Without exception, this is one of the questions that we are being asked by every new client and without exception our answer is “it depends”.
Considering this is one of the primary questions that we are being requested to provide an answer to, we thought we should address it in a blog post, explaining why no one can know for sure when a website will reach the 1st page of Google.
The problem with estimating when a website will reach the first page of Google for certain keywords is that there are so many variables to consider: budget, competition, domain authority, etc.
The top-ranking pages are old!
In a study performed by Ahrefs on 2 million random keywords and data taken on the Top 10 ranking pages for each of them, it was found that the average Top 10 ranking page is more than 2 years old, and the ones ranking on the number 1 spot are on average almost 3 years old.
What was the percentage of pages currently ranking in the Top 10 that were created within one year? 22%.
The obvious conclusion that we can draw from the data above is that old pages dominate the SERPs (search engine ranking pages).
Less than 6% of pages rank in Top10 in the first year.
The same study now randomly selected two million pages that were first crawled one year back, and the results can seem surprising!
From the total of two million pages that were first crawled a year ago, only 5.7% ranked in the Top10 within 12 months with at least 1 keyword, while 19.5% ranked between 11-100 and the rest of 74.8% were not in the Top100!
Things change when a website has increased strength and a higher DA (Domain Authority – shows a website’s strength, influenced by its backlink profile), because those numbers now change to 10.8% of pages ranking in the Top10 within the first year. The pages that managed to reach the Top10 in less than a year for at least one keyword, usually managed to do so within 2 to 6 months.
What can we take from here? If your website has a high DA helped by a strong backlink campaign, you double your chance to get in the Top10 of Google within 12 months!
This is only one of the things that we, here at HED Solutions excel at, as the backlink campaign is one of our biggest strengths! But that’s not the subject here…mhm, moving on!
And now, the hard-to-swallow pill!
Remember the 5.7% of keywords that ranked in Top10 of Google within the first year mentioned above? Those are low-competition keywords!
Only 0.3% of high-volume keywords ranked on the 1st page of Google in the first 12 months! What we get from here is that if done right, ranking for low-volume keywords is possible within a year.
High-competition keywords depend a lot on the brand or established domain, a loyal and big audience plus great and interesting content that will draw in many visitors.
Does this mean that I can never rank on the 1st page of Google with my website?
The short answer is “No”. You can rank on the first page of Google with your website, even for high-volume keywords.
The long answer is that it takes time, resources and hard work. Many of our customers that are ranking in the Top10 for high-competition keywords managed to do so by investing in quality SEO for several years.
Their resources allowed them to allocate a monthly budget for SEO for more than one year, and they didn’t set themselves unrealistic expectations. Did they stop with SEO after the 1st page of Google was reached? No, because they understood SEO is something that constantly needs attention and action towards it because the competition is always fighting back to win your spot.
Did we manage to answer the “How long does it take to reach the 1st page of Google” question?
Most likely we didn’t, but we hope that we did accomplished what we set-out to do in the first place – to offer a better understanding of how SEO works and to realistically set your expectations level, as they are the key of making it in the SERPs on the long term.