How Long Does It Take To Be First On Google?

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Monica Lorica

MONICA LORICA Digital Research Lead

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Search engines like Google and Bing are the most important aspects of modern marketing techniques. Most customers today will research products and brands before they make a commitment to purchase. (source) They find businesses organically through search engines more than through any other medium. A company that ranks high on search engine results page draws the lion’s share of organic traffic. Few search engine users look beyond the first few results on the SERPs. Most won’t look beyond the second page of the results because they usually get all the information they need on the first couple of pages.

That’s why it’s important to get your company name and link on the first page and possibly at the top of the SERP. Today, it is no longer a case of getting a few on page factors such as meta tags in place and then building backlinks. The top of the SERP is a highly valuable piece of online real estate and every business in your industry will want a place there.

How Long Does It Take To Reach There?

SEO is a long game. It doesn’t deliver immediate results like PPC and other paid marketing techniques do. According to research and surveys conducted by several marketing publications, (source) it takes around three to six months for the website to rank high enough in Google. You won’t start seeing substantial organic online traffic immediately after your website is launched. The duration depends largely on the keywords you use, the level of competitiveness in your industry, and other such factors we will discuss later in this article.

Even if you follow all the rules and do everything right, it will take time for your website to start climbing the ranks and gaining an audience. To understand why it takes so much time for Google to index and rank a website, you need to understand how the ranking system works.

How Does Google Find Your Website After It’s Uploaded Online?

There are billions of websites and webpages uploading to the Internet every day. Google must go through every single new website and page carefully before indexing it in their servers. Even for the formidable Google servers and data banks, processing that much data requires a lot of time.

Google has special programs called Googlebots. These lines of code crawl through your website and collect all the information they need. Once the bots have a proper assessment of your website, they’ll index it in the Google ecosystem. All the information collected by the bots is stored in an organized fashion to ensure the search engine algorithm can access the information quickly. When a user searches a particular keyword on this platform, Google doesn’t scour the entire Internet to find the information. The search engine only accesses the relevant section in their data bank and retrieves the required information. This information is displayed to the user in a particular order, which is commonly known as ranking.

While retrieving this information, Google considers over 250 ranking factors, including keywords, meta data, PageRank, backlinks, mobile compatibility, etc. Their goal is to ensure search engine users get the best results and the most accurate information possible. The search engine will rank websites of superior quality and authority higher on the SERP.

How Old Are Most Top Ranking Pages?

If you run a business, you know that it takes some time to establish a reputation in the market and earn the trust of your local customers. You won’t expect customers and money to start flowing immediately after you’ve set up shop. Similarly, you can’t expect a website to immediately rank high and attract organic traffic after you upload it and make it live. Here are some points you need to consider:

  • Only around 6% of the newly launched webpages rank among the first 10 results on the SERP within a year of their launch for one keyword. (source)
  • Websites that have a higher domain rating perform a little better on the SERPs than websites without good domain rating. A strong backlink profile helps. (source)
  • The successful ranked pages achieve their status in the first 3 to 6 months of their launch. Most marketers consider these pages lucky. (source)
  • Websites that rank number 1 on the SERP are almost always more than 3 years old. (source)
  • Websites that rank in the first 10 results are usually more than 2 years old. (source)

As you can see, the age of your website matters because it takes some time to establish a solid reputation. Does this mean that your website will never rank high on the SERPs and the competition is too intense? No. It just means that you need to optimise your website for search engines and get a high rank for one or two of the many keywords you can use in your website content.

What Role Do Keywords Play?

Keywords are hooks that draw the search engine’s attention. When the user searches for a keyword you target, your website appears on the search engine results pages. Your ranking is different for every keyword or key phrase you use in your content. For example, you might score a higher ranking for “women’s shoe shop in Dublin” than you would for “women’s leather shoes”.

As you can see, there’s a potential to rank high on the SERPs for every keyword you use on your content. That’s why it’s important to choose the keywords carefully and include a collection of both long tail and generic keywords. Keywords also help search engine bots index your website better because they look at the content and register the keywords.

What Are the Basis of Website Rankings?

As mentioned before, Google considers over 250 ranking factors when the bots index the webpages. It’s not really possible to optimise your website for all of these factors because most people don’t know what’s included in the complete list. Marketers and website designers usually focus on the overall quality, appearance, and performance of the website and get good results based on that. Here are some factors that are considered vital for the success of any website:

  • Quick Load Times – Websites should load in 3 to 4 seconds in order to retain customer attention. Websites with quicker load times tend to rank higher on the SERPs.
  • Mobile Compatibility – Google considers this a very important ranking factor because mobile search traffic volume has surpassed desktop search traffic volume. Your website should load quickly on a mobile platform, be user friendly, and look good on a smaller screen.
  • Backlinks – Backlinks from high authority websites can help you establish your reputation and improve the overall value of your domain. That increases the level of trust Google has in your content and information.
  • Quality of Content – Your website copy, blog posts, and other forms of content should be well-written, informative, and current.

It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to get good results with SEO strategy, but the end result is worth it. You have a steady flow of organic traffic, better visibility online, more recognition and authority, and a stronger foothold in the industry. SEO grants you the power to endure and thrive in your industry so even if it takes some time for the results to show up, you shouldn’t exclude it from your marketing strategy.

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Monica Lorica

MONICA LORICA Digital Research Lead

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With a strong understanding of digital research trends and tools, Monica is an expert in qualitative and quantitative research for campaign development. One part research geek, one part super-Mum!