These 9 words (“How long does it take to rank on Google?) are among those most frequently heard by Uhuru’s Digital Marketing Consultants. If you’re creating optimized content in an effort to rank on the world’s largest search engine, you’re probably wondering the same thing.
What you’ll come to find is that there is no single, clear answer. Rather, your quest for a resolution will likely unearth a dizzyingly long list of variables that affect how long it will be before your content ranks (if it ever does). Not to mention that list is always changing!
To make matters even less clear, you’ll discover that just about every expert in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry will tell you something slightly different.
That’s why we’ve turned to some of the best in the business to make this question as easy to answer as possible. We’ve aggregated and studied their most relevant data and pulled out the defining points, and we’ve done this to make YOUR life that much easier.
This guide will walk you through understanding how quickly Google will rank:
- A new page
- A new blog post
- A new domain
- A new sitemap
As well as how long it takes for:
- Google to update search results
- SEO to start working
- Google to index a new page
- Google to update a meta description
We’re writing this post to give you as clear an understanding of this unclear topic as possible.
It’s about time, right?
What Decides Your Ranking Timeline?
There are so many factors that go into ranking a webpage that it’s pointless to take you any further without discussing them. Remember, you’re only interested in those that apply to your unique situation, so you’ll need to look at each of these factors and how they will affect your site/content.
There is so much that you need to understand about this topic before we get into the actual timelines and numbers but stick with us. All of that fun stuff is included in the final section!
Note: Google doesn’t publish a go-to list of ranking factors to help the public enhance their search engine rankings. The following are those that the search engine optimization community agrees has the greatest affect on rankings.
Also, there are far more ranking factors than the ones listed below. We’ve listed the ones that are the most import.
Website Authority/Domain Age
One of the most important factors to consider when asking these types of questions is your website’s authority. Often referred to as Domain Authority (thanks to Moz), this 0-100 point score is used to help predict how well a website will rank in Google.
Websites who have been around for a long time and continually produce valuable content are far more likely to rank for new keywords than new sites. They have essentially been “grandfathered” into being able to rank more easily thanks to their established reputation as an industry resource.
These sites are also typically well known in the industry and have usually collected hundreds or thousands of backlinks when other sites have referenced them.
However, age is starting to play less and less of a role in the authority ranking factor and many high authority sites are beginning to lose rankings to smaller, less authoritative sites who are working hard to produce excellent content and earn backlinks of their own.
As mentioned above, backlinks are a great way to increase Google’s perceived authority of your website. The more outside domains that link to yours, the easier it is for Google to determine that your site is one that is providing value to its users and that it is a resource others should be seeing in their search results.
Backlinks are also used to determine the authority of individual pages. While a site’s authority may be mediocre, if they have produced a top-notch piece of content that has generated several backlinks, that single page may rank very highly for specific topics/keywords.
As you might imagine, pages/posts from higher authority sites will rank higher more quickly because the site is seen as a trusted industry resource. However, if you work hard to earn links to a particular page you may be able to outrank your competitors and do so more rapidly.
The word “quality” is being tossed around more often than ever in the SEO community. As Google gets smarter, it’s able to determine the quality, relevance, and value of your content more quickly. It knows better than ever whether or not it is something that searchers will find helpful.
However, quality means different things to different people. You can’t hope to rank by simply providing higher quality content than you have in the past. Instead, you need to produce higher quality resources than the rest of your competition.
If you’re hoping to answer a question or solve a problem, your content needs to do so better than your competitors. You need to solve the full scope of said problem and provide as much value to the searcher as possible in order to rank.
That means creating content that is:
- More detailed
- More comprehensive
- Easy to read
For more on how to create high-quality blog content, see our Blog Strategy Guide.
According to Brian Dean, when Google begins to put your web page in front of its users, it’s running its own testing to see how interesting your page/site is to searchers. If you’ve written compelling, benefit-heavy headlines and meta descriptions, you’ll likely find people clicking on your posts, showing Google that they’re interested in your page as a result for their search query.
This brings us to our next ranking factor.
Time on Page
Once people get to your page, what happens?
Do they hang around and read what you’re showing them, or turn around and head back to the search results?
Google watches what people do when they reach your page to determine whether or not people are finding your content relevant to their search query, so you better hope people are hanging around. The longer they spend on your page/site, the more relevant your content will appear.
Google has begun to give priority to sites that provide answers to user queries more quickly, especially on mobile. It has even created a set of guidelines (Google AMP) for developers to help them create fast-loading pages and take advantage of this preferential treatment.
What does that mean to you?
Well, the faster your site loads, the better your chances will be for ranking more quickly. Make sure you’re testing page speed.
So Then, How Long Does it Take to Rank on Google?
With an understanding of all of the different ranking factors above you’ll be able to begin estimating how long you might be expected to wait for your website to ranking. What you’ll need to do next is specify what you’re trying to rank.
Lucky for you, we’ve broken down just about every question you’ll ever need to ask in the following sections.
SEO Best Practice: Once your website is live, make sure to submit your URL to Google. In order to submit your sitemap to Google, you must first verify your domain with Google Search Console. Once you verify your site, Google identifies you as the site owner and you can submit your site to be indexed. We recommend submitting your sitemap after publishing or updating your site content.
How Long Does it Take to Rank a New Page?
A website is comprised of all sorts of different pages, each with their own purpose. A page’s purpose will have a direct effect on its ability to rank and how quickly it does so.
The pages that help users navigate around your site will likely have much less informational content on them. As such, Google won’t be very likely to display them in search results. After all, there are probably better resources than your internal navigation pages to help them answer their questions.
However, if you create super informative internal pages that act as a superior resource to what your competition has on offer, you’ll be more likely to see these pages rank.
Recently, brands have been creating long-form content which are primarily stand-alone web pages. These pages don’t appear as a blog post, rather acting as an additional resource page on your main site.
These “power pages” give Google a whole new type of resource to provide to searchers and they tend to rank organically more quickly. These pages are the sort that you’ll find collecting backlinks as well due to their length, quality, and comprehensive nature.
Not sure what a power page looks like? Here’s an example of one of ours: The Definitive Guide to Retargeting on Facebook.
How Long Does it Take to Rank a Blog Post?
Blog posts have a special advantage over other “pages” because they are inherently useful. Unless you’re stuck creating blog content like it’s 2007, your posts are probably created around a specific topic that aims to answer a question or solve a problem.
These answers are exactly what Google is looking for as responses to user search queries. As such, the vast majority of the search engine results for any and all queries are blog posts.
For the same reason, you’ll have plenty of competition trying to rank for the same keywords. You’ll need to develop a solid blog strategy if you hope to rank for anything at all.
How Long Does it Take to Rank a New Domain? How Long Does it Take a New Website to Rank?
New domains are a completely different ballgame. Google is essentially starting fresh with your site and, because it has no prior knowledge of your site, it may take a bit longer to rank.
Remember when we talked about domain age and authority being one of the most important ranking factors?
Not much has changed while you were reading this post.
What that means for you is that you’ll have to work hard to build an expertly optimized website. Then you’ll have to regularly create high-quality content that provides Google with valuable resources to put in front of searchers with queries related to your industry.
Then you’ll need to promote that content on social media and work to earn backlinks in order to establish domain authority.
Does that all sound like a lot of work?
Well, it is, but it can be done piece by piece as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. It’s simply what must be done to successfully rank your new website, drive organic traffic and leads, and create an efficient revenue generation machine.
How Long Does it Take for a Website to Show up in Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP)?
Google is always crawling pages to update its index. That said, it’s not crawling every page every day. While Google is crawling pages at astounding speeds, the fact is that millions of new pages are added every day.
It may take a few days, it could take a few weeks. Remember, being indexed by Google just means it will show up in its index, not that you’ll be ranking anywhere near the top 10.
Indexing will vary site by site. For instance, local businesses tend to get indexed more slowly due to their low search volume.
How Long Does it Take for Google to Update Search Results?
This question has a similar answer to the last one. You see, search results are updated as Google crawls and indexes pages.
For this reason, it can take some time your page/post/site to climb through the rankings as Google updates its search results. Some pages can see changes in as little as 30 minutes while others will take weeks.
SEO Tip: If you’ve made significant changes to a website, the fastest way to get the updates indexed by Google is to submit it manually using Google’s “Fetch as Google.” Once you enter the page you need to be indexed, click the “Fetch and Render” button. Then, you’ll see “Submit to Index” button that appears in the results listing.
How Long Does SEO Take to Work?
This question is another that we hear quite often, but it’s about as vague as “How long does it take to rank in Google.” You see, there are different levels of SEO and different types.
Are you asking about on-page, or off?
Are you talking about creating optimized content or active link building?
You see, there are too many factors involved in SEO for us to even hope to answer this question within the scope if this already expansive post. For more on SEO, check out some of these excellent resources:
- SEO is Dead, Kind of
- How to Choose the Best Keywords
- Common SEO Myths
- Keyword Density
- SEO for Images
- Tips for an SEO Friendly Blog Post
How to Get on the First Page of Google in 24 Hours
Some people think that there are “tricks” to ranking in Google’s search results. Some “marketers” will even promise things like getting your site ranked in a particular position within a certain amount of time.
These people are the bad guys of the SEO world. They are participating in what is referred to as “black hat” SEO techniques and should be avoided like the plague.
These techniques are ways to temporarily trick Google, but Google is far too smart (and getting smarter all the time) than to let itself be tricked by some fly-by-night marketer and their slippery tactics.
What will end up happening is:
- Google will discover that you are participating in fraudulent SEO activities.
- They will penalize your site.
- You will see very little (read: zero) organic traffic and growth for a considerable amount of time.
- Your site may never recover.
Now that we’ve covered what could happen if you choose to follow the dark side, let’s look at some data that will give you a better understanding of actual timelines for ranking.
Facts, Figures, Data, and Numbers
Our friends over at Ahrefs.com have compiled a ton of information on this topic. They took 2 million random keywords and pulled data on the first page (top 10) results for each of them. Here are the need-to-know stats that you’ll find most important:
- The average first page result is over 2 years old. The average age of position #1 rankings is nearly 3 years.
- Only 22% of current first page results were created within the last year.
- The majority of them managed to achieve that in approximately 61 to 182 days.
- Nearly 95% of the pages they studied didn’t make it to the first page within that timeframe.
While no one can officially answer the question of how long it takes to rank on Google, we hope we’ve cleared up why and given you a much better understanding of what you can expect from your site.
There are so many factors that contribute to whether or not your website or page will end up in the top search results of the world’s largest search engine that you could never hope to thoroughly understand them all. However, if you focus on the ones listed in this article you’ll have a much better chance of getting to the first page.
Work to optimize your website, content, and strategy, and in the long term you’ll find that it drives consistent organic traffic, leads, and sales.