How Long Does SEO Take to Work in 2023?

How long does modern SEO take to work

One of the most common questions we get at YEAH! Local is:

“How long will it take to rank my business for this keyword and that keyword.” In fact, you probably found this post by searching “How long does it take SEO to work” or something similar.

It’s not surprising that this is a common line of questioning.  

But truth be told, it might not be that helpful a question to ask in the beginning—except maybe as a test.

Allow me to explain:

Any trustworthy estimate is based on in-depth research.

The more research, the more reliable the estimate will be.

So, if you ask your local SEO “expert” how long it will take to see results with them and they respond with something like “6 months minimum”—or higher—from the beginning, proceed with caution.

Indeed, a much better answer might be “There’s no telling, but…

“We Can Begin with an Assessment”

SEO Assessment in Atlanta

There’s really no way around it.

If anyone in SEO tries to give you a timeline without looking at your website first, be on guard.

Either they are a rookie or a shyster.

In the world of search engine optimization, every site is different. No matter what type of site you have, you need an effective SEO strategy to reach your goals.

Ranking for a specific keyword may take anywhere from 24 hours to 2 years depending on your site’s history, your location, and the industry.  

Plus, Google may let another animal out of its zoo at any given moment.

Before top-notch SEO consultants quote anything, they do keyword research, site audits, competitor analysis, etc.

And if they truly know what they are doing, they should be able to find a few areas to tweak your digital marketing campaigns that bring an immediate effect.

The Easy Wins

Undoubtedly, SEO is a long-term strategy. However, it's an incredibly cost-effective method to address the “Promotion” part of the 5 ps of marketing.

But SEOs that are really worth their salt know how to look at the full scope of a brand’s online presence and find every possible place for improvement.

Often, the smallest things can have a HUGEimmediate impact.

Short-term and Long-term SEO work Synergistically in Atlanta
Short-term and Long-term SEO work Synergistically

Sometimes it might be a small edit to the text on a page.  Or perhaps the meta-data just needs to be cleaned up.  

There are even times when a subtle change on social media can gain your website several spots on the Google results page.

Finding these subtle solutions takes both creativity and genuine SEO expertise.

The list of tasks associated with search engine optimization grows every month.

In a major way, our industry helps to keep businesses abreast of all sorts of trends in the digital world.

Often, a website is just behind the times and needs to be brought to date, so to speak.

Just make sure you always have your sights set on your brand’s long-term goals.

Here is a great infographic walking through the details:

How long does SEO take to work
Courtesy of: The Website Group

Taking Search Traffic Seriously

SEO is not for jokers
If You Don't Take Search Seriously, Expect to get KO'd in the Search Results

The Internet generates the majority of leads in most industries.

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That’s why SEO brings such a high ROI.

But the fact is that there is often some waiting involved—especially if your goals are as lofty as they should be.

In many industries, the difference between the first and second page equates to a 5, 6, or 7-figure difference in revenue.

Most business owners would gladly wait a year or more for those types of results…

…if only they were guaranteed.

Most clients are unwilling to sign a 6-month, 4 or 5-figure contract if they aren’t extremely sure about the results they will get.

And we see why.  A lot of these contracts have SCAM written all over them in big, bold letters.

Shady companies can use them to rope you in with no real intention of ranking your website.

But this isn’t always the case.

Contract Signing in Atlanta GA

While YEAH! Local never make our clients sign contracts, we know that a 6 to 12-month contract isn’t always a bad idea.

There are two reasons for this:

First, your site (or entire online presence) may need a complete overhaul in order for you to truly compete in your field.  

The invariably takes time and resources; more accurately, this takes ongoing resources over time.

Second, all SEO effort should continually build on itself.  The climate in your industry may require months or years of consistent effort to begin ranking. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Remember though, it takes a full-scale assessment to see the whole picture.

Legitimate agencies might use 6 to 12-month contracts to ensure that clients don’t get out too early.

Spending months paying service charges to never reach intended goals sucks.

Both sides of our industry want to avoid that.

Realistic Expectations

One of the most important things to have in the marketing world is perspective.

Realistic Expectations for SEO

It plays so many parts.

As an SEO agency, it’s essential we understand the perspective of both users and the search engines.

For an SEO client, keeping perspective is what is most important.

However, the responsibility falls on the agency to set realistic expectations for their prospective clients.  That’s why so many leading SEO companies have some sort of discovery page or form.

“In many industries, the difference between the first and second page equates to a 5, 6, or 7-figure difference in revenue.”

By gathering a business’s relevant info beforehand, the quality and value of the initial consultation are increased dramatically.

This sets a foundation for the digital campaigns themselves as well as communication about those campaigns down the road.

An agency needs to know everything about the brands they represent. 

But business owners really only need a basic understanding of the steps involved.

Generally, any SEO campaign has several overlapping phases to it.

At YEAH! Local, we break it down like this:

  1. Research – We are “Information Architects”, so knowledge is the foundation of everything we do.  Website history, keywords, competition, industry, and more.
  2. Marketing Strategy – Based on our research and expertise, we formulate a plan specific to your brand.  We understand when it’s appropriate to shift your image, or simply bolster it.
  3. Optimization – Living up the search engines’ high standards is crucial. Optimizing all on-page factors is the first step.  This includes code, text, media, and everything else.
  4. Link Building and Content Marketing – Modern online reputation management is a multi-faceted process that takes real ingenuity.  You want to create a digital profile that establishes you as an authority.
  5. Testing – We monitor every facet of your campaigns.  Not just rankings but user experience and conversion rates.  
  6. Rinse and Repeat – As we continue to build your brand’s SEO profile, we rinse and repeat these processes on an ongoing basis.  This is the only way to stay on the cutting edge.
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Modern digital marketing agencies that don’t constantly monitor, plan and test are destined to falter in their actions one way or another.

SEOs are tasked with building online trust with search engines and users.

As a matter of course, you should look for these types of trust signals when you looking for a company to help represent your business online.

Trust Signals

Before you trust any SEO company’s timeline, take a look at their own marketing.

Does it invoke trust?

trust in your SEO companyRemember, they are going to help you represent your brand online.  

If they don’t invoke trust in themselves, how are they going to do that for you?

It’s important that you understand some of the basic principles of SEO.  

But if you own a business in an unrelated industry, you’re best off not forming too many opinions.  

Internet marketing changes too rapidly for any but devoted search optimizers to keep up.

But it’s easy to think of it in terms of “The 3 R’s”:

Rankings: Do they actually have first-page rankings?

Reviews: Do they have reviews or testimonials for their services?

Reaction: How do their own branding, design, sales process, etc. make you feel?

Of course, having all three is always nice.  But truth be told, if an agency you’re interested in has any one of these three in spades, you can probably trust them enough to take a look.

If you’ve been doing your own Atlanta SEO for years and have had some decent results, feel free to ask a few questions to vet out your consultant.

Otherwise, you’re best off with just a basic understanding and a healthy bit of skepticism.

Once you feel you can trust them, give them your information.  Only then should you consider their timeline.

Realistic Rankings for SEO

At this point, it serves as a final check:

When you ask, “How long does it take to get results with SEO?” expect a reply that sets forth realistic expectations tapered nicely with an early win or two.

How Long Does SEO Take to Work in 2023?

9 thoughts on “How Long Does SEO Take to Work in 2023?”

  1. img-16

    I learned much for myself from this article. From my personal experience, SEO begins working in 1-2 months after building links and optimizing website in correct way. Earlier results are very unlikely

  2. img-20

    The post is very informative. Thank you so much for making it so simple. Now, I can easily work on it. I really liked your crispy writing style and the way you have presented the information.

  3. img-21

    You need high authority backlinks now. Preferably guest posts on DA 40+ websites. This will dramatically speed up your rankings.

  4. img-22

    Your blog is really awesome because whatever i was finding thats all thing availble in your article. According to your article there should be best Write titles, descriptions, and great content with keywords,and i have done all activity on my page but there are not satisfaction with the ranking ????

  5. img-23

    Hi Jody – SEO does take time but if you are 3 years in you want to look at the basics to get your pages or articles ranked. Write titles, descriptions, and great content with keywords people are searching for and then you need to get high authority backlinks to those pages/posts (this is the hard part). If you are missing either of these components then you could still be waiting a while to see more traffic. Hope that helps!

  6. img-24

    I love this article! Its strait forward and truthful! I have had my website up for almost 3 years but the fact is, we are always improving something on our pages even if it is something minor. I stumbled upon this artcle because YES im doing so much work on my website and tweeking things here and there and i thought i would have more traffic after almost 3 years and tons of work. But there is so much that goes into making that happen. I don’t want to make millions, i just want to share what i have to offer to the people that love fashion. I love fashion! Hopefully my website can move up as the customers i do get love my website and they do come back to order!

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