What is the Time Frame for Seeing SEO Results?
How long does it take to see results in an SEO campaign? Having been asked this question hundreds of times in more than a decade doing SEO, I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. There is a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is:
The long answer is what will take up the rest of this article.
SEO Results Timeframe: The Full Answer
The length of time it takes to see results from SEO depends on 3 factors:
- The quality of the SEO being performed
- The website’s level of Google Trust
- The competitiveness of the search landscape in the industry or niche
Let’s go through each factor.
Factor 1: The Quality of the SEO Campaign
SEO can mean many things. It can be sold as a $500/mo or a $15,000 entry-level service. Some companies just mean that they’ll optimize the technical aspects of a website (site speed, security, mobile friendliness, and title tags) when they offer “SEO.” Others, like ours, offer the full gamut of what is needed to produce qualified sales leads on a long term, ongoing basis. This means:
- Keyword research in order to target only qualified traffic
- The aforementioned technical SEO, including rewriting the title tags of all main pages
- Ongoing, high quality content production
SEO campaigns that don’t include all three of these services will only increase rankings and leads if your industry is uncompetitive on Google (e.g. certain niches of construction). SEO campaigns that do include all three services will see leads on their website in the 4-6 months I cited above.
Quality means not only including the 3 services required to succeed with SEO, but also doing each one very well. For instance, keyword research can be done decently and still be ineffective. Many SEO firms choose keywords that are either too competitive, not competitive enough, or that other pages on your website already target. Another common issue is creating content that doesn’t contain enough analysis from subject matter experts, or is written at the wrong reading level. Yet another is blogging less than the twice per week needed to earn the Google “News Website Bonus.”
Factor 2: The Website’s Level of Google Trust
Google Trust is a generic term I use to describe a website’s ability to rank highly on Google. A major resource like Wikipedia would have the highest possible Google Trust, which is why it ranks for nearly every one-word keyword. Google Trust is earned in two ways: (1) By gaining inbound links from websites that themselves have a high degree of Google Trust; and (2) by publishing high quality content on a website at least twice per week for at least 4 months.
The amount of Google Trust a website needs to appear at the top of the search results depends on how competitive the industry is. You can get a snapshot of your website’s Google Trust by seeing whether it ranks for the keywords in its main pages’ title tags. Here are some quick metrics to help you estimate whether your site has high Google Trust:
- In most B2B industries, having 150+ inbound links from unique domains means the site can easily rank for the keywords it targets, apart from the most difficult ones
- In most B2B industries, publishing high quality content at least twice per week for 18 months will allow the site to rank as highly as 150+ unique inbound links would
Factor 3: The Competitiveness of the Search Landscape in the Industry or Niche
Because ranking highly in the Google search results is a relative rather than an absolute achievement, it’s always necessary to consider the competitive landscape your website is in. A tiny niche that very few companies have attempted to rank within can see results the moment they publish a keyword-targeted page of content. (This is rare, of course, as any niche with substantive market potential is likely to see some level of SEO before too long.) On the other hand, consumer industries like travel or loans are so dense with competition that ranking highly is at least a 24 month feat, but more likely to take 3-4 years.
As I mentioned above, in an industry with average levels of competition (which is higher than you might think, as most industries are competitive online), you are likely to see results in 4-6 months.
Time To See SEO Results by Industry
Below, you will find industry averages for SEO results based on our client experience.
Now, here is the same data in a table, along with the average % increase in organic leads in each industry after a year of SEO.
|Industry||Average Time to Begin Seeing SEO Results||Average % Increase In Organic Leads After 1 Year|
|Addiction Treatment||4 months||21%|
|Real Estate||4.5 months||39%|
|B2B SaaS||5 months||54%|
|Staff Augmentation||5 months||36%|
|Industrial IOT||5.5 months||44%|
|Business Consulting||6 months||40%|
|Manufacturing & Distribution||6 months||38%|
|Security Systems||6 months||45%|
|Legal Services||6.5 months||42%|
|Medical Device||6.5 months||20%|
|PCB Design & Manufacturing||6.5 months||76%|
|Financial Services||7 months||49%|
|Consumer E-commerce / Retail||7.5 months||41%|
|Oil & Gas||8.5 months||31%|
|Higher Education & College||11 months||36%|
Your SEO Campaign: Where to Go From Here
As you can see from the data in this article, seeing results in the average time frame is wholly dependent on doing SEO correctly. It can be difficult to do that in-house unless you have a tremendously experienced marketing team, and it’s equally difficult to find an SEO firm that is willing and able to put in the work to achieve dominance for your company on Google.
However, First Page Sage is exactly that firm. With a focus on B2B clients and over 11 years of experience, we are the #1 SEO firm in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. If you’re interested in learning more about partnering with us on an SEO campaign, contact us here.