How Long Does SEO Take To Get Results?

How Long Does SEO Take To Get Results?

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If I had to write down a list of questions I get asked the most frequently, this one would be in the top 3, as although quite a tough question to answer, is a fair one from the point of view of a business that is about to invest in and embark on an SEO campaign with an SEO agency, consultant or firm.

When you drop your car off at the garage, you ask how long they need it for and how much it will cost to repair. When you get the builders in to fix your roof, again, you ask for a time and a cost estimate. In fact, pretty much any service industry that you can think of, you generally ask how long and how much, its human nature as we must budget time, just the same that we must budget cost.

When it comes to SEO, predicting (as we never know) when the client will start to see a return on investment is not easy, and the general saying of between 6 – 12 months is pretty accurate, but as we mention, there are no guarantees when it comes to SEO. Some clients will see results from month 2, some will see from month 4 and some, well, it takes longer, but there are so many factors and variants as to what influences results and when they start showing, that it is important to consider all of them when answering this really tough question.

So, let’s look at the factors.

Type Of Business

This might surprise a few people, but there are some industries that results are easier to get for than others. For example, trying to rank nationally for mortgages will take you a lot longer than trying to rank locally for plumbing, which is why when it comes to SEO results, you need to look at what you are trying to rank for, rather than have a blanket approach for time lines. We have clients that get local results in a matter of weeks, especially when we back that up with Google My Business (Local SEO) work as well, and of course, the national ones, the bigger ones, always take longer. Looking at the type of business will then show you the competition, as local SEO can be much quicker (but not always), than targeting huge national keywords.


So, following on from the above point. Competition, I.E. how many other businesses are trying to rank for the same thing as you are, often plays a big part when it comes to how quickly you start to see results from SEO work. Trying to get rankings for a taxi company in Gloucester is a lot easier to try and get rankings for a taxi company in London, as one, there is less of a search volume and two, there are often less companies optimising in some areas. You have to bear in mind that some areas are more switched onto SEO than others, and for smaller areas and areas with less competition, you might find fewer businesses bother with the online world and therefore you can rise up the rankings quickly.

Domain / Website Factors

This is a bit of a broad one, but we must consider these factors that fall into this bracket, as they do impact SEO results. If your domain is brand new, you will be in for a much longer wait than if your domain name is 8 years old and has had a website attached to it, as after 8 years, you will have earned a lot of history and trust. Also, how strong is the website? Is it responsive, is it secure, is it already well optimised and is it free from penalties or algorithm penalties that could be holding SEO success back? This is why any SEO campaign should begin with an in-depth, SEO audit that looks at how strong the site is and the link profile is, as sometimes, this can throw up a lot of answers to a lot of questions, so really must be completed before an SEO campaign starts.

The Ongoing SEO Work

So, everything is good, you are ready to rock and roll and you have just hired an SEO company to make your dreams come true and your required rankings a reality, so now you rely on their work getting you success. And this where the problem can often be found if you are not seeing success. Every SEO company is different, as although most work to the same kind of methodology, some are obviously better than others. As long as you have done your research, checked previous results and really spent some time almost interviewing your potential SEO, then now you must trust them and let them try to get you the kind of results you are expecting or wanting.

What You Are Judging Success On?

And finally, just what are you judging the success on? Is it rankings? If so, this is not a great way of seeing just how good the SEO work is, as rankings are vanity, whereas more traffic, more enquiries and more bottom line sales is where the real results should be judged. If the phones are ringing more, the emails are getting more frequent and you are sending out double the proposals than when compared with this time year, surely that is the success based model, not seeing three keywords go from page 10 to page 2. Make sure you are realistic when judging the SEO success, otherwise, you might never really understand just what is possible within your budget and to therefore not let things carry on indefinitely, without making some hard decisions along the way.

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