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How Long Does it Take to Rank a New Website?

So, you’ve just started a new business and have successfully set up a brand new website.

What’s next?

Getting people to visit your website of course!

However, what does it take for a brand new website to get organic visibility and rank for desired keywords?

Or more importantly, how long does it take to rank a new website?

That’s the challenge we recently faced with one of our linkbuilding clients, and what we’ll be showing in this case study.

Company Background

The company was founded in February 2021. The company provides professional translation services provided by native-speaking professional translators in over 60 languages. The site was well structured and had content and landing pages set up, but it had a completely fresh backlink profile and wasn’t ranking for any organic keywords. 

Problem: How to Build Organic Visibility as a Brand New Company?

When the client got in touch with Shortlist, its website was still partially in development. They reached out for an extensive link-building campaign to start ranking for high-business value keywords. Ranking for relevant keywords would help the brand build organic visibility and start generating traffic overtime. Naturally, there was a non-existent keyword profile when Shortlist intervened so our aim was to determine how we could fix this.

We started with an on-page SEO audit on the website. During this process, we noted that everything was comprehensively covered from the client’s end and they had appropriately taken care of the structure, keywords, and metadata when developing the website.

It’s typical for small websites to not have many errors, nevertheless it was worth checking that the onsite SEO was in good shape before doing any offsite site linkbuilding. Below you can see a screenshot of their SEO Health Score by auditing the website with Site Audit – Ahrefs.

SEO Health Score

Solution: An Extensive Link Building Campaign

With a comprehensive understanding of the client’s current position and how it could gain traction on its organic visibility, Shortlist created a four-month strategy focusing on authentic backlinks to help the client generate a solid keyword portfolio and rank better.

The goal was to focus on a set of keywords valuable to the client, build relevant backlinks, see how the site / Google reacted to them, and then optimize the campaign by focusing on the winners (those keywords that got traction) and cutting the losers.

Stage 1: Setting the Stage and Kickstarting the Project

Before initiating our link building campaign, we laid down some goals:

  • Understand the keywords they consider to be most important and of high business value. We generally tried to target keywords with Ahrefs difficulty less than 20.
  • Determine the optimal backlink allocation for the keywords with respect to the client’s budget.
  • Improve the client’s keyword diversity and website ranking through a contextual link building campaign. 

Stage 2: Lay Down the Groundwork to Track Progress

Next we determined the KPIs and baseline that would allow us to measure and benchmark our progress effectively. We:

  • Defined the primary KPIs, such as the overall ranking keywords and tracking of the main keywords.
  • Finalized the appropriate tools that we’d use to track these KPIs (SEMRush, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, etc.)
  • Confirmed our direction with the client before putting it all into action.

Stage 3: Time to Start Building Backlinks

Shortlist focused on a range of keywords directed towards the client’s services.

Once we figured out the keywords we wanted to focus on, we created a list of relevant outlets where the client’s website could be featured to get high-quality do-follow backlinks.

We created a link building campaign and wrote and published 42 guest posts which included 42 backlinks to the client’s websites and featured their services on multiple websites with an average Domain Authority of 53!

The First 60 days (Feb – Mar)

During the first 60 days, we built 23 contextual links through guest posting. However, those links are spread out over time, with some of them coming at the end of March. Additionally it takes time for Google to index these links and to give weight to the website. 

Needless to say, results were underwhelming (as expected)

The client just barely started appearing for 2 out of 9 targeted keywords

Results 60 – 120 (April – May)

The next 60 days saw 19 more backlinks built. During this time the client made additional progress on two more keywords, and saw increased rankings for the 4 keywords that achieved momentum.

increased rankings for the 4 keywords

Additionally during this time, a number of new keyword variations that the client wasn’t originally targeting (but were relevant to the site) started to appear. 

By the end of May they were ranking in the top 100 for approximately 150 keywords. 

Present Day (As of 6/30/21, 5 months in)

At present, the client has had 48 links built to it. They are currently ranking for 223 keywords organically.

Present Day (As of 6/30/21, 5 months in)

They are ranking for 5 out of 9 of their original target keywords, and saw increased rankings to pages 3 and 4 for them. 

increased rankings to pages 3 and 4 for them

Their website strength has improved

And they have many keywords that are ranking on page 3 and below, however, they have not been able to improve beyond that, yet.

many keywords that are ranking on page 3

Lastly, they saw improved impressions to around 34k, and according to GSC have gotten over 100 website clicks, most of that occurring recently, which is a trend we expect to continue.

improved impressions to around 34k

With many more links built recently in June, we expect results to improve from here, even if the client stopped all their efforts tomorrow, but, only time will tell!

 Final SEO Takeaways 

Link building is incredibly powerful: The backlinks we built for the client through targeted articles managed to build organic visibility for the client from scratch, resulting in ranking for over 200 organic keywords including 5/9 of the ones they were originally targeting.

Optimization efforts take time to show results, even moreso for new websites: In this case, we have worked on offsite SEO with the client for 5 months, however, it took months to see initial traction, and even then the client has not experienced large amount of traffic due to the fact that for most of the keywords they’re ranking for they are on page 3 or lower. This is in part due to the fact that the website is brand new, and it is difficult to rank a brand new website for competitive keywords.

This further highlights why it’s necessary to have reasonable expectations, to plan your budget accordingly, and to work with a dedicated long term partner. 

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