There are only two questions that absolutely every potential client asks when interested in our SEO services. One is, “How much is it going to cost us?” and the other is, “What time does it take to get on the first page (or in the top X) of the results?”. Our answer to the second question has always been that it depends on the competition, the current SEO value of the client’s site and the amount of work that will be done in the meantime. We also always mention that results should generally not be expected in less than 3 – 6 months.

This question is entirely justified and logical but not as simple as one would wish. The client wants his investment to pay off as soon as possible, but he also wants to set a point in time to evaluate whether everything is going in the direction he hoped. The problem is that clients have heard about the term SEO and have the idea (sometimes) that it is something you simply do on your site and instantly show up as the first result in the related search. Some clients do not expect to be the first but they do expect to be in the top five. This is reasonable, but what clients find hard to believe is the time it takes to achieve these results.

AHREFS, the world’s famous SEO tool, has done great research to provide the most accurate way to answer this question. They analyzed two million randomly selected keywords and pages ranked for those keywords. The results are not at all encouraging to site owners.

How old are the pages among the top 10 results?

The average age of pages (note that we are not talking about the whole site but a site page) ranked in the top 10 is two to three years, with the average for the tenth place being about one year and ten months, and for the first place approximately two years and 10 months.

How long does it take for a new page to get to the top 10 results?

On this occasion, two million one-year-old pages were randomly selected. Only 5.7% ranked for a keyword among the top 10 results; 19.5% of pages ranked for the 10th to 100th keyword, and 74.8% did not rank for any keyword in the top 100 results.

Considering the number of searches for keywords on Google, one-year-old pages that ranked for high-demand phrases (high number of searches on Google) accounted for 0.3%, for medium-high demand phrases they accounted for 1.3% and low-demand phrases made up 4.8%. In doing so, pages on sites with higher “domain rankings” (Ahrefs’s SEO rating) ranked faster among the top 10 results.


Several conclusions can be drawn from this research. First and foremost, SEO takes time. As many as 94% of newly published pages will not be in the top 10 results in the next year. For keywords with fewer searches and easier competition, you can hope to rank in the top 10 results in two to six months. For “harder” keywords, it is more realistic that sites with strong SEO value will be able to achieve faster results than newer sites and sites with lower SEO value. All this provided that you do quality SEO on your site.

All of this should not discourage you. SEO is necessary for your site to get an “organic” visits (visits from Google and other search engines). Strong visibility on Google is more valuable today than any TV commercial, and it’s worth fighting for. It is up to you to decide where you will be in a couple of months, a year or two.

You can see the original Ahrefs research at the following link:

Milos Mudric

Milos Mudric is an SEO consultant and tech enthusiast. He is the founder of Silver Fox Digital and and he occasionally writes interesting stories about SEO, but sometimes also about Blockchain, IoT, Fintech and other topics.