It’s a question asked by virtually every web design client ever: “When will we be among the top spots in the search results?” Serious web designers will give a reserved reply, while the common SEO will say “tomorrow.” But how long does it really take?
A serious answer can only be given on the basis of tons of data, and even then, it’s more of an approximate value. The parameters and variables that need to be factored in are too different for each case.
How Old is the Average Website Ranking in the Top 10 For Keywords?
The team of ahrefs, a toolset for search engine marketing, tried to figure it out nonetheless and took a systematic approach on their database, which contains a couple million of domain data pools. The results of a large-scale project like that can’t be entirely wrong.
First, they compiled a set of two million randomly selected keywords, and checked the top 10 domains for each of those keywords. Here, they found out that no website in the top 10 was less than two years old. On average, the frontrunners were about three years old.
22 percent of sites that were younger than a year old, but still in the top 10, contributed to this average, although they only provided about two to four percent of the top rankings.
Interim Conclusion: Search result pages are heavily dominated by older domains. While there are young sites, they are only represented in single digit percentage numbers. You could call them exceptions.
How Fast Can a New Website Establish Itself in the Google Ranking?
To figure out how long it takes until a site is ranked in Google, the team of ahrefs took a dataset of two million randomly selected websites, which were first seen by the in-house crawler about a year ago. About three-quarters of all of these websites were not even in the top 100 of results. Anyway, 19.5 percent of them made it to the spots 11 to 100, and only 5.7 percent made it into the top 10. Websites with especially stable backlink profiles had a better performance to boast.
Now, they took a look at the top 5.7 percent, trying to find out how long it took these exceptions to reach the top 10. This value is between two and six months.
Furthermore, it was discovered that the ranking was only that positive for keywords with a low search volume. Only 0.3 percent of websites trying to get a keyword ranking for words with high search volumes, got into the top 10 in the first six months. Even these whizkid sizes were only successful after about a year when going for keywords with high search frequencies.
Conclusion: About 95 percent of all new websites won’t make it to the top 10 in their first year. 75 percent won’t even make top 100. Nonetheless, the study shows that effort and hard work makes it possible to achieve high rankings.
But, what’s our answer to our customer’s question? I recommend: “It depends.” ;)
Find all numbers, data, and charts over at ahrefs.