One of the first questions we get asked by potential new clients is how long does SEO take? If you Google around you will see the general answer given here is between 4 to 6 months. But this is a bad answer. It is a generalized answer for starters and does not take your current situation or objectives into consideration.
There are three main variables you must consider here:
Situation – where are you currently? What search terms do you rank for and where do they rank? How much volume will these keywords drive? How much authority does your website have in relation to the competitors? What content assets do you have? Do you have technical SEO issues? Do you have a content management system like WordPress? A thorough assessment of your situation will determine your starting point and what SEO tactics are needed.
Objectives – where do you want to be? What search terms do you want to rank for? How quickly do you need this to work? How active are your competitors? Your business objectives will determine if SEO is a good fit for you at this point in time. Often, paid search (PPC) marketing can be a better starting point and then when that is driving profits these can be reinvested into your SEO and organic search marketing.
Budget, expertise & resources – When you understand the current situation and objectives you can determine what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. This could involve having a new website, technical SEO, local SEO, content development, link & authority building and myriad other jobs – in brief, SEO can have a lot of moving parts so you have to ensure you have the expertise, time, and budget for the bits you can’t or don’t have time to do yourself.
Determining how long SEO will take is equal parts art and science. And just to further complicate things it is all too often a moving target. Algorithm changes, SERP layout changes, competitors’ SEO campaigns and myriad other variables have to be taken into consideration. But, it is essential that you form a realistic opinion as investing for six months without hitting your goals and then pulling the plug is not good marketing. This is why SEO needs monthly reporting that considers not only SEO metrics but how these are moving the dial with real world business objectives (leads, sales etc).
How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working?
To summaries, in some cases, SEO can start working almost instantly. If you are a brand or big business and have tons of authority but technical or strategic SEO issues, fixes here can deliver big results in short timescales.