When I present my SEO support services, a question comes up regularly “How long does it take to be listed in Google?”. If there is no exact answer, I will try to provide answers regarding the indexing and positioning times.
Google’s indexing time
Before even asking the question of how long to be on the first page of Google. it may be useful to take up some basics of natural referencing. You have to understand that it works in several phases and that it needs to be (very) patient.
The first step is the site crawl. Google’s robots will then read the HTML codes from one URL to another. Then there is the indexing part where the search engine will check if the page is valid to merit being in its database.
There is no standard time limit for indexing a page on Google. However, we generally notice durations ranging from a few days to several weeks for a new website. If it is a question of indexing a page on a site which has been in existence for a certain time and regularly updated, the indexing time will be much faster, that is, the story of a few hours (sometimes less).
Several factors can facilitate the indexing of a page:
- The sitemap is populated in the Search Console
- The site has a certain history
- Pages are properly linked
- The site benefits from external links (backlinks)
- The site is regularly updated
If you find that after a while your page is still not indexed, you can then go to Google Search Console then go to the “URL Inspection” tab to request indexing.
Once a page is indexed, the third step in SEO is positioning.
Pages that are well positioned in Google are selected from the index based on their suitability for the user’s query. There is no exact formula to put your website at the top of a Google search. However, the following factors play a key role in the ranking process:
- Have your own domain name: Google’s algorithm is designed to spot websites that try to trick the system with tricks like keyword stuffing or buying inbound links. These schemes can work for a while. However, if Google notices, your site will be penalized and your ranking will suffer.
- Age of domain name: A web domain less than six months old is considered a “new” site in the eyes of Google. It is therefore considered less credible than an older website which has been thoroughly checked by Google’s algorithm.
- Keyword competition: The keywords or phrases you search for are often very competitive, and the best-established sites in your industry have a head start on popular searches. If your site is new, it will be less complicated to try to position yourself on uncompetitive queries before moving on to more popular expressions.
- Content quality: Googlebots are designed to identify features such as how often new content is posted, originality of content, and the length and overall quality of your text. Adding unique, good-quality content will rank better over time.
- Inbound links: Whether internal links (internal mesh) or external links (backlinks), these have always had considerable weight in Google’s algorithm. It is preferable to obtain contextual links from credible sites and in a subject close to yours to maximize your chances of being well referenced.
How long to be positioned on Google?
Let’s see together two concrete cases to analyze the positioning time for a new domain name and an expired domain name.
For a new site
If you start from scratch with a new domain name, for example with your brand name, you will have to be patient before acquiring natural traffic on Google. Generally, there is a delay ranging 6 months to 1 year before you start positioning yourself on competitive keywords.
For a site with an existing history
If you are lucky enough to have a site that has a certain history, some SEO optimizations and the addition of quality content will allow you to position your pages. in just a few months.
In this example, a niche site was built from an expired domain name that had some history and thematic links. This made it possible to position the site quickly on competitive requests.
Study on positioning time in computer graphics
Ahrefs made a study on “how long does it take to be ranked in Google”. If this study unfortunately does not give an exact answer, it at least has the merit of showing that almost 95% of newly published pages do not arrive in the Top 10 in one year. Most of the “lucky ones” who succeed only between 2 and 6 months approximately.
I let you discover the results of this study through this infographic produced by The Website Group.
In the end, natural referencing is mainly a story of strategy and patience. It is normal to have a hard time at first, but by dint of persistence, you will manage to gain your first positions in the results pages of Google after a few months.