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Working in the digital marketing space, you are likely aware that there is little to no instant gratification in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ranking on the first page of the SERP is an iterative and time intensive process. 

Meanwhile, businesses are becoming more conscious of the importance of SEO for their company’s online visibility. And they want to know how soon they can get to the top.

So, how long does it take to rank on Google?

The SEO pros at Ahrefs wanted an answer, so they conducted a study to find out just that. Here's what they discovered:

How old are most top ranked pages?

The first thing the researchers at Ahrefs wanted to know is how old are the pages that are the top ranked on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page). They chose 2 million random keywords, and extracted data on the corresponding pages that indexed in the Top 10 Positions. The results showed that majority are over two years old, with the ones in the first position being closer to three. 

Where do pages less than 1 year old index?

Their thorough research revealed that only 22% of the pages in the top 10 positions were less than one year old. That means that most new webpages are not featured on the first page of Google’s results. Considering nearly 90% of searchers do not make it past the first page, old pages are getting majority of the love. Breaking that data down even further, they discovered that less than 2% made it to the first position.

percent of young pages on SERP

Like all good things, SEO takes time.

To determine how long it takes to rank, Ahrefs pulled a sample of 2 million random pages that were “first seen” or published one year prior. They then tracked the progress of each page’s ranked keywords to see how they have improved in the last year. In that time, only 5.7% of pages made it onto the first page of the SERP. That means for the other 94.3%, ranking in the Top 10 Positions will take more than one year.  

ranking performance after 1 year

How to Index in the Top 10 Positions

By examining the 5.7% who ranked in the top 10, a few more observations can be made. As illustrated in the graph above, Domain Rating (DR) has a significant effect on page ranking. Pages with a High DR are more likely to index than their Low DR counterparts. 

Another factor contributing to page ranking is keyword volume. This is where those painstaking hours of keyword research done by SEO’s really pays off. Keywords with lower search volume were shown to yield faster results. 

keyword volume for top 10 ranked pages

SEO Tips for the Meantime

This study confirms what most digital marketers already know- SEO involves a great deal patience. But since organic traffic can often be the highest converting channel, when a page indexes in Google’s Top 10, the waiting game is all worth it. 

Be sure to check out this article on 10 Sure-Fire Tips for quick SEO wins  for some helpful On Page SEO you can do in the meantime. You could also check these local SEO services to boost your online presence.

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