Why Does SEO Take Months to See Real Results

Why does SEO take months to see real results, is a question that many potential clients or website owners ask when looking into SEO services/methods for the first time. There are various factors that come into play here and I will explain each of them.

Setup Stage

A new website won’t have the service’s setup that are required to do SEO effectively and monitor the results. Such as Google Analytics, Google search console, Bing Webmaster tools.

So first port of call for any SEO campaign is to ensure these are setup and correctly. They will then start collecting important data about visitors, how often your site appears in search results, along with a lot other important site data.

Even an established website with this setup will require access assigned to the new SEO company for all these accounts.

Then you also have website access to deal with: FTP access, logins for any website backend etc, so changes can be made to the website content and coding. This all takes time and eats into the first months work.

First of many answers to the question ” Why does SEO take months to see real results”.

Research Stage

Any successful SEO campaign is driven with researching the data available. Some examples of the sources used:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Keyword research
  • Website Audits

This again eats into the first months assigned time to work on the website.

Content and Coding Changes

Now the real work starts, using the data collected in the research stage changes can now start being implemented targeting the most important issues first. Depending on how complex these tasks are they can take another week or more to get implemented.

Even the small easier jobs once implemented take time if there is a lot of them to get through. Once these changes are implemented you will then need the search engines to recrawl the pages of your website. Once these changes have been picked up by the search engines they will then affect to your search results, which adds another delay in the process.

Yet another answer to the question ” Why does SEO take months to see real results “.

Link Outreach

Any link outreach being done is very time-consuming. We need to find other relevant quality websites that we could ask to link to yours. Get in contact with the site owner/admin. Then the other site owner need’s to add the links to the website. This usually takes a few weeks as a general turn around time.

Even once the links have been added to another website. You won’t reap any benefit in search engine results till the search engines have recrawled the pages your new links are on.

SERP’s Improvement

At this stage you will have improvements in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Though depending on the search terms competitiveness, your website history and the work being done, it may not be enough to give real results yet.

You may have gone from position 136 down to position 32, but realistically you won’t get any major traffic increase until you are at very least on the first page. It has been proven in studies that page 1 accounts for 91.5% of all traffic for a search term.

It’s really all about being in the top 5 to get a good level of traffic for any given search term. See the average split below for first page results.

  • 1 – 32.5%
  • 2 – 17.6%
  • 3 – 11.4%
  • 4 – 8.1%
  • 5 – 6.1%
  • 6 – 4.4%
  • 7 – 3.5%
  • 8 – 3.1%
  • 9 – 2.6%
  • 10 – 2.4%

So with this in mind it may take months of work to get a site in first page results for a search term your targeting if its very competitive. Even lesser competitive search terms realistically can take a couple of month’s work, to get good SERP results.

The Analytic’s Data Delay

Even once the work is done and it has been found by the search engines via recrawls of pages. Your ranking will have improved at this stage. Though we then need another few weeks if not a month’s worth of data collected by analytics and search console to have reportable gains for traffic and conversions.

So for each month’s work done, you need to wait for the work to be found by the search engine’s, then in addition another period to collect reportable data.

The End Result and What To Expect

In any new campaign your first month will mostly be spent setting up and researching. Your second month is when the real work starts as a general rule.

Now any work done usually won’t give reportable gains till at least the month after the work has been done. So work in month 2 will show an effect in the report for month 3. Work done in month 3 will show an effect in the report for month 4.

Realistically you need to give it 3-6 months of SEO work to get a good idea of how well things are going. Don’t expect to get any real reportable results before this. Sure you will get the odd small win in the early stages but don’t expect to be hitting position 1 for competitive search terms in the first month or 2.

If you want instant results then pay per click (PPC) is really the only way to get that. Even if its just short term while the SEO work gets done to build long term sustainable traffic.

Published by John

I have been working in the digital marketing industry since 2006 in that time have made many websites, optimized many sites for better search engine results. I have created and managed AdWords accounts of in excess of a million pounds a year.