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How Long Before You Get Your Site To Page 1 With SEO?

This is a question that we hear all the time, and is usually the very first question we hear from our clients, and we totally understand. Business owners want to know when they will see an ROI on their SEO efforts.

The truth of the matter is that it will always vary depending on several factors. By looking at a few of these variables your SEO company should be able to give a “guess-timate" as to when you should start seeing results. In some cases it may only be just a few months and in others - maybe a year or more.

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Keywords And Location

Probably the biggest factor in how long it will take for your SEO efforts to see results is the level of competition of your keywords, or keyword phrases that you are targeting.

If you are an accident attorney in a big city, such as Atlanta, your journey to the top of the searches is going to be a long one.

But if you have a lawn care business that is targeting a small suburb, such as Kennesaw (a small city of less than 30k north of Atlanta), you will have less competition and should see faster results to getting high rankings over the accident attorney that is targeting a much larger city.

With keywords, if you are targeting very short 1 to 2 keywords for your search terms, generally it will take longer to rank as well, again depending on the level of competition in your niche. If you are going for longer tail keywords that are 3 or more words together, your chances of ranking faster increase.

Longer keyword phrases are something that you should be considering anyway, since people are able to speak their search into mobile devices now. We will get into Long Keywords in another post.

Niche Saturation

How many businesses are competing for the same keywords and keyword phrases that you are? Using our example from above - an accident attorney, this is a heavily saturated niche. There are probably thousand of accident attorneys in the Atlanta area that would want to rank for “car accident attorney".

However, if you have a brand new or cutting edge service or product, the playing field should be wide open and high rankings should come fast and easy, provided you perform your SEO correctly.

Age Of Site

How old is your website? Has it been around for a few years or is it brand new? This is also another factor. Google and other search engines will trust your site more and move it faster up the rankings if it is an older site. A brand new site tends to get held back until it develops some trust signals.

Also with a brand new site you shouldn't ramp up your SEO strategies as fast as with an older site to keep from getting penalized from the search engines. It sets off red flags if your brand new website has 100's of links all of a sudden pointing to it.

Penalized Website

Has your website been penalized? If you have a site and it has been penalized by Google, then the chances are it's going to take longer to get your site ranked. Depending on how heavily your site has been penalized and what kind of penalty it is under, it may take it longer to get good rankings than a brand new website would. In some cases we have seen that it is more cost effective to go ahead and build a new website to start over when the previous site has been de-indexed by Google.

Fresh And Unique Content

How many pages are on your website? How many posts? Are you continually adding new posts to your site? These are big ranking factors as well and actually becoming more of a ranking factor. The greater the number of unique pages with good content indexed by Google will help you move faster. Also adding new blog posts to your site on a consistent basis is another factor. Google is giving more “weight" to websites that are continually adding good quality content to their sites.

However, don't make the mistake of just adding content to your site to be adding content. Don't have duplicate content from your site, on your site. For instance don't take content from one of your pages and add it to a post. From all of our extensive testing, and the testing of countless other SEO's, the only time duplicate content becomes a problem is when it is duplicated on YOUR website from page to page, page to post, post to post, etc.

Part of your SEO strategy should be making new posts on your site on a consistent basis. The amount of content needed will depend on your niche. For instance a landscaping company won't need as much as there isn't a lot of news about landscaping, and can probably get away with 2 to 4 posts a month. Other niches, like ours (SEO), will need more posts in excess of 3 or more posts a week. In short, the more you post unique content, the faster you will see results.

Lastly on content, don't have thin content. Pages or posts with just a few hundred words is a no-no. We recommend your pages should have at least 1000 words, and prefer 1500 to 2000 words. Your posts should be a minimum of 800 and of course the more the better, with 1500 being fantastic. We realize this isn't always possible due to some topics and 500 words will suffice. Just don't make it a habit of creating short posts.

Targeting Local or Global

In general, if you are targeting locally, you will see better rankings faster over globally, or nationally. Back to our accident attorney as an example, “accident attorney Atlanta" will get better results faster than just “accident attorney" that would be targeting nationally. Trying to target “accident attorney" globally is one of those that would most likely take years.

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Search Engine Variables

The search engines themselves are constantly changing. What worked to get sites ranked a few years ago doesn't work at all now. The search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to the tune of hundreds a year. These updates can either help or hurt your rankings. A new update can either move you up, or move you down a page rather quickly. For the most part, if you are only employing white hat techniques, these updates can help move you up the rankings.

Final Thoughts

So as you can see, there are a lot of variables as to how long before your site hits page 1. But really the question shouldn't be how long before your website hits page 1, but how long before you start getting more traffic to your site and more calls. After all, increasing your bottom line and ROI is what SEO is all about, right?

If your SEO company is doing things like we do, they are not only concentrating on your website, but social media as well. Getting the word out about your services or products through social media is a fantastic way to help increase your brand authority and brand awareness. Social media sites like Twitter and a company FaceBook page are great for this as well as Web 2.0 properties such as Tumblr and BlogSpot. These are great places to reach out to new potential customers and clients and start making more sales.

So if you are hoping to see results over night, sorry, that's just not the case. In any case, if your SEO company does things the way that we do, you should start seeing an increase in sales and customers in just a couple of months. The important thing to remember with SEO is that slow and steady wins the race.