Google Search Ranking SEO Case Study: How Long Does It Take to Rank for A Keyword
Are you up for an interesting SEO case study? Want to improve Google search ranking? Do you want to know how long does it take to rank for a particular keyword?
We recently worked on an interesting SEO case study and found some amazing things that are involved in improving Google rankings. So if you’re someone who’s interested in knowing how long does it take for a new keyword to generate thousands of visitors from search, this SEO case study is just for you.
Are you curious to find out the results of our SEO case study? Let’s jump into the details without further ado.
Table of Contents
- SEO Case Study 2018: How Long Does It Take to Rank [And Improve Google Search Ranking Quickly]
- Important data of the keyword we ranked for
- The date of publishing the blog post
- How many visitors the post attracted in the last 90 days
- How many keywords the post is currently getting traffic from
- Total number of backlinks the post received
- Total number of social shares the post received so far
- Keyword Research Data for Improve Google Search Ranking SEO Case Study
- How long did it take to get into the first page for our target keyword?
- 3 Important Things Helped Us Improve Google Rankings for Our Target Keyword
SEO Case Study 2018: How Long Does It Take to Rank [And Improve Google Search Ranking Quickly]
We recently did an interesting case study on a blog post to see how long did it take to get first page rankings for our primary keyword.
So we’ll talk about several things here:
- Important data of the keyword we ranked for
- The date of publishing the post we used in this SEO case study
- The amount of search traffic the post got until now
- How many keywords the post is currently getting traffic from
- Current keyword position for the keyword (along with position changes)
- How many days it took to get #2 rankings for our target keyword
- And other interesting and important details along with screenshots
So you’re in a treat. Here we go!
Important data of the keyword we ranked for
The keyword we targeted has a monthly search volume of 1300 searches (which is not too low and not very difficult to rank for). So here are some interesting data that gives you a better idea about how long does it take to rank for a keyword in the first page results on Google.
- Monthly search volume of the keyword: 1300 searches
- Date of publishing the post: 17th Feb 2018
- Total visitors the post received in 3 months after publishing: 5477 visitors
- Total number of social shares the post received: 93 (so far)
- How long did it take to get into the first page results of Google: 52 days
Now, let’s dive into further more details so you can understand this SEO case study even better to improve keyword rankings.
The date of publishing the blog post
For privacy reasons, we are not going to reveal the primary keyword we used for this case study (so we blurred it).
Besides revealing the keyword, we’re going to reveal every other data which is useful enough for you to know how long does it usually take to rank for a keyword so you’ll have better understanding about how to improve Google search ranking in 2018 and beyond.
The date of publishing the blog post that we used for this SEO case study was: 17th February 2018.
In Google Analytics, first time traffic was noticed on 17th Feb 2018
As you can see above the date was: 17th Feb, 2018
Interesting thing to notice
You can’t get #1 ranking for keyword with decent search volume within a day or two unless you’ve an authority site with a lot of quality links.
How many visitors the post attracted in the last 90 days
If you’re wondering about how much traffic the post attracted from Google in the last 90 days, here’s the data from Google search console.
Google Search Console Screen showing the amount of clicks this post received in the last 90 days:
As you can see above, the post attracted around 5500 visitors from Google in the last 90 days.
That’s not a bad number. Considering the fact that the post was published just 100 days ago and already attracted over 5000 unique visitors from Google.
If you look at the above graph carefully, the average number of clicks are also increasing every single week (which is a good sign that it’s going to attract even more search traffic).
How many keywords the post is currently getting traffic from
If you’re curious to find out the number of keywords the post is currently getting traffic from Google, it is ranking for for 69 keywords.
Here’s the screenshot from SEMrush Google.com (US) Ranking for its targeted terms:
If you observe the above screenshot carefully (which was taken from SEMrush), you’ll notice a couple of important things about this SEO case study for 2018 to improve Google rankings.
- The number of keywords: As you can clearly see from the above screenshot from SEMrush, the blog post we are using for this SEO case study is ranking for 69 keywords. This is important to know because we mainly focused on just ONE primary keyword (although we used several LSI relevant keywords and sprinkled them nicely within the post).
- The average positions for each keyword: Most of the keywords are ranking on first 3 top search results (see the above screenshot) which is the primary reason for generating more traffic from search.
Important thing to notice
If you’re ranking #1 for a keyword, you’ll tend to rank for a ton of other relevant keywords as well. The above illustration shows the same thing.
In fact, Ahrefs did an interesting case study on how many keywords can you rank for one page and revealed some of the amazing facts.
Here’s the illustration of Ahrefs case study.
What did you learn from it? The average #1 ranking page will also rank in the top 10 for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords while the median value is more than two times smaller which is around 400 keywords. That’s a great news, right?
How awesome it is to rank #1 for a keyword and get search traffic from a ton of other keywords as well. That’s why it’s so important for you to get #1 ranking for a keyword that you’re targeting.
Whether you know it or not, backlinks play a KEY role in getting #1 rankings for any keyword no matter what industry you are in. So let’s use this interesting SEO case study to find out how many backlinks (along with domains) that our target keyword attracted.
Here’s the screenshot of the total Links to the post: Source Google Search Console
As you can see from the above screenshot, you’ll notice the following things;
- Total links to the post: The post attracted 68 links so far (some of them are dofollow and few are nofollow). We left 20 to 30 blog comments using the post URL though, remaining links we attracted organically.
- Total domains linking to the post: The 68 backlinks are generated from 18 unique domains (18 different websites linked to the post). You should know the importance of attracting links from various domains to the same post instead of building tons of links from the same domain.
Important thing to remember
Most people who are new to SEO have a common question: “Can I rank for a keyword without backlinks”?
That’s a great question and the answer is mostly NO.
You can’t get #1 rankings for a keyword without the help of backlinks. Even if you got #1 rankings for a keyword, you can’t sustain first page rankings without building links. It’s as simple as that.
Just have a look at the following illustration by Moz case study where they examined the top 50 Google search results for approximately over 15,000 keywords which allowed them to examine not only what factors correlate with higher search rankings but also how frequently those characteristics are seen.
What did you observe from the above illustration by Moz team?
Out of the top 50 search results, 99.2% of all websites had at least one external link.
The remaining 0.8% is well within the margin of error expected between Mozscape and Google’s own link index.
The study found almost no websites ranking for competitive search phrases that didn’t have at least a single external link pointing at them and most had significantly more links which directly telling us all the importance of backlinks.
So the bottomline? If you want to get #1 rankings for any keyword, start attracting links from other sources.
The people who are already into SEO know one thing for sure: social media engagement plays a crucial role in getting better rankings on Google search.
That means, if your blog posts generate decent amount of social shares such as Facebook shares, Tweets, G plus shares and so on, it tends to get first page rankings on Google.
So let’s now discuss about the social shares the post we’re talking in this SEO case study got so far.
Social Shares: Combining Facebook, Twitter & G Plus
As you can see, the post was shared over 90 times across 3 social media platforms and here are some interesting things to notice:
- Number of Facebook shares: The post received over 60 times on Facebook, which means, it performed well on Facebook when compared to other networks like Twitter or G plus. Primarily the reason is we share it on our Facebook page and also most bloggers that follow Bloggers Passion are active on Facebook when compared to other networks.
- Number of Tweets: It also got a fair amount of tweets although we are not so much active on Twitter. Primarily the reason for these tweets could be the people who are reading the particular blog post were most active on Twitter.
- Google Plus shares: Google plus usage is going down day by day with the increase presence of people on Facebook and Twitter.
Important thing to remember
Did you know that the number of social shares you get on your articles impact your search engine rankings? Yes, that’s true.
Although getting 100 odd shares won’t make much difference in your search rankings but if you want to get first page rankings, you should definitely focus on getting more social shares because search engines like Google considers “user engagement” such as social sharing as a ranking factor.
According to Searchmetrics 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper, here’s what you need to know about the correlation between social media and ranking of your keywords.
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared to with the values from last year’s whitepaper. The top ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages. This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”
So what can you take away from the above? Yes, social media can certainly help with SEO.
There is a positive correlation between social engagements and change in keyword rankings. So if you want to boost your keyword rankings on Google, focus on getting more social shares.
Keyword Research Data for Improve Google Search Ranking SEO Case Study
So what should be the decent search volume keywords for you to target? In other words, what’s the best search volume to rank #1 for a keyword?
Here’s the data of the keyword we ranked for;
If you look at the above screenshot, you can notice that we picked and ranked #1 for a keyword that has decent (not too high, not too low) search volume of 1300 monthly searches and a keyword difficulty of around 70 out of 100.
We also included several other relevant keywords and shown you the monthly searches along with keyword difficulty in the above image.
Important thing to learn
Don’t pick keywords that has high search volume. Picking keywords with decent search volume (around 1000 monthly searches) can bring you quick search traffic with minimal efforts. So aim for those keywords that has 1000 or less monthly searches.
You can use tools like SEMrush for finding accurate search volume of any keyword. Although Google’s Keyword Planner is good but it doesn’t provide accurate keyword data.
Left 15-20 links for this post via blog commenting
Another thing we did specially for this post: we left around 20 comments using the blog post URL on various blogs. Yes, we know that all the comments are of nofollow but they do add some kind of value in terms of quick indexing and act like some credible sources when you’re trying to improve Google rankings.
So if you’re someone who’s trying to get first page rankings for a keyword, make sure to use that URL to leave comments on relevant blogs in your industry.
How long did it take to get into the first page for our target keyword?
So here comes the most important question of this SEO case study: how long does it take to rank on first page for a keyword?
It took us 52 days to get #2 ranking for our target keyword.
First we got into #5 position on Google search on April 11,2018.
Here’s the screenshot for 5th position of search results.
Then, it took another 12 odd days to go from 5th position to 2nd position and rank #1 for several keywords.
Here’s the screenshot for 2nd position of search results for the keyword.
Here’s the average positions for the keyword.
Average position for the keywords (taken from Google Search Console):
As you can see from the above image, the post received 5477 clicks (visitors) so far with the average position of 10 since the post went live for its targeted terms.
3 Important Things Helped Us Improve Google Rankings for Our Target Keyword
Here are some of the important things we learnt from this SEO case study. If you want to improve Google rankings for any keyword, make sure to focus on following 3 things and you’ll be getting amazing results for sure.
#1. Spend quality time in coming up with better keyword ideas
If you’ve gone through this SEO case study carefully, you’ve probably noticed the #1 reason for getting #1 rankings for our target keyword on Google: we did smart keyword research.
If you want to improve Google rankings, start with keyword research. Spend quality time in coming up with better keyword ideas so you can bring more visitors from search engines like Google.
Make sure to focus on using long tail keywords while doing keyword research. Do you know why? Long tail keywords are often easier to rank for and help you get traffic from multiple keywords.
Here’s an illustration that tells you the importance of using long tail keywords.
You will observe from the above image that, there’s a low search frequency and competition for long tail keywords. That’s the reason why you should only pick long tail keywords no matter what your blog topics are.
If you look at our keyword research process, you’ll notice that we always find two types of keywords which are listed below.
- A primary keyword (along with monthly searches)
- Couple of secondary keywords (along with monthly searches)
A primary keyword is what we pick with around 1000 to 1500 monthly searches and this primary keyword will be used in prominent places such as;
- Page title
- Meta description
- Sub headings (h2, h3)
- Image alt tag
- Within body (multiple times)
We also spend decent amount of time to find couple of secondary keywords which are highly relevant to the primary keyword we’re trying to rank for. We carefully include these secondary keywords all over the blog post to get search traffic from multiple keywords. This is the reason why we’ve ranked for 69 relevant keywords which are generating traffic to just one page.
Use the same keyword research strategy if you want to rank for any keyword quickly on Google search.
That being said, here are 2 major SEO tools we use for keyword research and optimization.
#1. SEMrush: Hands down, SEMrush is one of the best SEO tools which can be used for finding a ton of profitable and low volume keywords no matter what industry you are in. It can also be used for finding and fixing your website issues, domain comparison, competitor research and so on.
So what about the cost of SEMrush?
First things first: use the exclusive link below to try SEMrush free for 30 days (worth $99.95)
Click here to try SEMrush free for 30 days (only for Bloggers Passion readers)
SEMrush has 3 pricing plans which are listed below.
- Pro account which costs you $99.95 per month which is a perfect plan for starters who wants to get more search traffic.
- Guru account costs you $199.95 per month and perfect fit for small business owners who wants to grow their websites using SEO where you’ll get all the Pro features plus: branded reports, historical data and extended limits
- Business account costs you $399.95 per month and perfect for agencies and big brands which are looking to grow their websites using SEO where you’ll get all the Guru features along with White label reports, API access and extended limits with sharing options and so on
#2. Yoast SEO: Keyword research is one thing and keyword optimization is another thing. Using your primary and secondary keywords within your content is the difference between getting first page and 10th page rankings on Google search.
Here’s where Yoast SEO plugin helps you easily optimize your content for your target keywords and it is also the most downloaded plugin in the WordPress directory used by millions of people worldwide.
So how much does Yoast SEO premium plugin cost you?
If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend you to try their free version as it is enough for optimizing your contents for your primary keywords but if you want to get more out of the plugin, you should go for their premium version. Here are the pricing options of Yoast premium version.
- For 1 site $89 for 1 year
- For 2 sites $169.10 for 1 year
- For 3 sites $253.65 for 1 year
- For 4 sites $338.20 for 1 year
- For 5 sites $400.50 for 1 year
- For 10 sites $756.50 for 1 year
Suggested Reading: Yoast SEO Premium Vs Free Plugin: Which Is Better
#2. Longer blog posts rank well in Google search
The post we’re talking about in this SEO case study to improve Google rankings consists of 4000 words.
Yes, a 4000 word article.
Do you know why we wrote such a longer blog post?
Just for 1 reason: longer blog posts rank well in Google search.
Google always tries to give better experiences to the searchers. If it finds people are spending more time (dwell time) on a web page, it considers as a positive user experience and gives it top rankings on Google searches.
Brian Dean recently did an interesting case study where he analyzed over 1 million Google search results and found that pages with longer content ranked significantly better than short content.
From the above case study, you can notice that the average word count of a Google first page result is 1890 words.
So what can you take away from the study? If you want to get first page rankings for a keyword, try to create a 2000+ word blog post so you can increase your odds of getting first page rankings.
Longer blog posts are also helpful for so many reasons such as;
- Longer blog posts tend to get more social shares
- Longer blog posts attract more backlinks from other websites
- Longer blog posts remain valuable over time
- Longer blog posts are usually considered as authoritative posts
- Longer blog posts immediately grab people’s attention (who doesn’t love to spend more time on reading something informative)
Just make sure NOT to use filler content in order to hit the 2000+ word mark. After all, no one likes to read a generic piece of content that doesn’t add any value.
The SEO case study you’re currently reading is of around 5000 words and you will mostly find a ton of tips and techniques along with lots of illustrations.
We also learned the importance of backlinks to be able to rank fast for a keyword.
We noticed the amount of backlinks (from various domains) also plays a key role in getting FASTER search traffic. That means, if you’re building quality links to your target page from a variety of domains, you’re going to get top 3 search results faster (than those compared to pages with no or less backlinks).
In our SEO case study, we attracted 68 backlinks from 18 various domains. Although we didn’t specifically focus on building links for this particular post (most of the links are organic or through blog comments), but it still performed well.
That being said, if you want to attract backlinks to your blog posts to improve Google rankings, make sure to follow these tips.
- Find out the content types that naturally attract links: Usually educating blog posts get organic backlinks when compared to commercial intent blog posts. There are also a couple of content types that attract a ton of links naturally which include infographics, case studies (the one you’re currently reading), in-depth tutorials, interview posts and so on.
- Start leaving 20 to 30 comments using your blog posts URL: This is important for two reasons: keeps your backlink profile look natural (both nofollow and dofollow) and also helps you build relationships with other bloggers in your niche.
- Ask for backlinks: If you’ve written a great blog post and reached out to other people who are already linking to that type of content (also called as skyscraper technique), the chances are they’ll be glad to link to your content too. Just make sure to reach out to people and ask for a link. If they like your content, you’ll get a link. Bingo!
- Guest posts: Writing guest posts for other sites in your industry is the surefire way to get dofollow backlinks. Make sure to use guest posting strategy for every blog post that you think is a traffic puller. Instead of linking to your website’s home page, link to your inner blog posts while writing guest posts so you can get more SEO benefits.
Few Takeaways from This SEO Case Study
Here are few things you can learn from this SEO case study on improving your keyword rankings.
It takes time to get into top 3 search results
It took us 52 days (nearly 2 months of time) to get into top 3 results for our target keyword in Google search. If you expect to rank #1 for a keyword immediately after publishing it, you are going to hate yourself.
Just like any other long time investment, Google search traffic takes its own time. So you have to be patient. Just make sure to track your keyword positions on Google and try to get into top 100 search results as soon as possible (after publishing your post).
You can start leaving thoughtful comments on other sites, build backlinks and get more social shares to increase the odds of getting into top 100 search results for any keyword. If your content is good enough, it will definitely get into top 10 SERPs within a few weeks.
By getting into top 3 search results, you can also rank for multiple keywords
We’re currently ranking for over 60 keywords by getting into 2nd position for our target keyword. What can we learn from this?
By getting into top 3 search results, you’ll also rank for a ton of multiple keywords which are relevant to your primary keyword. This thing alone helps you attract hundreds (if not thousands) of visitors from search engines.
It’s also important for you to select multiple LSI keywords (also considered as secondary keywords) to generate more search engine traffic to your site.
LSI keywords play a big role
This is one of the biggest takeaways from this SEO case study. It’s a dumb idea to only target ONE keyword per page. You have to find and target multiple LSI keywords that are highly relevant to your primary keyword you want to rank for.
So how do you find LSI keywords to bring additional search traffic?
There are two simple ways;
- Use Google auto suggestion tool: Google auto suggestion tool gives you LSI keyword ideas as you type. Just make sure to come up with a couple of keyword ideas for every primary keyword you want to rank for using Google auto suggestion tool. Also try to add suffixes like “free”, “best”, “2018 (or the year)” etc to make your headlines interesting.
- Use “searches related to” option: At the end of every search term on Google SERP results, Google shows you “searches related to” option where you can find a good number of highly relevant long tail keyword ideas for your search terms. You can insert these LSI keywords within your blog posts to get rankings for multiple keywords.
Using LSI keywords within your content helps you optimize your blog posts for various keywords and you can also avoid keyword stuffing.
Suggested reading: LSI Keywords for SEO: The ONLY Guide You’ll Ever Need
FAQs About SEO Case Study
Here are some interesting FAQs you should know if you want to improve keyword rankings on Google search.
#1. What are primary keywords and secondary keywords in SEO?
Primary keywords are “focus keywords” which define the nature of your business, app, products or services.
For instance, “best yoga mats” can be your primary keyword.
Secondary keywords are those keywords that supplement your primary focus keywords. These keywords are highly relevant to your primary keywords and contain less search volume when compared to primary keywords.
For instance, “best yoga mats for bad knees”, “best yoga mats for prenatal yoga” can be your secondary keywords.
If you want to rank in the first page of Google search, you need to know one thing: you need both primary and secondary keywords. To get top rankings, you will need to choose one primary keyword or keyword phrase and at least 2 to 3 secondary keywords (also known as LSI keywords).
#2. How can I rank my keywords on Google first page?
Unless you’re an authority site like The BBC, Techcrunch, New York Times etc, it’s hard to rank for a keyword on Google’s first page, let alone ranking for #1 for any keyword. Do you know why? Google gives top priority to authority sites with a ton of backlinks and for the same reason, new sites struggle a lot to get first page rankings.
So what’s the best way to rank your keywords on Google first page results? Make sure to target a keyword that has low relative search volume instead of picking high volume keywords.
The common mistake most people make while doing keyword research is they pick keywords with thousands of monthly searches. Avoid that mistake to get first page rankings. Make sure to analyse the competition for the keyword you want to rank for. Keep an eye on the following things for better search rankings.
- The domains and URLs: How many are exact match domains for the keywords you want to rank for? Does every URL in the top 10 include the primary keyword you’re targeting?
- The titles: How do the titles incorporate the primary keyword?
- The type of content that’s ranking: Are they product pages, informative blog posts, videos or infographics?
- The types of brands that are ranking: Are they huge brands like BBC, Techcrunch and so on? Or small businesses? Or news sites which get updated daily?
- How authoritative those sites are: Find out how authoritative a website is that’s getting first page rankings for the keywords you want to rank for and make sure to check the age of the sites in the top 10 (you can use Moz tools) and the size of their backlink profiles to see their site’s trustworthiness.
Suggested Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Improving Keyword Rankings on Google
#3. How do I maintain my keyword rankings?
This is another great question: you can’t sustain your rankings if you’re ranking in the first page especially when you’re ranking for a competitive keyword. So it’s really essential for you to keep an eye on your keyword position changes and act swiftly if your keyword positions drops.
There are 2 best ways to maintain your keyword rankings.
- Provide exact information your target audience are looking for so they will read and share your content regularly (and your dwell time also increases which ultimately helps you sustain your keyword rankings)
- Keep on building backlinks for the page you want to sustain keyword rankings (backlinks always play an important role, so follow tactics such as broken link building, blogger outreach, guest posting etc to attract new links to your target page)
#4. What is the best tool for doing keyword research?
For years, we’ve been using so many keyword research tools ranging from free to premium (keyword planner to Moz to SEMrush) but the most effective tool we used so far is undoubtedly SEMrush. It is an all in one SEO tool which is not only useful for keyword research but also helpful for competitor analysis, backlink research, site audits and so on.
#5. How can I track my keyword rankings?
Again, the above mentioned tool SEMrush is so much helpful in tracking your keyword positions. It also shows you if there are any ups and downs in your keyword rankings so you can keep an eye on your keywords easily.
Final Thoughts On SEO Case Study to Improve Google Search Ranking In 2018
It took us a lot of time to create this SEO case study as we had to carefully compile a lot of data points along with screenshots to provide you accurate details on how long does it usually take to rank for a keyword in first page of Google.
If you found this SEO case study to improve Google rankings useful, do share it with others so they can benefit. Let us know what you think about it in the comments below.