When I present my SEO support services, a question comes up regularly. “How long does it take to get listed and rank on Google?”. If there is no exact answer, I will try to provide answers regarding the indexing and positioning times.
Google’s indexing time
Before even asking the question of how long until you rank on the first page of Google. It may be useful to take up some basics of natural referencing. You have to understand that it works in several phases and that it needs to be (very) patient.
The first step is the site crawl. Google robots will then read the HTML codes from one URL to another. Then there is the indexing part where the search engine will check if the page is valid to merit being in its database.
There is no standard time limit for indexing and rank a page on Google. However, we generally notice durations ranging from a few days to several weeks for a new website. If it is a question of indexing a page on a site existing for a certain time and regularly updated, the period of indexing will be much faster, that is to say, the history of a few hours (sometimes less).
Several factors can facilitate the indexing of a page:
- The sitemap is populated in the Search Console
- The site has a certain history
- Pages are properly linked
- The site benefits from external links (backlinks)
- The site is regularly updated
If you find that after a certain time your page is still not indexed or ranked, you can then go to Google Search Console and then go to the “URL Inspection” tab to then request indexing.
Once a page is indexed, the third step in SEO is positioning.
Positioning criteria (Ranking on Google)
The pages that are well-positioned in Google are selected from the index according to their competence with the request made by the internet user. There is no exact formula for placing your website at the top of a Google search. However, the following factors play a key role in the ranking process:
Have a proper domain name: Google’s algorithm is designed to identify websites that try to trick the system with tricks like keyword stuffing or buying inbound links. These schemes can work for a while. However, if Google notices, your site will be penalized and your ranking will suffer.
Age of domain name: A web domain less than six months old is considered a “new” site in the eyes of Google. It is therefore considered less credible than an older website that has been subject to a thorough verification by Google’s algorithm.
Keyword Competition: The keywords or phrases you are looking for are often very competitive. The most established sites in your industry are one step ahead of popular searches. If your site is new, it will be less complicated to try to position yourself on uncompetitive queries before moving on to more popular expressions.
Content quality: Googlebot’s are designed to identify characteristics such as the frequency of publication of new content, the originality of the content, as well as the length and overall quality of your texts. The addition of unique and good quality content will allow a better ranking over time.
Incoming links: Whether internal links or external links, the latter have always had considerable weight in Google’s algorithm. It is preferable to obtain contextual links coming from credible sites and in a subject close to yours to maximize your chances of being well referenced.
How long to be positioned on Google?
Two concrete cases to analyze the positioning time for a new domain name and an expired domain name.
For a new site Ranking on google
If you start from scratch with a new domain name, for example with your brand name, you will have to be patient before acquiring natural traffic on Google. Generally, there is a delay ranging from 6 months to 1 year before starting to position yourself on competitive keywords.
For a site with an existing history
If you are lucky enough to have a site that has a certain history, some SEO optimizations. And the addition of quality content will allow you to position your pages in just a few months. This made it possible to position the site quickly on competitive requests.
In the end, natural referencing is mainly a story of strategy and patience. It is normal to struggle at first, but with persistence, you will gain your first positions in the results pages of Google after a few months.