How long does it take to see SEO results?

If you are a website or business owner, you have probably been told that you really need to get your SEO in order. It’s also likely that when you heard this, you weren’t quite sure what SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” even meant.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through optimisation of your website, content and various technical SEO related factors.

When it comes to SEO, everyone wants quick results to grab that number one spot on Google. Many website owners have unrealistic expectations, expecting instant results as soon as their SEO campaign starts, but in reality, it takes time and a lot of effort.

How long does it take to start seeing SEO results?

When it comes to how quickly you will see results after kicking off your SEO campaign, there are multiple variables to take into account. Content, website design, domain name/ URL, onsite errors, domain age, page speed, the online competitiveness of the industry and target market are all but a few variable factors that will impact how effective a website is at ranking in search engines and how long SEO takes to work. It’s much easier to win a race against 30 runners than a race against 300 runners. The same is true with SEO: When your goal is to rank high, it is much easier to rank high for a specific region vs worldwide (for example, you would see better results if you are targeting people in the Western Cape versus Internationally. Google uses location indicators to provide results.

When your main goal is to rank higher in the SERPs, you’ll need to beat out the other competition in order to accomplish this. At the very beginning of an SEO campaign, you’ll most likely notice your rank increase dramatically, Outperforming very low-ranking websites. Once the lower ranking sites have been overtaken, the competition, on the first page can be harder to outrank. This is because Search Engines felt that they have answered the searcher’s query and have more authority in the particular search space. This is where the time to see SEO results can be impacted. You will need to show search engines that you are the expert in the space.

With competitors in mind, we need to consider how established the competitors are in a particular industry. Brands who have been in the industry much longer will be more difficult to outrank. The reason for this is that they would generally have a higher domain authority (search engine ranking score), they have more backlinks, they are considered trustworthy and they would have served the users with answers that search engines deem adequate to a particular search query.

The finance, retail and property industries, for example,  are tougher to compete in because they feature well-established brands like Property24, Zando and The reason for this is, they generally have been in the industry for a lot longer and their marketing efforts are more aggressive. Take Property24 for example. They are the largest property portal in the country with a much higher and more dedicated marketing budget. When compared to Private Property, the second-largest portal, which is, to some extent, more aggressive, often find themselves coming second.

The larger reason for this would be the established brand behind Property 24 as well as the trust factor. More people are inclined to visit Property 24 first. Takealot however, was a newer player in the retail space when they entered the market but because they were super aggressive in their marketing tactics, they were able to outrank most of their competitors relatively quickly. They didn’t solely rely on SEO but rather on the whole marketing wheel. This helped them grow exponentially versus Kalahari who they would later buy.

It is important to think of SEO like the investment of a savings account. The longer you put money away for, the better results you will have over timeSEO is the same; the longer SEO is being used for, the better results you will obtain. 

SEO Results

If we look at, they were able to achieve results quicker than their competitors because of how much time they put into their campaigns. The same can be said for your site. If you spend two hours a month on SEO, your results are going to take much longer to materialise versus spending 10 – 20 hours a month on SEO. We need to understand that the more aggressive you are with an SEO campaign, the more likely you are to see results faster. As the age-old saying goes, you reap what you sow.

In closing, there is no definitive answer to how long it may take to see results. That is entirely up to the search engines, competitive nature of the industry you find your brand in and your website. Some results may happen in a week while others may take months.

Google, the biggest search engine, often says don’t optimize for them. Optimize for your audience. When you do this you see results happening a little faster. Google and the other search engines are trying to help people find the answer to their question. If you are doing this, you can get rewarded with a faster turn around.

Our SEO strategy determines how we are going to achieve the desired SEO traffic and what we are going to do to get the desired traffic. There is no special secret ingredient to make your website appear at the top of search engines  (besides PPC campaigns), and good organic SEO takes time.

It takes years of experience and expertise to formulate a results-driven SEO Campaign, and we have the team to do it. We know how to utilize the latest and greatest tactics and we follow Google’s best practices to ensure we are able to improve your search engine optimization at any level.

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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.