How long does it take to rank in search engines
How long does it take to rank in search engines

How Long Does it Take to Rank on Google?

Raymond Jenkins
 | Published: 
December 21, 2018
 | Category: 

SEO refers to an activity that tries to advance search engine rankings. In simple terms, SEO is the activity of ensuring that a website can be found in search engines for relevant phrases and words related to what the page is offering. SEO ensures quality control for websites.

Most people ask how long it takes to rank in search engines and the answer to this question depends on several factors. Here are some scenarios based on the competitive and non-competitive business sectors covering local business rankings.

First Scenario – A new business

If a new business falls into a competitive location or sector, they can experience many obstacles, making efforts to achieve significant rankings a little slower. In non-competitive surroundings, substantial local rankings could be attained at a quicker rate. Sites that start from nothing require more strength and hard work to beat the competition and attain high rankings. Start-up businesses can, however, compete realistically within the first six months.

Second Scenario – Websites with optimization

50 percent of search experts agree that 3 to 6 months is enough to gain significant local rankings for websites in the competitive sector which have had less work done on them. The results do not, however, differ from cases where clients have no websites. On the other hand, 11 percent of experts say a new business could achieve substantial rankings within the first 2months. Its argued that it is easier to start with a clean slate than fix other search engine optimization issues.

Third Scenario – Websites with Poor optimization

In the competitive sector, sites which have been damaged by poor optimization can take up to more than 9 months to achieve significant rankings. Nevertheless, this is quite different for businesses in non-competitive sectors, because poor optimization problems are much easier to fix and may take less time to attain rankings.

Fourth Scenario – Manual penalty

Google could hit a website with a manual penalty because of suspicious profile links. In such cases, a website must wait for a minimum of 3 months before it reappears in the search engines. Experts say that it could take 6 months before the link is totally cleaned up.

Fifth Scenario – Client stops financing their SEO

The moment a client decides to stop investing in SEO there is an expected drop in ranking and performance. The local rankings decrease with the number of months and time that passes. The website may end up losing half of its ranking if there is no optimization for two years. Therefore, continued local optimization is important.

Importance of SEO?

The main benefit of SEO is helping business owners and website managers attract traffic to their businesses. Several businesses and brands think SEO is only helpful for their digital properties, but what they fail to take into consideration is that SEO also helps improve a website's general searchability and visibility. Here are other important areas of SEO that can take a business to a whole new level:

Employing robust, quality SEO on a business or brand website and digital properties will be advantageous to that brand and its marketing efforts. SEO is the new age marketing technique, especially as the markets become more competitive.

The 4 to 6 Month Process to Start Seeing Results

Business owners who are also first-time users of SEO tend to be impatient in waiting to see the results it yields in terms of improving their brand name and business enterprises. SEO experts agree that it takes time before the results show. The big question is, “how long does it take?” The time SEO takes before results are seen depends on how much content a website has, how long the website has existed, the link profile, website condition, how much SEO has been done previously, among other factors. Below is an example of how SEO is implemented over a 6 month period:

First Month - The first month usually includes research and discovery, an audit of the website, planning, and keyword strategy. If the research can be done quickly, then technical changes to the website may be made within this first month. There are rare cases in which research and discovery might take longer than a month.

Second Month - The second month includes modifying the website based on audit results. Most SEO technical work is done at this stage. Sometimes the website requires overhauling, and activities such as link profile and content building can be done at the same time. If a business is involved in such a situation then it will continue with the SEO but still will not see any results. This is because the changes made only show impact when they are done.

Third Month - In this phase, the focus is on the creation of content. It includes blogs, articles, business information, white papers, and expanded products among others. Improvements in rankings can be seen during this third month. The rankings may translate to improved sales however it is not certain.

Fourth Month - Much of the activities here are ones carried forward from month 3. These include the creation of content, clean-up of low-quality links and technical optimization of the website. There is a possibility of noticing a significant increase in rankings and traffic. This month, if all is going well, should be enough to show that the SEO is working.

Fifth Month - By this month, incorporating social media management in marketing strategies should be considered to strengthen the content and increase traffic to the website. This move will help lead to a healthy and expected link profile. In line with the introduction of social media, the fifth month also provides room for public relations outreach and more SEO traffic can be expected.

Sixth Month - At this point, the activities may be constantly engrossed in the creation and promotion of content. This is possible after traffic has significantly increased and the business starts deriving benefits.

Many SEO firms say it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results which is true in most cases, however it is important to note that this is the time changes start to show as the SEO results grow. The results should be different after a period of time and a positive difference is expected. Sometimes results tapper-off and maintenance is needed instead of growing SEO.

SEO has long-term results compared to PPC

If you compare SEO to Pay Per Click (PPC), you can see that SEO is a long-term strategy which requires constant monitoring without expectations of immediate results, whereas PPC yield results faster, but on has short-term results. The results obtained from SEO, however long they take, have long-term effects.

Long-Term Results of SEO

SEO has proven to be an effective marketing tool, but its results do not show overnight, and it takes time to make an impact. The long-term effects SEO can be noticeably significant and includes:


Any business or company selling products bought by actual people is likely to face an unpredictable degree of competition based on the rate of demand. The type of business determines whether competition will be less or more. This is similar when using search optimization. The more web pages you are competing against, then the longer it takes to see results. Web pages that are ranked lower become easier to outrank whereas those with higher ranking prove difficult to outrank.

The other aspect of competition often overlooked is the correlation between the competition volume within a niche and the competence of SEO professionals in charge of the top-ranked web pages in that niche. For instance, demand leads companies to a niche, and as a result, leads to increased competition. The presence of competition motivates them to provide more competitive deals meaning they need to acquire the highest part of the market to stay profitable. This is where companies with great SEO professionals beat others.

Determining SEO Factors

  1. Keywords

Implementing keywords recognized by search engines into a website will help attract targeted traffic to the site. Google encourages and rewards quality content that will attract more visitors to the site. The goal is to that quality content will lead to quality clients.

  1. Domain Name

SEO revolves around the domain name chosen. Having a domain name with keywords offers an extra advantage as it accelerates the SEO efforts. This does not guarantee the best rankings because even with rich keywords, the website can still rank horribly. Many times, you will find domain names that have been abandoned or made available for sale. You should know whether the domain was penalized before purchase and whether the domain belonged to a business outside the present geographical area.

  1. Business and Location

Business location is one automatic marketing strategy. Companies should claim and list their businesses with Google My Business. This is free and serves as a great tool for improving a business's online presence. Having website content with clear details about the business location makes it easier for potential clientele to visit in person.

  1. Content

The content put on a website should appeal to the user and not be written specifically for a search engine. It should be written creatively so Google will rank it. This has proven a little difficult for any website to achieve and this is a primary reason many businesses lose hope when they fail to get enough traffic on their website.

The answer to the question “how long it really takes to rank on Google” is still “It depends.” This is because there are several variables that a business or company may experience when determining the period in which it will take to see rankings. Some of these variables are website content, strength, the competition, and budget. But most importantly use of the SEO.  If you would like more information on creating an SEO plan for your business, contact FarsideDev at (817) 402-4151.