We live in a fast-paced environment. Business owners and marketers want to know how long it’ll take to rank on the 1st page of Google prior to investing in SEO.
If a company is going to shell out time or money into search engine optimization, they want a clear understanding of how long the process is going to take. If you were to build a house, the homebuilder would give you an estimated completion date, right?
With SEO, it’s not that clear cut (sorry guys and gals). It’s possible to rank on the first page of Google within 24-48 hours. On the contrary, it could take several months (or longer) before seeing tangible results. The time duration to rank well on Google depends on the following:
- Competitiveness of Industry
- Authority of Site
- Time Commitment and Investment
Let’s do a deeper dive into the topic of how long it takes to rank on Google.
Websites that rank on the second page of Google and beyond receive less than 10% of traffic [source]. Google knows that most clicks will come from the first page of its search results. It’s in Google’s best interest to provide trustworthy, relevant results on page one. This will ensure the best user experience to the searcher.
How does Google gauge whether a website is trustworthy? There are many factors. To put it in the simplest terms, they are looking for sites that are established that showcase expertise, authority, and trust.
Google is not going to rank a website that launched yesterday ahead of a site that’s been around for 10-years. The decade old website has more authority and trust. It’s important to understand this. If your website is brand new, you could be climbing an uphill battle, which means it could take longer to rank well on Google. Unlike PPC Ads, which drive instant traffic, SEO takes longer.
Be Leery Of Snake Oil Salesmen
I’m sure you’ve been solicited with emails about ranking on the first page of Google for $99 per month with guaranteed results in 3-months. Be cautious of these overly aggressive emails and low rates. No competent SEO professional will guarantee results for your business. The reason is because it’s impossible to guarantee first page results because you’re at the mercy of an algorithm. Anyone who says they have a contact at Google or has special insight into Google’s algorithm is not telling the truth.
People can make educated guesses on how long it’ll take to rank on Google based on competitive research. A confident SEO will steer away of giving you definitive dates.
If you are looking to hire an SEO company or bring the efforts in-house, read this blog, which provides you with a checklist of questions to ask and items to consider prior to investing in SEO.
Define Your Goals
Your goals and objectives make a big difference when it comes to how long it’ll take to rank on the first page of Google.
If you were to create a blog strategy for your business, there’s a strong probability you could achieve page one ranking more quickly. The reason is because you could select long-tailed blog topics with limited competition and low search volume, which would have a high probability of ranking more quickly.
When it comes to blogging, there’s less competition, which can lead to more quick wins. Just because a keyword or query has low search volume doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable piece of content. At The Media Captain, we’ve gotten some large clients by blogging on very niche digital marketing topics!
If the goal of your business were to rank for eCommerce products or service specific pages, it gets more challenging based on the authority of your site and competition.
It’s important for your business to have an SEO game plan developed prior to investing in the resources to bring this strategy to life. You need a blueprint of your home before going into construction. The same holds true for SEO. You can contact our team of SEO Experts if you need help in this area. A lot of businesses dive into SEO without having a clear cut strategy, which is costly because you can be investing in resources without seeing any tangible results.
Earlier, I mentioned how Google isn’t going to rank a website that was built yesterday over a site that’s been around for a decade.
A key metric to look at when determining how long it’ll take your site to rank on Google is the authority of your site. There are authority tools from the likes of SEMRush and Moz to gauge how much power your website has.
If you just launched a website, you are going to have a very low authority score. You’ll essentially be starting from scratch. If you’ve had a personal injury law firm for 20-years and you’ve had news publications and local businesses linking back to your site, you’ll have a higher authority score.
A lot of times, business owners and marketers don’t realize when they launch a brand-new site, it can take much longer to rank well on Google since there is practically no authority built. On the contrary, if you have an established website, it can be easier to rank when implementing the proper strategy. Of course, you have to take competitiveness into consideration.
Read More: How to bolster the authority of your website
Analyze Your Competition
The more competition within your industry and your local market, the more challenging it’s going to be to rank well on Google.
It may seem ideal to be working in an industry or market with less competition. Less competition typically correlates with less search volume (aka less people searching on Google). If you rank well in a competitive space, there’s a lot of search volume and new business to win.
Let’s go through a couple of scenarios together so you can better grasp competitiveness when it comes to SEO:
- If there are 100 personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona and only 10 LPGA certified women’s golf instructors, it’d be easier to rank on Google for “LPGA Certified Golf Instructor in Phoenix” versus “Phoenix Personal Injury Layer. Less sites means less competition.
- If there are 100 personal injury lawyers in Phoenix and only 10 personal injury lawyers in Butte, Montana, it’s going to be easier to rank in Butte because there’s less competition.
When determining how long it’ll take to rank on the first page of Google, you need to take competition into consideration. You can use tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner or SEMRush’s Authority tool to measure the competitiveness of your industry.
Time Commitment and Resources For SEO
We discussed the various elements you need to analyze and consider when determining how long it’ll take to rank on the first page of Google. You also need to take into consideration the time and resources you have at your disposal. Do you have someone working on SEO 8-hours per day 5-days per week? Do you have an SEO company providing you with clear deliverables? The strategy and research is great but you need someone who can handle the implementation. Your SEO efforts can be expedited when you have a skilled individual or team working on your site. If you are refreshing your browser every 10-minutes hoping your ranking on Google will magically appear without putting in the work, I can assure you that you’ll be let down.
- Blogs and less competitive content can rank rather quickly
- Low hanging fruit such as better optimization of title tags and keywords on a page can lead to quick wins
- Analyzing the competitiveness of your industry and local market provides more realistic expectations for how long it’ll take to rank on Google
- Using tools like the SEMRush authority tool will give you a good gauge on the authority of your site versus competitors
- You need a great strategy and someone competent who can implement the SEO changes based on the strategy
- Be leery of snake oil salesmen guaranteeing results. Your SEO strategy should make sense and not sound like a foreign language. What’s being done on your site should align with your business objectives.
- Don’t forget to put the right amount of time and resources into SEO so you can reap the benefits.