It Can Take Up to Six Months to Improve Search Rankings. Here’s Why.

Posted by on October 23, 2017

It Can Take Up to Six Months to Improve Search Rankings. Here’s Why.

How long does it take to improve search engine rankings? SEOs get asked this question all the time, and the short answer is: It just depends.Sometimes, it can happen quite fast, as in the case of viral content. But of course, very little content truly goes viral, and the odds are that even a company’s most popular blog post or video won’t quite reach that hallowed realm of popularity. And for non-viral content, it generally takes some time for search rankings to improve—roughly half a year, in fact, and in some cases longer.

You’ll want to keep this in mind when choosing an SEO partner, of course. If nothing else, it can protect you from outlandish claims. You’ll find some SEO companies that can promise quick results—improved rankings overnight—and you should be quite skeptical of this. These companies either can’t follow through on their own promises, or can do so only through gaming the system, resorting to black hat techniques that do more harm than good over the long term.

But you might be wondering why it takes so long to see rankings improved—and there are a number of factors that need to be considered here.

Remember: Google Serves its Search Engine Users First and Foremost

Improvement to your search engine rankings may be the most important thing in the world to you—but it’s not the most important thing in the world to Google (or to Bing). Their focus is on serving their customers—namely, search engine users—with the best search experience possible. So helping you achieve big rankings simply isn’t in the mission statement.

And as the search engines seek to provide a meaningful service to their users, they tend to be pretty cautious. They’re not going to immediately whisk your content to the top-ranked slot. Instead, they’re going to wait and see how popular the content is, and how much people seem to like it. Then they’ll make a decision about where that content should rank, how visible it needs to be.

Did you know that Google evaluates each piece of content according to 200 different ranking factors before determining its placement? Well, it does—and that’s a good explanation of why changing your rankings can take some time.

Age, Trust, and Rankings

Here’s another statistic that carries some relevance: When you look at all the pages that make it into the top 10 Google rankings for a given search term, the average age of that content is more than two years. Clearly, Google emphasizes established websites and content that has withstood the test of time. That’s because this evergreen content is, for Google, more credible and more trustworthy. (Meanwhile, among pages that are less than a year old, only about five percent make it into the top 10!)

Again, what this suggests for SEO is that looking for a quick fix probably isn’t going to do you much good. The best approach is to focus on creating content that’s really valuable—content that actually might stand the test of time, gaining traction and maintaining its relevance over the span of many months or years.

And this is another key point: Actually creating quality content can take time in and of itself. The days where hobbyists could bang out 300 words of flimsy content, then see it rank well on Google, are long gone. Today, the content that Google’s algorithms deem to be credible and valuable tends to be more detailed, well-researched, and aimed at providing concrete answers to search engine queries. Remember, Google wants to appeal to its users—and if you want to rank well, you need to align with that goal.

Additional Ranking Factors to Consider

There are some other factors you’ll want to consider as you think about improving your search rankings. One is that Google still values backlinks, but only the ones you win naturally—not the backlinks you buy. Once more, this can take some time. And social media is another big factor. Getting lots of social engagement is key, and that’s something that actually can happen in a short stretch of time—though just as often, content gains a social following slowly, over an extended period of time.

The takeaway from all this? Don’t shoot for a quick solution to your Google search needs. Instead, take the time to create quality content. And for help, reach out to our Orange County SEO experts here at EverythingOnline.