Small business owners like you often want to know how long it takes for SEO to work and to start seeing results. After all, you want your presence known, whether you are a brick and mortar business, online-only, or a combination. You want targeted traffic that converts to leads which can be converted into sales. So how long does it take for SEO to work and see results? Let’s explore what you need to know.
How Long Does SEO Take?
SEO is a bit of a complex concept and has morphed over the years into something a little different than it used to be, a little more targeted. That’s because instead of searching under generic terms or concepts, people are searching with phrases in what are called long-tail keywords, as seen in a Forbes study. As an example, look at the title of this article. Likely this is what someone might speak to Google or Siri to find an answer to this question. Keyword searches are becoming much more specific which helps the visitor more easily find answers and solutions.
This also helps small business owners draw more targeted traffic to their site, which will lead to more conversions. Since conversions are the goal, not just traffic, this change is a win for both parties. Customers get what they want and businesses earn sales. With that concept in mind, how long SEO takes to generate leads and sales can vary.
As a rough estimate, it may take four to six months to start seeing results, and this is just a starting point. As your site grows and you add content, improve your SEO, begin ranking on the first Search Engine Results Page, and gain customers, you will see better and better results. A solid plan would be to expect at least six months to a year for good SEO results.
According to Search Engine Journal, factors that will affect the time it takes to see SEO results include how much competition your business has, the number and quality of your inbound links, and the quality and type of content you offer. Other factors include how new your business is, your SEO strategies, and how much your site will need to be reworked if you weren’t following recommended SEO strategies.
Why Does It Take So Long?
SEO takes so long for several reasons. First, keep in mind that it is a slow and steady process of building an effective site that takes research, analysis, and production of quality content. It also takes time to become an authority with major search engines and have them show your content to the people searching for your product or service.
As you ponder why SEO takes so long to work, know that a lot depends on the following:
- The Design of Your Website: How easy is your website to read, look at, and navigate?
- The Speed of Your Website: How quickly do pages and elements load?
- Your SEO strategies. Are you writing for long-tail keywords and to address hot topics or pressing needs? Can you solve a problem for the visitor?
- The Value of Your Content: Does the visitor learn what they are seeking and feel stopping on your site was worthwhile?
- How Much Content You Offer: SEO works on the basis of quality content and the quantity of content. High value in a reasonable quantity is best.
- How Quickly You Answer the Question or Problem: People typically skim rather than read these days, so giving key information upfront in easy to understand chunks will be much more effective.
- How Easy Your Content is to Read: Do you use headings, sub-headings, lists, and sections? Is it easy to skim for information?
- The Ease of Contacting Your Business: Do you include contact information that’s straightforward, simple, and effective? Do you respond quickly to leads?
- How Competitive Your Business is: Do you have products or services that are more niche, local, or unusual? Are you an expert in what you do and a leader in your industry?
It takes time to rise to the first page of the SERP, and all of these concepts affect reaching that goal. Search engines must weed out quality content from the rest and determine which to show on the top results page. Over time search engines like Google will be able to tell if visitors are staying on your content, clicking on your links, and if you are getting quality inbound links from reputable sites. As your reputation builds over time, your rankings will improve and you will begin to see the results you are looking for.
When Should I Expect to Start Seeing Results?
If you are doing everything right and all the pieces fall into place, you may be able to rank in the top 10 search results within two to six months. However, that only happens to 5.7% of the pages on the net, as outlined by Ahrefs. What about the rest of them? More often it takes four to six months or more to rank in the top 10 results and sometimes up to two to three years.
Therefore, small business owners should expect to spend a significant amount of time on good SEO practices, content development, research, and analysis if they want to see results within four to six months. And you should expect to be in it for the long haul. Giving up too early or not budgeting enough for internet marketing services can hurt your business in the long run.
Can I Boost my SEO?
Good SEO is primarily achieved through hard work and time, but you can boost your SEO during the waiting period by investing in pay per click ads. Whereas it can take months to years to see results from SEO, PPC ads can give results within a very short time through data recorded by the ad platforms like Google and Facebook, as shown by Medium. For this reason, some business owners like to combine their SEO efforts with utilizing PPC ads to drive traffic to their site, increase brand visibility, and learn about what potential customers are looking for from their business.
Pay per click ads are the ones you see at the top of a search, before the number one ranking page for the keywords. So even if your page ranks number one, visitors are likely to see ads first before they see your page result. And if you aren’t ranking at the top of the SERP, you can still get your business seen through PPC ads. If you happen to do both, this can really increase your authority and presence in your niche.
PPC ads can be a great option for the following reasons:
- It can drive traffic to your site that wouldn’t otherwise have seen your content.
- You are paying only for the click-throughs, not just for placing the ad in general. Therefore, this option can be more cost-effective.
- You have ultimate control over who you promote your content to which can help you target the specific audience most likely to need your products or services. On social media sites, you can even target people’s interests or by the jobs people have.
- You can try different combinations of keywords and see which catches more attention.
- These ads are linking directly to your site, and preferably to a page you create specifically for that keyword set, so Google will see more traffic going to your site and hopefully staying to gain value.
PPC ads can be a great way to further define what SEO works best, since you’ll likely be using SEO in your ads. And you can use the gathered data from your ads to target repeat customers.
All of this said it’s important to note that PPC ads should be viewed as an addition to SEO, not the be all end all of gaining targeted traffic. Your best bet is to plan to be patient with SEO while your reputation and traffic build, and use ads to boost your SEO and learn more about what your audience wants.
Patience is Key, BizIQ Can Help
Although SEO can take time to work and see results, the investment is worth it. You can expect to get some SEO results within four to six months, however, a wise plan is to expect good results in approximately one year or more.
The most successful and influential small businesses take the time necessary to research their market, analyze the end-user, and find out what keyword phrases visitors are searching under. Then they build quality content around this information, establishing themselves as an authority with visitors and search engines alike.
Key factors in seeing SEO results include creating high-quality content around targeted long-tail keywords, knowing your competition, and earning high-quality inbound links. Remember that visitors skim and look for answers to their questions and problems that are easy to find, so the design of your pages is also key. Finally, PPC ads can be a great way to boost your SEO and to learn more about your target audience.
It can be daunting navigating internet marketing on your own and that’s where BizIQ can help. We offer cost-effective solutions to grow your business through performance-driven marketing. We don’t bind you into long-term contracts and we offer our local marketing guarantee so that we don’t get paid until you get results. Call us at our Phoenix location at (888) 416-9800 or fill out our contact form to schedule a time to talk.