How Long For Better Local SEO Rankings?


No matter what you hear or read, local SEO is alive and well. It’s the reason you’re here reading this blog post. You obviously want to know how long local SEO and better search rankings will take.

You might be wondering how long is it going to take to see page 1 and top 5 search rankings. This is a common question I get asked during almost all of my calls and emails from potential clients. It’s understandable as you want to know when you can start seeing more traffic, leads and clients come your way.

The problem with trying to answer this question is that it’s too difficult to correctly predict. There are too many search rankings factors to do this.

I use to offer a guarantee for our SEO services but I stopped that very early on. Why? Because I think our past results prove that our services work. That and I wasn’t getting the types of clients I wanted.

Regardless, I always give a potential client a rough estimate of when they can expect to see page 1 results. Once our SEO work begins and a few months go by, I can see how the search rankings are improving and give a better idea of when page 1 and top 5 results will occur by.

But at first, I need to look at a few factors.

Search Ranking Factors At Play

There are so many search rankings factors, but when determining how long a potential clients website will need to rank on page 1 and the top 5, I look at:

  • what search terms you want to rank for
  • is your website well optimized for those search terms
  • how many websites/webpages rank ahead of you for those search terms (direct competitors and directories)
  • how many business listings does your business have and are they consistent
  • how many and what type of backlinks does your website have
  • how long has your website been around
  • what type of content is on your website
  • does your website have great local SEO content
  • have you changed business addresses or domains in the past

There are 200+ search ranking factors, but these are the ones I look at when determining how long it will take to rank a website.

Trial Period

With every potential client, I always suggest a three month trial period of our services to show them what kind of results they can expect to see after 6 and 9 months. If after three months we don’t see much improvement, it’s not a good sign. If that’s the case, which it rarely is, I offer a partial refund for the three months.

It’s risk reversal. We have to perform and generate better search rankings in those first three months. If we haven’t, then I don’t feel comfortable receiving money for not doing our job.

New Websites Vs Existing Websites

With this three month trial period, you might be wondering if that is enough time to improve the search rankings to page 1 and the top 5. Rarely will this happen, unless you are already ranking somewhere on page 2 and have an existing website.

Existing websites are, for the most part, going to take less time to rank. Why? Because an existing website has been indexed by the search engines, has business listings and backlinks created along with quality SEO content on the site. It’s built up existing credibility with the search engines which is going to take a lot less time to rank than a new website.

A new website doesn’t have the credibility and thus, is going to take a longer time to get to the top of the list. In all cases, SEO is a long term investment. Once you rank higher, you stay there as long as you update your website.

SEO As An Investment

With traditional advertising or even pay per click (ppc), you always are paying money. That’s not the case with SEO. Depending on what industry you are in, once better search rankings are achieved, you only need a few new clients to pay the SEO services off. Even better if you offer a service where the lifetime value of a client is high.

With all potential clients though I do suggest running a ppc campaign in coordination with an SEO campaign. Yes, it will cost more but with a ppc campaign, you will get targeted traffic to the site right away. Then as the search rankings improve and they get more organic traffic, we can reduce the spending on the ppc campaign.

Running a ppc campaign will also tell us if the website is good at converting so you can generate new leads and clients. If not, then we will have to make some conversion adjustments.

I hope I’ve been able to provide a detailed enough answer to the question of how long will it take for my website to rank higher with local SEO. If I haven’t, please contact me today and I’ll be happy to answer any further questions you may have.