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How Long Does It Take To Reach First Page On Google?

One of the most common questions clients ask with regards to search engine optimisation is “how long?” As any Warrington SEO expert understands, there is no single answer to this question. There are so many factors at play in determining how long it will take for an SEO campaign to get your website to the first page on Google. Keyword difficulty, budget, on-page, off-page, domain age, the state of your website’s current SEO, etc. In this blog, I will try to outline how long it can take for a website to reach the first page of a search engine.

It Depends

As I already outlined, there are just so many ranking factors, scenarios and competitors to take into account, so the true answer is it depends. The one thing I can tell you is that no matter how much you optimise your content, title, meta tags etc. you will never achieve the first page for your competitive keywords without the power of linkbuilding.

Once you have established your content as high-quality, trustworthy and professional, you will begin competing with the first page websites. Obviously, there is a limited amount of websites that can be on the first page, so Google needs something to act as a tie-breaker between all the high-quality content – only the popular and trusted websites are allowed on the first page. How does Google know what is popular and what to trust? Backlinks.

Quality over Quantity

Before we get into any confusion around the popularity remark we need to understand that the quality of your backlinks are far more important than the quantity. A backlink carries something the industry calls “link juice.” Each website and individual page has its own unique measurement of link juice – which is how impactful a link from that page would be for your website. Let’s say Domain A is an industry leader and trustworthy website, it has a blog post with 60 link juice. Domain A has a link to Domain B in the last paragraph of this blog post. Domain A passes around 20 link juice (30%) to Domain B. Because the link is so far down in the content, it doesn’t pass as much link juice as it would if it was higher up.

This example shows how backlinks are measured to impact a website depending on the linking website’s own SEO, which page the link is on, and where the link is on the page. This example also explains what a quality link is – a link from a website that has a good standing in SEO, as seen from how much link juice they can provide, is far better than having ten links from spammy websites that don’t pass any link juice.


As I’ve stated numerous times, there’s no one answer for how long it will take a website to reach the first page. However, there is general guidance based on case studies and previous experience which we can use to outline how long a project can take, depending on some known factors:

WebsiteCompetitive KeywordsNon-competitive Keywords
New Website9-12 Months2-4 Months
Aged, popular website3-6 Months1 Month

Brand new websites take a lot longer to begin ranking for keywords, even non-competitive keywords. The first 3 months of a new website is known as the Google sandbox. This is where Google first notices and researches your website, trying to understand what your website is about, what the content is for and whether they can trust your website at all. When Google has enough information, your website can begin ranking for easy and non-competitive keywords.

More aged and popular websites can rank for their keywords a lot faster than new websites, sometimes even ranking instantly for non-competitive keywords. This is on the basis that the website is experienced with SEO and has already garnered plenty of trust and authority with search engines.