How Long Does It Take To See Results In An SEO Campaign?


The average amount of time it takes to see real results in a correctly executed SEO campaign is 4-6 months. That’s the short answer. The more complex answer is “It depends on the website’s age, current TrustRank with Google, and whether it has any penalties levied on it.” Allow me to expand on the more complex answer, as it will probably shed some light on how Google treats a new SEO campaign.

When a site is brand new, Google doesn’t have any particular feeling towards it. It will acknowledge it, most likely, sometime in the first 3 months of its existence. However, if you prove that the site is worth noticing by getting another website to link to it, the site could be indexed within 24 hours. (The length of time it takes to index a new website depends on how much TrustRank the linking site has.)

If a site already has a history with Google, and that history reflects positively on the site, then an SEO campaign can show results in as little as 2 months. When I talk about a history that reflects positively, essentially I mean that the site has produced thought leadership content and built new links  on a regular basis in the past and has never incurred a penalty.

If your company’s website is like most websites, it has been on the web a while but has a varied past: it has produced content here and there, but nothing you are especially proud of; it has some backlinks but you couldn’t name the sites they came from off the top of your head; and it has experienced some fluctuation in traffic but hasn’t received any penalties that you’re aware of. If this is the case, your site is the “average site” I refer to when I say that an SEO campaign will take 3-4 months to show visible progress from a properly-done SEO campaign.

And finally, what do I mean by a “properly done” SEO campaign? Well, I essentially mean that this new campaign is true Thought Leadership SEO: producing excellent, original content several times per week, building links in a natural, PR-style way, and carefully analyzing the results in an analytics program such as Google Analytics.

If you – or a competent SEO company – is doing SEO correctly, the campaign should look like the slope leading into a mountain. The first 2-3 months should be flat to slightly up. And somewhere in the third or fourth month (occasionally the fifth for very competitive industries), there should be a fairly sharp rise in organic traffic. When the rise occurs, it means the “trust threshold” has been passed and Google is giving higher organic rankings to your site for long tail keywords. It is the start of a trend that, if given the fuel to continue via further content creation and link building, can attract tremendous new exposure for a company.

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  • richard Gilbert

    Great post, I have a new site so its taking a bit of time to see little results. Does Google have a set date in which they reindex the results? Bing and Yahoo are ranking my website really well. Any advice welcomed.