This is probably the most frequent question asked to any digital agency. And the short answer to this question... well, there is no short answer. But, in this blog post, we’ll provide you with some valuable insights to help you understand the basics of how long it takes to rank on Google and all the work that goes into it.
There are many factors that contribute to how successfully and quickly a website will rank. Fortunately, not all rankings are created equally and there are particular ways to maximise your SEO efforts by focussing on a few specific ranking factors. Yes, we all know that Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and that we can’t rely on yesterday’s ranking factors. But, according to the most recent studies by SearchMetrics and Backlinko, these are the top four ranking factors.
Content has been one of the most important factors for a very long time, but in recent years we’ve seen a shift away from keyword-focused content to more relevant content.
Your website’s content influences a variety of other rankings factors, such as Click-Through Rate (CTR) and bounce rate. We recommend that you make sure your content is both comprehensive and relevant to your audience.
Backlinks are still regarded as an important factor, but Google has learned how to weed out the bad links from the good. And, yes, more links to your site will still result in a higher score, but that’s only if they’re from a number of diverse and authoritative domains.
There are lots of different ways to approach link building, but what they all come down to is content marketing. Create both high-quality and relevant content.
3. Mobile-first user experience
Google’s shift toward mobile-first indexing was probably the biggest change we saw in 2016. What this means is that Google’s index will now primarily crawl the mobile version of your website as opposed to the desktop version.
Another important factor that ties in with user experience is page speed. Desktop websites should load in three seconds or less, while mobile websites should load in two seconds or less. A common issue mobile users face when going through a mobile website is the page loading slowly. However, by now most of us have heard of or are familiar with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which makes browsing on your mobile device so much better as your queries are answered almost instantaneously. AMP pages loads 15% to 85% faster than standard sites, which could help you with your rankings. It also uses carousels, which include the display of large images that naturally draw user’s attention.
4. Other technical factors
HTTPS has been confirmed as a ranking factor since 2014. Google has stated that their HTTPS ranking boost may serve as a tiebreaker if the quality signals for two different search results are equal in all other aspects.
Page titles, meta descriptions, H1 and H2 headings, and anchor text (among others) are all technical factors which should be taken seriously. They may not seem to mean much individually, but getting them all right, as a whole, will help your rankings.
So, how long does it take to rank in Google?
In order to answer this question, we looked at a case study from Ahrefs, which showed us what the age of the top-ranking pages are.
Basically, what they did was take two million random keywords and pull the data for the top 10 ranking pages for those keywords. What they discovered was that the average age of the top 10 pages was two years or more and the age of the pages that ranked in first position were almost three years old. In addition to this, they found out that only 22% of websites ranked in the first position were less than one year old.
As you can see from the information provided, there is no definitive answer on how long it will take to rank a website. SEO is a complex, multidimensional, ever-evolving science and requires a long-term approach.
We recommend that you focus on creating engaging and valuable content for your users and always think of ways to provide them with the best user experience. Which, of course means mobile-friendly websites, great site speed, easy navigation and more. All these efforts take time, but your site will gradually improve in the search results. It’s better to rank for a longer period than improve your ranking for only a short while.
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