How long should it take for your local SEO efforts to show results?

Local SEO Results TIme FrameOne of the first questions business owners ask before starting with local SEO is “how long will it take”.  It’s important to remember that it takes time for good SEO to take effect, but exactly how long can you expect to wait before you start seeing results?

There’s no “one size fits all” rule for SEO.  When you start seeing a return on investment can depend on a variety of factors, from the age of your business, to whether you have a website or Google My Business page or what you have done in the past that can help or hurt your current efforts.  There are a lot of factors that can make a difference, so with that in mind here are some of the common timeframes for local SEO success:


Tried to do it yourself but got no results?

For the average business, SEO is a completely different world and can be confusing if you don’t have any experience. Search Engine Optimization is a fast-changing industry. Lessons you learned a year ago may no longer apply. You may have tried applying those SEO rules yourself, but your local rankings haven’t improved much.

How long does it take to rank locally?

3-7 Months

If you have tried the DIY approach, it could be anywhere from 2-6 months before you start seeing an improvement in your search rankings.  The good news is, you have an established website so it may just be a case of filling some of the gaps.  Brush up on your Local SEO knowledge, or hire a professional to help.

Already ranking – But looking for increased visibility

Your website is already appearing for a few local search terms; however you are looking to increase your online exposure and traffic to your website.


How long does it take to rank locally?

1-3 Months

If your website is already ranking reasonably well, you should be in a good position to make improvements and see results within 1-3 months.  You could look at creating additional service or product pages on your website.  A good strategy is to create pages for each major town/city your business services.

Other ways to make easy gains over your competition include: Getting more online reviews, getting more backlinks to your website and optimizing for keywords that aren’t quite on the first page yet.


You have no website or Google+ page

You haven’t got a company website or claimed your Google my Business profile.   Your business may be new or you simply haven’t tried improving your visibility in Google before.

How long does it take to rank locally?

4 – 6 Months

If can take a few months for Google to discover your web properties such as local directories and a new website.


You have a website but no Google My Business page

Having a website is an excellent asset for any local business but having a website alone is not enough to appear in the highly sought after “local 3 pack”, which appears at the top of local search results in Google.

How long does it take to rank locally?

2 Weeks – 1 Month

Once your page is set up with the right categories and information, you could expect to start seeing increased visibility within as little as a few weeks to a couple months.

Google my Business is one of the most important factors for businesses to appear in local search results.  To appear in the “local 3 pack”, businesses must have claimed their GMB page.   It takes little more than an hour to set up your page, and a few days to get verified.

Additional steps to improve your changes of appearing in the 3 pack include: getting more reviews for your business, adding images to your GMB page and having an active Google+ page.


Rankings dropped after changing address/business name

Have you had good rankings in the past but your rankings seemed to decline when you changed business name or address?

How long does it take to rank locally?

2-6 months

Having your business name, address and phone number (NAP) correct across the web is one of the most important factors in local SEO.  If you have changed your business address or name it may simply be a case of updating your web properties to reflect this.  This includes: 3rd party web directories, social profiles, Google my Business and your website.  It can take a few months for Google to discover all of these changed properties. 


Hired someone that didn’t help

You hired a local SEO “professional” to increase your visibility, but saw little or no improvement.

How long does it take to rank locally?

4-8 months

Hiring another person or agency to manage your SEO may have caused more harm than good.  If your website has been penalized it may take a few months to rectify these problems.  Your site may be optimized for the wrong keywords and need reworking, or there may simple be a few improvements to make to start seeing increased visibility.

Every business is different. These are just rough guides based on average experiences and may not be the same for everyone.  Local competition is a factor in all these scenarios. If you live in a location where your competitors are keen on SEO, you job will be harder and take longer. Doing a competitive analysis before getting started is always a good plan. Also, your competitors are sometimes a great source for ideas.

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One Response Comment

  • Jonny lee  April 9, 2017 at 7:02 am

    For local business, focusing on local SEO can be an effective strategy to gather new customers.


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