How long does it take for SEO to work?


I get asked this question from clients a lot and it’s never easy telling them that patience is a virtue – especially in the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). I can understand all business owners are anxious to see quick results and to be honest, it would make my job so much easier if I saw instant results too.

To begin with, if you are looking for instant results you should chat to me about setting up your Google Ads (Adwords). Without a doubt, Adwords is the quickest way to get an almost instantaneous increase in traffic but that’s only part of the picture.

Adwords is a Pay Per Click (PPC) service and must be constantly, or at least, regularly monitored. It can be quite expensive and it’s almost always time consuming.

SEO on the other hand is low cost, has a much greater impact and is very low maintenance – at least for the client anyway.


What happens to my site when it’s optimised for search?


SEO work is quite complex when it’s done right. It’s almost invisible to the client but some noticeable changes may include; an increase in your site speed, changes to URLs (your site’s web links) and changes to your site’s structure such as more internal linking or even the way the site navigates.

I also like to advise my clients how to write and structure content that attracts search engines, so it’s often the case that the size of the site can increase too.

Note: An SEO professional will do work on the fly so there’s usually no need to shut down your site while the work is going on.

Having said that, there are some clients where I’ve advised they re-build their site either partially or entirely.


So let’s get back to that SEO time frame


If your SEO consultant rebuilds your site or drastically changes links to make them more search friendly then you can expect to see an initial drop off in traffic, usually for about 30-60 days. In my own experience I once rebuilt an entire site for my office equipment business and pretty much vanished from the internet as soon as it went live. Of course there was some panic when my online business disappeared and was organically out-ranked by almost all of my competition. Thankfully, within about 60 days my site was so highly visible that it would rank in positions 1, 2 and 3 for multiple products and pushed my competitors way down the results page.

The wait was excruciating but the payoff was immense.


A working example of my SEO doing it’s thing…


The chart below displays actual data from one of my clients. His site was rebuilt in January and the SEO took effect in late February 2018.

You’ll notice a sharp drop off which means the site is starting to rank highly, then in mid August the site was fully rebuilt but keeping the same content. You can see that there is an immediate decrease in rank position shown by a sharp upwards trend at the same time (this is the time when you should remind yourself not to panic).

Finally, you can see the site rebuild really taking effect in late September where the line almost flattens out completely. What this almost-flat-line indicates is very high rankings for the business’ chosen keywords. Remember, the lower the line the better.



What can I do if I experience a drop in traffic?


For me, this is where Adwords is a great tool. You can use it to subsidise the drop in traffic and slowly back it off until your SEO regains it’s former position which is hopefully higher. It’s really important at this point to have a search consultant monitoring traffic and making regular changes to get the balance right. As soon as they see an upwards track in SEO for given keywords they can reduce the budget for the same keywords or campaign to get the mix just right. In the case above, I would be pumping more into the Adwords budget between the 24th of August and the 30th of September. From the 1st of October I would be reducing the Adwords budget.


Like to know more or get started?


If you would like to know more or would like to get started on your own SEO or PPC campaign, simply give me a call, email or complete the online form on this page.

Thanks for reading

Lee McCarthy

Xflow Marketing & Consulting – Perth