how long does seo take to work

You may have heard a variety of responses to the question, “how long will it take to see results from SEO?”

Well, let me respond with this question; how long is a piece of string? We have seen results within a couple of weeks of working on a site’s SEO (search engine optimisation). We have also seen it take 3 months to make an impact. It all comes down to the individual website and what work needs to be undertaken to achieve results.

Business owners often know they need to integrate SEO in their overall marketing strategy. More often, these people want results as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple. SEO work can be hard with a lot of time and effort needed. Sometimes, the short-term or quick-fix options can be exactly the ones that cause long-term damage to your site. For example, getting hundreds of backlinks to your website all in one go might give you a heap of traffic in the short-term. But, it’s not always the most relevant traffic and a sudden leap in the number of backlinks could land you in hot water with Google.

Why do SEO results vary in time?

There are a number of factors at play when it comes to SEO, but for now we’ll break it into two answers:

  1. The website itself is different to other websites. No two businesses are the same – their websites and marketing strategies won’t be either.
  2. The goals of the SEO work vary. For example, if a business owner is looking to get 10 new customer enquiries a month this will require a different SEO strategy to someone who is looking to get 50 new newsletter sign ups per month.

What website factors affect SEO?

The complexity of the timeframe of SEO results is highly predetermined by the current state of a website. Such factors include (but are not limited to):

  • The age of the website (although this has been debated)
  • The current domain authority
  • Site penalties
  • Errors and hosting reliability
  • Mobile responsiveness and/or optimisation
  • URL structure
  • Content
  • Onsite SEO
  • Offsite SEO

It’s worth noting that Matt Cutts from Google has previously described the impact of domain age as ‘very little’. Google want to provide an even playing field for all websites. However, experienced SEO experts have seen a difference in newer sites vs. older sites in regards to ranking.


There is no conclusive answer to “how long will SEO take to work?”, it comes down to the factors mentioned above. The best option would be to work out your business goals and then work out how SEO will help you achieve these.

If you would like us to help you identify what would help improve your SEO, get in touch to discuss.