SEO: how long does it take to get results?

When it comes to SEO, there’s one question that comes up regularly: “How long before my site is ranked #1 for my keywords? The answer to this question is unfortunately not so simple, largely because the question is no longer relevant: it stems from an understanding of how Google works that was once a reality, but is now a thing of the past.


Google analyzes your content in depth

In the past, search engine rankings were optimized for a small number of keywords (the so-called “meta-keywords” tag), and the results displayed were the same for all users making the same search. Today, however, this has no longer been the case, and hasn’t been for many years (since 2009, to be precise). Google is now able to understand in depth what your content is about, and therefore references your themes and subjects, rather than predefined keywords. In addition, Google strives to present users with the results that are most relevant and qualitative for them: so two very different people will not necessarily have the same search results for the same query.

If you’d like a more in-depth understanding of how Google works, you can take a look at their introduction to how the search engine works, which is very good for a non-technical explanation of how the Google search engine works.

The main challenge of SEO is to be precise and specific

What’s more, it’s important to understand that while being high in the search results naturally attracts more traffic to your website, it doesn’t mean that it’s a goal to be pursued. The challenge for you is not to be high in absolute terms, but to be high for the audiences that interest you and that you interest. That’s how you’ll get satisfactory results and performance from your website (whether it’s online sales, making contact, or any other conversion that’s relevant to you).

The question you should be asking yourself is: “How long will it take for SEO to improve my business results? And the answer is… it depends. This depends, among other things, on the age of your website, the volume of content already present on it, the quality of the SEO already carried out, and the quality of the links referring to it on other sites.

So how long does it take to see results with SEO?

Generally speaking, the first SEO results start to be felt after 4 to 6 months of continuous work. But it’s important to understand that SEO results improve over time: the results you get after 6 months should logically be much less than those you’ll get after 12 months of continuous effort.

The duration and quality of results can also vary according to the technical quality of your site. If your site takes too long to load, or if its URL structure is inconsistent (for example, but there may be many other technical reasons reducing your SEO performance), you risk seeing your efforts accumulate little results.

Conclusion: SEO is a long-term business

Focusing on site content is essential, but for an SEO strategy to be effective it’s imperative to concentrate on the three pillars of SEO: On-Page SEO (i.e. site content), Link-building (i.e. the links other sites make to your content), and finally Technical SEO (i.e. the technical performance of your platform).

In any case, you really need to understand that SEO is a long-term activity, and that if you don’t work on it for at least six to twelve consecutive months, it’s very likely that you’ll never really see the results of your investment. Conversely, if you put in the necessary effort over a sufficient period of time, SEO is the traffic acquisition strategy with the best return on investment: highly qualified audiences, motivated and interested customers, with lasting results – all without direct acquisition costs.

It’s very easy for a beginner to get lost in all the potential SEO actions – that’s why we help our customers achieve convincing SEO results, tailored to your needs. Or you can always contact us to discuss the matter directly, and we’ll share our point of view and a free proposal for an approach to optimizing your SEO performance.

About the author

Picture of Pierre Celimene

Pierre Celimene

Avec près de 20 ans d'expérience dans la création web et le marketing digital, je dirige aujourd'hui CS Digital et ses équipes pour optimiser durablement les performances de nos clients.