How Long Does SEO Take to Work – Data & Case Study

Let me show you some data on a site I optimised back in January of 2019 which has taken 2 years to secure page 1 non-brand rankings for a key page.

Most marketers responsible for driving sales for the latest crop of hi growth Shopify brands have to start with paid traffic to make immediate sales.

However, I’d like to share some data supporting the statement that you need to get your foundational SEO work done as soon as you can; before you go live in fact.

Why? Because the rankings “clock” or improvements only start ticking when the site is properly optimised so Google knows what to start ranking your pages for.

Case Study – Petal & Pup

In early 2019 I was brought in by another agency to work on foundational SEO site optimisations. Basically making sure the site was optimised to target all of the keyword category opportunities in the market place that were relevant to the brand.

The project was 2-3 months and after that initial engagement, another agency took over the ongoing promotion of the site.

However, as soon as the pages were properly optimised, they entered the rankings and started moving up.

Dresses Collection Page –

When the site was launched the page title for this page was simply “Dresses” and as part of the full site optimisation we rewrote it to allow it to market terms using “Women”, “Online” and “Australia’.

This is the most common scenario I see with Shopify sites bit or small. Non optimised collections pages.

Here is the old versus the new page title.

Prior to the optimisation, the page only ranked for brand + dresses searches.

After the optimisation, it started ranking for all of the category-defining terms we were chasing such as “dresses online” – 12,100 monthly searches and “dresses online Australia” – 4,400 monthly searches and “dresses Australia” – 8,100 monthly searches.

What were the results and how long did it take?

The chart below from Semrush shows the steady increase in the # of keyword terms that the URL was ranking for.

As of Feb 2021 it’s visible for 2,700 terms.

And they were not just brand terms.

An Analysis of the top organic keywords this page is ranking for shows that 4 out of the top 7 traffic generating terms are non-brand.

It’s taken two years of steady growth to get to this point

I’m in no way discounting the ongoing work their new SEO agency and the team have put in place but without the fundamental optimisations implemented way back in 2019, this growth would not have started.

All of the link building, PR and other marketing builds on these optimisations and pushes the organic visibility higher.

Key Takeaway

Make sure your Shopify site incorporates comprehensive keyword research and competitor analysis to identify the relevant category-defining keyword terms, and you identify new collection/category opportunities your competitors have found but you have not.

Then, create the collections, and optimise them fully with well-written page titles, meta descriptions and on-page copy.

Now, your site can start ranking and any ongoing marketing you do will boost your rankings.

Get started, your clock is ticking.

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