SEO Results - How Long To Achieve?

Real Results Take Time

Results AchievedNo matter what the scale and cost of your company's Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaign, you will normally have to wait some time to see any real and meaningful results.

It doesn't matter if you, or your SEO expert, are undertaking a massive link building exercise, using social media to improve visibility or even adding regularly to your sites blog and page content, you will still have wait quite a while to see the final results of your SEO campaign.

Just how long you need to wait to get any measurable results depends on a number of factors that might apply to your website.

Is your website optimised at all?

If your established website has no optimisation in place at all and perhaps uses flash for site navigation, which often blocks the search engine spiders, a fair amount of page changes, or even a redesign of the entire site may be necessary to make your website ‘search engine friendly’.

However once this optimisation is complete you will soon begin to get natural search engine results that boost the number of visitors to your website.

How many links does your website have?

If you have an old website with no inbound links, this will certainly increase the time you will have to wait before seeing any results.

If you have a number of inbound links already, Google will probably visit your site within a week or so of the initial SEO updating.

To check how many inbound links you have visit Google or MSN Live and type - – into the search box. This will show how many inbound links point to your website. The listings from Google and MSN Live will not be the same.

At Yahoo! the link format is slightly different. You have to give the full URL of the site, as either:

or try,

Interestingly, the Yahoo! listings are different for each of these two options.

How new is your website?

A brand new site with no inbound links will probably have to wait a long time to get any improvement in the number site visitors. Google might well find you, but this is not guaranteed. If you do nothing to improve your site it may never be indexed.

At the very least, you must get a few inbound links and prepare an XML sitemap if you want to stand any chance with a new site.

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! use an XML sitemap to work out which pages to visit and add to its search results.

XML Sitemaps have a structured format and are written in a text file that complies with the XML standard. This means that the list of pages can be arranged with additional information such as the relative importance of each web page. So if you think that your top selling product or service should have a higher priority in search results than your terms and conditions you can let search engines know and they will take it into account when showing their results.

By helping search engines to identify which pages you have on your website it can help to speed up the indexing process. They can find out everything they need to know about your website by reading just one file, rather than searching through all of your website’s pages. If a page has been updated it can go directly to that page and get the latest edition. If a page has been removed from your website it can take it out of the search results immediately, meaning visitors are far less likely to see a broken link (404 - page not found).

By ensuring that your XML sitemap has the most up to date and comprehensive record of your pages you can improve the performance of your website. If you are using Google Site Search to provide a search facility on your website it will also improve the quality of the results that are shown.

How flexible is your site?

If your entire website utilises a back end content management system, how flexible is this system for customisation?

If the CMS will not allow for structural SEO changes, this will drastically slow down your progress to achieve a site that is ‘search engine friendly’ and is boosting your online visitors.

How competitive is your target phrase?

The more competitive a target phrase is, the longer you will have to wait and the more inbound links, pages and fresh content you will need to improve your website's position in the search engines.

Picking a target phrase that has searches, but modest competition is your best bet to get started.

Take a look at the top 10 sites for your target phrase. If on average these website's have 5,000 inbound links and 1,000 plus pages, and your site has 25 inbound links and 35 pages, you will probably have to wait a long time before you see any real improvements in search engine placement. In fact, without ongoing SEO your sites performance may never improve.

You don't need to match the numbers of the top 10, but you do need to be as close as possible to their SEO techniques.

If the top 10 is littered with all the major players in your market sector you might have to re-evaluate your long term goals.

Get Google to visit your website

Once Google spiders your site you will still have to wait for the updated cache to appear in Google's index, and in most cases, you will have to wait a bit longer to see any real impact in the search engine rankings.

Getting Google to visit your site is relatively easy, but it can sometimes take a month or longer.

A fairly new website with some inbound links and an XML sitemap, may have to wait quite a long time before Google arrives.

Typically an established and regularly updated website will seldom have to wait more than a few weeks to get Google to pay them a visit.

However, if your site has been sitting stagnant for several years, it may take a lot longer to get your site optimised enough to get Google interested in your content.

How long will it take to get good rankings?

Generally speaking, for a brand new site, starting with no SEO or just a bad site design, you could be looking at around a year before you start to see significant ranking changes.

You may get the odd ranking here and there and start to see some traffic, but for any phrases that are remotely competitive, it can take quite a while. Unless you have a very tight marketing niche, expect to wait at least six months before you see any real movement at all.

This is not to say that you can't get quick results. By using PayPerClick marketing your site should see a rapid increase in site visitors. But as soon as you stop using PPC your site visitors could rapidly fall away. Your long term goal should always be to get good complimentary inbound links and encourage natural search engine listings by providing regularly updated content.

For more established sites, search engine rankings tend to come much more quickly. One significant factor in determining how long this will take is inbound links. If your established site has lots of good complimentary links, but the site itself is simply lacking the fundamentals of good SEO or proper navigation, then you can sometimes see results pretty quickly.

If you have no inbound links and need to build them, this can significantly increase the waiting time. Even for an established site, achieving good inbound links in a highly competitive industry is not always easy. It can take a long time to build the ideal mix.

Why Are Top Site Rankings Taking Forever?

There are a number of reasons why your site may not achieve results over the long term. If you find that your SEO campaign has been going on for a long time and you have seen no movement at all, it is possible that one of the following problems is hindering your efforts.

Spamming and Penalties

If your site has been previously penalised for spamming, you absolutely must clean up all traces of the SEO techniques that have caused this classification.

Google lists many underhand SEO methods that must be avoided. Here are a few of the main ones:

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don't use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don't send automated queries to Google.
  • Don't load pages with irrelevant keywords.
  • Don't create multiple pages, sub domains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Don't create pages with malicious behaviour, such as phishing or installing viruses, Trojans, or other spyware.
  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

Note: The full Google guidelines can be seen here.

Once the site is entirely cleaned up, then you can apply for re-inclusion. There is certainly no assurance that Google will ever pay your site any attention again but it’s certainly worth a try.

Duplicate Content

If your site has used a massive amount of duplicate content, chances are you will never see high rankings until you replace the content with something original and meaningful. There is no "duplicate content" penalty as such, but you are essentially penalising yourself if you copy existing online content. Google tends to look at the first instance it finds online for a piece of content as the official source (this is not always the case). If you copy content that is already out there and already indexed by Google, the value of your content will be discounted as it is already indexed somewhere else, and your site or page will simply get anywhere in the battle for top search engine placements.

Inbound Links

If your site has no inbound links, you will probably not get any rankings, even after you are fully indexed. However, if your site has thousands of good quality inbound links you will see your site rapidly climbing the search engines results and that will lead to more site visitors.

Warning: Do not use free for all sites, link farms etc - they won't help you at all. Goggle often classes these types of links as spam!


You may be up against strong competition and find it hard to propel your site up the rankings. If you only have a small operation you may not be able to beat the major players. And if your selected keyword (target phrase) has millions of searches each and every month you may have to change your strategy and focus on a different keyword and perhaps even a different SEO technique.

Not Listening to your SEO Expert

If your SEO expert gives you recommendations that should be carried out, follow them. Recommendations are given for a reason, to help you achieve rankings. If you are not willing to implement what is suggested, then your campaign may go nowhere.

QBS PC Help do not recommend any particular SEO company as we believe in letting our readers decide for themselves about the company they wish to use (a simple search "seo companies UK" using Google will reveal many UK sites offering SEO services).

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