How long does SEO take?
Well, that's a loaded question!
How long does it take…to what? What exactly do you want it to do?
Most people, not in “the know,” ask that question, expecting the answer to be a finite, “3 weeks,” but again, to do what?
Let's break this down a bit, then build it back up with an actual answer.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” Well, what does that mean?
First off, a search engine like Google is a website (or app on a mobile device) that you use to search for information.
You may ask, “How long does SEO take?” Google will return about a zillion answers, most of which are completely inane answers to the question.
Or, you may ask, “Which Rocky movie is the best?” If the answer is Rocky IV, they're wrong. Go ask Bing.
What we, as website owners want, is to optimize our website so that it shows up at the top of Google's search results for the term the user just entered.
What do you want “SEO” to do?
But the better objective is to optimize our website so that it CONVERTS visitors from “lookers” to “buyers.”
At the end of the day, I don't care how many people show up on my website. What I want is them to “eat what I'm cookin'.”
How long will that take?
Like almost everything in real life, the answer is, “It depends.”
The general consensus is that it takes anywhere from 4 months to a year (or more!) to start seeing results from an SEO campaign. Whether that results in more sales is another matter and almost never related to your SEO results.
If you're going for “get my website ranked on the first page of Google for this keyword phrase,” doing so depends on a variety of factors, the most important being these three:
How many other websites are vying for that same keyword phrase? If they're bigger & badder than your website, guess what? They get ranked higher.
Another very important factor to how you rank for a given search phrase is “backlinks,” also known as “inbound links.” The short answer is these are links TO your site from other sites.
You earn those links by providing excellent information on your website.
That comes from your content.
Now, a lot of “SEO's” (the folks who “do” SEO for others for a fee) can get those backlinks through–uh–“blackhat” means…or other non-earned methods…even if your website is rubbish. And it will rank well.
If you're going for high rankings on Google and conversions (you are, by the way), then you need to rely on a fourth thing: Copywriting, which is a whole other ball o' wax.
Not only does your content have to be off-the-charts good, you have to be persuasive in your content creation enough to get visitors to take an action.
You do that through persuasive writing, or “copywriting.”
Think of every single page of your site to be a possible “sales vector.” Therefore, every page should have a call to action, with every paragraph leading up to it building the case that you really should buy this.
To summarize, it will probably take you a few months to see any results from active SEO.
Better yet, create content that answers your potential visitor's question. Over time, if you deliver enough of this kind of content, you will begin getting ranked at Google.
More importantly, you will begin to see traffic from real-world searchers who will buy what you're selling.