How Long Does SEO Take To Work in 2021? ⚡ (New Website SEO Tips & How To Speed It Up!)


Okay let’s not mess around. 

You didn’t come here for the ‘it depends’ answer did you? Well, here’s what I can say.

The general consensus and data from SEO’s and the community and experts is that it takes anywhere from 4-12 months from to begin seeing real results from search engine optimisation.

HOWEVER. Let’s get this right straight away. No SEO can guarantee a timescale for ranking. I can’t give you a straight answer as to how long SEO takes to work because a straight answer simply doesn’t exist. Even the one I gave a second ago, doesn’t quite sit right with me. 

So, what the hell is the point in this blog?

Your question shouldn’t be ‘how long does SEO take?’, it should be, ‘what are the factors that influence how long SEO takes to work and how can I speed it up?’. 

But that’s less catchy. Plus the keyword research I did showed that ‘how long does SEO take’ was a way juicier keyword for me to tackle so… don’t hate the player, hate the game son.


The truth is, there are loads of factors that influence how long it takes…

But forget all of that for a second. A more important overview is a general look of ‘where is your site at?’ 

Generally, bigger, more established sites have all the basics take care of in terms of technical stuff. They often don’t have clunky or bad design and their site architecture as a whole is pretty clean.

Sites like this who may have dipped their toe in SEO before are a different story.

For these sites to rank higher on SERPS, you are looking at a bigger and more comprehensive content strategy to take on their competitors. This will take a longer time to have an impact because they’ve likely already captured ‘low hanging fruit’.

When these sites are doing SEO, they are going after tough keywords. This can take some time to achieve results.


I know what it’s like.

When you’ve started a new website or project, it can be a painful and anxious process whilst you’re waiting for Google to finally recognise your existence.

SEO is much more competitive than it used to be. You have to understand what you’re up against and also exercise patience in seeing SEO results for a new website.

Here is a strategy that I have applied personally for multiple new sites that I’ve created myself, or worked on as an SEO consultant.


A technique I like to use for brand new websites (after ensuring they are technically sound) is to target really low competition, long-tail keywords.

These are more often informational to help get a new website ranking, get the wheels turning and picked up by search engines. 

If your site is new, I suggest you do the same before worrying about the complicated parts of SEO.

Targeting these keywords begins to establish a new website as an authority in the industry and gives them a better chance of going after the big keywords after ranking for relevant terms.

If your site is new, consider this when figuring out where to direct your energy.

A newer site is going to have a tougher time trying to rank for a really competitive, highly searched and competitive keyword then a more established and trusted site.

This also works the other way round.

I’ve worked with powerful sites that have managed to rank for very low competition and specific long-tail keywords in a matter of days because competition is low and their authority is high.

But for bigger sites, there are bigger fish to fry.

A lot of sites in this bracket have the basics and technical sorted and are even doing well on SEO. so there are less ‘low hanging fruits’ or ‘quick wins’ to go after. For a newer site, this is a lot of the early strategy to start building traffic.

Success is relative. A big site might ignore a keyword with a search volume of 100 because it is almost inconsequential for them to target. For a brand new website, it could well be worth it.


How long does SEO take as a question is just fundamentally incorrect. Why? Because you never really stop doing SEO.

Everyone is after those ‘quick wins’ for their website, but that mentality is hurtful in the long run. If you see SEO as a one time deal, set and forget, you’re doing it wrong.

You also can’t control what other people are doing. The SERPS are made up of other moving parts, your competitors who are also gunning for success. If you sit still, you will be overtaken.

It’s an investment that requires maintenance and ongoing attention to see any sustainable results.

Before we talk about how we can actually speed up our SEO process, we need to breakdown why it takes so long to begin with.


A lot goes into SEO before any actual action is taken on the site.

From the beginning of an SEO ‘campaign’, analysis on current rankings and identifying opportunities, keyword research, content audit, content planning, creation, curation and site.

This can all take time.

Not only that, but the content also needs to be crawled and indexed by which then takes time. There might be link building involved too which adds even more time to the process.

You can start to see how this all adds up.


The most important difference I’ve seen is this:

How quickly are you able to make changes to your website? 

Do you have access yourself? On-page SEO is going to affect this above all. How much time and energy are you able to commit to adding content to your site? If big changes are taking time to implement, this is going to hold you back.

The best way to speed up SEO is to actually do things on your website. Make great content based around specific keywords and do it efficiently and quickly. 

Easier said than done I know.

‘Bigger’ websites and companies are sometimes the biggest culprits of this.

I see so many sites drag their feet with site changes. By the time they get round to implementing their content strategy, their competitor has already moved on to something new. Unfortunately, the goal posts may have moved by that point. If important changes are taking a lot of time to ‘sign off’, this can really slow things down.

We’ve spoken about different factors that affect ranking but the one variable is you, or who you’ve hired to oversee your SEO campaign. How long SEO takes really depends on how much is done and the quality of the work. If someone is directing their energy in the wrong places or doing the wrong things, of course it’s going to take a long time. You might never even rank where you want to if done incorrectly.