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How Long Does SEO Take To See Results: Our Complete Guide

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SEO can take a long time from inception to results. If you are looking for a direct answer to the questions “how long does it take to see results from SEO” then our advice for a new website would be 6 months. If your site is established, however, you can see SEO success (however big or small) within days.

How Long Does It Take For A New Website To Rank On Google?

A new site can be indexed in Google within hours using free tools like Google Search Console. However, whilst indexing means the page is on the search engine and ranking, it might be ranking on page 9, so whilst it is ranking, it’s not going to be ranking very competitively and will likely be generating 0 clicks. In my experience, it takes around 6 months to rank on the first page of Google for low/medium competition keywords. This six months can be sped up by adding high-quality links, content and a proper social media strategy your site. The niche you operate within also plays a part with more light-hearted websites ranking faster and sites focusing on health, legal advice or eCommerce taking longer to rank.

Why Does SEO Take ~Six Months To Deliver Results On New Websites?

As with any digital marketing campaign, search engine optimisation takes time. New content takes time to age and search engines like Google take time to trust a new site. One of the biggest reasons for this is an unconfirmed artificial factor in the search engine that holds back new sites from winning substantial amounts of new traffic. It takes search engines time to trust your website to allow them to protect their users from incorrect informational content.

What is Google Sandbox?

Google Sandbox is a theoretical artificial ‘dampening’ of organic traffic put on new websites. Think of this as a new website penalty. Whilst Google denies the existence of Sandbox, there is a lot of evidence to support this theory. Yes, some websites can catapult themselves out of Google sandbox with strong content, social media strategies and non-aggressive link building strategies. However, for the most part, the majority of new websites will experience some of the effects of Google Sandbox in our experience.

It is important to understand the background of Google Sandbox. Before Google introduced this unconfirmed part of their ranking algorithm, sites could abuse Google through aggressive black hat techniques much more effectively. Let’s say you started up an affiliate website reviewing laptop cases. You could spend 6-9 months building quality content, creating social proof and winning quality links. This is very time-intensive (but for now is the correct method if you are risk-averse). The other method would be to spam the website with hundreds of bought links and PBNs, knowing full well that Google will eventually catch up with you in a few months time. The strategy here is a boom and bust one. Through black hat methods, you could rank a website well for 3,4, even 12 months and beyond, but Google will eventually catch up with you. However, if you make some money here it could be justifiable. This was a genuine strategy going back several years (and still is for those who care little about the risk). Now, with Google Sandbox, a site has to wait a few months before Google starts to take it seriously. That drives down the return on spam sites making the correct, genuine approach much more appealing. Always remember, sandbox is probably a good thing as it makes the content on Google better. It also forces you to not cut any corners and build up long-term assets, rather than quick boom and bust sites.

How Long Does Google Sandbox Last

As Google’s sandbox is unconfirmed, no one really knows. Through our own testing, there are four factors at play; niche, links, content and social media. Niche is the biggest decider in this. Sites that are considered YMYL (revolving around subjects to do with your money or your life; eCommerce, health, legal etc.) tend to stay in sandbox longer than something like a light-hearted blog. We’ve found Google Sandbox effects last around 2-4 months for lighter subjects and anywhere from 6-12 months for YMYL heavy topics. For a local business that is maybe less competitive, but still focused on YMYL topics 6 months does seem to be a rule of thumb.

Is there any way around Google Sandbox?

“hey, maybe this site is legit – let’s give it a ranking boost and see what happens”

The correct way to get out of Google sandbox is consistency with links, content and social proofing. It’s all about building trust and causing Google’s algorithm to stop and think “hey, maybe this site is legit – let’s give it a ranking boost and see what happens”. However, some businesses do not want to wait that long. The only real way to bypass Google Sanbox is through an expired domain. Expired domains are websites that are no longer live. However, as they have been live in the past, Google already trusts them. Launching a website on an expired domain can see your sanbox time drastically reduced or bypassed altogether. You do have to be careful incase you buy a domain that is expired due to a penalty, i.e. someone built a spam site on this domain, boomed it and busted it and was hit with a penality. Google will not trust this site and it could do more harm than good.

How Can I Get SEO Results Fast?

I don’t practice black hat SEO, but you can use shadier tactics to give you SEO results fast by pointing a high volume of links to your website in a short space of time. This is not recommended as black hat SEO techniques can get you penalised by search engines. If you are less risk-averse, there is one black hat consultant I would recommend.

The best way to get SEO results fast if by building natural links and by creating quality content focuses around solid keyword research – this approach naturally will cost your more time and/or money.

How Do I Know My SEO Is Working?

Tools like Google Analytics will give you an indication of traffic coming from search engines under the ‘organic’ traffic channel. If you have events and revenue syncing features set up in Google Analytics, you can create a segment in Google Analytics that focuses only on organic traffic and see the impact that your SEO strategy has on your form submission events and revenue going through the website but coming solely from organic search. A good SEO strategy is known to increase brand awareness and it is typical to see an uptake in ‘direct’ traffic – this is mostly due to the number of people directly entering your website into the address bar of a browser.

Seeing traffic increases is great, however, for new websites, this increase may not come for 4-6 months. This is frustrating, to say the least. Another way to determine if your SEO strategy is working is by using a rank tracker. We use Accuranker – a fantastic piece of software that checks your ranks every day and allows you to check progress over time. Seeing little to no increase in traffic is disheartening but expected when starting SEO from scratch. Your KPI here will be ranking increases – i.e., whilst being on page 2 will likely not results in any major traffic gains, going from page 9 to page 2 in a week is good progress.

The key to any successful SEO campaign is monitoring, learning what has worked, what hasn’t, why something has worked and why something hasn’t worked. This gives key insights into how to evolve your SEO strategy.

How Much Time Should I Spend On SEO?

This is likely to depend on your niche and how competitive you want to be. For local businesses looking to rank higher in Google Maps and for a few select keywords, I would recommend dedicating 10-20 hours a month for SEO. For larger websites looking to rank for hundreds, or thousands of keywords you will get back what you put in and you can put in anywhere from 30 hours a month to 100+ hours a month. It all depends on how fast you want your SEO strategies to scale. If you want to talk about how much time you should be spending on SEO, get in touch today for a free consultation.