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Google SERP ranking: How long does it take to rank on Page 1?

 

How long does it take to make my website rank on top of Google?

When you’re working for a Digital Marketing agency (imanila.ph), this is the SEO million-dollar question and the most crucial. Do you overpromise? Or try your hardest to not look incompetent in front of the client.

For a million SEO dollars, what is your final answer?

IT DEPENDS! And that’s the truth!

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There is no 100% proven effective method to rank on top of Google SERP in no time – unless you’re cloaking in the dark and doing BLACK SEO, then you ‘might’. What most SEO guys and gurus do is just to follow SEO’s best practices.

In a recent case study published by Ahrefs , only 5.7% of their sampled pages from 2 million random keywords (potentially 20,000,000 unique pages) made it to the 1st page of Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – and those were the “lucky” ones optimizing for low-volume keywords.

Take note of the words “lucky” and “low-volume”. And the remaining 95%? Not even close.

To put it in a little more perspective, 5.7% of 20,000,000 is 1,140,000. Only 1,140,000 pages will rank in Google’s Page 1 SERP in one calendar year.

Take a moment to let that sink in. We know what you are thinking.

SEO is dead!!

On the contrary, it is very much alive and kicking. As a matter of fact, those who are reaping the benefits of ranking on the first page of Google are experiencing a 5% increase in their web traffic on a monthly basis.

Going back on track, the issues-at-hand discussed that the realities surrounding SEO are more of the duration and domain authority that websites undergo or must obtain before even having a shot of getting on the Page 1 SERP.

So what are the realities that we are looking at? To help us dig into these realities, Ahrefs’ case study analyzed two million random keywords in their database as a sample and analyze their rankings based on the keywords they used, the age of the web pages, and their respective domain ratings.

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Below are their key takeaways:

  • How old are the top-ranking pages?

For starters, Ahrefs identified how old the current top-ranking pages are.

They took 2 million random keywords and pulled data on the Top10 ranking pages for each of them. Which resulted in this graph:

websites-age-of-page-days

For those holding up a #1 spot in Google’s SERP, their average age falls somewhere in between 500 – 950 days or 1.36 to 2.60 years old.

Those at the #10 spot averaged at a peak at 650 days or 1.78 years old.

So the next thing they wanted to know is what percentage of pages at each ranking position were less than 1-year-old:

ahrefs-website-ages-since-publication

percentage-of-young-pages

For the #1 spot, only 1% of the sampled pages or an estimated 200,000 unique pages were less than a year old.

While those lingering at the #10 spot, were just a little above 4% or at least an estimated 800,000 unique pages weren’t even old enough to celebrate their 1st anniversary on the web.

Comparing that to the potential sample of 20,000,000 unique pages, clearly, this doesn’t look too promising, right? The SERP is clearly dominated by “old” pages.

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  • How long does it take for a page to rank?

They tracked the position history of each page for any keyword it’s ranked for. Which resulted in this graph:

ranking-performance-by-DR

Only 5.7% of all studied pages ranked in the Top 10 search results within 1 year for at least 1 keyword.

Pages from websites with a high Domain Rating (DR) performed way better than those with a low DR. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise because Ahrefs’ Domain Rating metric (shows the strength of a website’s backlink profile) correlates well with Google rankings.

They then zoomed into this 5.7 % of “lucky” pages to see how quickly they got from nowhere to the Top10.

The majority of them managed to achieve that in approximately 61 to 182 days.

lucky-pages-by-DR-2

SUMMARY:

We all know how powerful SEO can be in time, but doing it is not a breakthrough that can happen overnight. This study is not definitive, but this shines a huge light into the most common question of clients: How long does it take to make my website rank on top of Google?

Their study clearly shows the following key points:

  • 95% of newly published pages don’t get to the Top 10 results of Google’s 1st page within a year.
  • The top 5.7% SEO performing website who are dubbed as “lucky ones” made it to the 1st page within 2 to 6 months and that’s for low-volume keywords.
  • Domain authority is an undeniable factor in ranking.

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To all hardworking websites who have made it to the first page, good job!

Those who didn’t make it, yet working hard to breakthrough, you are almost there! Don’t stop!

To those who are still thinking whether they’ll invest in SEO, re-evaluate your thoughts.

To those who are still demanding to be on top in no time, wake up! SEO is a persistent project that only gets better over time, especially if you hire one of the best SEO guys in the Philippines to do the job for you.

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