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How Long Does It Really Take to Rank at the Top of Google’s Search Results?

How Long Does It Really Take to Rank at the Top of Google’s Search Results?

The short answer is six months to a year. The long answer is: it depends.

In the early 2000s, ranking on Google was pretty easy. You just added your main keywords to the title, URL, and body of the content, and boom! It made it to the top 10 in search results in a few weeks or even days. Maybe not for major competitive terms, but definitely for less competitive ones.

The competition was less intense and the search engine algorithms relied only on keywords and links on a 50-50 basis to rank a web page. This means that if you add a lot of relevant keywords to your web page and create a few links, you have a 100% chance of ranking on Google quickly.

Link farms, keyword stuffing, and footer links all worked and SEO was a breeze at the time. Until three or four years ago, it was a lot easier: You had just created links from high PR pages, and your site soared to the top. But this “magic” no longer works.

Before two and a half years ago, I could start to see results in six months. You still can, to an extent, but these days it really takes another year, unless you have brand inquiries where a lot of people are typing in your domain name and you have high click-through rates and amazing user metrics.

Today, Google updates its algorithm frequently: In 2018, it made 3,234 changes, an average of 8.9 per day. With each improvement, the algorithm becomes more sophisticated, which means that it is much more difficult to rank in Google, regardless of whether you have a new or old domain.

The Variables that Come into Play

Most marketers are aware that there are over 200 ranking factors at play, but the most important ones that directly influence a website’s ranking are explained below. These factors play an important role in ranking a website and decide which sites move to the top faster and stay on top the longest.

User Metrics

If you have a lot of amazing brand queries and user metrics, in many cases I have seen sites rank in just a few months. But if you don’t have it, in most cases, you will have to wait another year. I speak of a domain in general, the complete domain.

User metrics decide whether or not people who visit your site like it, for simplicity. These are some of the basic user metrics that search engines take into account.

Pages viewed

A visit to a page is counted as a visit to a web page on a website. If any visitor lands on page A of your website and leaves to visit page B of your website, pages A and B will each have a one-page view. However, if the visitor leaves page B to return to page A, page A will now have two page views:

How Long Does It Really Take to Rank at the Top of Google’s Search Results?

A higher number of page views indicates the importance of a web page. This means that people repeatedly visit the page looking for information that is useful to them. For a page to rank higher in Google, it must have a large number of page views (probably higher than its closest competitors).

Total traffic

The total traffic metric is the total number of visitors to your site. It can come from any channel, such as organic, social, direct, or referred. A website that generates a total number of traffic of 25,000 visitors per month is considered more valuable by search engines compared to a website that generates a total of 2,000 visitors per month:

How Long Does It Really Take to Rank at the Top of Google’s Search Results?

Bounce Rate

This refers to the percentage of website visitors who leave the site after viewing a single page. A high bounce rate means that people don’t find your site very valuable, meaning it doesn’t contain the information they’re looking for.

In contrast, a low bounce rate indicates that people like the site. Search engines take bounce rate into account when ranking sites, so a site with a low bounce rate has a higher chance of ranking faster on Google.

The benchmarks for the average bounce rate are:

  • 10% or less needs some investigation
  • 10-45% is excellent
  • 45-65% is typical
  • 65-75% is poor
  • 75%+ is concerning

Unique Visitors

This measures the number of unique IP addresses visitors are coming from when they visit your site. In other words, calculate the number of different people who visit your site.

A higher number of unique visitors indicates a popular site and therefore deserves a higher ranking. So if you can quickly increase the number of unique visitors to your site, Google can promote it by ranking it at the top of the SERPs:

How Long Does It Really Take to Rank at the Top of Google’s Search Results?


Links are counted as a “vote” for a website. The higher the number of votes on your site, the better your chances of ranking at the top of search results.

Links are divided into two categories: high quality and low quality:

High-quality links are relevant and come naturally over time; therefore, acquiring these links takes time.

Low-quality links are paid or spam links that are not sourced, but purchased to artificially increase the number of links pointing to any website.

Your site must have a lot of natural links pointing to it to start ranking higher because Google is extremely proficient at detecting unnatural links or spam.

A new study published in Moz by Eric Enge reveals that links with a score of 0.293 have a strong correlation with rankings. Moz DA (domain authority) and Moz PA (page authority) also have a strong correlation with rankings, as shown in the following graph:

How Long Does It Really Take to Rank at the Top of Google’s Search Results?

Therefore, links are still an important factor in Google ranking. Once a site starts acquiring links, you will see an improvement in ranking, but sites that acquire natural links continuously over time have the best chance of ranking at the top and most importantly staying there.

Domain Popularity

The popularity of a new domain is more likely to rank higher in the shortest amount of time. For example, if many people typed in “funnywill” every day and Funny Will was a new domain name, you would see the ranking very fast compared to an old domain name and very few people were doing a Google search for the brand.

Age of the Ranking Page

Your web pages must be older to start ranking, especially if you’re targeting popular keywords. Top terms are highly competitive, and therefore Google relies on pages that are old enough to provide researchers with the most relevant information.

The average age of the top-ranking website is two years or more. This was confirmed in a study by Ahrefs and is shown in the following graph:

How Long Does It Really Take to Rank at the Top of Google’s Search Results?

Domain Authority

Assuming you already have a small domain authority on your site, then yes, it may take a few weeks to rank first. If you’re ranked 30, 40, or 50, this isn’t great because it means you’re not showing up on page one, but it shows that you’re making progress. So this is something you want to monitor.

Any increase in domain authority will have a direct impact on your ranking because higher DA sites rank higher in search results, as long as other ranking factors are also taken into account, such as UX, links, and content. .

According to Ana Gotter:

“There are a number of tools that allow you to check the authority of your domain for free, but the best ones are the Moz Explorer tool or its free MozBar Chrome extension, which provides domain authority directly from the source. Moz’s Explorer is not a free tool in general, but you can get up to 10 free consultations per month. “

How to Speed Up Your Google Rankings

Now that you understand that it takes a long time to rank your site on Google (at least 6-12 months), as rankings depend on many variables, let’s examine the factors that can speed up your ranking on Google. Following the tips below will increase your chances of speeding up your site’s ranking on Google:

Improve your website user experience, allow easy navigation, and increase your website loading speed.

Find out which pages you’ve already ranked for, but not ranking high, and optimize them for relevant keywords and phrases.

Prepare exclusive, trustworthy, and engaging content that really helps the user. Use external links to support the statements or statistics you use in your content.

  • Optimize your site for mobile devices.
  • Get as many high authority backlinks as possible.
  • Use internal links that point to related content and fix broken links.
  • Submit a sitemap to Google Search Console every time you add new pages to your site.

Final Thoughts

Ranking on Google is not easy, especially if you are working on a fixed budget and your business is not very popular. Popular companies always have more hand in obtaining ranking in the shortest possible time, since they have links, brand mentions, quotes, brand research, and direct traffic.

If you are on a fixed budget and your business is new, expect your ranking to rise slowly. The slowly rising ranking is stable over a long period of time, so be patient and wait six months to a year before expecting positive results.

Also, remember that SEO requires you to regularly perform many activities that increase your brand’s presence on Google, such as comprehensive site optimization, link acquisition, and content quality improvement.

Your search engine optimizer is the best person (or people) to help you with these activities, so trust your SEO provider and deliver the best products, services, and content to your customers. Good grades!

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