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How Long Does It Take SEO for a Website To Work?

A Friendly Guide for the Impatient Small Business Owner


Are you a small business owner staring at your website stats and wondering why the numbers are more stagnant than a pond in summer? Welcome to the marathon of SEO for websites! Don't worry; you're not alone in feeling a tad impatient. Stop tearing your hair out! Let's embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries of SEO results, why it's more of a crockpot than a microwave, and how you can potentially speed things up.


How Long Does SEO Take?

I see we’re in a hurry – no worries. It can take between three and six months for web pages to start yielding results in organic search. If a site isn’t SEO compliant, the content is crappy, and it’s a terrible experience for the user, the timeline gets pushed back to over a year. 

SEO is NOT a quick fix and requires strategy, patience, and a working knowledge of what your desired user wants from your site.


Why Does SEO Take So Long?

Great question - I’d love to answer it for you! Some digital marketing strategies yield quicker results – like paid ads – but SEO is a slow-moving horse that is ongoing and requires consistency. It can take search engines like Google a long time to acknowledge that a new webpage is out in the world, ready for crawling. If that page isn’t optimized for SEO and sucks for the user, search engine spiders and crawlers need to work much hard to figure out what to do with that page. Let’s also not forget that there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of other pages fighting for the same spots. 


How Do You Know If SEO Is Working?

Understanding if your SEO efforts are paying off is crucial. It's like planting a garden; you don't see blooms overnight. Key indicators include an uptick in organic search traffic, better rankings for your targeted keywords, and an increase in quality backlinks. If your website is becoming the talk of the town (or at least your target audience), you're on the right track.


How Do You Know If SEO Is Working?
17% increase adds up month-over-month!

Why Am I Not Getting Organic Traffic?

Ah, the million-dollar question! There are a few culprits behind the ghost town that might be your analytics dashboard. Perhaps your website is newer than the latest social media craze, or maybe your SEO strategy is as outdated as flip phones. It takes time for search engines to recognize and trust your site. However, the #1 reason you’re not getting organic traffic is probably because you didn’t optimize properly for on-page SEO. Those fundamentals are KEY! Ensure your pages have proper SEO structure with keyword-rich titles, meta descriptions, and headers. Don’t forget to add alt-text to your images. And create a great experience for your users.


Why Is SEO So Difficult?

SEO might seem like trying to learn a new language while riding a bicycle uphill during a hailstorm. It's tricky because search engine algorithms are as secret as a family recipe and change more often than fashion trends. Plus, the competition is fierce, and what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow.


SEO is a long game. It’s about building a solid foundation, consistently nurturing it, and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the internet. While you might not see instant gratification, the slow and steady approach can lead to sustainable growth and success.


How Can I Increase My Organic Traffic Fast?

Looking to put the pedal to the metal? Here are a few turbo-chargers:

  • Keyword Optimization: Ensure your content is optimized for the right keywords. Think of what your audience is searching for and incorporate those phrases naturally.

  • Quality Content: Content is king, queen, and the royal court. Make it relevant, valuable, and engaging.

  • Technical SEO: Don't let technical issues drag you down. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly, fast-loading, and easy to navigate.

  • Backlinks: High-quality backlinks from reputable sites tell search engines your site is a credible source.


I know, I know, that all sounds very SCARY but here are a few questions to ask yourself before freaking out about SEO:

  • How relevant is your page and does it satisfy the needs of your target audience better than your competition?

  • Did you put out quality content that’s more helpful and trustworthy than your rivals?

  • What does the user experience feel like to your target audience and is it better than your competitors?


For those who feel they're navigating murky waters, consider enlisting professional help. A reputable SEO agency, like us, can tailor a strategy to your unique needs. Alternatively, for those who prefer a DIY approach with some guidance, SEO coaching might be your golden ticket.


Speed Up How Quickly Your Content is Seen By Search Engine Spiders

When I worked in advertising, I was constantly asked what could be done for the Google g-ds to see new content. Granted, this was always asked by an account person with a client who didn’t want to pay for the company’s SEO services but it came up so often that I added it to my SEO 101 course at the agency. There are three ways you can speed up the SEO process a bit:

  1. Install the Google Search Console and request the page be indexed as soon as it’s live. This sends Google a signal that a new page is live and ready to be looked at for indexing.

  2. Publish the link on social media or in a newsletter and drive traffic to it! If you have a decent social following or subscriber base, talking about the new page in a video or linking to it in a post/email will also send search engine spiders a signal that there’s a new page gaining traction and they should review it.

  3. Pay for the traffic through paid social or paid search ads. This has a similar outcome as point #2 but it works more quickly because you’re paying for the traffic.


These aren’t guaranteed but I’ve employed these strategies with moderate success. Plus, they’re easy – but they don’t replace the need for an SEO-optimized site.



Pro Tip: make sure your page is fully optimized with great content before submitting it in the Search Console.

SEO is the Long Game - Your Patience is Appreciated

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a strong SEO presence. It's normal to feel a twinge of frustration, but with patience, perseverance, and maybe a little professional help, you'll start to see the fruits of your labor. Keep watering and nurturing your digital garden, and soon enough, you'll see it bloom spectacularly. Stick with it, and soon you'll be leading the pack in the organic search race.


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