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How Long Does It Take for Search Engine Optimization to Show Results?

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By Michael Yunk

SEO professionals are quite used to getting questions like “how soon can we see results?” from business owners. Those who are not familiar with how search engine optimization works often have a genuine concern about how effective it is. When investing a good chunk of money in online marketing, business owners like to make sure that the services are going to yield an impressive ROI.

Quick SEO results

Whoever goes into SEO thinking that it will increase revenue generation overnight is going to get disappointed. The aim of online marketing is to help your business become more popular among your target audience and earn their faith in your brand. Most business owners have a very different understanding of SEO.

Though most optimization efforts bring results over time, some quick payoffs can be achieved through the following tactics:

  • Fixing the ‘robots.txt’ errors to prevent crawler access or leading the crawlers to a dummy content
  • Eliminating all unnecessary meta directives on pages which confuse the crawlers
  • Cutting down the rendering (page load) time of the top crawled sites
  • Adding the site to local search engine directories or updating the existing listings
  • Adding a custom link on the home page to your latest created website or blog
  • Eliminating the “PageRank sculpting” logic from websites

In fact, there are a lot of other things which can have an immediate impact on the search engine rankings and performance. The mileage may vary from site to site when it comes to enjoying an immediate impact on returns and profitability.

A standard timeline

When planning a new campaign, experts primarily divide their goals into different timeframes. Common examples include:

  • Short-term results (30-90 days)
  • Mid-term results (90-180 days)
  • Long-term results (180+ days)

Though no marketer can “guarantee” results such as business growth, lead generation, revenue generation, or profitability, they can surely take a business closer to achieving its goals. SEO is only a part of the end-to-end process of brand establishment and online business administration. Only an experienced marketer with in-depth knowledge can offer customer-centric service and build the brand’s reputation to ensure stability, quality, and a great value.

There are some typical situations such as eradicating the harms done by black-hat SEO practices, in which, it is better to think in line with the scope for improvement rather than discussing how long it takes SEO efforts to work.

For example, if an online marketer decides to change the URL structure of a small website to make it more user-friendly, it may only take one to two weeks to see any improvement. However, on a large site with hundreds of pages and a large number of internal and external links, it may take many months before you see any favorable results. You may also have to get all the pages re-indexed and re-crawled to get the benefits.

How timetables help SEO?

Some people believe that it is possible to predict results from SEO through a proper project management schedule. Digital marketing, being a dynamic industry, has nothing written in stone. Therefore, not all predictions come true. Professionals chalk out possible results based on past experiences and industry trends.

Though these timetables are not always accurate, they surely pave a path for the marketers to walk on. Having the possible goals in mind helps them strategize their moves to bring fruitful results. Since the industry is going through constant changes, predicting specific outcomes is rather impossible.

What can you do to ensure better results?

When it comes to search engine optimization, there are two kinds of people – the ones who always go by the book and do everything right, and the others that are constantly fixing issues to prevent getting penalties from Google. The first category is always safer. Considering how smart search algorithms are becoming every day, it is best not to try and trick them! On the other hand, if you know what can get you in trouble, you should eliminate the problematic elements fast. That is also a smart approach.

It is now likely that the project schedules and time tables can predict results in SEO. Unlike in a project execution environment, these indicators cannot measure the actual value of the work against the volume of work done. People who still believe that SEO is predictable are chasing a path which ultimately ends up in disappointment. Always remember that change is the only constant thing in business as well as in SEO. Whatever works today in a mechanical and predictable fashion may be obsolete and get devalued by search engines few months down the line.

Author Bio: Michael Yunk is an SEO expert with years of experience in digital marketing. He is an avid reader and passionate writer with his own blog in the marketing niche. He has a large following on social media.

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One thought on “How Long Does It Take for Search Engine Optimization to Show Results?

  1. I love this approach to creating a timeline broken into three groups (short, medium, long-term). With many newer advertisers, an aggressive budget is needed for broader, awareness phase, search terms and clear expectations that it could be well over 24 months to appear for such queries. Examples would be home loan, diamond rings, credit card rates, and for one of our clients, running shoes.

    In today’s SEO ecosystem, it makes much more sense to optimize using a data-driven approach, aka: search terms with conversion history and promise growth in leads and sales from organic search, and not promise keyword rankings.

    If I were a new advertiser, I’d still create and invest heavily in the broader keyword target pages, setup tracking and then focus my energy for the next 12-24 months on the child pages under those parent pages, with specific long-tail targets based on wins from AdWords, AdCenter, and Google Search Console insights. The more supportive content you have under a parent topic, the more that topic tends to move up over time.

    Great post Michael!

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