How Long Does SEO Take?

SEO is a must-have part of any business's online marketing strategy. It has several key benefits, from those that it's designed to provide to less obvious benefits you may not think of at first. However, it's also a fairly complicated facet of the business, and it certainly isn't the wild wasteland it once was.


Gone are the days when you could slap a bunch of random keywords into a sloppily written mess and near-instantly get a boost in web traffic.


Now, it’s a full-blown process.


How long does that process take, though?


Well, it depends heavily on the age and nature of your website; as well as who you hire to tackle the complex process of implementing SEO strategies.


Let’s take an in-depth look at it.

What is SEO Exactly?

SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimization”. As the name implies, it’s when you optimize the various parts of your website to cater to search engines.


See, every search engine ranks websites, and the content found on those sites, by a long list of requirements. It uses keywords and a complex analysis algorithm to skim through a website and decide how relevant it is to a user’s search before showing it in search results.


This creates an easier, more fluid experience for search engine users, but it means that site owners have to carefully craft each piece of content on their site to ensure that the search engine will give it a chance on the front page of search results.

Why is SEO Necessary?

As you know, the goal of SEO is to get you to the front of relevant search results. The most noticeable benefit of this is that your website is one of the first sites users see when they search for something relevant to your company.


Without high-quality SEO, your site can rank low in search results. This means that your website won’t show up until the 2nd, 3rd,or even 4th page of search results; even if you’re running a successful business that thrives offline.


As a consequence, most users will find a competitor's higher-ranked site and commit to visiting it before they ever get a chance to see yours.

How is SEO Used?

SEO is complicated in practice, but the core concept is fairly simple. It’s all about knowing how a search engine skims and ranks content.


SEO specialists will research the most popular keywords used for specific niches, create content based on those keywords, and optimize that content to perform well when a search engine checks it.


This often requires specific sentence structures, careful keyword placements, and various metatags and little additions.

How Long Does SEO Take? Five Different Factors


SEO doesn’t work on a guaranteed time frame. If you pay for services, you can’t sign up for something such as “5000 new site visits within 24 hours”. If a service is claiming something like that, they’re not trustworthy.


The truth is, SEO takes time. The amount of time it takes to begin seeing desirable results fluctuates greatly based on two main factors and three smaller ones.


This process can also go a few different ways. So, check out this SEMRush article for further reading. Usually it's around 9-12 months for brand new websites, and a lot faster for websites older than 2 years (99% of our clients see good results in the first 4 months).

Time Frames for Older Businesses


Older websites have a major advantage over newer, more obscure websites. While your older site is probably underperforming if you’re looking up SEO services, it has still had quite a bit of time to develop a proper web presence, and you’ve likely opened up other channels that make it easier to supplement your SEO efforts with minimal work.

More Content Available from the Start:


The majority of SEO work pertains to content. An SEO specialist will typically begin the process by auditing existing site content and gaining an understanding of where your site is at in terms of its SEO quality.


If there’s a lot of this content, it’s easier to begin implementing SEO by tweaking the existing content, and the site will already have a solid foundation in place to support new content in the near future.


Having a large backlog of existing content is also a key part of earning web traffic in the long run.


Established Site Structure:


If there’s a solid site structure to begin work with, the process used to implement SEO strategies is far easier.


Think about it. If you already have a homepage, service pages for everything you offer, a blog with a few posts, and the other aspects of a well-rounded site, there’s a lot less planning and designing necessary to start implementing new content. Simply tweaking the existing content and adding content to existing parts of the site takes far less time, and this allows you to start reaping the rewards of your investment faster.


Established with Search Engines and a Following:


One of the key advantages an older site has is that it is already ranked in search engines. The goal isn’t to start fresh and push for a great start; it’s to improve what already exists and earn a better ranking.


Older sites also tend to have at least some level of traffic as-is, and this cuts out some of the early building that’s required with new sites.


Expected Time Frame:


For a site that is at least two years old, you should expect a pretty general time frame of 4-6 months before you start seeing great results. Granted, this isn't the peak. Proper SEO implementation will continue to build upon those results in the long term, but it's within this time range that you should start seeing the results you're looking for.


At AM Marketing SEO, 99% of our clients with 2-year-old sites see their first stellar results during this period (in less than 4 months).

Time Frames for Newer Businesses


If your website is a bit young, there's some extra work that has to take place, and it generally takes longer before you start seeing results. The time increase isn't too dramatic, but it is noticeable enough to warrant a bit of patience. It's okay, though. The result will be worth the extra wait.


There are a few pros and cons to implementing SEO into a new site. So, let’s go over those.


A Fresh Start:


First and foremost, one of the few advantages you have is that you have a fresh start. Having an extensive backlog of content is usually a boon for old sites, but also means there’s more to tweak or create from scratch to undo past mistakes.


With a newer website, you likely have a lot less to deal with, and that leaves room for more impactful changes without having to deal with tons of established site structures.

Less of an Established Presence:


As a newer site, you haven’t had time to build a loyal list of site visitors or establish yourself across multiple marketing channels. This means that you’ll have to go through the entire process of simply getting people to visit your site in the first place and develop an initial presence.


This adds quite a bit of time to your expected SEO schedule, and it requires a bit of patience on your part in comparison to the relatively quick results established site owners can expect.


You also either don’t rank in search engines yet, or your rank is probably abysmal depending on the content you have created and the way you constructed your online presence from the get-go.


More Planning and Structuring:


SEO is almost entirely about organization with keywords, or glorified labels, just being one facet of that. Older sites likely already have an established structure that makes implementing new, SEO-centric, content afar easier process.


When creating content for sites that don't have that pre-established structure and organization, there's a lot of planning involved to maximize SEO capabilities. However, this does give you the added benefit of starting your site off on an SEO-focused approach to site structure.


Expected Time Frame for Results:


Newer sites have some things going for them, but they require more patience. Our average client with a relatively young site typically doesn’t see desirable results until 9-12 months into the process.


This seems like a long time, but you have to take into account all the time-consuming work that goes into properly fleshing out an unestablished website, building its momentum, and finally seeing results.

The Type of Business You Run


The type of business you run definitely affects how long it will take for SEO to provide worthwhile results.


It’s just a fact that certain businesses are more popular than others, and since the results of an SEO project are reliant on users searching for things relevant to your website, that means more popular business types are more likely to see dramatic boosts than websites that cover things people aren’t likely to need.


For example, a site selling bulk medical supplies would skyrocket very quickly thanks to SEO in the current state of the world. Everyone is looking online for masks, sanitizers, and various other things that are basically required across the world right now.


However, there are obviously going to be fewer people searching for something as niche as dog brushes that double as chew toys. Your niche, and its overall place in the global or local market, will affect your SEO results.


Business and Content Quality


SEO is designed to get visitors to your site. The content on your site, and the quality of service you offer, are what keep those visitors around long enough to convert them into paying customers.


See, SEO can only do so much. You can have a perfectly optimized website, social media marketing channels, and every bit of your online presence optimized perfectly for SEO, and you won’t get results if you’re not providing value as a company.


SEO can bring site visitors in like wildfire after you've successfully executed an SEO project, but if those visitors get to your site and find a subpar service or they find you have a bad reputation with reviewers, they won't be likely to convert. Let's face it, conversions are what you're after in the end, anyway.


If this presents itself as an issue, it can take far longer for the SEO boost to provide meaningful changes for your company; as you’ll likely have to make more internal changes that turn those visitors into customers.


The SEO Specialist You Hire

SEO is a complex process that isn't something you can master over a weekend. It takes dedication, constantly updating your knowledge of various search engines, an understanding of countless markets and industries, and course, how to implement all of that into an SEO strategy that makes your company stand out.


You cannot do that, juggle a business, and succeed on all fronts at the same time.


So, you’ll likely want to hire an SEO specialist. This decision also affects how long it will take to see results from your SEO project.


Higher-quality SEO specialists will make the right moves and streamline the process. They've mastered SEO, and they can operate on the fly without any unexpected hiccups or ridiculous delays. Their work is also more likely to be effective regardless of other factors.


In comparison, a low-quality SEO specialist will likely experience blunders along the way, take longer to plan and execute an SEO strategy, and generally provide lackluster results; even if you’re in a highly popular industry with tons of potential.

Try AM Marketing SEO for Reliable, Affordable, and Impactful SEO


Obviously, you need SEO. However, it’s not just getting SEO work done on your site that will help it. It’s the quality of the SEO work.


You need to ensure that you’re working with the best option available if you want impactful results. For that, AM Marketing SEO is your go-to agency.


We offer low-cost, high-reliability, consistent SEO results that have impressed hundreds of the US’s top companies.


We’re known for providing results in record time, and our all-encompassing SEO service has brought meaningful results to 2-year-old companies in a little as 4 months, with newer companies seeing results in a little as 9.


Don’t use a subpar service, schedule your free consultation call with AM Marketing SEO (Antonie Meeker), today.