Campaigns. We'd love to add you to our list of SEO Results success stories!
 

About the Author

Brian Rideout is the Chief Pixel Pusher of BANG! Web Site Design. A veteran in the industry (sounds better than saying he's old) he's been helping businesses succeed in the game of Internet Marketing since 1996.