By Laia Cardona, on 17 June 2022
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Instead of obsessing over short-term results, you need to look at it as an investment that will pay off for years to come.
That said, the first few months of an SEO strategy are critical to creating a solid foundation that you can layer on over time. Let's take a look at how long SEO results take to achieve and what the key moments in an SEO timeline are.
When Can I See My SEO Results?
In general, most brands start to see significant results in organic traffic and lead generation about 6-12 months after optimizing a website for SEO. This is only a guideline. In reality, it depends on many factors including:
- The level of SEO competition in your niche market.
- The keywords you are trying to rank for.
- Your SEO optimization budget and the amount of time it requires.
- Your domain authority.
- The quality of your inbound links.
- The amount of optimization your site requires. Some types of optimization tasks can achieve faster results, for example, removing spam links or fixing issues that affect Google's ability to crawl your site. For a quick pulse check on how your SEO strategy is performing, our first recommendation is to check your Google Search Console reports and fix any errors as soon as possible.
Take note of these tips to speed up the process as much as possible:
- Create high-quality content. It is well known that in digital marketing, content is king. Consistently producing the best content in your industry on each topic is necessary to get quality inbound links. Therefore, spend all of the necessary time to create well-researched, well-written, and engaging content.
- Prioritize collaboration. SEO is a team effort that requires the collaboration of experts in very different fields: web developers, community managers, copywriters, marketing experts, and more. For everything to work perfectly, you need to clearly define the creation, approval, and implementation processes.
- Set realistic goals. Every company wants to be in the first position on Google for the top keywords in its sector. But if you have just launched your website, this goal is probably not achievable in the short term. Instead, set achievable and realistic micro-goals that will help motivate your team along the way.
SEO Timeline: The First 6 Months
The first 6 months of a new campaign are essential to see results from your SEO strategy.
SEO Timeline: Month 1
In the first month of an SEO campaign, you should focus on research and discovery. The goal will be to better understand your target audience's pain points, your company's unique selling proposition within your industry, and your competitors' SEO strengths and weaknesses.
There are two major tasks that should be performed during this first month:
- Keyword research to identify keywords to optimize your website with and measure your current position.
- A complete audit of your website, both the technical side and the content. It is possible that this audit will help you identify SEO problems that are easy to fix and can give you visible results in the short term.
SEO Timeline: Month 2
Now, you can start with optimizing your website and content. These are the main tasks for the second month:
- Modify your website based on the results of the technical audit, for example, by updating meta descriptions and alt texts or improving loading speed.
- Brainstorm content ideas for the main keywords.
- Perform an audit of inbound links you have linking back to your website. The emphasis should be on detecting links that you can remove.
SEO Timeline: Month 3
In month 3, focus mainly on restructuring the content on your website to maximize its potential. For example, you can create pillar pages and topic clusters or merge several articles into one to avoid keywords competing with each other.
The other major task of the month should be to start link building campaigns, establishing relationships with quality sites in your sector and collaboration opportunities, for example, through guest posting.
SEO Timeline: Month 4
Now, you should start producing and publishing high-quality content related to the keywords you want to position for. Your content must meet these objectives:
- Reflect the users' search intent.
- Offer visitors the maximum possible value.
- Be optimized for all on-page SEO elements, such as titles, headings, meta descriptions, and internal links.
In addition, you should also focus on identifying and fixing any broken links so that your authority isn't affected.
SEO Timeline: Month 5
At this point, your new or optimized content will start to be detected by Google and inbound links will pass more and more authority to your domain.
The main tasks for the month will be the following:
- Continue to produce and publish content.
- Do another round of keyword research to identify more ranking opportunities.
- Publish guest posts on other relevant industry sites to generate more quality inbound links.
SEO Timeline: Month 6
You may already be starting to see results from your SEO campaign, but remember that each case is different and it may still take several months.
From month 6 onwards, since the initial work is already done, focus on creating a continuous cycle of content planning and production, on-page optimization, and link building. By repeating these tasks, you will be consistently updating your SEO strategy.
Since it is likely that you will already have a significant amount of traffic, you can also start to consider launching A/B tests to further improve the user experience on your site.