How long does it take to rank a new website using SEO?

Marketing / 11.07.16
Mark Vaesen

So you’ve got a brand spanking new website, and you’re now ready to release it out into the wild and start attracting traffic to it. But what should you realistically be expecting in terms of results?

It can be a bit daunting if you’re not sure exactly what to expect from your online marketing efforts. The fabled Google search algorithm is a mysterious creature; there’s no ‘magic formula’ to it, and it’s constantly evolving and keeping digital marketers on their toes.

The process of SEO can and should be thought of as working on site ‘fitness’ – just like you’d work out in a gym, you can’t expect to go once or twice a year and see improvements. Instead, you need to keep plugging away constantly to see the best results.

It’s definitely not a ‘set and forget’ activity. Remember, there’s only one position 1 – and everyone wants to be there.

Timescale

Your new website might be high quality, and you might be working on filling it with relevant content – but it’s not established online yet.

Part of the Google search algorithm will take into account the age of your domain as it decides where to rank your website; therefore it’s important to bear in mind you’ll be fighting against this bias at first. You won’t have had time to build up a good ‘Domain Authority’ yet.

Of course, if right off the bat you’ve been able to build some strong links from high Domain Authority websites you’ll be able to offset this bias, and will find yourself moving on up the list much sooner. Those links are essentially seen as ‘votes’ of trustworthiness from these other websites.

But overall, with proper diligent work on SEO, you’re likely to start seeing a good return on efforts from six to twelve months.

If you’re an agency working with a client on their brand new website, ensure you take the proper time to manage expectations and that they understand this.

Don’t think of it as just managing your client’s SEO, but also managing your client’s expectations.

Keywords on your new website

Obviously, ranking well also depends on entirely what you want to rank for.

For example, if your chosen keyword term is ‘custom made Scottish blue striped wood effect widgets’, you’ll clearly have a much easier time of it than if you were trying to rank for just ’widgets’ – a much broader term.

This is why good keyword research will help you identify those ‘holy grail’ terms (high-relevance, low-traffic, low-competition) terms to target. While they might not bring millions of visits to your site, they’ll likely to have a better conversion value due to lining up strongly with the user’s search intent.

These terms will reside in the ‘long tail’ of searches. The long tail is the aggregated number of searches spread across a host of specific searches that will be of a greater number than a few high traffic, vaguer terms.

Or to put it in a graph, it looks like this:

One more thing to bear in mind regarding keywords – if you’ve a unique brand name you’ll probably find you’ll be going straight to the top of search engine page rankings (SERPs) for your brand name pretty much immediately.

Another thing to bear in mind is that you might find your site bouncing erratically up and down the top 100 results for a time while the search engines try and suss you out.

For a new website, your immediate focus for the first six months should be to rank well for your brand name and a handful of long tail keywords.

What can you do while you wait for organic traffic to kick in?

Know your audience! If you’re aiming at a customer base that you know has a big social media presence, get involved on these platforms and start engaging with them.

This can be a stellar way to get your brand name out there, and seeing an upturn in social media traffic can be just as rewarding as seeing the same for organic.

So get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other platforms you think might be relevant and start building an audience!


While you may see some results after three months, achieving domination in SERPs take a lot of time and dedication, so don’t feel like you’re  doing anything wrong if not much is occurring immediately. Just be aware that, in the interim and in the name of getting things started, you should be looking at other digital marketing channels to consolidate your strategy.

But, if you plan on quitting after three months because you’re not ranked #1 on Google, you’re wasting your time and your money.

And if you’re a company looking to hire an SEO agency, don’t be taken in by the promise of guaranteed results. In a previous post we laid this out, and it’s true:

No-one can guarantee search results on Google.

If someone is guaranteeing a position on Google for you, there’s a very good chance they’re at best being disingenuous and at worst, downright lying to you.

What you really want is an SEO campaign tailored for your business.

If this sounds like what you’d like, why not get in touch with Tomango to discuss your business needs.