This is a question that I am asked very frequently – and to be honest its a tough one to answer without knowing a lot more facts about the website, the business and the industry. Sadly, there is no sure way to answer this question, and there are no guarantees and anyone that makes them is either using black hat techniques that will result in your sites penalisation, or they’re just plain dishonest. I prefer to offer honest, educated guidelines to my clients.

How does it take to rank #1 on Google?

So back to the question, the answer is of course, “It Depends”. But what does it depend on? There are a lot of factors that determine how fast we can get a site showing for a term or set of terms, but here are a few to get you started:

  • The competitiveness of your market – if you’re selling car insurance then getting seen on page 1 for ‘car insurance’ is going to be hard work and you have to prepare yourself for a long term, significant effort. If you’re exclusively selling zebra striped beans to hamsters in New Zealand, I can get you to the top really fast!
  • The keywords we agree to target – I’ll always recommend we look at a three-stage plan. We start with the long tail niche terms. For this example we’ll assume that you sell all sorts of beans, not just zebra striped beans. We’ll start with the niche terms, let say that’s ‘buy zebra striped beans’ and a handful of similar terms. That’s the short term. For the medium term we’ll aim for ‘buy striped beans’. But the long term goal is actually to rank highly for ‘buy beans’. But notice, ‘buy beans’ was in the original targeting, so although we categorised as long term, we’ve already started the optimisation from the outset. The moral of the story is its all about planning, and we just love that bit!
  • The quality of your site infrastructure and what has already been done – yes, if you’ve already had a good SEO team, or have been reasonably proactive yourself, you may already have a great structure and tons of authority – and this will kick start the campaign. Authority comes from a range of sources but inbound links and social signals are the big talking points here.
  • Penalisations – the flip side of the above point is that if you have had a bad SEO and you’ve ended up with penalisations, then you have a long way to go. Of course, penalisations aren’t always the fault of inappropriate SEO strategy, sometimes they occur through attack or misguided efforts. Whatever the cause, undoing the damage requires a special, and careful effort. Again, you need to see the long-term goal in this instance.
  • Content – you’ve heard the expression “content is king”? Modern SEO is based around providing a solid, engaging, relevant experience on your site, and the best way to do this is to provide fantastic content that answers the questions of the audience you hope to attract.

So, is there any guidance on timescales? Yes, in ballpark terms we expect to see an uplift in existing rankings or appearance of new niche terms in months 1-3. For competitive markets you may be looking at 6 months for significant change. But with a quick look at your particular business and objectives I can offer a much more specific and guided answer.

If you’d like to get started with SEO for your business then feel free to contact us for a no obligation chat. We offer a range of SEO packages if you’d like a tried and tested formula to get going, or we’ll build you a bespoke, competitively priced SEO service if you need something extra special.