If you’ve just started optimizing your website for search engines and are wondering how long it takes for SEO to show results, in this post I’ll tell you the whole truth. For starters, there are two things to keep in mind:

  • SEO is like going to the gym. You need to be consistent, and the work never ends. You must permanently work on optimizing your site and perform an analysis every so often. Then repeat.
  • How long it will take to see results depends on many factors. We know that’s an unsatisfactory answer, so I’ll describe some of those factors below to give you a better estimate.

If you have a new company, forget about ranking for generic keywords such as “professional hairdresser” and focus on long-tail phrases and questions that your clients enter into search engines. For example, if you have a hairdresser in London, bet on long-tail keywords such as “hairdresser in Central London” or “wedding hairdresser in London”, instead of simply “hairdresser”.

The more specific your keywords are, the more opportunities you’ll have to attract the audience you serve. That’s the one that wants to know more about your content and your business.

Since you’ve just started working on a website, I advise you to think of SEO as a long-term strategy and invest time and resources into the process. With patience and effort, you’ll achieve fantastic results.

Why SMEs Should Care About SEO?

Why should you invest time in SEO for your website? Is it necessary for a small business? The answer is a resounding “yes”. SEO helps your customers find you online and also supports them as they move through the buying process. Also,

  • SEO generates recognition since people find your website on the Internet and get to know the products and services you offer.
  • SEO helps establish your brand because if you provide your customers with information through different types of content (such as posts, infographics, videos, etc.), they’ll get to know you better and feel more attracted to your website.
  • SEO encourages customers to make a final decision and purchase on your website because you’ve been gaining their trust and convinced them little by little.

There are other important reasons to worry about the SEO of your website:

  • SEO will never disappear, even if the rules change. Google can update its algorithms to ensure that people find exactly what they’re looking for, and SEO plays – and will always play ­– an important role in achieving this.
  • Your competition is already doing SEO, so don’t relax even when you overcome them. They’ll continue to strive to improve their rankings.
  • Your potential customers are looking for you, and most of them do it on Google. If you have a small business, you’ll allow them to meet and get to know you.

Forget unrealistic expectations

Chris M. Walker, founder of Legiit (an SEO Marketplace) and Superstar SEO says, “If you talk to an agency specializing in SEO and they promise you one or more of the following things, run away!”

  • That you’ll appear first in the search results in a short time.
  • That you’ll get a lot of organic traffic from one day to the next.
  • That they’ll take care of SEO once and it will be worthwhile for you for life.
  • Incredible results for a ridiculous price.

SEO, as I said above, is like going to the gym: you need to devote time and effort to it to get to the top of the search engine results. Don’t expect to make a big change overnight. This is impossible. The experts and agencies that promise you the moon for 100 dollars will surely end up damaging the positioning of your website. Why? Because anyone who promises to place you at Number 1 for a keyword in a short time is surely breaking the rules, and the search engines will end up noticing and will penalize your website.

In the long term, this will hurt your keyword positioning and your brand. Think about all the time and resources you’ll have invested, only to affect your website negatively. Not the ideal situation, right?

Now that you know what and what not to expect, I’ll try to answer the initial question.

How long does SEO take to pay off?

If you want good results, you have to do quality work. These are some of the items you should focus on:

  • Create relevant and optimized content that’s useful both now and in the near future.
  • Get a website that not only looks good but also converts well.
  • Make sure that the site’s loading speed is acceptable (under 4 seconds) and that the site is easy to navigate.
  • Get quality backlinks from authoritative websites in your niche

After doing the initial work and while you continue to develop quality content and improve your website, this is what you can expect:

  • Initial results after 3 months.
  • Remarkable results after 6 months.
  • Full results after 12 months.

Remember, these are just estimates. The actual time will depend on factors such as the quantity, quality, and frequency of the content you post and the overall quality of your website. If it takes longer to see results, don’t get discouraged. Keep working.

Although SEO is a continuous work process, if you do it well, the results you get will weather any Google algorithm updates – and you’ll benefit from a constant and reliable source of traffic and sales.