How Long Does it take for a Local Business to Rank on Google?

Any local business owner who has carried out SEO tasks or paid someone else to do the work has wondered how long it will take for their website to rank on Google. 

In this article we will explain how long it can take for a local business to rank in Google search results and why it takes time.

But before we go into those details, let’s explain what we mean when we say ‘rank on Google’.

What We Mean by ‘Rank on Google’

When we talk about ranking on Google, we’re referring to the organic (i.e. not paid ads) positions in the Google search results for your website’s keywords. 

Unfortunately, this means the term ‘ranking’ can be quite vague, and people often use it differently, rightly or wrongly.

For example, you could be ranking for ‘garage doors Oxted’ in position 1 of a Google search. You could also be ranking for ‘garage door repairs Oxted’ in position 20 of a Google search. In both instances, you are ‘ranking’.

When many people talk about ranking, they are referring to appearing on the first page of Google, i.e. approximately within the first 10 organic results.

It’s also worth mentioning that search results on Google used to be in pages. Page 1, also known as the ‘front page’, was the place to be if you wanted the most traffic, particularly if you ranked towards the top of the front page.

Google now doesn’t have pages ‘per se’, it instead continuously scrolls for search results on both desktop and mobile devices. However, the term ‘front page’ is still used by businesses and industry professionals alike. 

So when we talk about the ‘front’ or ‘first’ page, we mean within the top 10 organic results, give or take.

Firstly, is Your SEO in Place?

what is SEO

In order to stand a chance of ranking as a local business implementing SEO, you have to have certain things in place. For example, a local business should have a website and Google Business profile set up. These both should be optimised to target specific keywords for your area (e.g. ‘electricians reigate’, ‘lighting installation reigate’, ‘electrical testing reigate’ etc.).

A local business should also get listed on important business directories. These help to legitimise your business to search engines and provide backlinks to your site, which helps your SEO.

If the above factors aren’t in place, ranking could very well be impossible, regardless of how long you wait.

If you or your SEO agency manage to carry out the above, however, then the question arises: how long can you expect it to take to rank on the first page of Google

Factors That Affect How Long It Takes to Rank on Google

Factors affecting ranking time

Many factors that influence how quickly good rankings can be achieved. These include, but are not exclusive to:

The Level of Competition

How quickly you can expect to rank well for your chosen keywords is hugely influenced by the strength of your competitors’ websites and online presence. 

If you’re running a niche business in a town (e.g. a gaming cafe in Dorking) with few competitors, you can expect to rank well much more quickly than if you’re in a competitive industry in a city (e.g. a law firm in London).

Your SEO efforts

Assuming you’re following good practices, the amount of time you invest into SEO directly impacts how quickly you can expect to rank in a good position.

For example, if you’re writing SEO-optimised content and building quality backlinks on a regular basis, you can expect to rank more quickly than if you were doing very little SEO work.

Your Current Standing with Google

If your online presence is entirely new, you can expect your content to take longer (sometimes much longer) to rank than if you’re an established presence releasing new content. If you’ve gone against Google guidelines in the past and received penalties, this can negatively impact your site’s ability to rank.

Google Indexing Time

Google must include your website and its content within its index before they can rank the site and its pages. Indexing time can vary. The longer it takes for you to be indexed, the longer it will take to rank.

How Long Does It Take to Appear on the Front Page of Google?

On average, it can take anywhere from three months to a year (or even longer, as this study from Ahrefs shows) for a local business to secure a spot on the coveted first page. This time frame varies based on the strength of your competition, the competitiveness of the keyword targeted and the other aforementioned factors.

Here at Advance Online, we regularly increase rankings for our clients by a significant amount within the first year, and from there, we continue to work to improve the rankings further. Time frames vary depending on many factors, including what the rankings are when we take a client on, the competitiveness of the keywords and the SEO budget.

It is important to note that if your SEO strategy is flawed (e.g. you’re targeting very competitive keywords with a low SEO budget), it may be virtually impossible to rank on the first page of Google. This difficulty reaffirms the importance of a thorough approach to keyword research and SEO strategy from the outset.

4 Ways to Rank Quicker on Google

While the timeline can depend on external factors, there are proactive steps you can take to speed up the ranking process:

Enhance your Backlink Profile

directories, blogs and media website backlnks

Earn high-quality backlinks from various authoritative and local sources. Links from business directories, local newspaper sites, local businesses you work with, local bloggers, sponsorships and local events listed online are just some examples of the types of links you could build.

Enhance your Site’s Topical Authority

Producing high-quality, relevant content that demonstrates your expertise in your industry enhances something known as topical authority. This factor not only engages your audience but also boosts your chances of ranking for keywords related to your area of expertise.

Request Indexing through Google Search Console

Use Google Search Console to request Google to crawl and index pages of your site as you add them.

Install Indexing Plug-Ins

Utilising indexing plug-ins can streamline the indexing process and help search engines to discover and index your content more promptly.

How Long Does It Take for a Local Business to Rank on the Front Page of Google? - Final Thoughts

The journey to the front page of Google requires a good strategy and sustained effort. While precise timelines cannot be guaranteed, by implementing SEO effectively, you increase your chances of ranking well more quickly.

That said, it is not unrealistic to expect to see your pages ranking well for some of your desired keywords within six months to a year if they are selected wisely. 

As a digital marketing agency, we aim for significant ranking increases for our clients within the first three months to a year and continue to work from there to improve rankings even further. 

As results from your SEO strategy begin to reap rewards, it opens up the opportunity to increase SEO efforts further to gain stronger keyword rankings.

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