How long Does SEO take to Work and Show Results?
You can expect to see initial SEO results within one to two weeks if starting with a poorly optimised e-commerce website.
Implementing onsite improvements such as designing and optimising your product collections, improving on-page content, tactical internal linking, and rolling out technical fixes should see your site start to rank for target terms, indicating you are on the right path and that your SEO is working.
However, achieving significant organic traffic and sales will take longer. Typically, it takes 6 to 12 months or more to get page 1 rankings for commercial keyword terms.
Timeframes depend on the competitiveness of your market and the keyword terms you’ve chosen to optimise for.
You must have realistic expectations about what’s possible and in what timeframe.
How do you speed up your SEO Results?
If you want to see improved rankings, traffic and sales from SEO, there are several variables you can play with.
- Choose a less competitive niche in your market: To get a quicker return on your SEO investment, it pays to niche down into less competitive keyword spaces so you can make sales sooner. For example, instead of trying to rank for “Women’s Dresses” you might choose a less competitive niche like “Vintage Dresses”. Whilst niches have lower search volume, they typically have less competition.
- Increase your SEO budget: This means taking some of your paid media budget and allocating it to sponsored link placements, link-building content development or outreach strategies that will get you links. What’s given is that you need to spend your budget on the best quality content and links you can acquire.
- Build an audience for your brand: An audience who loves your brand is a great way to grow your SEO traffic. Let me explain. In addition to people searching for you by name, an audience can be leveraged to grow user-generated content, to share and link to your content and to build buzz that gets you press mentions and links.
Ultimately, the speed of your SEO success will come from understanding your competitive landscape and how you’ve chosen to compete or enter that market.
I’m a great believer in mapping the keyword landscape, which is the process of understanding all of the terms your competitors rank for and then benchmarking your site against theirs in terms of links and authority so you can make an educated decision about how you are going to attempt to compete for limited SEO rankings.
Track and Measure SEO Results
It’s also essential you have a clear understanding of what “SEO results” means.
It’s more than just ranking #1 for your target keywords.
That’s a common misconception.
For an e-commerce brand, you want broad rankings, meaning ranking for a wide range of keywords relevant to your product categories, as well as high rankings for those keywords.
Additionally, you want to increase searches for your brand because Google tends to bias sites that are brand-building, not just chasing commercial terms.
How do you track and measure SEO results?
For e-commerce brands, particularly those using Shopify, you can track and measure your SEO results in four ways.
- Keyword rankings: You know your SEO optimisations are working when your collections pages start ranking for your target keyword terms. Even if those rankings begin on page 5, it indicates that you are now in the game and can start working on improving those rankings. Use your preferred SEO tool. I use Semrush.com
- Organic traffic: As those keyword rankings improve and you start ranking on page 1 for your target keywords and the keyword variations, you can expect organic traffic to the site increase. You can measure organic traffic with Google Analytics or your analytics platform of choice.
- E-Commerce Sales: A well-optimised and well-designed Shopify site should convert organic targetted organic traffic into sales. If you’re getting traffic from those keyword rankings but not making sales, this might indicate that you’re ranking for keywords that are not commercial or transactional.
- Branded searches: A successful SEO strategy will also increase the volume of people searching for your brand by name. Why is this important? I believe Google considers branded search: how many people search for you by name when deciding how to rank websites. A website with many branded searches differentiates you from the sites that are ranking just for commercial keyword terms and that “may” be manipulating Google. Also, it makes business sense to build a brand so you’re not dependent on just commercial keyword rankings. You’ll always rank #1 for your business name.
You will see improved keyword rankings and traffic impressions within one to two weeks of implementing SEO optimisations on your website.
With ongoing link-building, content publishing and brand-building activities, you can expect to see increased organic traffic and sales within six to 12 months.
The key to this is choosing a market you can compete in, given the twin constraints of your budget and the time you have.