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How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work in 2020? And Other FAQs

If you want to drive traffic to your website, you need SEO (search engine optimisation).

SEO is a set of activities that improve your website’s visibility on different search engines. 

Whether you are offering products, services, or trying to build your brand, SEO can help you grow in a free, organic way. 

If you are unfamiliar with SEO and you are unsure of where to start, investing in a reputable SEO agency will help you to get ongoing traffic to your website. 


In this article, we will focus on answering frequently asked questions about SEO so you know what to expect when you work with an agency.

How Long Does SEO Take to Work?

There is no exact answer to how long SEO will take to work. At Digivate, we typically start seeing the results within the first 4-9 months.

Why does SEO take so long to become a success?

Because there are over 200 ranking factors, such as your domain authority, how long your website has existed, the competitiveness of your industry, and many more. 

SEO agencies will focus on different activities each month and it is the accumulation of these activities that will allow for compound annual growth.

Let’s look at the different SEO ranking factors and how can you turn them to your advantage:

Domain Authority: New vs. Established Websites

Domain Authority Score is a SEMrush metric on a scale from 0-100 that shows a domain or web page’s overall quality and SEO performance. The number is calculated considering the number and quality of inbound links, the age of the domain, and more.

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When your website is new, you compete against well-established websites in your industry.

To compete with big established brands, it’s important to conduct strategic keywords research and only target keywords that will get you ranking on the first page of Google.

As a new brand, you would also need to have a knack for public relations and specific features which make people want to visit your site or spread the word about it.

Without seeing the bigger picture, it is hard to grow in popularity against competitor sites that have been accumulating links and an audience for years.

 How Difficult Is It to Rank for Your Target Keywords

 Your chosen keywords can either make or break your SEO results. 

 We recommend focusing on long-tail keywords (4+ word terms) with a lower Keyword Difficulty Score and a good amount of monthly volume (the appropriate volume is specific to your industry).

Keyword Difficulty Score is an Ahrefs metric on a scale from 0-100 that helps to determine your chances to rank for a certain keyword at the top of search engine results pages given the level of competition around it. 

We can do that research on your behalf and advise you on the best keywords to use.


How Do I Know if SEO Is Working?

You know your SEO is working when you start ranking for your target keywords and see an overall increase in website traffic. 

Below are 3 specific things you start seeing when your SEO is working:

1. You Start Ranking for Your Target Keywords

 If your SEO is working, you will start ranking for your target keywords and your existing keywords rankings will go up as well.

 This means that if the majority of your pages weren’t found on the 1st page of Google before, they are now more visible.

 NB! Keyword fluctuations are normal and often seasonal, so don’t be discouraged if you see ranking drops along the way. If you are consistent and follow your strategy, you’ll see upward year-on-year growth.

2. You Start Seeing an Increase in Organic Search Traffic

With increased keyword rankings, you also start seeing an increase in organic traffic. These two go hand in hand.

Organic traffic growth is a huge opportunity to get in front of a new audience when they are looking for something your business can offer.

3. You Start Converting Organic Traffic

Organic conversions are important because they allow you to see whether you are attracting the right people on your website:

If your organic traffic doesn’t convert, it may be that the pages don’t quite convince/help people in the way you’d have hoped.

So you’d need to rethink your SEO strategy.

On the other hand, if your organic traffic converts, you know that you are on the right track.

We usually set-up micro-conversions to measure the success of our SEO strategy. 


A micro-conversion can be an email signup, time spent on a page, or an interactive element on the site that proves that the person found the page useful.

Micro-conversions are like the building blocks that lead to conversions. They offer great insight into areas of improvement.

How Can I Rank Faster on Google?

There are many ways you can rank higher on Google and become more visible.

 These include: 

  • Use a less popular version of a keyword – such as adding extra detail to make it more specific.
  • Use different keyword modifiers – some keywords might be very popular, instead consider targeting a phrase instead like “best ….” or “how to…..”
  • Move away from commercial keywords – if a market is too oversaturated, consider using more niche keywords that you can rank highly for. Just make sure to set up micro-conversions on the page, so you can follow up with your offers later.
  • Buy search traffic – this is technically cheating as PPC advertising has nothing to do with rankings, but it can actually be a cost-efficient way to get in front of the right people while you are working on your SEO.


What Happens If You Stop Doing SEO?

If you stop doing SEO, your traffic growth will first plateau and soon decrease.

If you stop targeting new terms consistently, you’ll have fewer new keyword rankings and new traffic. 

If you stop creating new pages that can be linked to, you won’t have any new backlinks.

If you don’t watch for technical issues, you’ll end up with unindexable pages that Google can’t crawl, you’ll have duplicate content that you aren’t even aware of and your pages become too slow to load – all of which are important ranking factors.

Working with an SEO agency means these issues can promptly be resolved without compromising the effectiveness of your website.

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What SEO Work Happens in the First 6 Months?

Below is a breakdown of how the first 6 months of SEO will look like at Digivate:

PS! In the first 3 months, you will be slow to see the results. You’ll start seeing the results around the 4th or 5th month. 

Month 1:

  • Technical SEO audit
  • Keyword strategy
  • Plan your next 6 months SEO strategy

Month 2:

  • Fixing technical SEO issues obtained from your SEO audit
  • Create a content calendar for the next 6 months
  • Consider ways you can “get the word out there”
    • Bloggers/Journalists/Influencers
    • FAQs
    • Ads

Month 3:

  • SEO content audit
  • Content creation
  • Improve all existing pages and blog posts.
  • Remove thin/non-relevant pages and blog posts if relevant

Month 4:

  • Content creation continues
  • Technical SEO optimisation continues
  • Develop a healthy link profile (remove low-quality backlinks and delete “spam” comments)
  • Start with link building & digital PR

Month 5:

  • Incorporate social media management to amplify and increase direct traffic
  • Content creation continued
  • Continue with link building & digital PR

Month 6:

  • Begin with conversion rate optimisation if you have at least 5,000 visitors per month
  • Continue with link building & digital PR
  • Promote your content via paid campaigns 


Investing in SEO provides free ongoing marketing that saves the company money in the long-run. 

The thing with SEO traffic is that it compounds over time. This means that the results you get in 6 months will triple after 12 months if you are consistent and know what you’re doing.

We call SEO traffic passive traffic that you get without having to actively promote your brand.

And that’s the most powerful way to grow a brand online!

Before you go:

When you hire someone to help you increase your SEO traffic, spending a lot of money is not necessarily the most important thing you need to do. 

Find an SEO agency that is reputable and will work hard for you. Instead of being fixated on gaining the number 1 rankings, concentrate on multiple factors that can help to boost SEO and watch your brand grow naturally.


How can we help?

We can implement the right technology and analytics for your business, set up tracking tags across all online activity and create a content strategy for all customer touchpoints that drive the prospects towards the final conversion.

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