According to Forbes, 80-90% of consumers research their purchases online before making a purchase. Developing a strong online presence should form a crucial part of your Inbound Marketing strategy, but how long does it take to rank on the first page of Google?


The obvious answer

It depends. Not a great answer, but a fair one and one used by every SEO practitioner you’re likely to meet.

In truth, there are a few variables that have a massive impact on your quest for first page ranking: competition, budget, search volumes, keyword relevance, content quality, back-links, page speed and of course your skills in developing and managing all of these elements.


Google Search

Google wants the most relevant, highest-quality content to rise to the top

Google tries to match the best piece of content to the user’s search. Making sure that Google understands your content and the searches you want to rank for is a product of great SEO.

What is SEO? According to HubSpot: “techniques that help your website rank higher in organic search results, making your website more visible to people who are looking for your brand, product, or service via search engines.” In simpler terms, SEO is the optimal structuring of your website and blog posts in order for them to appear on the first page of search engines.

I’m not going to go into detail on SEO best practices in this post (that will be the topic of a future article) but some pointers on creating online relevance are available here: Kick-start your Inbound Marketing.


How old are the top ranking pages?

If there are so many variables involved in climbing the search results ladder, is there anything to be learnt from those that have already made the journey?

A recent study by Ahrefs determined that: only 22% of pages that currently rank in the Top10 Google search results were created within 1 year of them ranking (average for 2 million random keywords).


Google Search Rankings

How long did it take the top Google ranked pages?

The average age of the page in first position = almost 3 years.

Only 0.3% of pages ranked on the first page of Google for a high-volume keyword within the first year (Read the full Ahrefs report here).

Not the most encouraging data for those looking to make an early impact online.


Speed up your page ranking on Google

While ranking for high-volume keywords may be outside of your short-term grasp, a long-tail keyword strategy can propel your online efforts forward at great speed.

Yoast describes long-tail keywords as: “keywords or key phrases that are more specific – and usually longer – than more commonly searched for keywords.”

I tend to think of long-tail keywords as any search phrase that contains 3 or more words.


Longtail Keywords Google Search


Long-tail keywords generate less search traffic individually but as a collective represent about 70% of all search traffic.

It’s also important to note that consumers searching long-tail keywords are generally further along in the purchase process and more likely to convert.

Another benefit of pursuing a long-tail keyword strategy is that there is usually a lot less competition for search engine rankings and your chances of ranking on the first page of Google are significantly more.

That said, it probably still won’t happen overnight and you should aim at anything between 2 – 6 months depending on the variables mentioned right at the start of this post.

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