How Long Does It Take For SEO To Work? The Big Myth That SEO’s Don’t Want Me To Expose


One of the most common questions I get asked about SEO is how long it will take to start seeing results. I love this question because it is one of the few areas that most SEO’s underestimate, and a huge opportunity for me to swoop in and save the day.

In fact, I was reviewing an SEO contract for a friend from a vendor and they wanted him to sign a Two Year Contract for SEO. I don’t care how good a company is at SEO, signing a two year contract is a mistake. There are too many things that can change or go wrong and you’ll be stuck holding the bag. What was really crazy about that contract was their money back guarantee if after two years you don’t at least double your investment with them, you’ll get your money back. This is crazy because not only is search volume and internet usage going up, your sites age influence your rankings to a relatively significant degree. Assuming you are not doing anything spammy, and are creating good content, odds are over two years you will certainly grow organically, definitely enough to recoup the cost of the two year contract. Was it a scam. Actually, it wasn’t.  they were a decent agency, but it was definitely a contract that should never be signed.

This is a common theme for most SEO vendors. They require at least four to six months to show results, so they make you commit to working with them.

They aren’t wrong, it can take months for your SEO efforts to start showing significant improvements, and can certainly take that long to start showing a real ROI. Many links don’t get their full value for three months, after all, Google wants to see that the links are here to stay. For the most part Google wants to see stability and longevity as they are good indicators of credibility which is one of the two things Google is trying to measure (Credibility and Relevance).

So, how long does it take to start seeing SEO results? My answer is TWO WEEKS MAX.

Here’s why… Odds are if you are good at SEO you will be able to find at least several things that can influence rankings on the very next crawl by Google.

There should be several things on site to do and if you are clever, you might find broken links, pages that are 404’d that should be 301’d. Changes to influence Rich Snippets translating into more traffic. Improving your page load times, making your site more engaging, lowering the bounce rate… Lots of onsite changes can influence rankings really quickly.

Even if you can’t find those changes that make a quick difference. There are most likely a handful of keywords that are ranking on page two that can be pushed up to page one in a matter of weeks.

Of course there are other tricks, like earning social sharing. In fact, there is a case study showing how Plus Ones from relevant and established Google+ accounts pushing brand new websites to page one in only a day.

Here’s the thing that most people don’t seem to realize. There are lots of great SEO vendors that have the best practices down pat. But, it takes creativity, and a deep understanding of everything at play to uncover lots of low hanging fruit, and find opportunity to get SEO improvements within a few weeks. This is where high end SEO experts can come into play. They know how to find the issues, not just follow the steps they were taught.

So, the next time you think about hiring an SEO vendor and they say it will take several months to see results, ask them why. I’m not saying you should expect to make a real ROI immediately, I am just saying you should see some improvement in rankings and organic traffic.

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. Great explanation David!

  2. codemonkey says

    I just started doing SEO as a web developer. I’ve never had to worry about it because I did a lot of enterprise web applications. Just recently I deployed my own personal website, now its a huge deal to me. Thanks for explaining!

    • DavidMelamed says

      sure thing. if you have any questions, post them in the comments and I will try to answer them in a post.

  3. Andrew Smith says

    Cant say how much time it will take some rank in weeks, some in months
    and some also takes years to see the results depends upon many factors
    as competitors, country etc

  4. I have to disagree. If a clients site is in decline because of an algorithmic penalty or something like that you can not expect any improvements for 2 weeks. Playing with title tags and robots.txt is nice and dandy but it wont get you very far in 2 weeks with many clients who have far more serious problems. Get real clients, who pay you premium to solve a serious problem (not your aunts cat website), then come back and tell us how you deliver results in 2 weeks. For the contracts I agree, 2 years binding contract is too much. But improvement can not be expected in 2 weeks, it depends on the project.

    • Thank you! I can generate awesome SEO results in two weeks for some bs hobby website. But to generate real results for a business of any realistic size and level of competition takes months minimal. I’m actually starting to demand contracts for even the smaller businesses because people read websites like this and demand that I’m taking far too long to do a large task. I’m currently in the middle of month 2 with one client and they’re getting upset because their new website for their new business isn’t getting results yet. It DOES take time if your business or entity is of any real value.

    • dial a cliche says

      I agree, atentat Also, if you’re attempting to rank organically for a very competitive phrase. How long it takes to gain rank depends on the keywords being targeted and how competitive they are.

  5. Great article, I just launched a new website (last week)and used all of my pasr SEO experience in the hope that it would start ranking quickly, but as I figured it is barely showing up since it is so new. Would Google+ really help that much? I have been running a Facebook campaign (not paid) and I am up to 225+ like on the page with a lot of shares. keyword density is there (as per is there anything else that I should look at doing? content is constantly changing as it is an event advertisement site so it is always fresh.

  6. Hi David, I know this is an old topic but i just came across it. I need an advise from you or anyone else here. I have a 2 year old website and i have managed to rank 3 important pages to page 1 for their most important keywords respectively. The problem is that the ranks seem to be stuck in 7th and 8th position and does not move at all from neatly last 6 weeks. What do i do to make it move higher ?

    • DavidMelamed says

      Without knowing more info I cant give you accurate advice, but my process in this case would be a)check webmaster tools search query report to see if you are fluctuating between positions, so you can have a better idea where you really stand. I would make sure all the images have alt image text that is descriptive. I would than analyze the competitors link profile on and see if they have a much stronger link profile. In some industries, you just might not be able to oust the leaders. (i.e. you cant beat zappos for a keyword like shoes)
      in others, perhaps the best option is to build out pages that are optimized for long tails of the main head keyword you are targeting, and use that page to get those pages to rank, and pull in more traffic…

      I guess there are lots of things to depending on your circumstance, but your best bet is using an SEO platform to give you custom recommendations.

  7. Would you be able to commit to a 2 week guarantee for performance? For a website that’s been hammered by Google Updates? For a website thats been falsely redirected from an old domain? 301s-302s mixed up? For a website that comes with a shady link profile from a previous agency?

  8. Hey David! I am hoping you can help me with this.

    I had a website that was getting 150 hits a day, mostly in organic traffic. It was all unique content that I had written.

    I took the website down and then put up a different website in July, re-posting all my previous content with the exact same tags, meta description, etc. that had earned me the SEO for the first site.

    These articles have been up for a couple of months now and I have almost NO SEO traffic from them.

    I am very concerned about this. Google would not register it as duplicate material if the original website was taken down, correct?

    Please help me crack this mystery and discover why my unique content is not producing the same results on this second website. What do I need to do differently? I don’t want my new website to be penalized and I’m not sure why I’m invisible to the spiders when I was so successful before.



  9. I think more than 200 factors influence SEO results, most of the SEO agencies don’t know about all these factors, expecting results within 2 weeks is little bit hard,I am new to blogging, i am learning things now, as per my knowledge without any back links to my website can I reach search engine first page within 2 weeks, not possible, like that so many factors has to be take care.

  10. I think For long tail keywords, 2 weeks strategy works. But for 1 or 2 keywords definetly will take much time. It may be more than 4 months.

  11. A TWO YEAR contract? Wow, that’s insane. I can’t believe anyone would commit to that, even if there was a guarantee. Some businesses don’t even make it two years lol


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