seo-takes-timeIt is not uncommon for webmasters, e-commerce store owners, and bloggers to wonder why it takes so long for their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to make a dent in search results. Some businesses who hired third-party agencies to do the job may feel frustrated with the expenses defrayed on an SEO campaign when they realize that it takes longer than estimated to see significant returns on their investments.

When it comes to the complex methodology of SEO, there is just no shortcut solution. Understand that various factors influence the duration for an SEO plan to actually realize its objectives. There can be a number of reasons why the turn-around time for SEO is longer than expected or why the efforts have not hit the mark just yet.

Here are some of the elements that affect the time it takes for SEO to work:

Site setup and initial management

Launching an SEO campaign and setting up a website entails a lot of work. In most cases, the initial tasks would include redesigning the website, updating the site map, addressing domain name issues, improving site speed and security, checking for bad code, and fixing navigation problems. These are just a few of the website concerns that need to be tackled first.

After completing the setup, regular monitoring needs to be done. These would require running some checks, and performing some troubleshooting as the need arises. The entire process of initial setup and management alone can take months to complete.

Content development

Developing and constructing the content for SEO involves another set of activities. For instance, there has to be keyword research, content creation, analytics setup, etc. Preparing to execute the SEO approaches requires numerous planning, experimentation, analysis, and review.

Rankings must progress gradually

New sites don’t magically shoot up to the top of search engine results page (SERP) overnight, not even in weeks. In fact, most SEO professionals say that newbie websites aren’t expect to show noteworthy changes within the first six months.

Rankings must improve “naturally” and over time. A search engine like Google ensures that only quality and reliable pages appear on SERP. As a consequence, older sites that are considered authoritative on a particular subject are normally awarded higher rankings. A startup website must first prove the worth of its content before it can overcome its competitors.

Target market

Another important factor that affects SEO turnaround time is the website’s target audience. If it is so broad that it covers global audiences, then it may take longer to achieve results because of more competition. A website can benefit from limiting the scope to a local or national market. The lesser the competition, the higher its chances of getting faster results.

Niche terms or broad terms

Similar to global markets, aiming for rankings on broad keywords presents a huge challenge as there may be millions of websites competing for the same keyword entries. Some websites may have been around for quite a while and have invested more time and effort in perfecting their techniques. This puts a newcomer at a disadvantage.

On the contrary, specific niches or long-tail terms probably have less competition. Any website that executes a targeted niche campaign is likely to obtain better results in a shorter period of time.

Constant evolution of SEO and the web

Users are getting smarter at rewording their queries and new sites are always emerging from all over the world. As search engines try to keep up with the growth rates and to weed out the inferior pages, they must constantly update their algorithms. This poses a tremendous challenge for webmasters and SEO professionals who must regularly review their strategies, analyze the results, and devise new ways to improve site rankings.


SEO is multidimensional and the online landscape is rapidly changing. It is difficult to achieve the preferred results within the timeframe initially planned or predicted. What matters is that the webmasters employ the appropriate SEO approaches and execute them correctly.

As SEO is a long-term strategy, entrepreneurs and website owners will eventually be rewarded with results and rankings that are worth the wait.

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Michael Transon

Michael Transon is the CEO of Victorious. He's a big fan of ASU football, his cat Tux, and dinner parties. He lives at Ocean Beach in the Outer Sunset Neighborhood.

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