How Long Does SEO Take?


How long does SEO take?

A very common yet often unanswerable question in the world of digital marketing. It’s almost like asking “how was the universe created?”. But we’re going to do our best to outline everything we know about how SEO works and how long it’ll take to impact your website.

There are many considerations before an answer can be given. No two websites are the same, and their very foundation can determine how long SEO will take. As will how long you spend working on it.

Here’s a small list of things that can impact how long SEO will take on your website:

  • The age of your website
  • The size of your website
  • The platform your website was built on
  • How long you can spend doing SEO each day/week/month
  • Who you are competing against

We’ve gone into detail about how each of these scenarios can influence how long SEO will take on your website.

We promise we’ll get to the answer eventually, keep reading!

The age of your website

There are two factors to consider here. Older websites are often clunky in their build. The code used to develop the site might be out-of-date, providing a number of obstacles when it comes to SEO. One could be poor site speed due to messy coding practices, another could be poor user experience due to a difficult navigation. Both of these can have a major influence on user experience, which is a driving factor for SEO performance.

On the other hand, if you’ve recently updated your website, added lots of exciting imagery, video and other flashy visuals, along with updating your domain, you may find your website performance has somewhat slowed, while rankings have dropped. Heavy usage of imagery and video can also cause slow site speeds (it’s a very fine balancing act between impressing Google and impressing your customers!), while a new domain will take time to build up authority and trust with Google.

Regardless of whether your website is old or new, you may find there are a number of low-hanging fruits that can speed up how long SEO will take. SEO is an on-going process, but a few small yet significant tweaks could have you seeing results within the first 1-3 months.


The size of your website

It might seem obvious, but the larger your website is, the longer it’ll take to optimise fully. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t start seeing progress on the sections or areas you start working on first.

There are two approaches to SEO we take at Verto. The first being a sitewide strategy that looks at specific tasks and optimises these across the site as a whole. The second (often used on large websites) looks at a category by category approach – allowing us to focus in more detail on a smaller area of the site.

Due to a larger website’s size, both of these options will naturally see a slower climb up the rankings compared to a smaller website – especially if spending the same number of hours on both. If you’re completely starting from scratch, again, a few significant changes to the essential SEO tasks could have you seeing results within the first couple of months.

The platform your website is built on

You may not realise this, but the platform your website is built on can have a big impact on how far you can go with SEO. Some platforms such as WIX have limitations in place that can affect your site’s navigation structure. On the other hand, the WordPress CMS (content management system) has plenty of handy SEO tools available, if you’re confident installing and using plugins.

Alternatively, using a custom-built CMS, such as the one provided by Verto, offers plenty of flexibility when you work closely with your web developer to continuously improve and upgrade your website. We also ensure our websites’ code is clean and modern, providing the best possible SEO foundations for your strategy.

How long can you spend doing SEO each month?

As you can imagine, the more time you can spend on your SEO strategy, the faster you’ll see results. However, it’s important not to blindly work on SEO without leaving time for Google to catch up and recognise your hard work.

It can take a few days to a few weeks for Google to crawl and index your website. This time period is often determined by the size of your website and how often it’s updated. Because of this, spending hours on end optimising your entire site won’t allow you to see exactly what’s worked and what hasn’t. “Resting” between tasks or categories can help you to understand the impact your changes are having on the website, and allow you to determine where you should focus your efforts across the rest of the website.

Similarly, trends change, and creating SEO-optimised content that reflects current events or topics in the industry is going to serve your audience better than a stream of articles that have little relevance to what’s going on. Again, backing up the theory that SEO shouldn’t be rushed and is most definitely an on-going process.

Who are you competing against?

The competitiveness of your industry will have a huge impact on how long SEO will take, as well as how well it’s going to work. Most websites will focus on a handful of primary keywords that they want to rank for, while subsequently ranking for a number of additional keywords that aren’t always the main focus. However, if your primary keywords are hugely competitive with global players taking the top spots on Google, it may be worth focusing your efforts on the less obvious terms for faster gains.

Don’t be put off by keywords with small search volumes. Often the searcher knows exactly what they’re looking for compared to broader, more popular terms, and thus if you’re sitting in the top spot you’re more likely to win that lead. It’s really important to check the search results page for your keywords to ensure your website belongs there. If you look like a good fit, SEO might not take that long after all.

So how long will SEO take?

The general consensus is that SEO takes around 6 months to take full effect. This doesn’t mean it won’t be faster or slower as it really depends on how well optimised your website already is, as well as all the other considerations mentioned above. When we start working with a new client who has never invested in SEO before and has fairly poor performance currently, we often see results within the first couple of months. Larger, more developed websites (especially those with strong competition) can take 6 months or more to clearly see progress.

However, it’s important to remember that SEO isn’t always about continuous growth. Being able to maintain progress and positioning is just as important as focusing on climbing the rankings. If you’re already performing well, SEO is still an essential practice to ensure you’re not taken down by those underneath you.

Are you looking for more information about SEO? The experts at Verto are here to help. Get in touch by calling 01536 411153 , emailing or fill out our enquiry form.

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