How Long Does SEO Take to Show Results?

Summary: SEO is a very effective digital marketing service, but it does not work instantly. It can take several months or years to see the full results of your efforts.

If you have recently started implementing SEO or improving your existing SEO strategies, you may be wondering how long you will have to wait before you begin to see significant results.

Google reports that the average SEO strategy takes between 4 and 12 months to come to fruition, although you may see some small effects before this. High-competition keywords could take up to 2 or 3 years of intensive work to reach that top search engine results page (SERP) position you want.

This may sound discouraging, but do not let it dampen your outlook on your new project. SEO is an important part of any business strategy and is worth every minute and dollar you put into it. Read on to learn why this process takes so long, what you can do about it, and whether it might be worth your while to hire an SEO service provider in Toronto to help you out.

Why Does SEO Take So Long?

SEO is a multifaceted process that gradually builds upon itself to achieve its final results. Hiring SEO companies or agencies can somewhat speed up the process due to the expert knowledge and experience they bring to the table. Still, even they cannot completely eliminate the waiting period. There is simply too much work to do and not enough time for Google to take stock of the results of that work.

Which Elements of SEO Impact the Time It Takes to Show Results

To achieve an optimal SERP position, the following factors must be accounted for. Each one plays a part in the expected time frame of your SEO project.


Building up enough keyword-rich content for good SEO takes time. The more keywords you want to target, the more blog posts, landing pages, and other content you will need to create. This will not happen overnight, and even when the content is ready, it is best not to release it all at once. Providing a steady stream of content gives you the chance to build an organically interested audience for your work.

Do not worry about moving quickly during the content creation process. Focus on creating great original content that matches the searcher’s intent, and do not forget to include a local spin if you are working on your local SEO. If needed, you can get inspiration from the content that already ranks in the top spots for your desired keywords.

Also Read: How to Write Great SEO Content


Backlinks are one of the most time-intensive elements of a good SEO strategy. To acquire a full portfolio of high-quality backlinks, you will need to create plenty of quality content that others want to share. You will also need to build relationships with associations, influential people, and other businesses in your community. This will convince them to supply you with the high-authority backlinks you need to rise higher in the SERPs. You can also commission an agency that provides SEO services for quality backlinks if required.

Internal linking is also important and requires you to have sufficient existing content to build a dense network of links. This means it cannot be done until your content strategy has been implemented. It is also helpful to keep updating old content with new internal links as you continue to develop your website’s repertoire, so this should be an ongoing process.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO opportunities like XML site mapping and data structuring can be quickly identified with a website audit and will provide a relatively quick boost in overall SEO. Google’s prioritizing of Core Web Vitals also puts a lot of the focus back on the technical aspects of your website. However, this type of SEO is most powerful when used to support the other two pillars listed here. Your website might load as fast as lightning, but if there is no relevant, keyword-rich content on it for users to enjoy, its ranks will not show significant improvement.

How Long Does SEO Take to Show Results?

Factors That May Extend Your Ranking Timeline

  1. Competition. There are specific keywords that every company in a given industry will want to rank for. With all of you fighting for those few precious top SERP spots, your SEO efforts will move at a glacial pace.
  2. Poor Keyword Research. It is easy to claim the top spot for an irrelevant keyword with a low search volume, but it will not pay off as expected. You must find keywords that people are actually searching for in order to derive profits from SEO.
  3. Unrealistic Pressures and Expectations. Decision-makers outside the marketing department have a vested interest in SEO and its high potential ROI, but they may not understand what a realistic SEO timeline looks like. As a result, they may set overambitious goals and deadlines that cannot be met using organic and sustainable SEO practices, even with the help of SEO services.
  4. Ignoring Non-Keyword Factors. When SEO was a very new idea, implementing targeted keywords was often enough to achieve results. This is no longer the case. If you neglect factors such as site structure, internal linking, or user experience, you will have difficulty achieving quality results.
  5. Playing Copycat. While it may seem simple to copy what your competitors have done with their SEO, this will not likely provide the results you want. What worked for your competitors may not work for you, and you do not know how long it took them to get those results regardless. Instead of imitating your predecessors, it is much better to develop your own unique approach to SEO.
  6. Ignoring Creative SEO. Unconventional SEO approaches usually target low-competition niches, which makes them highly effective when they pay off. Opting for unusual types of content (such as low-volume comparison content) in addition to tried-and-true strategies can significantly  speed up SEO efforts.
  7. Stopping Too Soon. If you let a lack of immediate results get you discouraged and stop putting effort into your SEO initiatives, you will never see the improvements you are after. It is essential that you stay tenacious and experiment with different techniques until you get your website to your desired rank. Rather than give up, consider hiring an SEO company to help you find the right approach for your business.

What Does SEO Success Look Like?

Rank placement in SERPs may be the ultimate measure of SEO success, but it isn’t the only one. Other measures can tell you whether you are making progress in your SEO efforts. You can break these down into goals and KPIs.


It is a good idea to set specific goals for your SEO strategy right from the start. This guides your SEO campaigns and establishes clear steps you can point to when asked what you have been working on. Some of the SEO goals you might set include:

  • Increasing organic traffic
  • Improving your site’s backlink profile
  • Building a stronger network of internal links on your site
  • Strengthening your domain authority
  • Improving page load times


KPIs will help you measure your SEO progress in more specific data-based terms. The numbers you uncover can serve as benchmarks for your SEO progress. Consider tracking information such as your:

  • Number of impressions, or the number of users who visit your site from specific channels
  • Conversion rate, or the percentage of users who complete the desired action on your site
  • Bounce rate, or the percentage of users who leave your website immediately without taking the time to explore it
  • Average session duration, or the average length of time each unique user spends browsing your website

Other SEO Considerations

It is best not to assume that all SEO campaigns can be hurried by funnelling more time and money into them. Devoting more resources to SEO usually leads to slightly faster (and better) results, but this is not a universal rule. If your business is in urgent need of more traffic, it is best to put those extra resources toward more short-term strategies, such as a PPC marketing campaign. These types of initiatives can circumvent the usual ranking factors for a temporary boost in traffic while you work on getting your SEO efforts to bear fruit.

The truth is that SEO in Toronto is a long-term investment, and that means it will likely be under increasingly heavy scrutiny from cost-cutting initiatives as time goes on. It is important to continuously monitor your progress in this area to justify its ongoing costs. Be sure to use analytics tools to gather evidence that you can present to key decision-makers in your company.

SEO strategies are proven to generate excellent ROI when they are fully matured, so there is good reason to convince them to wait it out. With knowledge, determination, and perhaps some assistance from a trusted SEO company, your hard work will eventually pay off.

Put Your Search Strategy into High Gear with SEO Tailored for Toronto Companies

Achieving high search ranks takes time, but it is possible – even in a highly competitive market like Toronto. Your business needs a top SEO agency to help you map out your long-term search goals and find the right SEO approach for your needs.

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