How long does SEO take? A couple of days? Months? Years? It’s a delicate subject with many variables. It is one of the most frequent questions we hear as SEO specialists. It’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer since, despite customers obviously wanting a precise answer, there is no way to do so, given the number of variables at play.

It is due to the fact that, in addition to all the factors that are taken into account while optimising your own website, you must also consider the factors used by your competitors.

It can make it exponentially more difficult to respond to a topic that is already complex. Even though it’s crucial, marketers may also find it confusing. The fact that SEO doesn’t happen overnight is one of the main causes of that confusion.

In this post, we at TopRankings will do our best to assist you in finding the answers to this question and others.

Why Does SEO Take So Long?

Let’s first examine why SEO takes time to show results before examining precisely how long it takes for SEO to influence your business.

Google continuously enhances the search engine’s functionality and the algorithm that crawls and indexes pages.

When SEO began to be used in digital marketing strategies, there were many ways to manipulate the system, such as by stuffing keywords, to achieve better results.

In an effort to help consumers receive the desired results rather than just discovering the websites that knew the cheat codes, Google has sought to tweak the algorithm so that it can’t be misled.

It started to take a lot longer to see the results of SEO as ranking in SERPs became more difficult.

Key Factors That Determine How Long Your SEO Will Take

The range of how long your SEO will depend on the following three key factors:

  • Competition
  • Inbound links
  • Content

It’s crucial to note that there is no set formula for answering this question, not even with the evidence supporting these factors. But there’s a lot more to answering it than just speculating.

The key to estimating the length of your SEO is first to assess the data underlying these three factors, start working and evaluate how quickly you see results and then extrapolate that to get a sense of how long it would take to attain a particular ranking.

Below, we will explore the role of each factor in determining how long your SEO will take before showing positive results.


You probably won’t have any competition if your product is breakfast cereal with salmon flavour. However, depending on demand, those of us selling products and services that actual customers would purchase will face varying levels of competition.

For instance, a plumber serving a small local market would have less competition than a real estate agency serving a large metropolis, which would have less competition than a national mortgage company.

As you may expect, getting to the top of the search results will take longer the more competition you have.

It will generally follow a pattern where it’s quicker and easier to outrank the lower sites, but as you move up the search results, it will often require a lot more time and effort with each step. It’s due to the high level of competition and the fact that the top-ranking pages frequently have experienced SEO experts supporting them.

The relationship between the level of competition within a niche and the skill of the SEO experts behind the highest-ranked websites in that niche is sometimes an underappreciated facet of competition.

Keep in mind that demand forces businesses into a niche, increasing competition. Because of the competition, businesses are forced to provide more competitive rates, necessitating a higher market share for them to remain profitable.

Larger businesses with deeper pockets typically benefit from this environment because they can afford to hire a leading SEO agency. You’ll have a longer and tougher battle on your hands if you’re facing this circumstance.

As a result, we must assess every area of our competitors’ SEO and evaluate their past performance. That is merely the beginning. Additionally, we need to look at their activities during the preceding several months and keep tabs on them moving forwards.

It’s significant because you must work harder than your competitors to surpass them if you want to outrank them.

Inbound links

It’s no secret that links continue to be extremely important for SEO, but how long it takes to rank still depends on several fundamental criteria.

The first is how many websites are linking to yours. More links will speed up your SEO results, but it’s not just a numbers game.

Generally, fewer high-quality links from relevant websites will have a much bigger influence on your rankings than more low-quality links from unrelated websites.

It is crucial since it will be more challenging for your competitors to replicate high-quality links as they are typically harder to acquire. In addition, they typically last longer than links produced automatically.

However, the rate at which you acquire links and the rate at which you have previously acquired links might also play a role. It is because, generally speaking, an abrupt spike could signify an unnatural attempt to manipulate ranking.

You risk receiving a penalty if you employ techniques that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and experience an unexpected rise in the number of incoming links that prompt a manual review.


How quickly you get results is also influenced by the content you publish on your website, and the first thing you should realise is that quality counts a lot.

Your rating won’t improve if you spend days publishing hundreds of the 300-word articles you ordered on Fiverr. Nevertheless, don’t take this to imply that every piece of content you create must be a 4,000-word monster. There isn’t even an ideal or minimal length. All that is required is for the content to be long enough to address a visitor’s issue.

There is a misconception that suggests you should release new content slowly. This theory is based on the idea that releasing a lot of new content at once may appear unnatural to Google, which could harm your ranking.

Although it is conceivable that some people might hold this myth to be true, Google has formally refuted it.

From an SEO standpoint, there is no reason not to publish excellent content immediately if it is ready to go. It will improve your ranking more quickly the sooner you get it out there.

Your SEO will only take longer if you wait. It’s important to note that a website’s age and ranking do have a relationship. In other words, older pages tend to rank higher than newer pages, but the cause is due to other factors, not age.

But it goes beyond just producing content. Content deletion can also positively impact the length of time your SEO takes. Making decisions on which content to maintain, improve, and delete is crucial. The secret is to provide unique, practical content that meets the demands of your audience and is constantly improved.

And if you needed another reason, longer, higher-quality content frequently generates more links than shorter, lower-quality ones. Content is crucial in and of itself, but it also affects your efforts to link-building, so it serves a dual purpose.

When Can You Expect Positive Results from SEO?

Now that you know why SEO takes so long and what factors to consider while monitoring your progress, let’s get to the point and address the question.

How long does SEO take? The short response is 4 to 12 months.

The longer answer has to do with all those factors we discussed above that are connected to your SEO strategy.

You can notice results after 4-6 months if you focus on low-competition keywords. If your new SEO approach is successful, you should be able to quantify measurable increases in traffic and conversions within six months to a year.

However, it can take significantly longer, sometimes up to 4 years, to get strong results and good rankings when using keywords with high levels of competition and high domain and page authority.

Remember that your SEO approach will also need to adjust and adapt when the Google algorithm changes. Your strategy will need to change as SEO and the world of digital marketing continues to develop.

Final Thought

You already know that your SEO strategy is the foundation of a strong and successful digital marketing programme.

Even though it could take some time to see results, the ultimate objective is to have a website that ranks well and consistently adapts to changes in the Google algorithm to ensure the greatest outcomes.

Keep the faith and continue the optimisation with the help of SEO professionals to get the best results as quickly as possible.

TopRankings relieves the burden of sourcing reliable and new sales leads for scalable, hungry-to-grow businesses. Our expert team helps you regain valuable time and resources as your brand experiences exponential growth by combining data-driven strategy with proven ongoing SEO service campaigns.

With us, great results are given. Contact us today and switch to the agency brands have trusted for two decades.