The following seven factors are some of the most common variables that affect results for every company:

  1. How competitive your industry is: If you operate in highly competitive industries like finance, law or eCommerce, then it takes more work (and time) to climb above your rivals on the result pages.
  2. How many competitors you have: In general, it takes search engines longer to find a new website if there are a lot of similar sites already competing for the same keywords and audiences. By extension, it will also take search engines longer to re-crawl your pages after you make updates.
  3. How competitive your keywords are: One of the biggest factors in search competition is how many domains are optimizing for the same keywords as you – one reason it’s so important to have a diverse keyword strategy that includes less competitive queries, too.
  4. The technical health of your website: Technical SEO ensures users and search engines alike can access your website and pages. Without strong technical health, the impact of every optimisation strategy diminishes and these small losses add up to a serious deficiency against your rivals.
  5. The UX of your website: Google continues to incorporate UX signals into its algorithm and other search engines follow suit: loading times, mobile-friendliness, page responsiveness, layout stability, secure encryption and plenty of other UX signals already affect your search ranking – and the list is growing.
  6. How much valuable content you produce: You’ll constantly hear SEOs talk about creating more “quality content” but the more, more, more strategy is flawed. You need to produce as much valuable content as possible – content that motivates your audience towards your marketing goals – while improving or removing anything that fails to deliver.
  7. Your backlink profile: Even after all these years, backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors for almost every query type. Relevant links from quality sources are always more valuable than multiple links from less relevant or lower-quality pages/domains. Don’t get caught up in trying to earn more links than your rivals; try to earn better links than them.

Unfortunately, the other big variable that determines how long it takes for SEO to kick in is budget. The more you can invest over a shorter time frame, the sooner you’ll see an impact. It’s not all about money, though. In fact, the biggest advantage a healthy SEO budget will buy you is resources: data analysts, tools, content writers, designers, professional SEOs, etc.

If resources are throttling your SEO strategy, you might want to speak to an agency that has the tools and personnel you need. A quality agency will already have invested money in the best tools and marketing talent – so you can tap into them for a fraction of the price.