How long Does SEO Take to Start Working?

How long does SEO take to start working? Probably longer than you think or want it to.

SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, it is not for the short-term minded person trying to get next-day results. You’re working with entities like Google, who change all the time, whereas you technically have no control over what they’re doing, you’re being reactionary.  And even when you’re good at it, it still takes time, consistency and persistence to make it work well.


I always tell my clients, if you’re in a tough spot and need leads now, and don’t have the budget for SEO and something additional, SEO is not your right-now move. If you do SEO in this situation, you’ll be too antsy and impatient and go on every day expecting “watched-pot-that-never-boils” results.  SEO is a vital part of today’s marketing world, but not for the pressing “I-need-leads-now” types.

So, if you’re passed that point, how long does it take? Well, the standard answer is 3-6 months. But there are many scenarios that could require more than this, such as having bad SEO and having to do a damage control job on your website or if you have a brand-new domain name. These can lengthen that estimate by months. We had one client where it took us almost a full year to reverse the damage another SEO company had done to his site, this was very expensive and tedious, and it would have been cheaper to just start a new one if this company was not so branded to the domain name.


Since SEO is such a vital part of any company’s modern marketing strategy, what can we do to speed this up?

Here’s some tips on speeding up the length SEO takes to soak in:

  • The older and more trusted the domain name, the better.
  • Consistency is key, do not “turn it on and off” – this is a killer.
  • Do not keep changing the focus of web pages that aren’t ranking, this will just confuse things more.
  • Keep your pages simple and focused, as if written for a child, so that Google “understands” them. If you write a page focusing on 10 different subjects, then don’t expect Google to know what to rank it for no matter what your Title Tags say.
  • Once your SEO company is moving on your SEO, move on to other forms of marketing. This drives traffic from various sources to your website and the more traffic, the better.
  • DO NOT try a bunch of “backlinking” techniques that you read about online from 2012 to give it a boost. Chances are, any techniques like this Google has things in place to cause the opposite results that you want, and in fact, this could cause very serious damage to your long-term results.
  • Avoid any dubious software and companies that try and sell you miracles. Almost every one of these “miracle” companies and techniques has gotten company’s sites dropped in Google over the last few years.


It’s a long-term marketing play, vital, but slow to start. It does snowball-effect though and eventually when it takes root the snowball effect grows larger and larger and the wait is over, now you’re up for the fight at the top, which is another subject altogether.




Dan York

Founder, Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.


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