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June 8, 2022 - By Hawke Media

How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work?

The Big SEO Question

The most common question our SEO team at Hawke gets is how long it will take to make a difference. 

The simple response?

SEO is a long game. 

If you search on Google for how long your SEO content takes to display, the provided answer is around  4-12 months. Not exactly specific, and that’s a wide window!

Why the big range for SEO to kick in, and why does it take so long in general?

One authority explains that SEO takes as long as it does because there are multiple factors involved to get results: SEO keyword issues, competition with other businesses, inbound links, and your domain’s age, among several other factors. 

As a result, SEO can take a much longer or much shorter time depending on how you specifically approach these key search engine optimization items.

All of these things are based on practices from Google and other search engines so timelines are never fully disclosed, and that’s why so much of this can vary. If a huge corporation makes a change to one of their pages, it is likely crawled pretty quickly by search engines. But a small business with low traffic on their site may need quite a while before search engines notice how effectively it’s been optimized. 


SEO Effectiveness Timeframes

What’s a reasonable amount of time to wait for SEO efforts? We’ve broken out the most important SEO tasks you can complete, and how long you will wait for results from each. 

Quick fix items will see results either immediately or within a few weeks. Mid-term items take a few months, and long-term items may take months to see an impact. 


Quick Fix Items

Claim your Google My Business Listing. This is the fastest way to improve your SEO for Google. A verified listing is more likely to be served to searchers by Google. Adding keywords and images to your listing will merit results within just a few weeks. 

Drive traffic to your site. SEO has everything to do with clicks, so the more traffic you can drive to your site, the faster and higher it will rank. Instead of waiting for your life-changing blog post to populate the internet and get people interested, use your social networks, email lists, and any other way you have to connect with people to drive traffic to your site. Even a few rushes of a few thousand visits can be significantly altering for your site’s SEO indexing, sometimes shortening the process from 8 months to 4 months, for example.

Technical SEO – How can your site be optimized to be more friendly to search engines? Take a look at load times, header structure, file sizes, URL formats, etc. that can help or hurt Google results immediately. These things may not be easy fixes – some are quite daunting and can reveal a string of related problems – but they will usually be detected quickly by search engines. They also create a better user experience in general, which will boost other paid campaigns.


Mid-Term Items

Build content with low-traffic keywords. If you have a business that offers a unique product or service, that uniqueness can benefit you in terms of search engine results. If your website copy is for a unique product or requires uncommon language,you are working with low-traffic keywords. These are niche keywords that aren’t in tough competition with other websites. 

Build content with long-tail keywords. Make your blog content answer full questions, and target those questions as the keyword. It may be hard to rank for “burgers,” but it can be easy to rank for “best organic bison burger in Minneapolis.” Sure, not as many people are searching for that second term, but the ones who do are much more likely to convert. 

As a general rule, these kinds of copy and content changes to your site can see results in about 3-4 months. 


Long-Term SEO Items: Everything Else 

While the temptation is high to look for a quick flash when it comes to SEO, the simple truth is this: SEO development is a lot more like investing than it is getting a quick win. You win at the SEO game by developing a great, optimized website, building high quality, high value website and online blog content that utilizes your key language in a judicious way, and building an overall digital marketing strategy that keeps people coming to your site. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And this is especially true if you’re in a competitive industry where the main terms in your SEO are high traffic terms such as popular electronics, weight loss, and things like this. You’re competing against players with millions of dollars in marketing budgets, millions of words of content online, and millions of people who already know about these stores and merchants. It will take significant time, patience, and an ongoing stream of excellent, curated content to begin indexing, which could take between nine and 12 months. Again, it’s best to think of SEO as investing, not hitting a home run.



When it comes to SEO marketing, the best question to ask isn’t, “How long will it take?”; it’s, “How powerful is my content?”

If you have a great brand and a great story, the best possible thing to do is build robust, rich content you yourself would enjoy reading, put it into the world (SEO-optimized, of course), and start again with your next batch of content. The better your content is, and the more frequent it is, the more likely you are to rank quicker and get a great SEO timeline.

Get a free consultation from Hawke Media