Why does SEO take so long?

By Rachel McRae | Sunday, May 9, 2021

Good SEO must be built over time, and here's why.

Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO) is the process by which your website appears in search results above your competitors. Ranking well in search engines like Google is important because it allows you to capture new business and get ahead of the competition. SEO is a process which can take months to see full results, and being visible on the first page of results takes work. But why is that? Why does SEO takes so long?


Google has to build up trust, with new domain names especially. Google needs to be sure that websites are legitimate and relevant before giving them a high ranking. Like any other business, Google wants to provide the best experience for their customers, so the ranking algorithm prefers websites offering genuine products, services or information. Therefore, the process of building up this trust understandably doesn’t happen overnight.


Your key competitors may be savvy in the online space, or have someone undertaking Search Engine Optimisation on their behalf. They can be countering your efforts, and may already be well ahead of you when you’re starting out. If you’re chasing someone that has already started the race, it can take a while to catch up to them.

Unique Content and Metadata

Google is keen on showcasing unique and relevant content online, with no duplicates (nothing that has been copied and pasted). This valuable unique content not only takes time to produce, but also for Google to recognise as unique and worth featuring. Metadata and keywords on your website are highly important for SEO. This data is what Google uses to determine what your website is about. Analysing which keywords to use on your website and integrating them into your content takes time and often needs adjusting to get the best results.

Valuable Links

The more links from other respected websites to yours, and vice versa, the better your ranking in Google will be. If a high-ranking, trustworthy website is linking to yours, it goes a long way to establishing trust with a search engine. These links take time to build, as it may involve requesting that suppliers or business partners link through to your site. Links between various content within your site is also a key ranking factor.

Algorithm Changes

As with other technologies, search engines are always changing. They are always adapting and becoming smarter in order to provide their users with the best results. In fact, Google makes over 500 changes to its search engine algorithm every year. Therefore, your SEO strategy will need to be looked at and reviewed regularly as well. Changes will likely need to be made based on changes to the online world that are outside of your control.

Keep It Up

At the end of the day, SEO is much like fitness. If you stop exercising, you become less and less fit as time goes on. It also takes time and effort to build up your fitness again. This means there is no cheating the system with Search Engine Optimisation, so it is a worthwhile and useful strategy for long term results.

Should you require immediate results, you may want to consider running a paid online advertising campaign to increase conversions in the short term.

Author: Rachel McRae

Rachel worked in Online Marketing for several years before founding Dubzz in 2011. She holds qualifications in Marketing, Business, Science and Māori and was recognised in 2015 as the "Emerging Young Leader of the Year" at the Westpac Business Excellence Awards.

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