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How Long Does SEO Take to Work?

Mar 28, 2024

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a process that involves website optimisation to help websites perform well on search engines such as Google. Although you can put a significant amount of work into a website, SEO may take a few months to see results.

Find out more about SEO and how long SEO takes to work here.


How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work?

SEO is a long-term investment that requires regular optimisations, constant work and a well-planned strategy to see positive results.

While some improvements may be noticeable within a few weeks or months in the search ranking and number of leads, significant results typically take longer to happen. Businesses will typically start to see meaningful increases in organic traffic and improved search engine rankings anywhere from three to six months after implementing a comprehensive SEO strategy.

However, ongoing monitoring, optimisation, and adaptation are necessary to maintain and build website rankings, search engine visibility and position gains over time.

Although it takes a few months for SEO improvements to be seen typically, it can take up to a year to see substantial gains depending on competition and website quality.

Screenshot of SEO improvements on a graph


Why Does SEO Take a Long Time?

SEO takes a long time to work and see results for several reasons, such as algorithm updates, the usability of the website, topical authority, domain age, website authority, and more.

Search engines such as Google frequently update their algorithms to ensure the most relevant and authoritative content is prioritised in search results, which is a key reason why it often takes a few months to see the positive effects of SEO updates.

Google frequently crawls web pages, which is another reason why it may take a while to see search ranking movements as search engines need to evaluate and compare thousands of the best and most relevant pages for a single keyword query.

Although it often takes a few months to identify website improvements, with a proper SEO strategy in place with SEO specialists making targeted optimisations, a website will likely see significant benefits.


5 Factors That Influence How Long SEO Takes to Work

Every website is different, but there are a number of common factors that influence the amount of time it takes for SEO to work and see results. 5 main factors include:

Strength of Competition

In many industries, aiming for top search engine rankings is extremely competitive and hard to achieve due to the number of other businesses, such as healthcare services or marketing.

Establishing authority and relevance within a crowded field takes time, as competitors will also be optimising their websites to remain in the top positions within search results.

This means that industries that rank for keywords with a high keyword difficulty typically take longer to see results, as the more competition there is, the harder it is to rank for.

Technical Optimisation and Website Quality

Beyond content creation, technical aspects of SEO such as website speed, mobile-friendliness, and site structure play extremely important roles in search engine rankings, as poorly built websites will struggle to rank against competitors.

Addressing technical issues and implementing optimisations often involves complex processes that take time to implement and see results, such as web speed improvements, mobile optimisations, URL structures and links.

The time it takes to implement development and technical optimisations often depends on the resources and time you invest in an SEO company per month. The more you invest, often the faster you will see results.

Website Authority and Trust

Establishing trust and authority with search engines and users is key for SEO success. This involves the creation of a strong backlink profile from reputable websites which typically develops gradually over time through strategic outreach and link-building campaigns.

SEO Strategy and Resources

Investing in a knowledgeable SEO team to implement optimisations is the best way to see SEO results faster, as they will create a strategy to target different problems and areas that can be improved.

Although it can be beneficial to make some well-informed SEO updates to your own website, a specialist SEO company has access to tools and experience to help get results as quickly as possible.

You will likely see SEO results faster if you invest more time in an SEO company, as they will be able to make more changes and updates in a shorter time period.

Website Domain

Website domains that are less than a year old will struggle to rank as well as older domains, even if the content is well-optimised. This can be a key factor as to why SEO takes a few months to see results.


A Timescale Breakdown of How Long It Takes SEO to Work

The time it takes to see SEO results varies from business to business, but in general, below is what you can expect to see in the first few months that work is completed on-site:

Month 1

The first month typically consists of competition and keyword research, website audits and a strategy being put in place.

Knowing where the problems are on the website, key areas to target, site problems and missing opportunities are key to helping a website rank well on search engines such as Google.

Month 2

Technical fixes are likely to be made during this period of time, as onsite optimisations will struggle to make a significant impact if there are major technical issues with the website, such as broken redirects, site structure and more.

Design changes may be made to the website to make it more accessible to users, and smaller fixes may be made such as menu design and site structure. Engaging websites are also useful to reduce bounce rate which can be a negative indicator to search engines.

Depending on the time invested into an SEO company, onsite content improvements may also be made to help pages rank for keywords found the previous month.

Month 3

New content may be created and uploaded in the third month of optimisation work to target easy-to-rank keywords that could bring visitors to the website and improve visibility. This may include pages or blogs depending on the keyword and search intent.

Previous changes will also be reviewed to spot signs of movements that can indicate work that needs to be improved or adjusted.

Backlink profiles will also be looked at during this period, as a website with no authority will struggle to rank. Backlinking, journo requesting and outreach campaigns are all methods used to boost DR.

Months 4-6

After initial work has been completed in the first 3 months of SEO work, a bespoke strategy will continue to be implemented to improve a website and ensure the SEO is having a positive effect on the website.

Different areas will continue to be targeted to ensure that a business has as many website visitors, leads and visibility as possible.

Maintenance of SEO services over a long period of time is also key to ensure you continue to see good results.


Find Out More About SEO

At Maxweb, we offer specialist SEO services to a huge variety of industries. Although the length of time it takes SEO to work depends on the website, competition, and investment in SEO, improving and optimising your website is the best way to see positive movements and results.

Get in touch with our expert team today to learn more about how we can help you by filling out our enquiry form.

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