I’m working part-time on my e-commerce business while I finish up my degree. I’ve got a good payment platform, and I think I’ve got stuff that will sell. I’m having trouble getting the search rankings I want, though, so I recently made some SEO changes to try and help. But how long will it be before those SEO changes start working? How do I know if they’re working I’m doing the right thing? 

Some changes to SEO don’t take long to implement, but it’s going to take a couple of months to see real change. The biggest changes may take as long as a year to appear, in fact. There are three things you need to allow time for: making thorough changes, waiting for Google to catch up, and building a good link profile.

Make Thorough Changes

A few little SEO changes here and there won’t do it. You need enough time to do a thorough audit, make all the necessary changes, and then see those changes implemented. When doing a complete overhaul of a website, this process alone can take months.

Good SEO must include quality content, and that's going to take a regular investment of time. You shouldn’t expect to see a bump when your first blog post goes up or the first organic link goes live. Content and links have to build over the course of a few months so it's clear they're legitimate. Then you’ll start drawing traffic.

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Give Time For Google To Do Its Thing

Google and the other search engines need time to re-crawl your website, notice the changes, and adjust your rankings. This doesn't happen overnight. By the fourth or fifth month from the time your new strategy goes live, you should be seeing an increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation.

This change will make it clear that something is happening, but keep in mind that this should just be the beginning. In another five or six months, the results should be far more dramatic. 

Build A Link Network

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Link building is one of the most important keys to the success of SEO, and there are no shortcuts here. Link building has to be organic, original, and scalable. You need time to build relationships with marquis publishers and develop fully organic content placement. 

This can be very time-consuming and even completely infeasible if you’re just running a side business. Using a service such as LinkGraph allows you to leverage expert, proven link-building strategies so you can be sure your link profiles get done quickly, organically, and effectively.

You can tell if your SEO strategy is working by keeping track of the following:

Domain Authority

Domain authority (DA)  is a simple but effective way to measure your SEO efforts. DA is calculated on a scale from 1 to 100, with 40 to 50 considered about average, 50 to 60 considered good, and anything over 60 considered excellent. 

DA is determined based on content, social media signals, how friendly a site is to search engines, and mobile searches in particular, and especially your overall link profile. Bear in mind that DA changes gradually, so if your DA is currently 10, getting it to 30 or 40 is a huge jump and will make a significant difference. 

Organic Traffic Numbers

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Organic traffic refers to hits you get naturally through Google search as opposed to hits that come from other means, such as a link in a marketing email or an ad on Facebook. The more traffic that comes naturally, the better your site’s SEO is performing.

A good strategy is to check organic traffic before implementing any SEO efforts. That way you have a clear baseline for comparison. Be sure to factor for seasonal fluctuations in site traffic as appropriate.

Sales And Lead Numbers

If your website’s SEO is genuinely improving, you should see a positive change in your financial figures. It’s not enough that you get a lot of hits: sales and conversions should be going up and profits increasing.

As with everything else, this will not happen overnight, and the upward trajectory should be slow but steady. A sudden jump in the profit margin may be due to something other than marketing strategies. If the jump in sales is related to SEO efforts, however, it will continue to rise.

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