How Long Should I Do SEO?

You probably hate it when someone answers "Well, how long is a piece of string?"  That fact is the answer depends intrinsically on a number of complexly interwoven factors, like: which string, where you're using it, and whether or not it's folded, wound, or scrunched!

So how long does it take to rank in Google for your favourite search keyword?

It depends on several very critical factors:

  • The number of different sites that link to you and how they do so
  • The number of high quality unique pages on your site
  • Your domain name and the age and history of your domain name

These primary factors are the most reputable, and most difficult to create from thin air, which is why Google and the other search engines trust them so much. They are essential to seeing your site compete with serious web site owners.

Then there are the essential factors:

  • Your internal pages cross linking style
  • Your website content being optimised
  • Your website code being optimised (clean and valid with a low code-to-text ratio, high speed, etc) 

When resolved, these factors can give you the edge over your competition and you will likely see your site bob up (from somewhere on page five) to result #5 on the first page.

It's then just a matter of a little ongoing work for your site to prove it's relevancy and authority to the search engines before you reach the top. So the answer is anything from one to six months for surprisingly good initial results.

Then you need to consider your competition and what they are doing so that you can build a long-term plan. This means being in SEO for the long haul is the way to maintain your rankings. The good thing about SEO is, if you have to cut back on your budget or even halt promotional work for some time, your visitors (and sales) keep coming. See our AdWords vs SEO point under the Success heading.

Through our SEO Audit, Research & Recommendations, we also work to outline a tailored campaign which will achieve some quicker results first, on some of the 'low-hanging fruit' depending on your site's current status. Your ongoing SEO work will then be graduated into the more competitive - but higher volume - keywords that require more time.

Why Is SEO Slow? How Long Does SEO Take?

SEO is slow because it takes time to establish your position in search engines, and then bring long-term efficiency. This analogy helps compare SEO vs Ads:

Newspaper, Radio, TV, Google and Facebook or Instagram Ads are like buying a box of fruit each week.
- If you plant a tree, you'll eventually have your own fruit, free.
- You just have to wait for that tree to be old enough to start producing fruit.

Your own tree is SEO... which is why they're called 'organic' search engine results.

But don't worry, we pick the right species and we add organic fertiliser, so it will bear fruit as quickly as possible!

So buy a box of fruit each week until your tree starts to bear it's own fruit, but planting, watering and fertilising it straight away is absolutely critical to long-term success with efficient marketing.

What if I'm just not in Google at all?

Then something has gone horribly wrong. Pioneer Websites can very quickly and effectively determine if that is so, why that may have been so, and return your site to the search engine results pages.

See the second case study at the end of our article on free CMS vs custom websites for an example.

Should I add new content to my website?

Yes, but don't waste your effort with the wrong direction. Get a site audit with competitor & keyword research to find out where to aim your content. In brief:

1. Continually adding content to your site 


  • More content = more power, authority & trust with Google and other search engines
  • New content = maintains and improves rankings

2. Adding content that appeals to your target market


  • Client focused content = authority & trust with clients when they arrive at your site
  • Sharable client focused content = opportunities for networking, and link bait which is also good for SEO if the content is outstanding

But it's not directly going to help with getting clients to your site from search engines, only from shared links through a network (i.e. LinkedIn).

3. Adding content that relates to your target keywords.


  • Keyword focused content = authority & trust with Google, for your target keywords
  • In depth articles on your service keywords = ranking for long tail keywords (low volume but easy-to-rank-for searches)


Articles about your service/products are often better than articles about the industry your service/products are used by, because they'll help you rank for your target keywords which centre around service/products.

If your target keywords also include words that relate to the industry who use your service/products, then content about that topic is also necessary, but it first hinges on your being found for the primary distinguishing keyword topic, which is your service/products.

Example: You're a translator. You specialise in the finance industry. You can write about finance and win cred with clients, but to be found in search engines, you need to write about your primary keyword topic, translation.

If your target keywords include industry keywords, like finance translator, then you have reason to write about both industries, translation, and finance. But given finance is the modifier (adjective), translator is the primary keyword (noun), so your authoritative and relevent content should centre around it.

You: "How long do I need to do SEO?"

Us: "It depends."

Learn why, and how, so you can budget. Within a couple of months of starting, we'll have a better idea how your site has responded.