SEO BASIC: How long does SEO take to start working?

In the world of digital marketing, there is no question more frequently asked than “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 on search engines?” Many website owners – both the existing ones and

In the world of digital marketing, there is no question more frequently asked than “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 on search engines?” Many website owners – both the existing ones and the newbies – are always impatiently wondering how long an SEO strategy would take before they start getting their desired results. Not that we blame anyone, though. With the degree of competitions out there today, it’s only logical that everyone desires to be the first name mentioned. But what many people fail to understand is that the question itself is somehow misguided and born out of a wrong perception of SEO. Because by asking how long it will take to get ranked #1, you’re simply focusing on a wrong metric. Don’t understand that? Well, let me shed more light. Do you believe that you can rank #1 on Google, for instance, and still make fewer sales or generate fewer leads than a competitor who’s ranking #5? Yes, you read that, right!

As far as old SEO goes, rankings are usually done based on ranking competitive keywords. These days, however, there is more to generating sales and getting leads via SEO than rankings. So, instead of going about to wonder how long an SEO strategic approach will take to start working, the real question you should be asking is, “How long will it take for SEO to start generating leads and sales for me? After all, that’s the ultimate goal – for your website to experience more visitors and earn more revenue.

How long does SEO take to start working?

Having established the facts above, I believe we’re now well placed to answer the right question, which is, “How long does SEO take to start generating leads and sales?” And the quick answer to that is…it depends. Disappointed to hear that? Please don’t be, because it is the truth!

But what exactly are the factors it depends on? It depends on

  • How long your website has been around
  • How much SEO efforts have you invested in it in the past
  • What is the current shape and status of the website?
  • How much content is on it?
  • What is its current link-building profile?

With that being said, here is a plausible scenario of what a typical SEO effort might look like, starting from the initial phase, and the results you might expect.

First Month

During the first month of your SEO effort, the bulk of the work to be done would be focused on research and discovery, website audit, keyword strategy, and planning. The goal here is to find out why your website is currently in the status it is in, the amount of SEO efforts it has enjoyed in the past, and the expected SEO strategies needed to be adopted. If you’re lucky to have a smooth and rapid research and discovery phase, then other technical phases of your SEO might come in the first month too. Otherwise, your research and discovery phase can last more than a month.

Second month

Based on the audit results obtained, technical SEO work would begin; that is, making modifications and improvements to the website. In the worst-case scenario, the whole website might need overhauling in order to achieve the desired results, and this might take several months. While conducting the overhauling, other SEO activities, including working on the link profile and building content, can be done at the same time. If you find yourself in this overhauling situation, you’ll need to invest in the site rebuild, buy quality backlinks (for link-building purposes), and start creating relevant contents, but you might still not see any results at all since the changes being effected will only start taking effects after the completing of the whole work. So, you’ll need to exercise a lot of patience and trust in the process.

“You have to be smart . The Easy day are over.”

Third Month

Now it is time to start giving your audiences what they want, that is, answers and solutions to their pain points. To do this, you’ll need to start focusing on content creation, FAQs, Whitepapers, blogging, company information, articles, infographics, and so much more. Fundamentally, it is always advisable that you commit the bulk of this month’s work into the hands of a professional – ideally, the guy you bought your guest posts from in the previous months – so that your website can start enjoying those professional touches and quality. However, if your budget doesn’t permit, you still opt for DIYs too. This being said, you might start seeing some improvements in rankings and sales by the end of this month, especially if you have a professional handling the content creation.

Fourth Month

This month is characterized by continued content creation, technical SEO optimization of the website, and development of a healthy link profile (which may include cleaning up low-quality links and buying new quality backlinks from your trusted source).

By the end of this month, there should be a marked increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation.

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