Companies that want to appear in the top 10 search results in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu or Yandex often ask themselves this very question:
“How long does it take for SEO measures to take effect or work?”
“How long does SEO take until you can see the first results?”
We were happy to take a closer look at the question of how long it takes and now bring light into the darkness in this article.
SEO – probably heard many times, but also understood?
Let’s clarify briefly what is meant by the term SEO. SEO as an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization means translated: search engine optimization. This includes all measures that help the website to be found faster in the search results.
The goal is to increase the number of visitors, i.e. the traffic, which reaches your website via the “natural” results of the search engine.
The aim is to avoid placing and paying for advertising – as is the case with SEA (paid search engine advertising) or paid advertising via Facebook ADs, for example.
When does SEO achieve first results or how long does SEO take?
Many clients of an SEO agency are concerned with this thought – quite rightly.
After all, they sometimes invest a lot of money in SEO measures and their SEO optimization in order to improve their presence digitally. Understandably, the company then also wonders how long it will take until the first results can be achieved with SEO, or how long it will take until SEO measures take effect.
You need patience
If you expect results worth seeing right at the beginning after the optimization, I have to disappoint you. SEO needs time. In the lucky case SEO experts achieve good ranking results in the first weeks.
However, this is not the rule. After all, Google’s ranking is based on about 200 ranking factors, most of which are probably still the best-kept secret in the world.
The factors that are known can therefore only be approached step by step.
In addition, please keep in mind that Google does not permanently implement many SEO optimizations in the ranking. Fresh rankings fluctuate because they are never consistent.
Only months later, achieved rankings show a sustainable result, which also lasts.
How did Google answer the question: “How long does it take until SEO measures take effect?
The answer to this is: It takes at least 4 to 12 months until the undertaken search engine optimization brings measurable success to light.
Whether it can go faster, however, is currently determined in the context of an SEO contest, in which various actors try to rank as well as possible and as quickly as possible for the keyword content bear. An exciting thing
Why does it take so long for the SEO measures to bear fruit and take effect?
The most dominant criterion in the thought: “How long does SEO take until successes occur?” is the search algorithm of Google.
Since Google wants to remain the giant among search engines, it ensures the quality of the indexed content of each website before assigning the ranking. This is also to prevent visitors from finding irrelevant or even incorrect information on the search engine results pages. Ultimately, at the end of the search, the need of the users should be fulfilled, or the problem that users enter in the small search slot should be solved.
Thus, the search engine giant must first analyze, compare and check numerous factors in detail. So even if your website has relevant content and countless authoritative backlinks, it can take several months until a complete quality assurance of the individual web pages has been run through. Only then will you be ranked in the top search results.
So you see, until SEO measures can take effect and work, it is a long way, which will demand a lot of patience from you. But always keep in mind: SEO is worth it.
What does SEO success depend on?
A crucial aspect that determines how long it takes for SEO measures to take effect is your time investment. Because you must never forget, the competition does not sleep – never.
So it is necessary that you subject your website to regular SEO optimization – over and over again.
This is the only way to keep your ranking and not to be ousted by the competition.
However, the competition factor is only one of many aspects that are crucial for SEO results.
Let’s take a look at 6 other factors that weigh highly for good rankings.
A few major factors that are tangential to Google rankings are:
Backlinks are nothing but backlinks. This is the link of a foreign, external page, which redirects you as a user to another website. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the more in demand your site seems to be according to search engines.
For this reason you should never lose sight of your backlink profile and optimize it from time to time.
When is a backlink registered by Google?
Please note that Google needs 5 to 15 days after adding a new link to track it down in the link database. Only then can it have an effect on your rankings.
To keep up to date with your own backlink profile, you can use various tools. Among the most popular are probably Ahrefs, Semrush, the LinkMiner from Mangools or Sistrix.
You can test the LinkMiner* for free by entering a domain below to see which backlinks point to this domain.
Search engines have also recognized that hardly any user waits longer than 3 seconds until a website has completely built up. That’s why faster websites are ranked higher.
Check the loading speed of your website with Google’s tool and see if you can still make one or the other optimization here.
A little tip: If you host your website on a faster server, the loading time of your page can be improved enormously. The same applies if you compress all images to the sizes recommended by Google.
Bonus Tip: With additional tools, such as Nitropack, it is also possible to achieve results like I did with this website. First the results for the desktop:
Really great, isn’t it? Here you can test Nitropack for your website for free*.
Age of the domain
If a domain (name of the website) exists longer than 3 years, search engines find it more trustworthy. However, fresh startups can score at this point based on other factors. For example, it can help that your keyword is already included in your domain.
Functionality on all devices
This refers to the mobile provision. Meanwhile, about 50 percent of users use their smartphone or tablet to visit a website. Since this trend is increasing, Google has taken action and developed the “mobile-first index”. Since 2016, websites have been indexed using the mobile version beforehand.
If your website is not yet responsive (all texts, images, graphics, etc. automatically adapt to the screen resolution of the mobile device), you should change this immediately. Otherwise, you can expect a high bounce rate.
With responsive design, you should also focus on a user-friendly menu to make navigation on the individual pages as easy as possible for the user.
You can easily check if your pages are all responsive by making your browser window smaller and smaller. Just see if your website adapts to the new size. If not, we see an urgent need for action.
In order to be able to play at the top of the search results on Google or Bing, you should rely on the right keywords (search terms or keywords that users enter in the input field of the search engines).
There are 3 types of keywords:
short tail: broad and non-specific
long tail: narrow and topic-significant
medium tail: a mix of short tail and long tail keywords.
For companies that want to start up, we recommend the 2nd type, i.e. the long tail keywords.
In contrast to the short tail keywords these offer a realistic chance to get a top ranking in a search engine – with the right SEO strategy this should be possible.
Therefore, choose your keywords consciously and make sure that the topic matches the keyword. In addition, the selected keyword should match the search terms for which your website provides information. Therefore, a complete keyword set (list of all search terms for which your website can be found on the web) is created for several pages.
Only this way you will be found and seen by your (future) customers on the web.
To create such a list, you need to do a detailed keyword research. You can use different tools for this: My recommendation in this context is KWFinder.
You can test KWFinder*, for example, by entering your search keyword here:
A free alternative with fewer functions can also be AnswerThePublic, with which you can find very good long tail keywords, or the Keyword Surfer, as a free Google Chrome browser extension.
Probably the most important SEO measure is content. Qualitative, comprehensive, relevant content is what makes a competitive search engine ranking possible.
Content does not only include well formulated texts. Meaningful images, informative graphics or a content-rich video, which fits to your topic, also belong to it.
Since the average reading time of visitors to a website is less than 1 minute and they only devote a quarter of the text, use short, easy-to-understand sentences that contain all the essential information. Do not work more than 5 lines per paragraph of text.
From the point of view of an SEO expert, your content should be unique in order to fulfill the two most important things:
Fulfill the intent of the searcher – preferably in the first quarter.
Reading material exactly to the point that others link to your text/page.
You can also optimize your content with tools. My absolute recommendation in this context is Surfer SEO*, which in my eyes is Surfer SEO the best tool for on-page optimization of your own content.
It is therefore worth investing a little more time to generate exceptional content. Once you have included the content on your website, 1 to 3 months pass until the Google Bot crawls (reads and indexes) it and your website appears updated in the Google search engine.
You see, SEO is a longer-term thing, and it inevitably takes a long time for SEO measures to take effect.
SEO is also a question of money.
How much you should spend for SEO to have success in the ranking, can not be answered in general.
How much money you have to spend for SEO measures depends on the condition of your website, the competitive environment and your objectives.
It also depends on whether you want to be found regionally, nationally or even internationally on the web.
Nevertheless, it can be said that an ongoing support of an SEO agency under 1000 euros per month makes no sense. Also a term of at least 6 months should be guaranteed, so that the elaborated SEO strategy bears fruit.
So you should not be surprised if the annual budget for a long-term cooperation starts from 10,000 euros. If you decide to have only individual SEO measures carried out, you should be in the single-digit thousands.
Summary: How long does it take until SEO measures take effect or work and SEO shows success?
If you do search engine optimization for websites or have it done by an SEO agency or would like to do so, you should say goodbye to the idea that success is only a few days away. SEO requires a lot of work and time. You have to be patient for 4 to 12 months before the first positive results show.
SEO is a long-term thing and never ends.
Therefore, it is important to never lose sight of your competitive environment. It is also crucial for your ranking in the search results on the first page of the search engine to occasionally adapt the content of your website to new information or to current statistics. This way you ensure that your site is always up to date and your SEO measures are effective.
When does Google show updates?
If you have changed or added to your content, it takes 1 to 3 months until Google recognizes the changes of these SEO activities and updates your website accordingly. These will then affect your ranking.
What are your experiences with the question: “How long does it take for SEO measures to take effect? Write it in the comments.