How long does it take to rank on the first page of Google?

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Wondering how long it will take for your website to rank on the first page of Google search results for your target keywords?

This short article will tell you how long you can expect to wait before you see results from your SEO efforts.

How long until I rank #1 in Google?

When will I see results from SEO?

If you’ve done some search engine optimisation (SEO) to your website, you're probably wondering how long it will take until you can expect to see results.

It's one of those 'big' questions, and is similar to asking how long a piece of string is. But in this case, let's say you’ve found your top keywords to target and you’ve updated your web content accordingly, with one keyword chosen for each page, strong meta titles and descriptions, and high-quality content that answers the user’s queries.

You’ve fixed the technical issues with your website, and you’ve done some great digital PR that has earned you high-quality links from authoritative websites.

If none of the above made any sense to you, check out my Beginner's Guide to SEO.

But when can you expect to see a difference in your rankings, and get to page #1 in Google?

Well, if your content is of high quality and there aren’t any technical issues on your website, it comes down to age and authority.

A SEO study conducted by Ahrefs analysed 2 million random keywords and pulled data on the top 10 pages in Google for each of them.

They found that:

  • The average top 10 ranking page in Google is at least two years old.

  • Pages that rank number one in Google are almost three years old on average.

  • Only 5.7% of pages ranked in the Top10 search results within 1 year for at least 1 keyword.

  • The pages that managed to get on the first page of Google within a year, achieved the position between 2-6 months.

Which websites perform best for SEO

What kinds of pages ranked well?

Pages from websites with a higher domain authority (40+) performed considerably better than those with a low domain authority.

High domain authority websites:

  • Have been around for many years.

  • Have a lot of high-quality content.

  • Get a lot of traffic/visitors.

  • Have a lot of links from other high domain authority websites.

  • Are trusted experts in their field/big brands.

If your website is relatively new, it will take a few years to earn your stripes in Google’s eyes, and it’s going to take you longer to rank in search engines than websites that have been around for years.

If you want trust and authority you have to earn it. The same applies to real life.

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad news!

The other websites managed to get there, so you can too. It will just take time to build your website’s authority.

To do this, continue creating great content that’s relevant to your field, targets keywords you want to be found for, and is backed by research. Ensure your website is healthy (has no technical issues), is crawlable by search engines, and is fast as it can be. Oh, and double-down on the digital PR!

Earning links from other websites with high domain authority (like news sites, for example), will have the greatest impact on your domain authority, so make sure you include digital PR in your SEO strategy. Not only is it essential for SEO, but it’s also a great way to market your website and brand.

While it’s a little disheartening to see that only 5% of ALL newly published pages will rank on the first page of Google within one year, and those that ranked within the first year were also largely for low volume keywords that get less than 100 searches per month, it doesn’t mean that your SEO efforts are wasted.

It simply means that it will take at least a year to see real results from your efforts. And that's only if you're doing a great job of it.

Think of SEO like a fixed term deposit investment. Take action now, and see the return on your investment after a year or two.
Is SEO worth the time it takes?

Why should I bother with SEO if it takes so long?

I understand this probably wasn’t the news you wanted to hear. SEO isn’t the quickest or easiest way to increase your traffic, but when you’re ranking for your target keywords you’ll receive constant web traffic for years to come.

Think of SEO as building and promoting your brand effectively online. It's another part of digital marketing.

It’s about providing a great user-experience on your website, and enabling people who don’t already know your brand to find you when searching for similar goods and services that you have to offer.

How do I get faster results?

If you want immediate results, pour your money into PPC campaigns, like Google Ads. Depending on your industry, you can expect to pay between $2 to $100 per click. That adds up quick!

So, if you don’t want to spend thousands on digital advertising each year, you should invest in SEO to get that traffic for a much lower cost.

What we've learned about how long SEO takes

The takeaway:

  • 95% of newly published pages don’t get to the first page of Google within a year.

  • Pages that rank well within the first year take 2-6 months to rank on the first page.

  • High domain authority websites will almost always win.

  • SEO is never-ending – you should always be working at it if you want to rank.

  • Put in the SEO work now and reap the results later.

  • You need to be patient!

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a long time to move up in the rankings, but once you do you’ll be handsomely rewarded with free traffic for years to come.

Hire a freelance SEO specialist

If you’d like a SEO specialist to help get your business set up for success with a solid strategy, get in touch with me - Janelle from ContentQueen. I work as a freelance SEO consultant and charge by the hour, so I can do as much or as little as you’d like.

SEO is my area of genius. I have many years of experience in the field, and have helped numerous businesses to grow their online presence organically, without having to pay for expensive online ads.

I work remotely from Wellington, New Zealand, and work with incredible business owners and entrepreneurs all over the world, including the USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Want to see if we’re a good fit for one another? Get in touch by filling out my contact form and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours to invite you to your free 30-minute Zoom consultation.

Want to go it alone?

Happy S-E-O-ing!

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About the Author

This blog was written by Janelle Cheesman, Freelance SEO & Content Marketing Consultant from Wellington, New Zealand. She has a BA in English Literature and Media from Victoria University of Wellington, a Diploma in Journalism, and has created digital content for websites since 2014; working in the charity sector, eCommerce, hospitality, travel, interior design, education, and more.

Janelle is HubSpot Content Marketing Certified, has completed the SEO Specialisation Course from UC Davis, and uses her background in journalism and public relations to cover SEO from all angles; including on-site, off-site and technical SEO. Get in touch.

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