SEO 101: When Will Your Site Rise to the Top of Google Search Results?
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SEO, or search engine optimization, is essentially one component of modern day marketing. And while there are plenty of differences between traditional marketing and SEO, they have at least one thing in common: results are achieved in a more or less unknowable timeframe. Because there are so many factors at play, no one can guarantee your gold star results on a particular day.

search engine optimizationFirst, a little perspective: a pretty small percentage of sites hit the top slots for any given Google search, and they get there with persistence, high quality information, and time.

Next let’s consider the Internet environment, your playing field. First you have the arena: Google. The complexity of Google’s methods for assigning page rank can feel a little daunting, but it breaks down to a few simple ideas.


New and updated pages on the Internet are discovered by Googlebot (also affectionately known as the robot, bot, or spider) in a process called “crawling.” Using an algorithmic process, Googlebot is told which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. Once a page is discovered (or rediscovered if it’s been updated) it’s added to the Google Index.


Ok, so this part is a little mindboggling, but the next step for Googlebot is to process each of the billions of pages it crawls into an enormous index of all the words it finds and exactly where they are in relation to each other; original content gets a proverbial thumbs up, while copied content gets a thumbs down. In addition, Googlebot takes a look at the words that visitors to your website can’t see, the key content tags and attributes.

Search Results

Google’s first priority in returning search results is that the results are relevant to the search words. It’s so important that they use 200 different factors to determine relevancy. And while things like PageRank are key to getting you to the top of your key word search results, the very first step is to make sure that Googlebot can crawl and index your site correctly, because if the bot can’t see what it needs to on your site, it can’t index it.

So what that means for you is that with all those factors, not even Google can say how long it would take to get to the top of your keyword search results. And there’s one more factor that makes it impossible to pinpoint an exact date you’ll have the results you want: your competition.

Your Competition

We can do everything right for your site, but your competition may still outrank you—for now. If you’re thinking about SEO, so is your rival. And they may have a head start, which is going to work to their advantage in the beginning.

Here’s What We Can Tell You

Even though no one can tell you exactly when you’ll be at the top of the pack for your company’s keyword search results, you can, in general expect to see an impact within 3 – 6 months in an industry with moderate SEO difficulty, and around 12 months for industries that pose difficulties for SEO tactics. Some business may never get to that top slot, but with planning, persistence, and patience, plenty will.

SEO isn’t a campaign that has an end date. Unlike traditional marketing strategies that tend to cycle around particular events with beginning and end dates, SEO is a constant, ongoing process. You have to put in the time, but the rewards are pretty sweet.

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