One of the most common questions we get when speaking with a prospective client is “how long does it take for SEO to get results?“.
World’s most annoying answer:
Sorry, but it’s true… it depends on a number of factors:
- How competitive is the industry?
- Who are your competitors?
- How established is the business?
- What’s the state of your website’s SEO?
- What resources or assets do you have that we can utilise?
- What does the client’s perception of ‘results’ look like?
It’s a really tough question to answer well, so to provide the best answer possible, we reached out to 16 SEO industry experts to see what they had to say.
Are Fast SEO results possible in 2020?
Nathan Gotch – Gotch SEO
“Quick” and “SEO” don’t commingle often, but there are some ways to score quick wins. In fact:
The best way to start an SEO campaign to tackle all the quick wins (I call these low hanging fruits) as you can.
Here are 3 of my go-to methods for driving results quicker than normal:
1. Using the Authority Transfer Technique
The Authority Transfer Technique is simple. Every time you publish a new SEO content asset, look for existing pages on your site to add internal links to it. Just go to Ahrefs, enter your domain into the Site Explorer, click on “Best by Links”, and add a link on pages that are topically relevant (and have existing links). This gives your assets a nice boost out of the gate. It can also help with crawling and indexing as well.
2. Restructuring Site Architecture
Most neglect their site architecture and this is a big mistake. You can explode your organic search traffic by using intelligent internal linking. I could dedicate an entire guide to this, but the biggest piece to understand is depth. You want your most important pages (pages you want to rank in Google in this case) to be only a few clicks deep.
3. Consolidating Assets
Websites are littered with thin, duplicate, and outdated content. One of the best ways to tackle these issues is to consolidate similar assets into one “mother” asset. I call this The Cake Technique. Not only does this eradicate thin content, but it helps you build powerful SEO content assets.
Combine these three simple methods and it’s possible to get “quicker” SEO results.
Ryan Stewart – WEBRIS / The Blueprint
The fastest way to get results is to redirect an existing website into the one you’re trying to rank.
I did this with a bunch of pages on https://webris.org into my training website, https://theblueprint.training. The rankings and equity passed within a few days, pushing organic traffic to the site.
This only works when you have 2 relevant domains with similar content. I basically took the training content from WEBRIS and put it on The Blueprint.
You can look to buy domains if you don’t have multiple websites to use on your own.
Other than that, SEO is just a matter of doing things the right way and giving it time to react. No shortcuts.
Brendan Tully – WP Speed Fix
Yes, it’s possible but as with most things in SEO, “it depends”. It’s an uphill battle with a brand new, fresh out of the box site and domain. There’s definitely some sandbox-type effect that impacts most brand new sites and have even seen it on our own sites.
If it’s an existing site and domain that’s say 1-2 years old at a minimum then yes definitely doable and you could see huge gains within 3 months depending on the niche. Ecommerce and local SEO sites are the easiest here.
For a brand new site that needs an immediate hit of traffic and conversions Google Ads is really the short term solution.
Typically our checklist for a new SEO campaign regardless of the goal of the campaign looks something like:
- the site MUST be on good quality hosting – we got into speed optimisation as we found an immediate boost when we moved sites from bad hosting (Bluehost, Hostgator, Godaddy etc) to good hosting.The obvious question here we’re asked all the time is “”how do I know if my hosting is any good?”” – an easy way to confirm this is to run uptime monitoring with something like Uptimerobot.com (ideally the paid plan). If the website is going offline regularly then your hosting probably sucks (also uptime is at least 2x as important as speed but that’s for another discussion!).Also in Australia so many businesses host in the US which puts their site at an immediate speed disadvantage – if your target market is Australia then it’s really important to host here.
- we give the site a general speed onceover, in particular here look for pages with huge images and broken links. We generally do a full site wide speed test as one area where speed absolutely impacts rankings is in relation to page sizes.We’ve had a number of local client site rankings stuck, done a site wide speed test and discovered a large number of pages with 5mb+ of images, fixed them and the site immediately jumped up.
- we do a keyword-content matching exercise – for every search term the business wants to rank for we need a page of content. Getting the business owner to list on a page every product and service they sell and then match it to a page on the website is a super simple way to uncover gaps in content. Broadly speaking, if you don’t have a page of content for a term you can’t rank for it AND a single page can’t rank for two different terms.For example, in the ecommerce space, the pink widget page can’t rank for “pink widgets” and “blue widgets”, you need a dedicated page for each. In the local SEO space, a page on a dentist website about teeth whitening can’t rank for both “teeth whitening” and “dental implants”, we need a separate page for each.
Out of this exercise we then have a content building list usually.
From there we look at:
- onpage SEO auditing using Semrush or Agency Analytics
- page indexation, title tags, meta description and CTR optimisation
- basic backlink profile building
If you’re wondering about your website’s speed and performance, WP Speed Fix’s free speed test tool is definitely worth checking out: https://sitespeedbot.com.
It gives detailed insights on why a site is slow AND how to fix it and now also includes some basic SEO analytics.
We use this tool regularly, as one of the benefits over other speed tools (Pingdom, GTMetrix) is the detailed, actionable and easy to follow tips on how to implement the suggested changes to your site. Check it out!
David Pagotto – SIXGUN
1. When building page titles, be sure to include ‘near me’. This technique works especially well for trade businesses as when people search they will use the term ‘plumber near me’ or ‘coffee shop near me’. Quick, simple and very effective.
2. If you have changed jobs recently and been previously quoted in roundups with links to your previous business, then reach out to the author again and ask them to update company and url to your new place of work. Again, simple and effective.
Dmitrii Kustov – Regex SEO
It really depends on what you mean by “results”.
After being in the industry for 11 years, I learned the difference between “results” and “progress”.
Unfortunately, one is often confused with another. This is what we tell our SEO clients:
Typically, we will see some keywords to get on the first page of Google within 6 months, and it takes about a year to really see the full results of SEO campaign. However, progress is visible pretty much right away, within a couple of weeks. The rankings will start crawling up, website sessions will be going up as well, and technical SEO issues will be resolved right away.
Alexander Porter – SearchItLocal
Ask 100 different business owners the secret to successful SEO and you’ll get 100 different answers.
This contributes to the mystery surrounding search engine optimisation. In reality, there are core changes you can make today to begin influencing your search rankings, literally tomorrow.
The truth is, fast SEO results ARE possible.
While national SEO still requires a long-term vision, this is not the case for Local SEO. Moving the needle and dominating your local area is possible in the short-term.
Here’s a snapshot of how you do it:
Create and optimise your Google My Business (GMB) Listing: This includes verifying your listing, ensuring your NAP is accurate, and filling out all relevant business information.
Start filling your GMB with happy reviews: Word of mouth has become word of web. Encourage your client base to provide honest and authentic reviews of how much they love you.
Build a catalogue of citations: This is the most overlooked aspect of Local SEO success. Accurate citations can move the needle in a matter of days.
Optimise for Voice Search: Long-tail keywords are becoming more and more commonly searched as people use voice search with more regularity. Adjusting your content to suit the more conversational tones people have when using voice search will help you rank.
These 3 steps are the cornerstone of Local SEO results that are fast and effective.
Get your GMB verified and full of info. Then watch as citations and reviews create the one-two punch that will knock your competitors out of the top spot in map and pack results.
By creating content on your website that speaks to the long-tail local intent of your audience, you’ll add an extra layer of value that makes you unmissable in your local area.
Using these strategies we’ve helped our GMB clients achieve results in a matter of days.
And the best part? These aren’t secret tactics. They’re out there and available to all businesses.
So they could be your results too.
Jack Genesin- Jack Genesin Consulting
This is a multi-facet answer. Essentially this comes down to:
- How ‘results’ are defined.
- What the businesses’ goals are.
- What the competition is like in the landscape the business is trying to compete in.
- Whether the business has a brand new domain/website or a has an existing one with historical authority.
Quick SEO results are possible for an existing website with historical authority.
If the foundation has already been laid and the site is already getting some sort of results, then further results can be obtained quickly in most cases.
If the business has a brand new website/domain or one with little historical authority, then results are unlikely to come quickly if the business is aiming to compete in a digital landscape against strong competitors.
If the businesses goal is to enter a very niche market, a market with little/no competition, or a very localised market, then it is possible to achieve quick results whether the website is brand new or not.
Jarrod Partridge – Valher Media
Fast SEO results are definitely possible in 2020!
Using a backlink and outreach approach I was able to help a client climb 2.8 million positions in Ahrefs Rank in August alone.
We did this via the Managing Director being willing to be interviewed on radio and TV, as well as in print, and by submitting guest articles on niche-specific websites.
Not only did their Ahrefs rank grow, but they also started to rank for 27 more keywords than they had in July, and added 89 new backlinks through our content strategy.
Is it possible to rank quickly in 2020?
Yes. Is it easy? No, you definitely have to have a strategy, understand there are no short cuts, and be willing to be the ‘face’ of your organisation.
Angela Han – SharpGrowth
Sure it’s possible to achieve quick clients for yourself or a client. But only if you’re going to do it in a seriously black hat way if you want to get truly rapid results.
The fact is that SEO will take time to complete. It is not a one time thing where you get there instantly or your only goal is to be found when people are searching for your brand name/website address in Google.
It is possible to appear ‘faster’ in a white hat way if:
- The niche/industry and keywords are not very competitive at all
- They have an exact match domain for the exact thing they do. For example “(service)(city).com”. I have done this before for a client who has an exact match domain and the rankings can be quite quick.The downside can be that if they expand their service range to other things the name may not accurately reflect what they do in the future. So there are some branding considerations.
Tom Wills – Slickplan
I’d say that with today’s powerful analytical tools such as AHRefs, it has become easier to spot long hanging fruit i.e. keywords which are relevant to your campaign but which are not overly competitive.
Focusing on these and longer tail keywords coupled with a strong manual link building campaign, we’ve seen good results for our national campaign in a 3-month window of time.
Charlie Worrall – Imaginaire Digital
As a rule of thumb; SEO, from scratch, usually takes around 3 months to kick-in from my experience. This can often be affected by the age of the domain and a plethora of other factors. But, as most other SEO specialists will tell you; SEO is a long term investment and can take a while to have a definitive effect.
However, there are a few tips and tricks that could help to give you a boost.
One of which is the use of Google’s Search Console. After updating or adding content to your website, submitting the URL and requesting it to be indexed should lessen the time it takes it to be picked up by Google. This means that If you’ve changed your H1 to target a different keyword and you make a request for it to be indexed, the rankings should be effected sooner then if you we’re to let Google capture it naturally.
Similarly, you can target the questions that surround your main keyword and the featured snippets. For example; if we were to target ‘stainless steel’, the question with the highest search volume is “how to clean stainless steel?”.
Featured snippets sit at position 0 and so they’re more likely to clicks than the 1st position. So if you can get a featured snippet with a high search volume, you could see a dramatic increase.
Jakub Kliszczak – Channels
In general, fast SEO results are possible but there’s plenty of factors that go into whether an SEO-based effort will turn out to be successful. First, is the domain. If you’re using well-established domain with high domain authority then you’ve got a much better chance of a quick SEO win.
Second, if you manage to create some buzz around what you’ve create and therefore boost traffic you might succeed as well.
Third, the best way to look for quick SEO wins is looking for content gaps that your competitors are not aware of. The easiest and maybe most valuable technique is to capitalize on untouched long-tail keywords that have proper Volume/Difficulty ratio and are highly focused on user intent (people actually click on the search results). This way you can quickly reach the first page or even snippets of high-value terms with minimum effort.
Quentin Aisbett – onqmarketing
As an agency, we’re often fortunate enough to work with clients in this situation, where it is typically a matter of improving the way the website is crawled by search engines and providing users with a better experience. This can produce fast results. In fact, in a recent example where we worked with a national B2B business, results had increased significantly even within weeks.
In other instances, where the brand is not established and the competition is strong, then the task of looking for fast SEO results can be much more difficult.
The strategy in such cases is to look for the low-hanging fruit, where the competition is too big to be focusing but as a smaller or new brand, there is an opportunity to see quick results. Results in this situation can be anywhere between 3 months and 6 months depending on the size of the competition, the business’ authority/expertise, and the history of the brand.
Louis Watton – Shiply
In my experience for large international websites the only way you will ever see true quick results in the SEO space in 2020 is by having something go viral.
There are easy tasks such as reclaiming broken links and redirecting old pages which can give you quick wins but they won’t have a massive effect on your overall traffic. SEO is by nature a long haul task, but viral content will certainly give you some short term boosts in traffic and customers.
The Local SEO space is currently far more likely to provide quick wins as often a local company will have many basic mistakes and opportunities which, once corrected, can quickly get more customers in (a business suddenly appearing in Google Maps and searches because of a claimed ‘Google My Business’ account will certainly see this as a quick win).
Jonathan Argile – Zeal
Fast results are always dependent on what issues specific clients/websites have. A website which is well optimised potentially will take longer to see organic results over a website which has a significant issue such as blocking Google from crawling & indexing the website.
We have seen positive improvements for clients range from happening within a month of activity through to 3-6 months of work on a domain.
Our SEO strategies purely depend on the client and the issue they may have whether that be technical, content, outreach or a combination of different issues. Generally, for all clients, we work to identify the key opportunities to focus our efforts on which will maximise the return on investment for the client. For any client, you should start to see some level of results whether positive or negative within a couple of weeks whether that is traffic changes or specific keyword movements.
We work across clients who focus on both local and national results, we can generally see faster results across local based businesses due to their relevance to their individual markets and keywords that they are targeting.
Jason Scott – JCS Digital
Achieving fast results in SEO is now significantly harder than it used to be.
Historically, manipulating website rankings was easier and competition for placings was much lower. Over time Google has become wise to these manipulative practices and has developed an algorithm that penalises websites employing such strategies.
With that said, I have been able to get fast SEO results for some my clients via simple content optimisation. Often a client will create a website that is UX focused, their content is therefore very much geared towards the user and providing them with the information they need. By doing this they neglect keywords and what users are searching. By carrying out some keyword research and optimising the content and meta tags towards these terms, quite often you’ll see sharp improvements in rankings that will increase organic traffic.
After reading what these top SEO experts have to say – can you implement any of these tactics within your SEO strategy to speed up results?
Here’s some key takeaways that I learned from these experts:
- Ecommerce and local business websites tend to produce the quickest results – or at least provide the most opportunity for quick SEO results.
- Results and progress aren’t necessarily the same thing… it’s important to identify your objectives and clearly understand what you are wanting to achieve and what the business goals and expectations are.
- Fast results to one business may be 2 weeks, while to another it might be 12 months.
- Get internal stakeholders involved — this can help leverage the assets available to you; whether that be people or indistry-leading content that you (or your clients) have produced.
Anything I’ve missed? Let me know below!