How long does it take for SEO to work?

Photo Written by Gijs de Rooij

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is booming. More and more organizations are seeing how important it is to be found on Google, and search engine optimization helps with that. But how long does it take for SEO to work? On this page, we give you a realistic picture of how long it takes for SEO to get results. We also discuss the important factors that contribute to the results that SEO brings.

What is the goal?

To gauge when SEO is working, you have to have a goal. For many organizations, that goal is to achieve high positions in search results. This is a logical goal; after all, 90% of searchers on Google do not look beyond the first search page when looking for a Web site. A third of these searchers even give up after the first search result. So it is disastrous for your findability when your website is not visible on the first page. Potential customers will visit the website of competitors instead of your organization.

A goal can also be to have more (organic) visitors to your website. With more visitors, you have achieved your goal, but when these visitors do not buy your product or service, more organic visitors are of little use to you. Therefore, you also want more conversions. Applying SEO in a good way with new content and call to actions contributes to the results. A goal can therefore also be to increase the number of conversions (by x percent).

How long does it take for SEO to work?

The biggest misconception of SEO is that it produces immediate results. As much as we would like it to, this is not true. An SEO project is a long-term process. Of course short-term results are already visible, but the real results take several months. Below we go over the SEO timeline with you. What is the effect in the first quarter? What does SEO do after six months and what does it deliver after a year? We're going to answer those questions.

0-3 months

In the first month of SEO, technical SEO elements of the website are usually optimized, such as page load time, improving URL structure and meta descriptions. The effect of these optimizations may be limited in the first month, but these steps lay the foundation for further SEO activities.

During the first few months of a journey, a keyword research is also conducted. This is necessary to set out a good SEO strategy. The research does not give direct results, but it does give indirect results. It allows you to choose the right keywords for your pages. So that you do not create pages for topics/keywords that no one is searching for.

In the second and third months of SEO, the first content optimizations are usually carried out, such as writing new SEO texts and optimizing existing pages for relevant keywords. These optimizations generally take a longer time to take effect, as it can take some time for the search engines to index this new content and for its positive effects to be reflected in search results.

3-6 months

After 3 to 6 months, the first results of SEO are usually visible. This is because the SEO activities performed such as technical optimizations and content creation have been indexed by the search engines over time. Link building has also often already started. Depending on the number and quality of links created, this will also contribute to the results.

It is important to remember that SEO results depend on many factors and can vary by website, industry and budget. Therefore, a definitive answer to this question is difficult. You can read more about that below. Therefore, it is important to stay consistent in SEO activities and monitor and optimize results as needed.

6-12 months

In most cases, you will see real improvement in your SEO results after 6 to 12 months. This can be measured, for example, by a higher position in search engine results, more organic traffic to your website, a higher conversion rate and more returning visitors. SEO results are therefore rightly a long-term result. We therefore recommend that you really view Search Engine Optimization as a long-term investment that starts to pay off after six months.

Continuous process

However, it is important to remember that SEO is an ongoing process and work on optimizing your Web site must continue in order to continue to improve and remain competitive in search results. It may also be necessary to adjust and change your SEO strategy as search engine algorithms evolve.

What factors come into play?

We'll get right to the point; SEO is not an A,B,C's game. Search engine optimization depends on several factors. The most important factors are listed below. More explanation on this you below.

  • The market in which you operate and the relevant search terms
  • The code and technical state of the website
  • The design and User Experience
  • The competition and their SEO activities
  • The quality and relevance of the content on your website
  • The speed of implementing optimizations
  • Responding to trends and algorithm changes from Google
  • The current authority of your website
  • The budget available for SEO investments
  • External crawlers indexing the website


When all your competitors are using an SEO route, it is logically more difficult to move up the search engine rankings than when you have lower competition. Keywords with high search volume are naturally attractive. That means there is a greater chance that many potential customers will land on your website. However, keywords with high search volume do have a lot of competition. It is therefore important to find a keyword with high search volume and low competition. These are the real gold mines.

Quality content

SEO largely revolves around written content. Often you are instructed to make a keyword recur multiple times. The trick is that the reader doesn't realize that you are returning a particular word, say, 30 times. It has to be easy to read while returning all the keywords multiple times. It is also important that you inform the reader. Don't just try to make your landing pages readable for Google. Your visitors want something too, and rightfully so.

Link building budget

Another important factor of the decisiveness of your SEO journey is the budget you spend on link building. Especially if you are just starting out and have few backlinks or strong competition, this is very important. After all, obtaining quality external links comes at a price. With more budget you logically realize more and more qualitative links. Which in turn ensure a higher position in search engine rankings.

Crawling by Google

Crawling by Google is an important part of SEO. Crawling refers to the process by which Google or other search engines scan your website to understand what your website is about and how it should be ranked in search results.

When Google crawls a page of your website, it analyzes the textual content, the links that appear on the page and the structure of the site. Based on this analysis, your website is indexed and ranked in search results.

Sometimes a new page is indexed the same day, other times it can take weeks. To speed up the process, you can request indexing in Google Search Console, but even then it can take a while. This also slows down the results.

Outsource to a specialist

SEO is not easy. You have to go through many steps to finally get a nice SEO result. SEO also contains a technical side, which are actually impossible to perform for employees without knowledge and experience. To make sure your SEO goes according to plan, it is recommended to outsource it to a specialists. They have all the tools, programs and knowledge to make your SEO a success.

Instant results with SEA

The counterpart of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Search Engine Advertising (SEA). This method gets you high in Google's rankings through advertising. You achieve results faster this way. You are immediately shown at the top of Google's rankings, depending on the budget. However, this method is not sustainable. When you stop paying, you immediately disappear from the rankings after which you can no longer be found.

SEO, on the other hand, is sustainable. It takes a little longer to get results, but when you are in a high position you can often keep it for a long time without additional investment.

Need help?

Want to attract more traffic to your Web site and appear higher in search results? Then it's time to get SEO. With our expertise and experience in optimizing websites for search engines, we can significantly improve your online presence and grow your business. Contact 2manydots today to find out how we can help you achieve your online goals. Increase your visibility and increase your success with our SEO services.

Gijs de Rooij Copywriter
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