“How long does it take for my website to rank organically?”

seo-idea-lightbulbs-ss-1920A common question asked of SEO specialists today – and the answer is not as clear cut as you think. 


by Doug Gauld, Head of SEO.

SEO in 2016 is far more complex than those black hat heydays of the 90s, and there are a number of metrics that you should be evaluating when looking at the performance of your website.

Why organic rankings are no longer he Alpha(bet) and Omega

  1. Long tail keywords are more instrumental in driving conversions. This is largely the result of the way users search in 2016. Instead of searching for “keyword” users now search for, e.g.: “Where can I find the best “keyword” at the cheapest rate?”
  2. Searches are becoming more localised. Instead of searching for “plumber” users are inclined to search for “plumber near me”, “plumber Lynwood” or even “plumbers located in Lynwood”. This naturally means that being number one for plumber is no longer the be all and end all of your search strategy.
  3. Mobile searches can account for up to 50% of all search trafficcoupled with the move to localisation it is much more important to feature on localised mobile results. If you search for a restaurant or a place to stay, chances are you will be searching from a mobile device.
  4. Personalised search results.  Based on a user’s previous search history, search engines like Google will provide different search results based on your past behaviour, preferences, interests and browser settings.
  5. Google isn’t the only way that users search for information in 2016 and many searches originate on YouTube, Pinterest or even review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.

If you consider the above, then any organic strategy should focus on all of these factors and not just obsess around keyword rankings

SEO in 2016 is much more about identifying users’ path to conversion and then finding ways to optimise those paths. 

Local-SEOThe role of the SEO analyst in 2016 is more diverse than merely chasing rankings and has taken on a more strategic role in that all channels are integrated into an overall digital strategy that isn’t channel agnostic and optimises all channels in order to deliver more conversions, while lowering the cost per conversion and increasing the ROI across all digital channels.

Instead of asking “how long” before you start ranking maybe the question should be, “How long before SEO starts generating relevant traffic and Leads?”

The answer to this question can be found in this article from Forbes Magazine.

In a nutshell, most SEO analysts will tell you “anything from 4 to 6 months” depending on the niche and the competitive landscape.

Fact is that SEO and Content Marketing are long term approaches and any website/brand that is serious about this should take a long term view.

SEO is a continuous process and should be the key element in any sustainable digital strategy