How Long Does SEO Take? – SEO 101

Jeremy Knauff 3.6K READS Editor’s note: This is a chapter from Search Engine Journal’s new e-book, SEO 101: Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization. Want to read the full guide? Download your copy of SEO 101 now! While there are many questions about SEO, few are as difficult to answer as “How long does it take?” This is because, in addition to all of the variables that play a role in the optimization of your own website, you also have to evaluate those same variables in your competitors’ optimization efforts. This can make an already complex question infinitely more difficult to answer. The short answer is “it depends.” Unfortunately, I won’t be giving you a specific timeframe for SEO results because that’s impossible. Nor will I be sharing some secret formula to answer this question because one simply doesn’t exist. However, there is a lot more to answering it than guesswork. The truth is that how long it takes comes down to analyzing several variables for your own website compared to the same variables for your competitors’ websites. There are three specific criteria that play a significant role on how long your SEO will take: competition, inbound links, and content. Competition If you’re selling something like salmon-flavored toaster pastries, you probably won’t face any competition. However, those of us selling products and services that real people will actually buy are going to face varying degrees of competition based on demand. For example, a plumber serving a small local market would face less competition than a real estate brokerage in the same city, which would face less competition than a national mortgage company. As you might imagine, the more competing webpages you’re up against, the longer it will take to get results. Both the difficulty and time necessary will usually follow a bell curve,…

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