How Long Does it Take to Rank for a Keyword and Why

how long does it take to rank for a keyword

How long does it take to rank for a keyword?


There is much mystery around Google ranking and how long it takes to rank for a keyword. Some say it takes years to rank well, while others vow to use short-term tactics that can get you there in just a few weeks.


So what’s the truth? How long does it take to rank for a keyword on Google?


Well,, the answer is not straightforward, as many factors come into play: from the age and authority of your site to the competition for a particular keyword.


However, there are studies that have an approximate timeline, like that of WebsiteMagazine, that found that:


“it takes 3 to 6 months to rank in Google “


To understand more where this approximation came from, let’s have a look at the top ranking pages on Google:


What Is The Average Age of the Best Ranking Pages on Google?

It is not uncommon to hear little boasters claiming that they managed to reference their website well on Google in a few days and well, you should know that this is not true.


To get a good ranking, you have to be patient and give time to time.


Looking at the average age of the best pages ranked by Google, a study done by Ahrefs showed that there was a correlation between the age of a page on the web and its referencing.


Based on 2 million randomly selected keywords, the study shows that it takes an average of at least 650 days of age, or nearly 2 years, to enter the Top 10 of the best-referenced sites on a given query.


To enter the Top 3, this average increases to 800 days, while the first place in Google results is held by a page that has been in existence for nearly 950 days, or nearly 3 years.


For those who fear that their web page will take such a long time to reach the top, they can console themselves by saying that among the pages that have reached the Top 10 on a given query, 22% are less than one year old.

7 Factors that Directly Affect Ranking

When people ask “how long does it take to rank for a keyword”, they usually expect a one-line answer. But that’s a very unrealistic expectation. There are some key things you need to consider if you want to give your website its best shot. The main factors that determine how long it takes to see success are:


1. Competition

When it comes to SEO and how fast you expect to see success, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the competition.


There are two sides:


First, your direct competitors. Know who they are, what they are doing, and how you can improve your strategy to beat them in the results pages.

Blaze Bullock of Blaze Digital Marketing agrees on the importance of knowing your competitive market:

“It depends entirely on how competitive the market is and whether you’ve done SEO before. If you’re a plumber starting from scratch and don’t even have a website in a place like San Francisco, then it will most likely take an absolute minimum of three months, but most likely six.”


How much online competition is there? The lower the competition, the easier it is for you to rank. Also, how good is your online competition? In other words, if their blogs are authority blogs with high domain authority rankings, ranking well in the SERPs will be difficult, if not impossible.


Second, is the general competition for a keyword. This competition translates into keyword difficulty (KD), a term you most likely have heard of before.

This metric differs from one tool to another. For example, SEMrush classifies keyword difficulty as follows:

  • 0-14: Very easy
  • 15-29: Easy
  • 30-49: Possible
  • 50-69: Difficult
  • 70-84: Hard
  • 85-100 = Very hard

By choosing the easiest keywords, you can rest assured that you will easily rank on the first pages, if not the very first page of SERPs.


2. Domain Age

In general, an older website will work a little better than a new one. This is true if and only if the site has something useful to provide. In any way, Google does not trust a website when it is newly launched. It could be another automated SPAM site or just a really bad site. You will need to spend some time indexing it well, showing Google that it is well structured, fast and that users like it.

You will also have to take into account the time needed to create the website if it doesn’t exist yet. Is it a small site? A bigger one? Does it have basic functionality or is it a complicated e-commerce store with hard-to-implement features?


Note: How to Index a New Website?
A site that is not indexed by search engines, especially Google, will never appear in the search results. So, the first thing to do is to make sure that all the pages of your website are in Google’s index, and that Google regularly scans them.

To do so, you must :


  1. Go to Google and type “site: + domain name”.
  2. Click on the “Search” button
  3. On the results page, you will see all the pages of your website that have been indexed.


3. Website performance


The first thing to consider is the website itself. If there are problems to be solved, it will take more time. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t start working on keyword research or content creation but you should do it as quickly as possible. But if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, for example, it simply can’t reach the heights in terms of SEO. To check the performance of your website, check out these tools.


4. Your SEO Budget


The budget is truly important when you are trying to determine how long it will take to rank a website. It drives everything from how quickly technical fixes will be implemented, to how the content will be written.


Is there a budget that you want to stick to when establishing an SEO strategy for your company’s website? It may be more effective to rank for certain keywords faster if you have a larger budget to put into SEO efforts.


5. Content Quality

You need to know what types of content already rank for a particular keyword if you want to rank for it. In addition to that, there are other factors to consider. Is it a well-written article? What about the information? Is there any real added value? And last but not least, how long does it take?


Producing high-quality content is only half the battle. You also need to make sure that you are publishing content on a consistent basis. Rachael Cecko Lake One explained this concept by saying:


“Think about how quickly you can produce content. Search is essential, but to really start to drive SEO, you need content. Your content production speed will depend on your setup and competing priorities. A delay in content production ultimately equals a delay in SEO results.”

Always remember to evaluate your content. An analysis is necessary if your content marketing isn’t delivering what you expected.


6. Backlinks

There are so many opportunities with content. If all your competitors are building links, you may end up feeling like you’re not making any progress at all. It’s not a problem if you buy advertising on other sites but try as much as possible to make it profitable.


Again, if someone is asking for $500 for a backlink, you’d better be investing that in some quality content, outreach, and relationship building. It’s not easy to do it all yourself but try as much as you possibly can to develop an outreach strategy that you or someone else can easily execute.


7. Site Architecture


The final factor affecting the answer to the question “how long does it take to rank for a keyword” is your site’s architecture.
When creating an SEO strategy, to rank as quickly as possible in the SERPs, it is important to make sure your website has a proper site structure.


If you’re using a platform like WordPress for example, you can find templates with architectures customized to your industry. You might also want to have a look at our guide for adding keywords in WordPress.


Let’s Wrap Things Up: How Long Does it Take to Rank for a Keyword

First of all, it is necessary to evaluate the current state of your website, in order to identify the time needed to improve its natural ranking: the correction of technical errors on all pages of the site, the redesign or improvement of content, and the implementation or strengthening of a link strategy are SEO techniques that take.


It is often not necessary to focus only on the place of your website in search engine results. It is more relevant to look at the number of visits, and the conversion rate, ….


The important thing is to take the time to properly assess the situation, plan a strategic SEO approach in the short and long term, to set realistic goals…


And above all, since SEO works on a case-by-case basis, it is essential to regularly exchange with your 1st Position expert! You can contact us today to start designing your SEO strategy and fiercely outrun your competitors.

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Directeur Général, WFR