How Long Does SEO Take?

By Michael Angel | October 17, 2023 | 8 min read Reviewed By Tyler Brown

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns are complementary marketing strategies to steer targeted traffic to your site. Both are highly effective but also come with unique challenges. 

People want to know how long PPC and SEO take to see results. 

Below, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • How Long Does SEO Take?
  • How Long Does it Take for PPC to Work?
  • How Long Does it Take to See Local SEO Results?

Additionally, we’ll explain how these marketing processes progress over time and provide a few examples of how we do things at Big Leap.

SEO and PPC Timelines

Let’s look at how long it takes SEO and PPC to increase traffic and what happens throughout that time.

how long it takes to see results from SEO

How Long Does SEO Take?

SEO focuses on generating organic traffic based on search engine results. These engines, like Google, determine your site’s worth based on numerous complex metrics to deliver results based on keywords people use in their searches.

SEO results factor in the relevance of your site’s content, how long the site has been around, changes made over time, and how others regard your site’s content. As a result, it takes time for Google and other engines to recognize new domains and new content.

While the actual length of time it takes to increase your ranking also depends on how competitive your industry is, here’s how long it takes to see results from SEO with properly applied SEO techniques:

1-3 Months

In the first weeks and months of a campaign, technical SEO, keyword optimization, and other site improvements help Google index your site and compare ranking to other sites based on similar keywords. You may see moderate movement, but other sites that have been around longer will dominate results.

3-6 Months

You can start to see positive movement upward in search result ranking now that Google recognizes your site and sees that quality, accurate, relevant content is consistently being added.

6-12 Months

As early results continue to build traffic and new content covers a wider range of relevant keywords, you can likely see much more significant results.

12+ Months

From one year forward, we will work to continue optimizing traffic keywords. More difficult keywords can continue to take 2-3 years to reach top search results.  

Many businesses build SEO into ongoing marketing expenses, as one rarely “arrives” at a destination of being done with SEO. It takes ongoing maintenance and effort to continually dominate results and compete with other businesses also participating in SEO efforts.

How Long Does It Take to See Local SEO Results?

Local SEO comes with unique challenges. It’s similar to SEO for a single website. Still, companies with physical locations and national chains need to take advantage of local listings on Google and other sites, which can take 3–6 months to drive relevant traffic.

How Long Does it Take for PPC to Work?

You can start generating impressions and sending your target audience to your site within hours of ads being approved. But while PPC campaigns can immediately build brand awareness and drive sales, it typically takes around 3 months of testing ad groups to fully realize the best results. 

Over many weeks, your PPC experts analyze which terms, images, and demographics perform the best, so the longer your campaigns run, the more our experts are able to apply what they learn and continually squeeze more ROI.

PPC campaigns allow you to create ads based on the same kinds of keywords as your organic SEO campaigns.

The challenge with PPC is that each click costs money, and the more competitive the keyword, the more expensive it is.

Why Does SEO Take So Long?

Big Leap comprehensively audits our client’s site and their competitors. We develop a keyword strategy to draw the right traffic and design outlines for articles written by our content writers, which then have to pass the scrutiny of our editors and QA.

As our content strategist Whitney Sorensen explains, once we publish that article, “Google has to index it. Where any individual page ranks—and for what—depends on who you’re competing against.”

According to our Sr. SEO Director, Tyler Brown, “complex algorithms take time to assess the entire web and rank content accordingly…it takes time to build overall authority.” This is partly because time is one of the factors Google’s algorithm cares about. 

Google’s E-E-A-T

Google assigns an ongoing quality rating to domains with their concept called E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. As of December 2022, Google added an extra E to E-A-T. Now, E-E-A-T includes Experience.

Competition Matters

The more competitive your field, the more likely our strategy will steadily build your authority over an extended time while others are likewise hard at work, making sure they don’t drop lower in results. 

How Do You Know If SEO Is Working?

Your SEO experts should monitor the progress of individual landing pages and blog articles, tracking every specific keyword ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).

Big Leap also tracks, monitors, and analyzes website traffic. Organic traffic will rise as people have an easier time finding your site. This in turn feeds the Google algorithm data that your domain’s authority is continuously on the rise.

Additionally, people will organically share your site the more it is seen, and we track backlinks to gauge sharing.

Case Studies of Short-Term Wins and Long-Term Gains

Let’s take a look at some real-world examples of how Big Leap has applied our winning SEO and PPC strategies.

Short-Term Wins helps individuals earn their high school equivalency diploma online. We worked with them to uncover people’s relevant questions regarding how to prepare for the GED and what positive impact getting their diploma could have.

The website was actually two websites that needed to be merged into one new entity, so we fixed linking and redirect errors, reformatted, and optimized their site.

We helped broaden their organic keyword portfolio to bring more traffic to their website while keeping that traffic highly relevant. 

SEO for education client: GED Testing Services

Finch Brands

Finch Brands specializes in helping companies make data-based decisions in branding and design. 

They came to Big Leap to expand their market reach. We developed a strategy around keyword research, auditing answer box results, and developing original content for their site. We collaborated with Finch Brands to develop content that met their high-quality standards, resulting in 17 web pages and blog articles.

Big Leap Digital Marketing Agency Case Study for Finch Brands

Long-Term Gains

Agility Ads

Agility Ads has a great reputation in the digital ad placement industry, but when they came to Big Leap, they needed help translating that reputation into online traffic. They weren’t benefiting from any optimized keywords and hadn’t begun developing a blog content strategy.

We worked with Agility to fix errors with metadata and broken web pages, redirecting visitors away from outdated content and building their new menu structure. We began implementing our strategy to develop original content, and after two years and 35 articles, we’re seeing the blossoming positive results from the right organic traffic strategy. 

We balanced website corrections and new content with a strategy to acquire backlinks that are helping us maintain a lasting presence for their site.

The results?

Big Leap Digital Marketing Agency Case Study for Agility

Spoonful of Comfort

Spoonful of Comfort is an eCommerce business that has helped millions of people spread love and comfort through care packages all across the US. When they were featured on the show Shark Tank, they saw a surge in interest, but they struggled to handle the surge and scale up the capabilities of their website.

When they came to Big Leap in 2018, we developed a three-sided strategy campaign to solve their challenges:

  • Content Marketing

We developed content clusters centered around different important keywords and related terms and linked relevant content throughout the site. We optimized their previous content, updated CTAs, and helped bring all their site’s creative elements together.

  • Site Migration/Technical SEO

We reviewed:

  • The staging site on Shopify 
  • The URL structure 
  • The metadata
  • The site speed
  • The internal linking structure 

Optimizing these elements improved people’s experience on their site.

  • Streamlining Their SEO 

We developed processes to streamline their products, content, and development to make running a complex, national eCommerce site more manageable.

From 2018 to the present (2023), we’ve been able to help realize the following results:

Big Leap Digital Marketing Agency Case Study for Spoonful of Comfort

Are You Ready to Get Seen By All the Right People?

“SEO is a long-term investment. Imagine SEO-like building a home as a long-term investment with the understanding that it will take time and effort to maintain the home and make future improvements. As a result, the home will appreciate over time as long as you built a solid foundation and continue to invest in it. – Tyler Brown, Senior SEO Director

Big Leap loves to help drive targeted traffic and partner with clients to drive their long-term growth. Talk to one of our SEO and PPC experts today!

Get a Free 30-minute consultation

Editor’s Picks