How long does it take to see results from SEO efforts? This, roughly, is a question that almost every potential client asks. Similar questions have been asked:
- How long does it take for grass to grow?
- How far is “over there”?
- How big is big?
As soon as you make an SEO-related improvement to a page, you have results…well, at least as soon as Google finds the change, indexes it and feeds it into the calculations that go into ordering web pages for the search term in question. But moving form #1,893,027 to #1,783,446 at Google is not “results” in terms of what we usually think of. In fact, moving to #31 is not even results if you check the top-30 rankings for your web page, although it is a sign that your SEO campaign is working and should continue to work if you keep plugging away.
A better question, would be how long it takes to get into the top 10, or the top 5 or the #1 spot for a particular search term.
Unfortunately, this is also hard to predict, especially as one gets closer to the top. I try not to even provide an estimate past top-10, because it is hard to honestly do this. There are just so many factors to consider, even if we assume the search engine algorithms, which we can only guess at, don’t change in the meantime:
- How well optimized the top 10, 20 or 30 web pages already are.
- How much effort the top 10,20 or 30 web page owners are putting in
- How successful you will be at attracting links
There is also this little matter of how the search engines like to mess with our minds. Like one client who has been for the past several days bouncing back and forth between position #2 and position #13, and at this moment is at #1 for its top search phrase. I suspect it will settle around #8 to #10 in a few days, but who knows?
Predicting success is a tricky think in SEO as in any other sport. We have a strong team, but at what point in the year do we know we will make the playoffs and how far will we get this season? That is a question one can answer only with hindsight.Written by David Leonhardt
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