This is the question I get asked most frequently when discussing SEO content writing services with a new client.
And it’s perfectly understandable. You’re paying for a service, you want to know how long it will take until you reap the benefits, right?
Here’s the problem: I can tell you how long it will take for my agency to produce the content that will rank. But I can’t tell you how long it will take for it to actually rank.
I’ll explain why below . If you’re in a hurry, here’s the TL;DR of it: ranking takes between 3 to 12 months.
Why such a big difference?
Is everyone in the industry dodging the question or unable to give a clear answer?
Quite the opposite: I’d love to tell you when to set your alarm to check ranking reports. Here’s why neither I nor any honest person in the industry can tell you the precise ranking timeframe:
1. SEO doesn’t happen in a void
You’re not the only one publishing articles or another type of content about a certain topic. There are over 600 million blogs in 2020! At the time I’m writing this, more than 4.5 million blog posts have been published – today alone!
See where I’m going with this?
Everything is moving and changing online. So you can’t predict what’s going to happen in a week, let alone in a month from now.
Of course, not all the blog posts are in your industry. Which takes us to our next point:
2. Competition matters A LOT!
Three months is the average time it takes a piece of content in a low-competition industry to rank on a decent position.
Twelve months is the average time it takes a piece of content in a high-competition industry to rank on a decent position.
Does this mean that after three and twelve months respectively, the rankings will stay the same no matter what?
Not at all!
3. Old content does better
With time, your content’s ranking may drop if new, better pieces that aim for the same keywords are added. But it can also rank better – and it usually does!
Search engines love content with an established reputation. If a certain piece of content is very important to you and you want to improve its ranking or at least maintain it, here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure it earns new backlinks consistently.
- Keep promoting it (on email and on your social media channels, for instance) long after you’ve published it.
- Add to it! Evergreen content (content that is not about recent events, news or other topics that become obsolete quickly) can rank for years to come. Especially if you “refurbish” it every once in a while. Write a few new paragraphs, check to see if the links are still working and don’t forget to add “Updated on…” at the top.
So no, no SERP position is set in stone. My agency’s website has blog posts that have jumped from position five to position one after more than one year since their publication date. SEO is a long-term game!
4. Links are also gathered in time
Backlinks are SEO gold! But if your brand-new piece of content gets hundreds of them within a week, Google will absolutely smell something fishy. Naturally earned links take time. They take time to be earned and they take time to propagate.
The more backlinks from high-quality, high-DA websites your piece earns, the higher it will rank. There are certain types of content that rank faster than others. Original research reports, surveys, experiments of all sorts and round-ups perform very well. Of course, provided that they are well-written and that the information is valuable.
Wrapping things up
Don’t start investing in SEO if you want results tomorrow. PPC ads are a much better way to get instant sales and leads.
But do invest in SEO if you’re in it for the long run. SEO may take time to work but when the results are in you will reap their benefits for years to come with no additional investment.
If you’re looking for SEO content that ranks well and helps build your brand for long-term success, my team and I are just a click away! We’ve helped dozens of companies rank for every keyword they ever aimed for and we’d love to do the same for you. Let’s talk!