How Long Does It Take SEO to Work?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Did you implement an SEO strategy and aren’t seeing instant results? Are you worried that your SEO strategies aren’t working? Contrary to popular belief, this is entirely normal!

As you may know, SEO takes time to yield results.


As Philip Stanhope, the 4th earl of Chesterfield, noted, “whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” As a person invested in digital marketing campaigns, I’ll change this to say: “anything worth doing is worth waiting for.”

This is especially true for search engine optimization (SEO), since it is such a powerful tool to drive unpaid traffic to your website.

Let’s cut to the chase. SEO takes anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to yield results.

You may be asking yourself, “Why does it take this long?” and “How can I speed up the process?”

Keep reading and we’ll detail why SEO takes time and how to start driving organic traffic as quickly as possible.

Let’s first look at what SEO is and why it is crucial to the performance of your site.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website via organic search engine results.

Once achieved, it means that your business can rank higher in search results, which increases your brand visibility.

In turn, this provides you with more opportunities to convert qualified leads into customers.

A detailed SEO strategy can help your brand stand above others and give you authority in your industry.

Why Is SEO Important?

Today, SEO campaigns are more important than ever before with PPC taking a hit due to the recent privacy updates in iOS14.5.

However, each day, millions of people are looking for solutions to their challenges or answers to their questions using search engines.

SEO connects you to people that need your products or services to solve their problems.

And it’s the key to getting free targeted traffic to your website from search engines.

So, SEO is important because it:

Enhances your brand’s visibility and rankings: Research shows that about 67.7% of online users are likely to click the first five suggestions on the search engine. Through SEO, your business or brand can rank high in the search engine, increasing your visibility.

How long does it take SEO

Increases your web traffic: SEO boosts your organic search traffic, which increases the number of clicks you get per day. In turn, it increases your leads and, ultimately, your conversions.

Makes your business trustworthy: Potential customers will mostly trust the first few results they get from a search engine. SEO helps you achieve this by ensuring your business ranks high in search engines.

Improves user experiences: SEO helps communicate the type of product or service your business offers, how a client can get it, and answers other questions regarding your product or service. This makes it easier for users to navigate your website and understand your brand.

Boosts your growth: SEO is key to your brand’s growth. It increases your visibility in the market and boosts your sales. For instance, you become discoverable in various locations and countries, allowing you to expand.

Generally, SEO campaigns are good for your business and are worth the wait.

Now, Let’s Answer the Big Question: How Long Does It Take SEO To Work?

The most accurate answer to this question is: around 6-12 months

It could take well-known brands with a strong online presence 3 to 6 months for their SEO strategies to start driving new traffic to their website. New websites sometimes wait up to 12 months before they begin seeing results.

Nevertheless, the time it takes for SEO to work is relatively long compared to other digital marketing strategies.

So, why does it take time to yield results?

SEO is made up of sub-strategies that must be accomplished before you begin to see results. This means that it’s almost impossible to see the results right away.

It takes Google, Bing, or any other search engine time to determine factors including:

✓ Reliability and trustworthiness of the information on your page.
✓ Relevance of your content to users.
✓ The kind of search intent your page caters to.
✓ Whether your keywords are used accordingly.
✓ The number of backlinks you have on your site.
✓ Amount of time it takes your page to load.
✓ The kind of images you have on your page.

This information, along with other factors, determines where your brand will rank among your competitors.

The search engines want to provide users with the most relevant information based on their search keywords. That’s why they will display the results with the most pertinent information about their search terms.

Therefore, your SEO strategies might not work the first few months, but they will eventually, provided you have relevant content.

But why do some SEO strategies drive traffic sooner than others?

The specific time it would take your SEO campaigns to show results depends on three key variables, including:

✓ Competition
✓ Inbound links
✓ Content

Assessing the data behind these variables is the key to figuring out how long it’ll take for your SEO campaigns to work. Let’s see how each of the variables is related to your SEO campaigns.

1. Competition

The effect of competition on the time it will take for your SEO strategies to work varies depending on your industry and the kind of business you’re undertaking. For instance, if your company sells coffee products, the probability of facing any competition is low.

How long does it take SEO

However, companies that sell products and services that have higher demand will face higher competition. For instance, a real estate company will likely face higher competition than the coffee business.

The higher the competition, the more time it’ll require for your SEO strategies to work. This is because you’ll be competing against “strong” web pages in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), many of which may have high domain authority.

For example, if your company sells soft drinks in the U.S. and you launch an SEO campaign to promote it, your pages may rank lower than the likes of Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, and Pepsi since they’ve spent more time building their SEO. However, the juice business will most likely rank lower than you in SERPs.

With time, the kind of content you publish on your blogs, the number of links (external and internal) you use, and your content’s relevance can rank you higher than Pepsi or Mountain Dew in the SERPs. All you need within this time is to come up with professional SEO strategies.

In essence, top-ranking pages tend to have experienced SEO professionals who implement campaigns that boost their ranking.

Usually, demand drives organizations into a business niche, which increases competition. In turn, businesses are forced to offer more competitive deals to earn a competitive advantage.

Such an industry will favor organizations with an excellent financial foundation – companies that can hire the best SEO professionals. If you’re up against companies like this, you’ll have a harder time ranking.

However, it’s possible to outrank your competitors!

You’ll need to study the businesses already ranking for your keywords, watch which strategies work for them, and use this data as you form your own strategies to be competitive.

This will require time, which is one reason it may take longer to see the results of your SEO strategies.

2. Content

The content you publish on your sites plays a vital role in how quickly you see the results of your SEO campaigns. The quality and quantity of your content always matter.

Google, Bing, Baidu, or any search engine will rank your pages based on the quality and quantity of the content you publish.

For the quality, you need to make sure that you publish a top-notch article that uses facts to address customers’ needs. You need to answer the users’ questions and provide them with relevant and helpful information.

Just any article will not get your SEO strategies working. You’ll need a marketing strategy professional who understands SEO marketing dynamics.

Besides, you should create enough articles of the right length addressing customers’ questions and problems. Google and the other search engines do not restrict the number of articles you can post.

So, if you have several articles with great content, feel free to get them out there.

Experts recommend a consistent publishing schedule to encourage people to come back for more content and search engines to review your work often.

Please note that deleting content also plays a crucial role in your SEO ranking. The secret is knowing what to delete and what to keep. You may choose to delete articles with irrelevant information to help make you “credible” in the eyes of Google Crawler or your customers.

Creating quality content and reviewing the existing ones to determine which to delete and keep can take some time, which explains why it takes a long time for SEO to work.

3. Inbound Links

Also referred to as backlinks, inbound links are the links that lead you back to your site. Such links are undoubtedly crucial to your SEO strategies.

What you may not know, however, is that these links have a significant effect on the time it takes for your SEO campaigns to start paying off.

Usually, Google treats inbound links as an indication that your site has high-quality content. Thus, the more of these links you have, the more Google or other search engines are likely to rank you higher.

However, creating a network of quality links (external and internal) to your site may take time, which again explains why it may take some time for your SEO campaigns to pay off.

So, How Long Does It Take SEO to Work?

While you can’t accurately predict the time it will take for your SEO strategies to work, you can make guesses based on various variables.

The time and effort you put into content creation, inbound links, and competitor analysis can help you have a rough estimate of the time it will take for your SEO campaign to start paying off.

If you’re stuck with the kind of steps to take, you can contact a professional for assistance. Chatter Buzz can help you with your SEO campaigns to ensure they pay off as fast as possible.

Contact us today for more information on how to get started with your SEO strategy!

Caroline Zaunbrecher

Caroline is a Digital Marketing Coordinator at Chatter Buzz. She believes that great communication is what makes a great company. Caroline strives to create content that simplifies digital marketing in a way that makes it accessible to everyone.

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