How long does it take to get results with SEO?

If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes for your new website to appear in Google’s search results, you’re not alone. The journey to SEO success sometimes seems like a mystery, full of technical SEO, content strategies and a whirlwind of ranking factors. This article unravels some of those secrets. I dive into the importance of domain authority, the impact of quality content, and how backlinks and technical optimization can get your website into the spotlight faster.

Explaining how search engines work

To understand all this, it is important to have a good understanding of how search engines work.

Crawling is the process by which search engines use bots (also called spiders) to scour the Internet to gather information about Web pages. This information includes page content (text, images, videos), structure (such as HTML code), and links leading to and from the page.

After crawling comes indexing. During this stage, the collected data are stored in a huge database called the index. When a user enters a query, the search engine consults this index to find relevant results.

Ranking is the final step. Based on a complex algorithm that considers hundreds of ranking factors, the search engine determines which Web pages are most relevant to the search query and ranks them in the search results. The exact criteria and weight given to each factor are trade secrets, but we know that things like content relevance, usability, site speed, and inbound links all play a role.

How long does it take to get results in Google at a glance

No time for a long article? No problem. Watch the video below for a summary of this article.

The importance of keywords, backlinks, and website optimization

To rank well in search results, it is essential to pay attention to keywords, backlinks, and website optimization.

  • Keywords are the words or phrases that people type into search engines. By using relevant keywords on your website, you help search engines understand what your content is about. This increases the chances that your site will show up in search results when someone searches for those terms.
  • Backlinks, links from other websites to yours, act as a kind of vote of confidence in the eyes of search engines. Websites with a higher number of quality backlinks are often considered more authoritative and trustworthy, which can lead to higher rankings.
  • Website optimization includes a wide range of techniques to improve the performance, speed, and user experience of your website. This includes technical SEO aspects such as optimizing load times, making your site mobile-friendly, and ensuring a logical site architecture.

Overview of factors affecting SEO results

SEO results are influenced by a wide range of factors including, but not limited to, the quality and relevance of content, the structure and accessibility of the website, the presence of keywords, the quality and quantity of backlinks, and user signals such as clickthrough rates and time spent on the site. Other factors include the website’s technical performance, such as loading speeds, mobile compatibility, and secure connections (HTTPS).

It is important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy. Changes you make today may take time to show their full effect in search results. However, by taking a consistent and holistic approach to SEO, you build a strong online presence that can stand the test of time.

What I often see in this is that websites are launched with a parent company (and a domain) with a lot of traction within Google. This really gives a big boost. Different forms are possible in this.

  • The parent company launches a website for a specific service.
  • The parent company is diverting to other countries and launching separate domain for this purpose.
  • The parent company acquires a company and launches a new website for it.
  • The parent company is offering a new service with an accompanying new website.

The influence of a domain with history

“Drop-catching” an existing domain with history can significantly impact SEO and the speed at which a new website can rank. Dropcatching refers to the process of registering a domain name immediately after it is released, usually because the previous owner did not renew the registration. The potential of such a domain depends on several factors:

  1. Domain authority and backlinks: An existing domain may have already built up domain authority through backlinks from other sites. If these backlinks are high quality and relevant, they can significantly improve the SEO performance of the new project. Search engines such as Google value domains with strong link profiles, which can lead to faster and higher rankings.
  2. Age of the domain: Some SEO experts believe that older domains can be more trusted by search engines, due in part to their long-standing web presence. However, this can be a minor factor compared to other more direct ranking factors such as content quality and backlinks.
  3. Relevance: If the domain is related to the new website’s topic or industry, this can increase its relevance and value. A domain name that closely matches the target audience’s searches can also help improve user experience and recognition.
  4. Negative history: On the other hand, if the domain has a negative history, such as hosting spammy content or receiving a Google penalty, this can hurt SEO efforts. It is therefore essential to do a thorough check before taking over an existing domain. Tools such as the Wayback Machine and Google’s Transparency Report can provide insight into domain history.

It is crucial to investigate and assess whether the potential for an existing domain outweighs the possible risks. Thorough due diligence, including checking the backlink profile, examining the domain history, and assessing relevance, is essential before you decide to drop-catch a domain. With the right approach, an existing domain with a positive history can give a jump start to your SEO efforts.

How long does it take to rank in Google (and get traction)?

This depends on several variables (see header below). From my experience, I would say 4-6 months is common when a website is actively optimizing link building, content and technical SEO.

What does this depend on?

The time it takes for a website to start ranking in Google can vary greatly depending on a range of factors such as industry competitiveness, content quality, website structure, and implementation of SEO strategies. In general, new websites can expect to take several months or even a year to achieve significant positions in search results. Some general guidelines are:

  1. Quick visibility: For very specific, niche-related keywords or local searches, a new website can begin to see some visibility within a few weeks to a few months. This is especially true if competition is low and the website is well optimized for search engines.
  2. Competitive markets: In more saturated or competitive markets, it can take much longer for a Web site to start ranking. In such cases, it is not unusual for it to take six months to a year before significant progress is made in search results.
  3. Continuous process: SEO should be seen as an ongoing process rather than a one-time task. Constantly adding high-quality content, optimizing existing pages, and building backlinks are necessary to improve and maintain rankings.
  4. Google’s sandbox: Some SEO professionals believe that Google temporarily “sandboxes” new Web sites, meaning they undergo a trial period of sorts before they can rank for competitive keywords. Although Google has never officially confirmed this, many SEOs report a delay before new domains begin to see significant rankings.
  5. Faster results due to existing authority: Websites that adopt a domain with existing authority or become part of a site with high authority can sometimes rank faster due to the domain’s established reputation and backlink profile.

It is crucial to have realistic expectations and understand that SEO is a long-term investment. Patience, along with a strong focus on creating value for users, optimizing technical SEO aspects, and executing effective promotion and link building strategies, are essential for success.

Summary

In short, the SEO journey of a new website is not a sprint, but a marathon. The time to visibility in Google’s search results varies depending on how well you execute strategies such as content creation, keyword optimization, and technical SEO. While some sites see results after only a few weeks, others need months or even longer.

Keep improving your website, regularly adding valuable content, and building a strong network of backlinks. This way, you not only improve your chances of ranking, but also build a sustainable online presence.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 26 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 26 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.