How long must I wait to see improvement in my Google rankings?

As we perform search engine optimization programs for our client’s Web sites, many ask us “How long will it take to achieve high rankings?” Earning top rankings on Google depend upon a variety of factors. Search engines use highly complex ranking algorithms and may take weeks to effectively crawl and index your site. The following are a few of the major factors (Courtesy of Axandra Search Engine Facts) that affect the time it takes to get higher rankings on Google:

  • Your Web site’s age: If you have a new site, it will take longer to improve your rankings than an existing site. You can submit your site to Google, but it will only index your site if there are other sites linking to it. Also, you have to earn Google’s trust and prove you are not spammy. Google uses filters to weed out spam sites. So your new site won’t achieve higher rankings until you earn Google’s trust.
  • Inbound links: If you have an older Web site with few inbound links, it will take longer to get your pages ranked by Google. Conversely, if you have many high-quality inbound links, higher rankings will come much quicker.
  • Targeted keywords: The keyword phrases you select to optimize will play a major role in timing. If they are highly competitive, frequently trafficked keywords, higher rankings will require more optimization and inbound links and will take longer to attain. Start with specific keyword phrases that are highly descriptive of your business, experience some success, and then tackle the more competitive ones as your site achieves greater optimization.
  • Competitors: Honestly evaluate your competitors for the keywords you select. If they have thousands of inbound links and hundreds of pages, it will be difficult to crack the top 10 if you have only few pages and a dozen links. Your choice is to wait until you have more links and optimized content to see results, or identify and optimize for other keyword phrases that are relevant to your products and services.

So how long does it really take? Our experience has shown that a new Web site that is well optimized and has a modest number of inbound links can see significant improvement in the rankings within 90 to 120 days for specific industry keyword phrases. Existing sites with a solid base of inbound links will show improvement faster – typically within 60 to 90 days. Cracking the top 10 will take longer, sometimes up to one year as you build the inbound links that are critical to search engine optimization success. And remember that higher rankings always drive increased Web site traffic from people who are searching specifically for your products and services.

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