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How Long Does it Take to Get to the Top of the SERPs ?

posted on Nov 10, 2013

If you want to succeed with search marketing, then you’ve got to be at the top of the SERPs (or at least on the first page).  The answer to how long it takes to get there obviously varies depending on numerous factors, like the competitiveness of your terms and your ultimate goal.  With this in mind, I am going to answer the question as best as I can.

Local Business Websites

If you have a local coffee shop, you probably will never rank high for terms like “coffee shop.”  However, it is often easy to rank high for the terms “coffee shop your city.” This is because Google recognizes searches which have local intent.  When Google sees a city name in a search, it will automatically return local results from Google+ Local listings.  A map also appears in the search results showing where each of these businesses are located.

In order to get your local business in the top of the Google SERPs, you’ve got to make a Google+ Local Business Page and confirm it with Google (they’ll send a postcard to your address with a confirmation code).  If you live in a small town in which you only have a few competitors, then it should be no problem to get to the top of the SERPs with local intent searches.  However, if you’ve got a lot of competitors who are also using Google+ Local, then you will have to do some serious optimization to make sure your business appears.

In a nutshell, local optimization includes:

  • Putting lots of pictures on your Google+ Page
  • Using keywords in your Page
  • Soliciting reviews from customers to put on your Page
  • Getting listed in local directories
  • Making sure all your business’s social media pages match up (same address, phone number, logo, etc.)

All Other Websites

When deciding which web pages to show in the search results, Google weighs a combination of relevancy and authority factors.  It is pretty easy to optimize the relevancy aspects, such as with targeted keyword usage and internal linking strategies.  However, it takes a LOT longer before you can build up authority.

In some industries, you may never rank high for your ideal keywords.  There are simply too many big, trusted names out there who will always dominate (think Wikipedia).  That is why you’ve got to focus on long-tail keywords instead.

We can break all non-local websites down into two types, and it will take a different amount of time – and approach — to rank high for each:



By brand, I mean any website which wants to address various aspects of a broader theme.  For example, you could make a brand which gives information about weight loss.  Weight loss is such a competitive industry that you’ll have a really hard time ranking for any keyword related to it.  It will probably take years before your brand builds up enough authority to get your articles near the top of the SERPs – and that is only if you are actively using social media and promoting your website.

Micro-Niche Websites:

A micro-niche website is dedicated to a very specific subject, such as “Cayenne pepper for weight loss.”  It used to be very easy to get micro-niche websites to rank high.  However, this changed as Google began putting more emphasis on authority.  So, the authoritative brand which has just 1 article about cayenne pepper and weight loss will outrank your micro-niche site which has 10 pages dedicated to the topic.    Don’t make a micro-niche site just because you think it will be easier to rank with it.  It is always better to put those articles on your main brand website.  It will take longer for the brand site to rank but the long-term results will pay off better.




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