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I think this question has been asked ever since the dawn of Google. Website owner after website owner have pondered over this question, while SEO after SEO have tried to give a definitive answer.
Recently, the good folks over at Search Engine Round table released the results to their April 1st poll: “How Long Should it Take to Rank Well on Google?” Out of the over two-hundred respondents, the largest response was 3-6 months (35%), followed by 6-9 months (19%). In my experience, a well-optimized website will take approximately 3-6 months to rank well. A website that has not been optimized at all….never!
Three to six months for a site to rank well on Google may seem like a long time to the anxious website owner who really wants to prove their site a success. However, with millions upon millions of websites trying to rank on the first page of the SERPs (search engine results pages), it takes that amount of time for Google to revisit your web pages enough times to build up the trust factor. Also, Google looks at many different factors of a web page in order to give it high rankings in SERPs. And, those factors change all the time – which can seem to be a bit unfair to even the most diligent of webmasters.
Such factors that Google takes into account include:
- Age of the domain
- Use of keywords in the Title tag
- Relevancy of keywords in the body text
- Link popularity of the site (or web page in question)
- Anchor text used in inbound link
- Relevance of inbound links
- Quality of content & freshness of content
Google also looks at factors that may negatively affect a website. These factors include:
- Duplicate title/meta description tags
- Errors in site code which distracts search engine spiders
- Duplicate content of any kind
- Participation in link farms or link schemes
- Keyword stuffing (basically overusing keyword phrases)
- Keywords in Title do not match content
- Hidden keywords
- Disobeying any of Google rules (see Google’s webmaster guidelines)
One thing that I have learned in my many years of optimizing websites. A website is only as good as those who maintain it. I’ve also learned that once you get the hang of what Google likes, they change the rules. However, with all this said, it doesn’t matter how well a website ranks on Google. What matters is the visitor.
As a professional SEO who has done optimized a ton of websites for various industries – this is what I suggest.
- Have a plan – what do you want visitors to do when they land on your site
- Know your audience and produce well-written, useful content for them
- Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for – don’t hide important information
- Make your calls-to-action prominent and consistent
- Maintain your content – if a product or service changes, update your site accordingly
So instead of worrying how long it takes to rank well on Google. Start thinking about your visitor and what is important to them. Afterall, your in business to get business from humans, not search engines.
Not sure if your site meets Google’s (or Patti’s) guidelines. Contact us for a complimentary website review.