When you launch a shiny new website, you want it to start performing well as soon as possible, right? Of course you do.
That said, when it comes to helping your site rank among search engine results pages, a little patience pays off. Building links, establishing authority, and growing organic traffic all take time and dedication, so you have to be content to play the long game.
But just how quickly can a new site rank? We put this question to the expert — our Head of SEO, Annika Haataja. Let’s hear what she has to say!
How long does it take to rank on Google with a new site?
Whether you’re managing your own site or hiring an SEO agency for help, you’re probably going to wonder, “How long will it take to rank on Google?”. The honest answer — as with many things SEO-related — is it depends. Since we’re talking about new sites with no existing authority, every action you take in the beginning has the potential to make a difference.
For example, do you have underlying technical SEO problems that need to be addressed? How competitive are the keywords you want to rank for? Do you have a robust strategy for link building? These are among many things you’ll need to consider.
With consistent and persistent SEO tactics, it will likely take a few months for pages on a new site to rank in a decent position. However, you have a much better chance to be in the top 10 if your site has built some authority over a longer period of time — generating authority signals not only helps Google to understand your content, but it also increases your chances of ranking for high-value keywords.
In the above study, Ahrefs took 2 million random keywords and pulled data on the top 10 ranking pages to reveal how old the pages were. They found that the average top 10 page was at least 2 years old, while those holding the coveted top spot were typically closer to 3 years old. The study also revealed that only 22% of pages ranking in the top 10 were created within 1 year.
This shows that the age of a web page can have a direct correlation with its potential to rank in high SERP positions. Naturally, older pages will typically have generated more clicks, secured more backlinks, and organically ranked for more keywords over a longer period of time — which makes securing a top 10 position much easier.
Which factors affect how quickly a page ranks?
Before going through tips on how to get a page ranking quickly, we should go back to basics by considering how a page ranks in the first place.
To ensure that web pages are discovered, analysed, and ranked appropriately, Google’s search process involves three main stages: URL discovery, crawling, and indexing, as outlined in the below diagram:
During URL discovery, Google constantly seeks new and updated pages by visiting known pages or following links to new ones. Creating and submitting a sitemap is also a way to prompt Google to crawl specific pages.
Once a page’s URL is found, Googlebot crawls the page using an algorithmic process. After crawling, Google attempts to understand the page’s content through indexing, analysing content, tags, and attributes like <title> and alt attributes for images and videos.
Google determines canonical pages (representative ones) and collects signals like language, country, and usability for displaying in search results; however, not all processed pages are indexed, as indexing depends on content quality and adherence to rules.
In fact, there are around 200 ranking factors (some unconfirmed) that Google takes into account when analysing web pages. Here are just some of the factors that can affect site indexing and ultimately ranking:
- Crawlability of the pages: How accessible are your pages to Googlebot; for example, are they discoverable through sitemaps or internal linking?
- Crawl depth: How many steps does it take Google to reach each page? This can impact how often the page gets crawled.
- Content quality: Is the content on your site of high quality? Does it help Google understand what your site is about? It’s important to create engaging, helpful content that appeals to your readers as well as search engines.
- Page rendering: Page rendering refers to how page content is displayed to the user and search engine crawlers. If you block any crucial elements from being crawled, Google’s evaluation of your page could be based solely on the elements it successfully renders, potentially leading to challenges in achieving proper indexing.
- Site authority: Have you accumulated enough authority in your industry through expert content and brand entity optimisation? Sites with strong authority are often seen as trustworthy sources of information, enabling them to rank higher.
- Backlinks: Are you receiving a healthy amount of relevant backlinks, whether organically or through tactics like link building or digital PR? A strong backlink profile provides trust signals to Google, demonstrating that your content is valued by others.
Pages on new sites will take longer to rank than existing sites as they haven’t had as long to build authority. Having said that, if you want to speed up how quickly your new site ranks, you need to put some effort into producing high-quality content, building links, and of course, fixing any technical SEO problems that could be making it more difficult for Google to discover and index your site.
In addition to the above, page speed plays a crucial role in ensuring Google indexes more pages from your website. Faster loading enables Googlebot to crawl more efficiently within the allocated crawl budget, resulting in a higher number of indexed pages.
Annika’s top tip: If you have diligently followed SEO best practices but still encounter issues with your page not ranking or being indexed, it is advisable to inspect the page using Google Search Console to determine its crawl status. The report will offer valuable insights into the reasons behind the indexing problem.
If the page is labelled as ‘Crawled – currently not indexed’, the issue likely pertains to the content. Analyse the page copy either manually or using a tool, ensuring there are no duplication problems and that the content is substantial enough to rank effectively.
Failing that, if you’re still struggling to get your site to rank, our SEO experts can help you build a strategy that helps you meet your organic growth goals.
Why is my site not ranking on Google?
When investigating why a site doesn’t rank at all, as a first step you should verify that search engines can access your website.
It’s common practice to block search engines from your staging environment when testing a new site before launch, but when you’re ready for go-live it’s essential to check your robots.txt file and ensure that crawls from search engines, such as Googlebot, are not disallowed. This particular action can have a profound impact on how effectively — and how quickly — your site gets indexed and ranked by search engines.
A site’s failure to rank can also be attributed to its history of volatility under previous domain ownership. It’s possible that the domain you acquired had been subject to manual action due to ‘spammy’ practices employed by the previous owner. If the domain has a problematic past with Google, it might not be indexed by the search engine. Google Search Central provides several methods to investigate and assess this situation.
If you’re still facing difficulties in getting your site to rank, the most efficient approach to improve its ranking is to engage a consultant or agency to conduct a thorough audit and analyse any potential issues. To get one of our experts to check your site, contact us today.
How can I rank faster on Google?
Whether your site hasn’t been performing well for a long time or you have a completely new site that’s yet to rank, it can be a little frustrating when you’re not seeing the results you’d like. However, don’t be tempted to go down the route of spammy SEO tactics — Google won’t reward you, and you may even incur penalties.
As we stated in the intro, SEO is famously a long game — if you’re expecting immediate short-term ROI, you might be approaching it the wrong way. Just like investing in a property versus renting, SEO is akin to acquiring an asset with long-term benefits rather than seeking instant gratification. It requires time, effort, and a consistent strategy to build a strong foundation that yields sustainable results.
Although there are no shortcuts to success in SEO, an experienced SEO can assist you in identifying some quick wins and steering your strategy in the right direction. So, embrace the long-term mindset, and as your SEO efforts mature, you’ll reap the rewards of improved rankings, increased organic traffic and lasting online success.
Annika highly recommends that you avoid doing the following in an attempt to rank faster:
- Stuffing too many keywords into copy, blogs, and title tags. Google will recognise this black hat SEO technique and may view your site as untrustworthy. It harms the user experience, violates search engine guidelines, and reduces the credibility of the website.
- Publishing duplicate content to save time. Search engines aim to provide users with diverse and relevant search results, so when they encounter multiple pages with identical or similar content, they may struggle to determine which version should be ranked higher. Even so, “programmatic SEO” (publishing pages at scale) can be a useful strategy for some sites, but it must be used thoughtfully and responsibly in order to be effective.
- Writing your content blindly using AI. While AI can be leveraged for things like ideation and editing, an over-reliance on AI-generated content may risk factual inaccuracies, while the content may not be optimised for relevant user intent.
- Utilising link farms to increase your backlinks. This technique will often increase your domain authority artificially, but will end up causing more long-term damage than good, with Google ultimately penalising your content.
Instead, Annika says you should start doing the following to help your content rank faster:
- Ensure that your site is crawlable by Google.
- Submit an XML sitemap to provide Google a list of URLs you want it to index and rank.
- Help Google and your users understand the structure of your site through clear and logical site architecture and strategic internal links.
- Focus on creating high-quality content across your site, aiming to make it better or more comprehensive than your competitors’.
- Boost your site’s authority and accessibility by deploying link building strategies like digital PR to increase the number of authoritative and relevant links.
- Expand your focus beyond your own site to initiate brand presence building and optimise your brand entity.
- Build your social media presence to increase your engagement.
How long does it take to rank in the top 10 Google positions?
For many businesses, ranking on page 1 — or better yet, position 1 — is their ultimate goal. But it may take months or even years to appear in Google’s top 10, depending on various factors such as the competitiveness of the industry, the domain’s age and authority, the relevance and uniqueness of the content, and the effectiveness of your on-site and off-site strategies.
Of course, there are a lot of benefits to ranking on page 1 (higher click-through rates, for one!) but it doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s more important that your core pages rank for the right queries, so your target audience can easily find you whether they’re searching for a particular product or looking for a solution to a problem.
According to Annika, getting into the top 10 may be easier if you:
- Target less competitive keywords throughout your content, including niche long-tail keywords.
- Focus on the user experience, ensuring that your pages load quickly and your site is easy to navigate.
- Continually analyse your site’s performance, identifying which pages are performing well, which are struggling to rank, and where there may be content or keywords gaps.
- Use your brand to create topical authority. Google values experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) in its ranking algorithm. A well-established brand is more likely to demonstrate these qualities through its content, contributing to higher rankings.
Is content marketing a good way of getting your site to rank?
Content marketing is one of the most valuable strategies that you can include in your SEO plan. Content is all over your site: landing pages, product pages, blogs, case studies, learning resources — all of these provide valuable information to your users while increasing authority signals, helping Google to understand and rank your content.
Remember, it’s the content itself that’s being ranked!
Here are Annika’s top tips on utilising SEO content to improve rankings:
- Make your content unique. While it’s important to cover industry-relevant topics, there’s little value in producing content that’s ubiquitous elsewhere. Look to provide new perspectives and inject your unique personality into your content.
- Don’t be afraid to create different types of content. Blog posts form one of the core elements of content marketing, but other formats such as social media posts, infographics, or videos can help you build your brand and increase website traffic.
- Focus on informational content. It’s often easier to rank for informational content than commercial content. Informational content might include guides, how-tos, or educational resources such as ebooks.
Need help harnessing SEO to get your new website ranking on Google? Perhaps your site is established but you’re struggling to gain visibility. Either way, get in touch with us today to learn more about our SEO services.