How long does it take to start ranking in Google?
It’s highly unlikely that your website will rank for your keywords before the 6 month mark.
Page One Google Rankings
It goes without saying that having your website appear on page one of Google is the holy grail. Organic page one rankings are free (unless you’ve paid someone to get you there) and bring in traffic and customers without having to advertise. As well as word of mouth and referrals all my other business is generated thanks to Google (and Bing) and all my page one rankings. This is similar for many of my clients.
However there are many misconceptions about ranking and as someone who works in the industry and deals with SEO on a daily basis it’s easy for me to forget that others don’t understand that ranking in Google isn’t just a matter of having a website and putting it live and it will be on page one the next day. That’s not how it works. A couple of clients have believed this recently and that’s a failing on my part to explain how ranking in Google works. So this post is a basic guide to understanding Google rankings and what to expect from a new website.
Why Would Google Rank a New Site?
Think about it. On page one of Google there are usually 10 websites that rank organically (with ads above and below). These sites are probably years old, have been indexed by Google many times, might have backlinks and also the company might have reviews. Google knows exactly what the site is about, that it’s not a spammy site and that it provides people searching with the answers they need. It may have taken some sites on page one years to get there. They made have paid an SEO company thousands of pounds to get them there, or they may spend hundreds of hours creating content to help the site rank. Why then would Google decide that a brand new site, that they know little about should be on page one, ahead of those on pages 2 etc. They don’t. This is why your brand new site is not going to appear on page one the minute it goes lives. Nor even the week or month it goes live. It is going to take time.
The Google Stages
1. Submit url to Google and Bing
You’re happy with your website and it goes live. At this point I submit your website to Google and also set up something called Bing instant indexing. People tend to ignore Bing when they think about rankings but the relatively new Bing instant indexing is proving to be brilliant and isn’t to be overlooked.
2. I recommend you set up a Google My Business listing
I won’t go into that here, but Google will expect your business to have one and your customers can leave reviews there which will also boost your rankings. Once your site is live, I will send you a reminder to do this and the link to do so. It’s free to do. Just ensure you that you do it thoroughly and use keywords well.
3. I will also recommend that you add your website to online directories
This is in order to get backlinks to your website and also show Google that you’re a serious business. The jury is out on whether these still help your site to rank (they definitely used to) but they certainly can’t harm.
Either 4a Wait
Yup, we now need to wait. Hundreds of thousands of new websites go live around the world every single day. There isn’t one single reason why Google would think that your site should rank above other sites. Google wants to show you the best results for your search. Your brand new site as yet doesn’t meet those criteria.
Or 4b Start adding new content to your website.
Google loves new content and the more pages, blog posts (using relevant keywords) and videos you add to your site, the more Google will love your site and the quicker your site will climb in the rankings. Despite all the complex algorithms, Google is simpler than you think. It just wants the best results. Add lots of really relevant content and you give Google what it wants. Sit back and do nothing and Google may well still reward you with a page one ranking, but you’re going to have to wait for it.
5. Start to see rankings
After a period of time your site will start to rank. Google themselves say you’ll start to see rankings around the 6 month mark. For local companies I generally start to see this around the 3-4 month mark, provided that the site has plenty of relevant content. I do see one page sites ranking around this time also, but that very much depends on the sector you are in and the local competition and their websites. One page websites are always going to be harder to rank as Google prefers a lot of relevant and newly added content
6. Improve rankings
Generally your rankings will slowly to start to improve the longer your site is live. However depending on your sector and competition you might find your site getting stuck at pages 2 and lower. Follow the steps in 4a above and you should start see those (sometimes elusive) page one rankings.
Will my Site Definitely Get to Page one of Google?
No. There are never any guarantees. Even Google themselves tell us that as you can read here. There are so many factors involved in ranking a website. Only 10 places are available on page one so Google has to have a really good reason for giving one of them to your business. There may be 50 businesses all within a 10 mile radius all with the same product/service as you. If your site moves to page one, it means that another site has to drop to page 2. Google needs a reason to your rank site and to move another down.
It is Unlikely that Your Site will Rank one page if:
a. You are a hotel/B & B/any kind of accommodation
By this I mean that your site isn’t going to rank for example “hotel Blackpool” (put your town/city name in place of Blackpool). Why is that? Because page one of Google is dominated by sites such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, LateRooms, Trivago and countless other booking platforms. However don’t be deterred, there may be nothing stopping you from ranking for “family room Blackpool North Shore.” This is called a long tail keyword, is much more specific and much easier to rank for.
b. You are a tradesman and you only have a one page site
Similar to the above ranking for “plumber Blackpool” or “electrician Blackpool” with a one page website is going to be nigh on impossible. Page one is dominated by large companies and sites such as CheckaTrader, Yell, MyBuilder etc. On page one there probably will be a few local companies but I can guarantee that they will be larger sites with plenty of content. If you are a tradesman whose average job pays over £1000 then you need to think about investing in a larger site. It will pay you back far more than 10 fold over the years. Don’t expect your site to rank for tricky keywords if you’re only prepared to pay £250 for a one page website.
There are two exception with one page websites and tradesmen:
- If you offer something very specific. For example I have a client in Cardiff who offers custom carpentry. He only has a one page website but he has two page one rankings in Google. One in the map pack (see below) and he also ranks for “custom carpentry Cardiff.” Thanks to my on site SEO when I built the site, he is ranking for this keyword and beating much larger websites. It’s the beauty of niching down (and having a web designer who knows her stuff 🙂). Note that he doesn’t rank for “carpenter Cardiff” as page one for those keywords is dominated by the big sites mentioned above (CheckaTrader etc). Still he gets leads from people looking for custom carpentry which also pays more than standard carpentry, so it’s a win all round.
- A map pack listing. The map pack is what you call the organic listings that you see when you do a local search. For example “web design Blackpool” shows the below map pack with my site at the top.
Below are the results for “custom carpentry Cardiff” with my client having the number one spot in the map pack and the number 2 spot in the organic listings.
If you are a local business offering a service in a local area, then even with just a one page website it is easier to rank in the map pack than it is in the main organic listings. Once your site goes live I send you an email with what you can do to help this map pack ranking. It requires some work from you (or pay someone to do it) but an hour spent on this can reap great rewards.
- Don’t expect your site to rank straight away
- You need to give Google a good reason to rank your site i.e. your content needs to be good
- If you are in a competitive sector then you will need to be regularly adding content such as blogs, videos etc
- If you’re not adding content don’t expect your site to rank before 6 months. It might rank but it might not
- If you are a tradesman or offer accommodation, it’s unlikely that your one page website will ever rank. Invest in a larger one.
- The SEO industry is probably one of the biggest money making industries online. Companies who pay for (good) SEO are usually paying an absolute minimum of £300 a month. Many companies pay £2000+ a month. Every month. With no guarantee of results. A whole load of my clients (and indeed my own site) rank on page one with just the one site SEO that I include when I build the site.
If you still want to know more about how long it takes to rank a website, this site will tell you more.
Full-service marketing firm Creative Marketing (NW) Ltd has successfully acquired Blackpool websites design agency – Websites by Diane. Websites by Diane has been supporting local Blackpool businesses and many other websites around the UK, including a couple in the US & Ghana to host and support their website. The founder Diane has been building WordPress websites…
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