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how long does SEO take

How Long Does SEO Take? 6 Factors That Affect It

Just because it does not have an exact answer, it gets too frustrating. 

Every SEO has faced the question “How long does it take to rank on Google?” from a client and the answer is never what they want. (a moment of sadness)

This is simply due to the various variables involved in the optimization of the website. And on top of that, you have to consider the competitor’s optimization efforts too to get a clearer picture.

And this adds more hurdles on the road to finding the answer.

But to still give an answer, 

SEO meme

Now, in this guide, we will look up all the factors that affect the duration it takes for an SEO strategy to show the results. And finally, search for the answer to the question “How long does SEO take”?

Factors That Decide How Long Does SEO Take to Work

To better understand why the question does not have an exact answer, and how can we deduce a relative answer, let’s look up the factors that determine that. 

how long does SEO take

1. History of Website

The age and history of the website are surely one of the key factors that impact the time period SEO takes to show results on that website.

A new domain relatively takes longer to show considerable results than a website that has been around for a while. 

As the new website hasn’t gained any authority and does not have any backlinks pointing to it. Compared to that, an old website would have gained some authority and would have more than 0 backlinks for sure.

But an established domain does not have an upper hand always. If the site’s past has been bad means if it had faced any penalty or has some negative impacts of bad SEO. Then the site would be in the worse condition.

A brand new domain can expect considerable results from the SEO strategy in about 9 to 12 months, whereas an old domain with a good past record can expect them to be in 4 to 12 months.

2. The Competition

To understand how long does it take for SEO to work, we must first understand whom you are competing with.

Websites in low competition niches aiming for low competition search queries can see SEO results far quicker.

For ex- trying to rank for a general and broad term like “SEO” can take up to 1-2 years or more to get ranked on the first page. Whereas trying to rank for a narrower low competition keyword can show the desired results in 3 to 6 months.

Make sure to look at the keyword difficulty percentage while choosing the keywords. The higher the percentage, the harder it will be to rank on the first page.

But it’s not all, watching a competition has more than just choosing keywords with low keyword difficulty percentage. You have to keep an eye on your competitor’s growth rate too.

You have to look up to your competitor’s current position and their efforts to maintain it. Your strategies should work around that. 

For better understanding, take if your competitor’s gaining regular backlinks, and publishing quality content consistently then you too have to work according to that so you don’t get left behind.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the very first thing that you need to solve. You can not afford to ignore any minor or major technical SEO issue. Because with them it will be a damn hard job to get positive results.

Technical SEO issues are problems including;

Some of these pose greater threats than others, but again any technical SEO should be solved on the go. 

Now, to remind you technical SEO alone ain’t going to be enough to help you rank on the first page of Google SERP. But they can surely put up a break on your growth.

So, before doing anything else, you should focus on making your website technical SEO issues free.

4. Content

If the “Content” hasn’t been on this list, I myself wouldn’t read this article by any chance. 

And the reason is simple, content is among the Google’s top 3 ranking factors.

Google wanna cater the best to its users, and if your content is not up to par, why would Google bother to show you on the first page?

It’s very very important to keep “creating quality content” on the top of your priority list. Content that matches the search intent and provides value to the reader has the most chances to rank on the first page.

Meanwhile, you have to keep an eye on what people want to read, and what’s already been ranked.

The best advice is to read the content that is already on the first page, by this you can learn a lot. And that can help you write better content.

Poor or even average content can hold you behind, and not let you run towards the first page.

Quality and SEO based content that has something new to add to the topic while providing the insights and value is the content that can help your site rank higher faster.

Read more: 8 Tips to Improve Your Content and Keep Google Happy

5. Links

Besides content, links too count among Google’s top 3 ranking factors.

And they are an important aspect of the answer to the question “Why does SEO take so long”?

Now, here I’m referring to both internal and external links. Surely, backlinks are way more important than the other one. But great internal linking can help you a lot too.

And backlinks, of course, are too essential for the growth of a website. As they indicate trust and popularity, they provide you a vote of confidence in the eyes of Google.

But the thing is that there is no shortcut to earning quality backlinks and building a great backlink profile.

It takes time and in some cases, a lot of time to bring some heavy results. It involves creating quality content that other sites link to. Then, the more links you gain, the higher your chances of ranking on the first page gets.

But but but, that’s not the complete case. The catch is that not every link pointing to your site is equal. Or even not every link pointing to your site is good. 

There are some higher quality backlinks that can help you take the leap faster. Then there are lower quality backlinks, that not only help you less but of them can even get your site penalised.

So, keep earning quality backlinks but remember, backlinks do take some time to show results. (which we would discuss further in the article)

6. Available Resources

Now for the first two, there’s not much that you can do about it. Neither you can change a website’s past nor the competition of the niche. And considering the next 3 equal to your competitor, what could make the difference?

This one’s the thing that you can control, that makes it more important.

The amount of resources available does have a great impact on the answer to the main question, how long does SEO take. 

The more resources you have, the faster the results will bloom.

Now, above all the most important resource you will need is Time. It’s simple to deduce that a person putting 5 hours a day on the website will see faster results than the one who puts 2 hours a day.

Similarly, there are other resources like tools and the number of people working on a website and even the working environment.

Now let’s see how long does it take to see results from SEO according to google?

How Long Does it Take to Rank on Google?

Google has mentioned that according to them, in general, SEO takes around 4 to 12 months depending on a number of factors.

Ahrefs did detailed research on the topic and their results were,

Around 95% of the entire newly published pages, don’t make it to the first page within a year.

And the ones that made it, were able to get there in 2-6 months.

Now, note that the results do not give the exact answer but just stats of what was being observed.

I believe you would have found a better image of the answer to the question “How long does SEO take”?

But to better understand why does SEO take so long, let’s look up the factor that takes the most time to show the effect, Backlinks.

Another important thing that has been asked a lot is,

How Long Does it Take for Backlinks to Show Up?

This is among the most obvious question from the SEOs who keep earning backlinks but still got no results (immediate). 

The truth is, one new link does not get your ranking improved all of a sudden. To determine the effect of one single new backlink on SERP is quiet as there would be more on-page and other changes that also affect the position of the website on SERP.

The 3 Phases of Backlinks Taking Effect

Backlinks as we know do not show immediate effect, so to understand how long does it take for backlinks to show up, let’s go through the 3 phases of the backlink and the link it points to undergo.

1. Indexing

Indexing is simply when Google finds out about your site and adds it to the directory of pages. A page cannot rank if it does not get indexed.

Normally, it takes some days for a link to get indexed. And that entirely depends upon the website that link is. The website’s age, authority and crawl budget decides how much time the link will take to get indexed.

Once the link is indexed, the backlink will sit there for a moment before the game begins.

According to a case study done by Moz, a single backlink takes around 10 weeks to pull the page up in rank by 1 position on Google.

So, if you gain many links at once, you can expect to see a jump in the Google SERP rankings.

2. The Giant Leap

The same case study also deduced that the page already in the top 10 with one backlink gain can take up to 22 weeks to improve rankings. 

Whereas the lower-ranked pages (on the second page and below that) can gain a leap of several ranks with one backlink in 8 to 9 weeks.

That is what I am referring to as The Giant Leap. It’s easier to jump from 79 to 25 than from 7 to 2.

Also remember, the case study is only done on a portion of the internet, so the results cannot be claimed to be precise. 

The Gaint Leap can be taken as a sign that you are on the right path. And you need to continue the work to keep moving forward.

3. The Mountain at a 91-degree angle

Here I am referring to the first page as the mountain at a 91-degree of angle. It’s a straight-up path that you have to cover like a goat.

In another case study, it was found that the average top 10 pages are nearly 2 to 3 years old.

As an exception, there are some pages that only took nearly only one year to get there. But still, they were just exceptions.

To deduce it simply, it takes around 2 to 3 years to gain the #1 position on Google SERP. (until or unless you are writing on topics that are on-trend).


SEO can be considered as the tree of mango, it will take some time but the results will be sweet. 

In this quest of finding the answer to “How long does SEO take”? We took a rundown on the factors that affect the duration of the visible results of an SEO strategy.

We saw why does SEO take so long and how long does it take to rank on Google. 

Keep your focus on the basics and surely you will see The Giant Leap shortly.

I hope you would have found all the answers you were looking for, if not then the comment box is wide open for you. Or you can mail us your query at [email protected]

We will be more than happy to help you out.

Also, Thank You For Reading Along. It means a lot to us.

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  1. Well Explained, SEO always takes time. Only you need to be patience. If you need your website to be in top you must wait.