Most new buyers or prospects for our SEO services always ask our digital marketing agency team a variation of this question: How long will it take for my website to rank on Google?
Search engine marketers are notorious for dropping the “it depends” phrase as the answer — which can be frustrating for someone new to SEO.
So today, I want to answer this question specifically by sharing the factors that determine how soon you’ll rank on Google, along with examples to illustrate my point. First, let me summarize what we know (backed by data).
How long does it take to rank on Google?
95% of published pages don’t rank in the top 10 in the first year. The 5% of top performers who managed to rank in the top 10 took 61 to 182 days. Websites with a stronger backlink profile tend to perform better than those with weaker ones.
The aforementioned are findings from a 2017 Ahrefs study of 2M keywords. Here’s its quick video summary:
Now, let’s look at a more indepth answer on why does it take so much of time to rank in Google.
Search engine algorithms are a black box (but…)
Around 2013, Brian Dean, an SEO blog owner, published an article titled “Google’s 200 ranking factors”, where he affirmed he’s “put together a complete list.”
The piece made waves and was cited by lots of websites. Ahrefs shows it has attracted backlinks from close to 7.5k domains (at the time of writing this post):
However, the article also had its fair share of criticism by SEO pros. Gianluca Forelli called such a list “useless and dangerous.”
Well, Google is a black box. The figure of “200” factors probably could be attributed to Google’s Matt Cutts stating that their search engine used 200 variables at PubCon in 2009:
So if there’s no definitive list, how can you make educated guesses and give yourself the best chance to rank higher?
You can focus on confirmed ranking factors. Also, use industry-standard tools like Ahrefs and Surfer SEO to study current ranking web pages for your target keyword. Let’s break this process down in the next section.
Broad Google search ranking factors you can focus on
While we don’t know Google’s exact ranking process, you can always lean on the top search results for your targeted keyword. Here are the three aspects you can analyze for a ranking page while creating your SEO strategy.
Relevance of content
It’s in the best interest of Google to satisfy its users so that they visit it more often. So any ranking page in search results has to meet the searcher’s intent.
In Google’s “How Search Works” resource, the search giant mentions “relevance of webpages” by analyzing their content as a facet of its algorithm:
Want a berth on the first page?
Then create relevant content that caters to your prospective readers’ needs and answers specific questions. This is typically clubbed under on page SEO.
For instance, within 45 days of publishing our “criminal defense attorney marketing” guide, Google has deemed it relevant for a variation of our target keyword and started testing it for the fourth spot:
We have a high domain rating (DR) and existing topical authority in the “lawyer marketing ” niche, which are important contributing factors. However, we outranked websites with a higher DR:
So how can you create relevant content?
Trying to cover all the subtopics for your keyword comprehensively is important. So study the content on the ranking web pages, scan their title, subheadings (H2s and H3s), usage of images and multimedia, and the like.
You can also take help from Surfer SEO for the same. It reverse engineers the top-ranking pages for your target keyword and comes with recommendations for writing your content, including recommended keyword usage, content structure, and even an overall content score.
Here’s how its evaluation looked for my “criminal defense attorney marketing” piece:
You don’t need to create content with the highest word count. Aim for brevity while getting your point across comprehensively.
PageRank (as measured by backlinks)
To measure the “value of a page” on the web, Google’s founders had devised the PageRank algorithm in 1997.
So it’s a foundational — and probably the trickiest — aspect you need to consider. Initially, Google allocated a public logarithmic score (PageRank), accessible through its toolbar. But it retired years ago.
Yet Gary IIlyes (who works for Google) confirmed that they still rely on PageRank:
Now, nobody outside of Google knows how this algorithm works.
But SEO tools like Ahrefs offer a metric calculated similarly to Google’s algorithm for measuring the relative importance of a page and website. They are called URL rating (UR) and domain rating (DR), measured on a 100-point scale, and measure the relative strength of a page’s or website’s backlink profile.
Without getting academic, let’s focus on the purpose of ranking your website for its target keywords.
- 95% of published pages didn’t have a single backlink in a limited Backlinko study of 11.8M Google search results.
- Also, the number 1 result has 3.8x links than results 2 to 10.
Simply put, to rank, you need to get backlinks to:
- your website,
- and your inner pages.
Let’s talk about them one by one.
What kind of DR is good enough?
Your niche determines this.
On The Map Marketing’s website has a DR of 72, which is pivotal to getting a decent shot for ranking in the highly competitive SEO services industry.
A lower DR might have had our content scrambling in search engine results.
However, a lower DR might suffice if you pursue personal injury SEO. Our original research on the top 50 SEO ranking personal injury law firms found that: the average domain rating (DR) for best-ranking attorney websites in Austin is 35.
Remember, high quality websites generating hundreds of thousands of visitors and a consistent pipeline of leads for their business can have a low DR.
Beyond improving your website’s authority (or domain authority), you also need to get links to the page you want to rank. An approximate measure of this is the keyword difficulty (KD) score in tools like Ahrefs.
For instance, on my website, there’s an article targeting the keyword “podcast hosting”, which has a keyword competition of 73 as per Ahrefs. As per the official explanation (visible below), this means I’ll need to get backlinks from a whopping 235 websites to rank in the top 10.
I’ve merely 59 referring domains to this page, so no wonder the article remains stuck on page 3 of Google:
As you can imagine, finding websites that can link to you then convincing their owners to add a backlink to your website is not fun. Offering money in exchange for links is officially against Google’s guidelines (though many webmasters get away with doing it). So there’s no direct benefit for a person who links to you.
Either you need to find generous website owners who are willing to perform adding a backlink as their altruistic deed of the day. Or strike mutually beneficial partnerships offering other website owners content or some service for free.
That’s why link building services by companies that rely on personalized outreach and relationships with publishers are in high demand.
What if you want to build high quality backlinks to your website yourself? Then dissect your competitors, see how they build links, and replicate their efforts. My article on legal link building can help you get started.
Website’s user experience
Google uses engagement signals to evaluate the overall experience of your website visitors. These include but are not limited to average time on page, average session duration, interactions with your site, and the like.
Indeed Google officially integrated new page experience ranking signals in its algorithm last year. This saw a new set of metrics called “Core Web Vitals” to the existing other page search signals: mobile-friendliness, HTTPS security, and intrusive interstitials.
Check out the linked piece on page experience for understanding these signals in detail!
We’ve firsthand seen the positive impact of improving the design, site speed, and overall user experience.
The Pendergrass Law Firm hired our law firm website design services. Here’s the two-month performance of their site with an outdated design. They got a total of 634 users and 611 new visitors:
After our redesign, in the next two months, the site has touched 843 total users and 810 new visitors:
So website redesign helps your SEO, and if you plan to do it, then the checklist below can help:
How can you rank faster with a new website?
If you have a relatively new website and it’s been less than a year of working on it, you’ll need to stay patient before seeing Google ranking your website.
Since 2004, SEOs claim the presence of a “Google Sandbox”, which prevents ranking websites that are new. Don’t confuse this with the domain age. Instead, consider this as the time since your domain has actively pursued an SEO strategy.
In this period, Google evaluates your website’s quality so that it can keep its search results free of spam. Rand Fishkin proclaimed that his domain became “Sandbox free” after nine months:
In a Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout, John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, denies the presence of Google Sandbox. However, he goes on to say that:
“It’s always kind of tricky in the beginning when we have a new website and we don’t quite know where we should put it.”
Whatever be the name, a new website’s backlink profile is weak, and it could take some time to rank. However, here are some ways to earn the trust of search engines quicker than usual and get those swoonworthy Google rankings:
Target low competition keywords (even with a lower search volume…)
Every content piece you want to rank in Google needs to target carefully identified subjects. As you saw, competitive keywords need lots of backlinks. So leverage keyword research to identify low competition keywords that have lower search volume generally.
Keywords with a high monthly search volume tend to be too broad subjects and won’t result in targeted organic traffic, anyway. Also, a page never ranks for just one keyword that you targeted. So while considering a specific keyword, check how many keywords an average page is ranking for.
For instance, our client, Stroleny Law, ranks for close to 6k organic keywords as per Ahrefs:
However, their website has 293 indexed pages as per Ahrefs. Here’s a snapshot of the number of keywords the top 10 pages are ranking for:
Yep, a single page can rank for hundreds or even thousands of keywords!
You need to identify low competition keywords that have business value and send you your ideal customers. To guide your keyword search, the Ahrefs tutorial below can help:
Craft high quality content hubs (to establish your topical authority)
Google wants to serve quality content in its search results to satisfy user intent. To achieve the same, focusing on using a “string of keywords” isn’t enough — understanding the actual content is important.
So in 2012, Google introduced the Knowledge Graph, shifting its focus towards “things, not strings.” Since then, Google has introduced many machine learning algorithms, including the Hummingbird update, RankBrain, and BERT.
Hence Google’s semantic search engine has started rewarding websites that create hubs of content around a core subject.
As I showed in the personal injury marketing piece, for one of our clients, we created 15k words of such high-quality content around their law practice areas:
Then we neatly organized their hubs around their practice areas:
And this has resulted in their website ranking for a bunch of Bronx keywords related to accidents:
Want to see similar results by creating a content hub for your new website?
Then here’s a Hubspot tutorial on how to create an effective cluster and pillar page:
Scale your link building efforts
Link building is the holy grail of any SEO strategy. It can significantly cut the time you take to rank in Google, especially if you’re just starting to pursue SEO. However, you need to create a smart link acquisition strategy that distributes link building across your whole website and content hubs.
For one of our clients, 1800.injured, we saw they were stuck on page 2 for an important keyword they wanted to rank for:
We tried link building on this page exclusively:
But it didn’t work, despite our metrics in Ahrefs (domain rating and referring domains) being better than pages in a higher ranking position:
Then we pursued link building across the whole silo we had published for their website, which included other accident attorney pages:
Our pages ranked better across the board:
If you want to take your link building to the next level and rank faster, I recommend conducting a granular link gap analysis.
Our SEM product head, Kevin Cook, recommends to:
- Find sites that have topical relevance, traffic, a decent DR,
- Look at do-follow vs. no-follow links,
- Analyze anchor text ratios.
Here’s a sample link gap analysis that he does for every SEO client we onboard:
Then plan your link building efforts around your findings above to integrate personalized outreach, guest posting, and other tactics.
Dissect the current top ranking pages and find the areas where you lack
All the pages that rank in Google have a variety of aspects going right for them at a page and domain level. While the three factors above are great starting points, there’s nothing better than a manual audit of the search engine results page (SERP).
So plug the keyword you want to rank for, then use tools like Ahrefs and Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate what makes the domain rank. Sometimes changing something as simple as page titles (or adding internal links) can get Google to rank your website.
PS: While all of the above are important aspects of an SEO strategy, don’t forget the basics. Claim your website in the Google search console and submit a sitemap. Then ensure your pages are crawlable and your site’s content readable by search engines.
So how long does it take to rank on Google?
Merely 22% of pages that ranked in the top10 (in the Ahrefs study of 2M results) were created within the first year. Old pages dominate Google rankings, but link building and writing relevant content can help you rank faster.
Want to get higher rankings without lifting a finger? We can get your website to start ranking ASAP! Contact us to get access to an expert digital marketing consultant from our team.
Table of Contents
Article by Chintan Zalani
I’m the inbound marketing director at On The Map Marketing, taking care of content marketing and SEO for our website. Previously I have helped numerous SaaS businesses with content and got my own website to over 50k monthly visitors. I have written more than 500 articles on digital marketing, small businesses, sales, and related subjects, with my work appearing on the likes of Entrepreneur, Content Marketing Institute, WordStream, CoSchedule, and G2.
According to seo.co, it can take anywhere from three to six months to rank on the first page of Google, assuming that you're writing good content and optimizing your website for search engines. If there's high competition or you haven't optimized your website, it may take six to 12 months to see results.How long does it take to get into the top 10 Google positions? ›
We then zoomed into these 5.7% of “lucky” pages to see how quickly they got from nowhere to the Top10. The majority of them managed to achieve that in approximately 61-182 days. By looking at this graph, you might think that, on average, it takes a page anywhere from 2-6 months to rank in Google's Top10.How does it take to a Google page ranking? ›
Beyond looking at keywords, our systems also analyse if content is relevant to a query in other ways. We also use aggregated and anonymised interaction data to assess whether search results are relevant to queries. We transform that data into signals that help our machine-learned systems better estimate relevance.How long will it take to get rankings once I start SEO? ›
You might begin seeing improvements in organic ranking and an increase in traffic for keyword topics with little competition in just a few weeks. On the other hand, moderately competitive topics might takes months, while highly competitive phrases could even take one year or more!How long does it take to get traffic from Google? ›
On average, it takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months to gain traction in search engines, assuming you are publishing high-quality content, targeting the right keywords, and building backlinks.What is the salary of top 10 in Google? ›
|Designation||Average Salary Yearly Yearly Monthly|
|Data Analyst (1 - 6 yrs exp)||₹ 22,85,631/yr (₹4.0L/yr - ₹70.0L/yr)|
|Senior Associate (1 - 6 yrs exp)||₹ 19,60,903/yr (₹2.6L/yr - ₹60.0L/yr)|
|Product Manager (2 - 13 yrs exp)||₹ 50,44,169/yr (₹18.0L/yr - ₹1.0Cr/yr)|
Average position is the numerical order in which Google displays a URL in search results. According to Google, “Position is calculated from top to bottom on the primary side of the page, then top to bottom on the secondary side of the page.”How fast can I rank on Google? ›
According to seo.co, it can take anywhere from three to six months to rank on the first page of Google, assuming that you're writing good content and optimizing your website for search engines. If there's high competition or you haven't optimized your website, it may take six to 12 months to see results.Can I rank #1 on Google with just on page SEO? ›
On-Page SEO is one of the FASTEST ways to improve your Google rankings. That's because you can optimize your page in about 2 minutes. And start to see a rankings boost within days.Do reviews help you rank higher on Google? ›
The short answer is yes, Google Reviews do help improve search rankings and overall SEO efforts. While there are a lot of factors involved in search rankings, online customer reviews can be a strong signal to search engines that communicates trustworthiness and authority.”
A good SEO scoring range falls between 80 and 100. This indicates that your site meets the highest quality standards for technical SEO, content, UX, and mobile usability. Some SEO experts will tell you to shoot for a score of 85 or higher. Others say that a score within the 70s is passable.What is the success rate of SEO? ›
SEO-generated leads have a 15% closing rate. 88.28% of SEOs charge $150/hour or less for their services. Google has 85.55% of the global search engine market. 75% of people will never go past the first page of google.Does SEO work immediately? ›
Unlike other popular marketing channels, SEO does not work instantly. Most professionals expect to see results in as low as 2 months, but SEO can take as much as 12 months to work.How do I speed up Google indexing? ›
- Remove user-specific details from URLs. URL parameters that don't change the content of the page—like session IDs or sort order—can be removed from the URL and put into a cookie. ...
- Rein in infinite spaces. ...
- Disallow actions Googlebot can't perform. ...
- One man, one vote.
Handling over 90% of all search queries worldwide, Google is undoubtedly dominating the global search engine market share. As of February 2023, a whopping 93.37% of all search queries conducted across all search engine providers are done through the internet giant.How long does it take for Google to crawl a site? ›
According to Google, crawling can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Being patient and monitoring your progress using either the Index Status report or the URL Inspection tool is the best way forward. Requesting a crawl does not guarantee that inclusion in search results will happen instantly or even at all.What does a VP at Google make? ›
Average Google Vice President yearly pay in the United States is approximately $230,820, which is 56% above the national average.What is average Google salary? ›
Salaries at Google India range from an average of ₹352,410 to ₹4,576,110 a year.What is a typical Google salary? ›
|Program Manager, IT||Range:$81k - $162k||Average:$120,181|
|Senior Software Engineer||Range:$116k - $203k||Average:$157,296|
|Software Developer||Range:$59k - $127k||Average:$87,706|
|Technical Account Manager||Range:$87k - $219k||Average:$139,635|
🤷 Why did my rankings drop in Google? Many factors can cause your rankings to drop in Google. Most frequently, we see drops because of changes that were made to the website, but they can also be caused by an algorithm update, technical issues, improvements competitors made, SERP lay-out changes or a Google penalty.
The single most important Google ranking factor is the quality of your content. This correlates to the consistent publication of high quality content, user engagement, and niche expertise in the chart above. So what makes relevant, quality content?How hard is it to rank on the first page of Google? ›
Make sure your page aligns with search intent. Google wants to rank the type of pages that searchers are looking for. Unless your page aligns with the searcher's intent, it'll be near impossible to rank on the first page. Unfortunately, it's impossible to say for sure what searchers want.How frequently rank gets updated? ›
The team rankings continue to be updated as before – after each Test series and after each ODI and T20I.Can you pay to rank on Google? ›
No, you cannot pay Google to rank higher.How do I get my name to the top of Google Search? ›
You can create your presence on Google Search by creating a people card. You need to submit a people card with your relevant info. People will then be able to search for you and discover your card on Google Search results.How much does it cost to get to the top of Google Search? ›
There's no cost to appear in organic search results like Google's, and making changes to improve your website's SEO, can greatly impact your search rankings over time. Learn more about how Google organic search works and find tips for getting started here.Do liking a Google reviews help SEO? ›
Does liking good reviews make a difference? Google reviews with more likes do tend to perform better, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're always positive reviews. Online users can like negative reviews too, which means these can jump to the top of your business profile if there are positive reviews without likes.What is a good number of reviews to have on Google? ›
What Is A Good Star Rating On Google? So having at least 20 reviews is a good number to engage customers, and the star rating generated from a business' customer reviews is just as important for boosting general appeal.Is paying for Google reviews worth it? ›
Paying for Google reviews isn't just unethical — it's illegal, and it can hurt your business in both the short- and long-term. You could incur thousands of dollars in fines for asking for undisclosed paid reviews, plus search algorithms could penalize you and ultimately lead to lower website traffic.Can SEO make you millionaire? ›
Yes, SEO can make you rich if you earn, save, and invest. But at the end of the day: Wealth is more than money.
The short answer is between 4-12 months. The longer answer has to do with all those factors we discussed that tie into your SEO strategy. If you target low-competition keywords, you can start to see results within 4-6 months.Is it hard to master SEO? ›
SEO is not that hard to learn, but it can be confusing and overwhelming to get started. Learning SEO means learning about a long list of individual digital marketing strategies, which can feel a bit like adding new weapons to your arsenal as you learn how to wield them.How fast is promotion in Google? ›
Promotion reviews are typically completed within 12 hours, but may take up to 24 hours, especially if the promotion has been submitted within 24 hours of the start time. The promotion's start date/time has not yet been reached.How long does it take to get promoted to L5 at Google? ›
L4 - 1-5 years of industry experience, sometimes awarded to high potential new grads and PhDs. L5- Senior Software Engineer: 6-9 years of industry experience. This is the level most engineers are at internally within Google.How do I get my job at the top of Google search? ›
- Avoid Lengthy Paragraphs and Unbroken Blocks of Text.
- Use Specific Job Titles.
- Use Local SEO.
- Optimize the Title Tag.
- Use Relevant Keywords and Phrases.
- Indicate What Your Company Does.
- Give Each Job Opening Its Own Individual Page.
- Link to Other Pages.
Salaries at Google, Inc. range from an average of $72,890 to $178,753 a year. Google, Inc. employees with the job title Senior Software Engineer make the most with an average annual salary of $157,296, while employees with the title Data Center Technician make the least with an average annual salary of $58,868.