Pagoda Blog

How Long Does it Take for My Site to Rank on the First Page of Google?

January 17, 2019

You finally have a new website and you’re excited to share it with your current customers and ideal prospects. Or maybe you recently invested in a content marketing strategy and are publishing new content to your site on a regular basis. The next question always is, ‘How long will it take for my site to rank on the first page of Google?’ This is a very valid question, especially when you’ve invested time and money into improving your site. The answer, unfortunately, is not black and white. It involves a variety of factors and is very different for a giant online retailer versus a local CPA or insurance agent.


To understand how long it will take your site to rank on the first page of Google, you must first understand how Google awards rankings in the first place. It all starts with a spider …


How Google awards rankings

When you type a search query into Google, it pulls up a list of web pages based on relevancy and authority. Relevancy just means how accurately the web page matches your query. Authority refers to the number of links to that page from other high ranking sites. Google determines both of these things by deploying software that’s often referred to as a spider, crawler, or a bot. This spider is always searching for the most relevant and current answer to users’ search queries so that your search results provide the most helpful, up to date information. When it crawls a web page, it’s actively identifying information and keywords and then organizing them into indexes. These indexes are then ranked according to how accurately and comprehensively a web page answers a particular search query.      


For example, let’s say you’re a CPA and during tax season many of your potential clients are searching for things like ‘Should I itemize my taxes?’ When Google crawls your site, if it comes across a current article with the phrase ‘Should I itemize my taxes?’ in the text (specifically in a prominent place like the title or a header, indicating high relevance), it will index it under that search query. By heavily promoting that same content on social and through your newsletter you can drive more traffic to that web page. This will lead others to link to it from multiple websites (here’s where the authority piece comes in), improving that page’s ranking and hopefully landing you a spot on the first page of Google’s search results.


While this all may sound relatively straight forward, there are a few other things to consider when it comes to rankings.


The key factors at play in your Google ranking

There’s more to scoring the top ranking on Google then adding the right keywords to your website and madly sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. Below we address some of the key factors that are fairly easy for any small business owner to improve.


Publish often and on schedule

It’s crucial to update your website often with information that helps solve your customers’ or clients’ problems. The more often you update your website, the more often Google’s spiders will crawl those updated pages and re-index them according to relevancy and authority.


Unless your business already has great brand recognition or no one else offers the same service as you in your area, you’re going to need to create content on a regular basis. The other option is to invest in expensive paid advertising campaigns. If you prefer to drive more organic traffic to your site, the most cost effective strategy is to invest in creating content. This means publishing at least twice a month to your website or more depending on your industry and how many resources you have to invest. You should also publish on a consistent schedule and stick to it. Besides establishing yourself as an expert in your area of work, publishing consistently trains Google to crawl your web pages on a regular basis.


Write longer articles (or more of them)  

Publishing regularly is a good start but if you want to rank more quickly on Google, the length of your content also matters. You should be aiming to publish 3,000 words per month to stand out from the competition.  


Don’t forget to link

Remember how we mentioned Google ranks your website based on relevancy and authority? Well, the authority piece is mostly based on internal links (those links on your website that link back to other relevant content within your website) and backlinks. Backlinks are links to your content from other websites and the more you have, the more Google sees you as the expert or the authority on that topic. You can get backlinks by creating highly-valuable content and heavily promoting it across social to help others discover it.


You can also search for other websites that have an audience overlap. These shouldn’t be direct competitors, rather they should be companies or individuals with an audience that you think would appreciate your content. Reach out and suggest that they link to one of your articles on their blog and you can offer to do the same for them. These partnerships can make a big difference in how quickly your content rises to the top of Google’s search results.  


Do some keyword research but don’t overdo it  

Keywords play a crucial role in your Google ranking but it no longer works to stuff your content with the same three or four keywords over and over. Google can now sniff out useless content that wasn’t created with the reader in mind. It’s important to write using language that your target audience might use in their search queries (after all, your goal is to help them find your content) but if your content doesn’t actually provide anything of value to the reader, it’s not going rank well. Create for your audience first with the goal of solving a problem for them. Then go back and do some keyword research around the topic to figure out what specific terms and phrases people are searching for.  


Again, consistency is key here. If you’re consistently creating highly-valuable content that helps your audience solve a problem, and you’re actively promoting that content, your organic traffic should increase over time.


Age of your domain

Lastly, the age of your domain can either speed up or slow down the ranking process. Businesses who have had the same domain for years have often built up brand recognition and this gives them a leg up in the ranking game. If your business is less than a year old, it’s going to take longer to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and start seeing results.  


So how long does it take for Google to rank my site?

If you do all of the above, it can take anywhere from three months to two years to rank on Google. To summarize, the timeline depends on the following key factors:


  • Existing brand recognition or the age of your domain
  • How often you publish new content
  • How many words you’re publishing every week or every month
  • The quality of your content and relevance to your target audience
  • The number of backlinks (and the quality of those links) to your web pages
  • How often (and effectively) you promote your content across social media channels  


A couple other important factors to keep in mind include how easy your website is for users to navigate (this includes page load time) and it’s level of security. No matter what type of business you run or what data you collect through your website, you should use HTTPS for your entire site. HTTPS not only protects your users’ data, it also improves your search rankings.  


There are most certainly other factors that can impact your Google ranking but the above items are a good place to start. Think of ranking on the first page of Google as part of an ongoing strategy founded on providing useful information on a regular basis to your target audience. This is not only a smart SEO strategy, it’s also just good business.  


Related posts:


How to Protect (and Grow) Your Online Presence as a Small Business

Should Your Website Use HTTP or HTTPS?

9 Useful Apps Every Business Owner Should Know About


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