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How Long Does SEO Take To Show First Results?

Digital Marketing
February 15, 2023
12 min

Among the top questions in 2023 and beyond is how much time SEO takes to produce the first results.

While everyone wants a definitive answer to this tricky question, there are too many variables to consider.

Atop of the agenda are quality content, the competition density around your niche, and inbound links.

To deliver best-fit SEO solutions, at Promodo we pursue a holistic digital marketing approach.

We always advise our clients to take SEO as an integral part of their inbound marketing strategy.

CloudFrresh Case by Promodo

What Does SEO Success Look Like?

Content, competition, and links are three defining factors of SEO success.

Still, there is no one-size-fits-all formula that would work wonders overnight.  

Mind that in 2020, the US companies invested almost 80 b. in SEO campaigns.

Take the SEO game as a serious business.

Are You a Content Craftsman?

Quality content is still a king in SEO.

Among other metrics to account for, what you publish on your website is defining for search results.

While niche competition is always an external factor, the content you produce solely depends on your inward effort.

With no minimum or maximum requirements for a piece of content you deliver, do your best to update pages on your website regularly.

With that, you will boost your SEO ranking and engage with target audiences.

Once you add content regularly, Google will crawl your website more often and speed up your SEO growth.

With regular content making, your target audience will return to your website more frequently.

That’s when Google gets a signal about a positive user experience on your site.

Experiment with every bit of content on your website so you know what you should keep unchanged, improve or delete.

Get rid of underperforming pages to boost your site’s performance in the search results.

Beyond content, your web page’s SEO ranking also depends on its age.

By generating useful content, you are sure to resonate with the custom needs of your audience.

Long-form content will earn you 80% more links than short pieces.

Essentially, your content should match user intent, so follow trending searches atop Google ranking.

Well-performing pieces of content from competitors will show you the best way to create your content.

Content that is new and original will help your pages rank faster.

Competitors Are Around The Corner

Competition within your niche primarily determines whether your business is floating in the red ocean or the blue ocean zone.

The red ocean is when competition is tough with a high barrier of entry.

Once your product or service is unique, you will sail across the blue ocean with low competition.

The truth of life here is that the more popular your products and services are, the more competition is underway.

The same is true about your business expansion: the more you scale up above local, the more rivals you’ll encounter.  

This means that demand predetermines the level of competition.

In SEO, the top of the search results is about the number of competing web pages in your niche.

If you do not have an extra SEO budget, you will not catch up with top-ranking pages led by experienced SEO professionals.

Plus, if your niche is full of top-ranked web pages, your chances to get to the top are rather slim.

This is because your rivals are investing in professional SEO services to outnumber all the rest.

Competitor analysis is, therefore, pivotal for SEO.  

To know where you stand in your niche, analyze your closest 5-10 competitors.

This is how we used an SEO strategy to help Intertop promote new branded categories & increase traffic.

Intertop case study by Promodo

Inbound Links At Play

Technically, SEO success is much about linking content on websites.

A numbers game here is not: “the more, the better,” though.  

Instead of hunting for more, supply fewer high-quality links that will lead your readers to relevant websites.

High-quality links will serve your SEO promotion much longer than the links generated automatically.

Be sure not to pursue an abrupt increase in links, while Google will mark it as your attempt to manipulate ranking.

In this endeavor, stick to Webmaster Guidelines by Google to save your web pages from facing penalties.

Over time, you will develop your link growth pattern.  

Grow your links consistently in a stable rhythm to look natural to Google.  

Among top search factors, backlinks predetermine your website rankings.

Gaining quality backlinks is about making quality content people want to refer to.

While high-quality links are great divers for your website, spend time making your backlink portfolio.

SEO Metrics to Observe

Besides content, competition, and links, there is much more to your SEO success.

The amount of impressions indicates the number of times users saw your content, links, and ads.

Clicks show the number of times users clicked on your content, links, and ads.

Further, account for organic traffic that has come through search queries.

Also, it is important to know where your site stands in ranking pages.

Pay attention to the links that connect to your web pages from other sources.

As well as this, mind the traffic coming from links on other web pages.

Brand mentions will help you to measure your authority across the niche or industry.

Finally, conversions embrace user experience on your pages.  

The actions users take on your site are all important and may vary from clicking on links to filling out contact forms.

Still, that’s not the end of the SEO game, while there are SEO KPIs to consider.


Getting the first SEO results in six months is a good start, Promodo experts say.  

This is because there are multiple KPIs assumed by SEO, including but not limited to:

  • Your page’s relevance to popular search queries
  • Search intent assumed by your page
  • Reliability of your website content
  • Contextual use of keywords
  • The right use of images
  • Your page load time
  • The number of backlinks on your pages

There is much more than that if you are serious about ranking your website high in search engine results pages, SERPs.

Long before Google ranks your site, the algorithm will crawl through the pages to index the content.

The strategic goal of Google here is to match the most popular searchers with your content.

That is how the search engine achieves the best user experience.

Eventually, Google shows the most relevant results for a search term. So the more authoritative your site is, the higher Google will rank you.

At least now, you know that doing SEO is not summertime at all.

A Typical SEO Timeline: What Happens in Months 1-6

With multiple sub-strategies at hand, develop an individual timeline for your SEO campaign.

The following is a suggested SEO Results Time Frame to help you promote your campaigns.

Make a Website Audit

During the first month, we suggest exploring every aspect of your brand. Define your identity and market position. Take time to dive into your industry and niche in terms of competition to focus on major industry keywords.

Next, it is high time you audited your website for structure, content, and the quality of user experience.

Your website check-out will spot areas of opportunity and will help you plan your SEO strategy.

Keyword planning is an essential part of content analysis. The core part is to fill the content on your pages with target keywords that would match popular user queries.

By the end of your first month with SEO, explore your company, do a website audit to spot technical issues and make changes, and designate a keyword strategy.

With that, always stick to your SEO plan.

In our featured SEO case study, we managed to increase website traffic for a large American IT company, by 30% in six months.

American IT company case study by Promodo

Mind Technical SEO

During the second month, we suggest getting technical SEO work done to cope with critical issues like

  • Insufficient site speed
  • Poor indexing
  • Unoriginal content, and
  • XML sitemaps among others.

The more flaws you’ll spot during a website audit, the higher Google will rank you in search results.

To ensure an agile user experience on your site, be sure to

  • Update meta descriptions,
  • Work out link profiles,
  • Ensure responsive design, and
  • Enable user-friendly navigation

The outcomes of your website audit will indicate the amount of technical SEO work underway and all the needed modifications.

Dive In Keyword Research

During the third month, we suggest selecting keywords from the long list you spotted within the first month. Now it is time you shortened it all to the targeted keywords.

While different kinds of content are at stake, play with generic and long-tail keywords.

The generic selection is about one-to-two keywords that outline broad topics you are to target within your niche: apartments, car rental, or pizza delivery.

Generic keywords assume high search volume, which means they are highly competitive and you won’t be able to target them organically.

On the other hand, long-tail keywords are short niche-specific phrases. They are essential to match specific user needs across your target audience, like “party cakes in Astoria,” “X2 superpower coolers for small business offices,” or “all-inclusive wedding service in Austin.”

Every keyword here should align with a specific need voiced by your target markets.

While generic keywords necessitate additional investment as part of a PPC pay-per-click strategy, long-tail keywords will bring you more quality leads over time.  

Be sure to develop your SEO strategy as a longstanding effort to target people who are most likely to buy your products or services.

Mind that SEO today is much about natural language search.

People are searching Google with real-to-life questions. This means that user intent in search queries will not necessarily match your targeted keyword combinations.

Instead of typing, more often than not, people are voicing their queries through Google Now and Siri.

Over time, the typed searches have got far more specific to match individual user needs.

It is, therefore, a win-win strategy to use natural people’s phrases as your target keywords. This is because natural phrases are way less competitive and easy to rank for.

More detailed, natural phrases are strategically benign in terms of relevance. Eventually, they stand a much higher chance to bring you higher conversions.

Overall, natural long-tail searches always outrank targeted keywords.

In this pursuit, experiment with both PPC and SEO combinations to hit high search ranking and low competition.

While keyword selection is at the core of content creation, there is much more to that.

Play With Content

Your strategic task is to match targeted keywords with types of content on your pages. Say, you may mix blog content, long-form pieces, and sales product/service content across your site.

Long-form content above 2000 words is vital to bring you more organic traffic, backlinks, and social media engagement.

Still, 2000-word articles should satisfy search intent by matching popular user queries.

This is to stress that to rank high on SERPs today, you must focus on user intent.

Focus on user intent

Shorter blog pieces are also strategically important as they entail regular updates and benefit organic SEO results.

This is because Google favors blogs as a continuous flow of new information on your website.

Another advantage is that blogs are easy to get through and encourage social media sharing.

Google favors blogs because they fill your website with a flowing stream of new information.

Finally, prioritize product and service descriptions on your pages. This is how you communicate your business to the targeted audiences on your pages.    

Tell people your story, why you are unique, how you stand out from the competition, and what is so special about your offer.

Make sure Google indexes and ranks your product offerings by the end of the third month.

Content generation with enhanced offer descriptions, article writing, and blogging will altogether advance your website rankings.

During the fourth month, you may expect to reap the first fruit from your SEO campaign.

By using Google Analytics and other available tools online, you’ll see how traffic moves across your website.

You’ll also spot the best-performing and least-performing pages over time.

Your SEO journey is far from over here.

Build Backlinks

In addition to regular content generation, be sure to build links and fix any possible issues that may halt your site’s performance.

It is crucial not to stop at this stage and show Google that you are a reliable and consistent venture.

At this stage, generate authoritative links to tell Google that your website is trusted across the industry.

The strategic goal here is to make other companies link to your content.

While you go on with creating content, developing a link profile, and optimizing your website, you should see that SEO is working for you.

During the fifth month, you should see growth in site traffic as well as more sales coming in.

At this stage, prioritize social media coverage.

This will help you maintain traffic and boost conversions.

Social media efforts will help spread your content across the board. Content sharing is essential to organic traffic on your website.

A natural link profile will bring more leads and secure wider media outreach.

Test Your Pages

In your SEO endeavor by the sixth month, always rely on A/B testing as a win-win tactic to experiment with what would work best on your website.

Possible A/B variations will enhance your website performance.

Last but not least is Heat Map Testing which measures user experience on individual pages.

Your task is to test user clickability across your pages as well as interactive elements that work best on your website.

Once your traffic is close to 5,000 visitors a month, add conversion rate optimization (CRO) to convert your traffic into leads.

By that point, you should see that your sales are going up.

Once again, this is not the end of your SEO journey. Instead of resting on your laurels, you should consistently generate new content.

Use your creativity to make your content resonate with people’s needs and the individual preferences of your target audiences.

In your SEO journey, trust Google Premier Partners like Promodo to implement a holistic digital marketing strategy for you.

How Long Does It Take to Rank in Google? The Key Factors that Affect Time-Frame

The question of: “How long does SEO take to show first results?” is not about Google rankings after all.

It is rather about your website’s capacity to generate leads and sales.

Getting to top rankings is a tiresome journey you would hardly manage without serious investment, time, and effort.

Rather than trying to get atop, focus on the outcome you want to achieve.

Set a daily, weekly, and monthly amount of leads and sales you expect to generate from your website.

The longer your website is around and the more upfront SEO work you’ve done, the sooner Google will spot and rank it.

As an output goal, reaching solid rankings at some point is a great achievement.

Nonetheless, our practice shows that most players fail to sustain it even with sustainable SEO budgets.

Therefore, it is much better to concentrate your efforts on leads and sales throughout your SEO journey.

There is too much exaggeration and unrealistic expectations underway.

Our case studies indicate that healthy SEO budgeting is about up to 12 months of steady investment. On average, companies invest from 3 to 6 months and fail to move any further.

This is because SEO is a long-term marketing tactic that does not entail sales overnight.

Maintaining SEO results vs. growing them is because Google is updating its algorithm through which search engine indexes your pages.

Pursuing agile functionality, Google has shaped digital marketing strategies.

With an optimized algorithm at hand, Google has made ranking far more challenging.

This is why you may expect a return on investment after passing an initial first-year period of SEO.

Mind Your Website History

Among other factors, SEO results depend on how old is your domain.

Unlike outset domains, established domains rank better when they entail indexing history with Google.

In either case, you should do your best to grow website authority and gain backlinks.

In both cases, you are not quick to see any SEO results.

Plus, Google penalizes domains that are at odds with its Webmaster Guidelines.

Use Google Search Console to check out your site impressions from day one.

Assess the volume of your traffic with the Estimated Traffic Trend.

If your site is at least two years old, it is easier to project its SEO success.

Finally, implementing a sound SEO strategy will save your site from critical issues.

Watch Out For Competitors

Blue ocean niches that are less competitive will help you match more search queries.

To stand out, stick to local niche-based keywords.

Keyword strategy is only part of the SEO game. Take time to analyze how your closest competitors got to where they are now.

It is crucial to understand the core preconditions of their visibility.

Keyword Gap Tool will help you understand your current performance compared to your four closest rivals.

Do the same with the Backlink Gap Tool to check out whose backlinks are atop your niche.

Handle Your Resources

Unlike website history and competition, you are always free to manage your resources well.

Authority, relevance, and trust are three preconditions of your page reliability. So, fill your pages with the best content quality to get a higher SEO score.

Also, invest your time and effort in securing a proper page speed. 1.28 seconds is just enough to score well.

Clear your website from hacks and viruses to provide users with the safest journey.

You will enhance your SEO chances by adding interactive elements like quizzes, timers, pop-ups, and other clickable stuff.

High-resolution Images are no less significant to secure higher rankings.

Invest in the available SEO tools to explore your pages, keywords, links, technical issues, and SEO software platforms and plugins.

Extra investment in the right tools will help you gain competitive advantages and fast-track SEO progress.

Time, human resources, finance, and persistent effort will all lead to faster SEO results.

Measure SEO Results

The last question today is about how you should measure SEO results.

You should regularly monitor your website and check for updates to ensure proper maintenance.

Discipline and perseverance will help you establish a sound SEO strategy.

For starters, you are to set proper SEO goals.

Specific time-based goals will help you focus on priority targets.

Getting more traffic or growing backlinks are not your SEO goals!

Concentrate on your SEO path instead.

While pursuing your outcome goal, break the performance process into measurable process targets.

Breaking down the outcome goal into smaller chunks will make it more achievable.

On your SEO path toward the outcome goal, the achievement of process goals should precede performance goals.

Your outcome goal is about how SEO will benefit your performance. Make sure to align SEO with your strategic business goals.  

To make it far more specific, define whether your company holds enough potential to target high-value keywords to rank among the Top 50 on Google in the next six months.  

Once you target backlinks, define your timeline (3-6 months) to achieve a feasible number (20-30) of high-quality backlinks. Also, select the best-fit tools to help you down the way.

That is how you pass through your SEO journey in the most down-to-earth manner.

Written by
Taras Bereza

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

Taras has 16 years of hands-on copywriting experience overseas with 3000+ unique copies.

Accredited with Certificate of Proficiency in English (C2 level) by Cambridge University. Studied at Writing Launch Academy (United States) and owns an Academic Writing Certificate from Oregon University. Author of 12 dictionaries with Apriori Publishers.

February 15, 2023
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