How Long Does It Take to Start Getting Traffic from the Search Engines?

It’s one of the most common questions that new or would-be webmasters ask, which is understandable given that most Web traffic starts with a search query. Unfortunately, it’s also a question that has no easy answer, not least because it depends on a multitude of factors. One thing is for certain is that it’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s not likely to happen within the first few weeks or even months of your website being live.

Submitting Your Website to Google

You can manually submit your website to Google so that it will be instantly added to the search giant’s index, but it will hardly make much difference. Google’s robots are constantly crawling the Internet for new content, prioritising well-established and popular websites over those with minimal content or those that are on new domains. However, Google’s multitude of complicated and largely unknown ranking factors are beyond the scope of this article. What matters is that it will crawl your website automatically, typically within a day or two of it going live. You can also submit your sitemap to the search engines although, again, this doesn’t make much difference. In fact, you can safely ignore submitting your website or sitemap to the search engines.

Sustainability vs. Black-Hat Marketing

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an important part of online marketing, since it considers the fact that the search crawlers don’t work in quite the same way to how humans would. In the broadest sense, SEO concerns making your website more visible to the search robots and making sure that its content and design meets Google’s terms of service. All of this takes a lot of time, typically three to six months, so if any SEO firm tells you that they can get you on the first page of the results in just a few weeks, there are two possibilities: they are either lying, or they use a black-hat link network to deliberately manipulate the search robots.

Black-hat SEO is an extremely risky approach, simply because it’s not sustainable and it breaks all the rules. You may well see some initial success, but as soon as anyone finds out that you’re breaking the rules, your website will quickly be pushed to the back of the search results and possibly even removed from the indexes entirely. The result? An utterly destroyed business reputation with absolutely no visibility in the world’s largest search engine. You might as well declare bankruptcy and forget about ever trying to do business online again. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to increasing search engine traffic.

The Importance of Organic Traffic

The main problem with black-hat SEO is that it doesn’t just try to fool the search engine robots, it also tries to manipulate people into visiting a website that likely serves up unoriginal content offering no real value. It’s the impatient marketer’s way of quickly building up website traffic without giving a moment of thought to the fact that it’s quality that counts, and not quantity. After all, what’s so great about having 10 thousand visitors to your website if there’s not a single conversion among them? By contrast, organic search engine traffic, which is the product of quality content, consists of people who are actually likely to be genuinely interested in your website.

Using Sustainable Marketing to Build a Following

You need to take a long-term approach if you want to adopt a sustainable marketing strategy that will benefit your business in the longer term. There’s a lot more to digital marketing than building backlinks and stuffing your website content with supposedly high-value keywords. There are countless guides on digital marketing out there, but you’ll be using various methods to spread the word about your website, such as choosing suitable long-tail keywords, consistently publishing quality content and getting involved in social media. Paid advertising can also help raise awareness in your blog which can, indirectly, improve your search engine visibility.

Final Words

Every business and online entrepreneur wants to know how to become number one on Google, but it’s important to understand that it never happens quickly. Firstly, and most importantly, you need to have enough quality content to keep your human readers engaged. Secondly, you need to make regular but responsible use out of the wide range of marketing channels available to you. Eventually, and depending on the degree of competition in your industry and, to a lesser extent, how much you invest, you’ll be able to start earning organic referrals from Google. However, don’t expect this to start happening in any less than three months.