You could see the first signs of positive results in as little as 3-6 weeks, with most initial results occurring in months 3-6 of a campaign. That being said, most campaigns deliver the highest return in months 7-12 and beyond. SEO is a long-term play, and it’s more of a marathon than a one-time sprint.
One of the most critical factors in determining the timeline of your results/expectations is to take a current keyword benchmark, see where you currently rank and then evaluate the budget and corresponding timeline to deliver first-page results. The other is your spend each month, as with more budget you can build more links and hence get much faster results.
A typical timeline for a site that is kicking around pages 3-5 to start would be:
- Start seeing positive movement in as little as 3-6 weeks, really the first signs of life for the campaign.
- Start getting closer to page one, if not cracking the bottom of page one in the first 3-6 months.
- Staying on the bottom of page one/start climbing up to the middle of page one during months 7-12.
- Climbing up to the top of page one and staying there within months 13-18.
- For sites that are already on the first couple of pages of Google, the results will be much faster than the timeline above.