How long does it take to rank in Google? (A study by Ahrefs)

Tim Soulo

Tim is the guy responsible for marketing and product strategy at Ahrefs. But most importantly he’s the chief evangelist of the company. Learn more about Tim

Article stats

  • Referring domains 434
  • Organic traffic 128
Data from Content Explorer tool.
    If you’re doing client SEO, I guess every new client, without any exceptions, will ask you this question:

    How long till my website (page) ranks on top of Google?”

    The common response to this question is obviously, “It depends,” because there are just too many variables to consider: website strength, competition, budget, skills, etc.

    But here at Ahrefs, we decided to sift through the petabytes of historical ranking data that we have and give you a slightly more quantifiable answer, something more concrete than simply, “It depends.”

    How old are the top-ranking pages?

    For starters, we identified how old the current top-ranking pages are.

    We took 2 million random keywords and pulled data on the Top10 ranking pages for each of them. Which resulted in this beautiful graph:

    Sidenote.
    The “age” is calculated from the date when Ahrefs crawlers first saw the page. But since we crawl the web at a pretty staggering speed, the actual age of the page should be very close, if not identical, to our records.

    As you can tell from this graph, the average Top10 ranking page is 2+ years old. And those that rank at position #1 are almost 3 years old (on average).

    In fact, only 22% of pages that currently rank in the Top10 were created within 1 year:

    So the next thing we wanted to know is what percentage of pages at each ranking position were less than 1 year old:

    This doesn’t look too promising, right? The SERP is clearly dominated by “old” pages.

    How long does it take for a page to rank in Google?

    To answer this question, we randomly selected 2 million pages that were first seen by Ahrefs crawler a year ago.

    We then tracked the position history of each page for any keyword it’s ranked for.

    Which resulted in this graph:

    Only 5.7% of all studied pages ranked in the Top10 search results within 1 year for at least 1 keyword.

    Pages from websites with a high Domain Rating (DR) performed way better than those with a low DR. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, because Ahrefs’ Domain Rating metric (shows the strength of a website’s backlink profile) correlates well with Google rankings.

    We then zoomed into these 5.7% of “lucky” pages to see how quickly they got from nowhere to the Top10.

    The majority of them managed to achieve that in approximately 61 to 182 days.

    By looking at this graph, you might think that, on average, it takes a page anywhere from 2 to 6 months to rank in Google’s Top10.

    But that conclusion isn’t valid here, because this data only represents the 5.7% of pages that were lucky enough to rank in the Top10 within a year — while almost 95% of all the pages we studied didn’t make it to the Top10 within that timeframe.

    We also re-calculated the numbers based on monthly search volume of the keywords:

    Only 0.3% of pages ranked in the Top10 for a high-volume keyword in less than a year.

    And here are the dynamics of these 5.7% “lucky” pages, broken down by search volume of the keyword that they ranked for:

    Clearly, you can rank for low-volume keywords in a very short time, while the high-volume ones take almost a year to get into the Top10.

    But again, don’t forget that this data only applies to 5.7% of “lucky” pages that ranked in the Top10 within a year. The vast majority of pages don’t perform that well.

    What does this all mean?

    Did our study give a definite answer to “how long does it take to rank” question?

    No.

    But at least we’ve shown that almost 95% of newly published pages don’t get to the Top10 within a year.

    And most of the “lucky” ones, which do manage to get there, do it in about 2–6 months.

    Actually, I shouldn’t be framing these pages as “lucky,” because the reason they got to the Top10 in less than a year is most likely hard work and great knowledge of SEO, not luck.

    So here’s to hard work and dedication!

    PS: let me know what you think about our findings and what else would you like us to study.

    Tim Soulo

    Tim is the guy responsible for marketing and product strategy at Ahrefs. But most importantly he’s the chief evangelist of the company. Learn more about Tim

    Article stats

    • Referring domains 434
    • Organic traffic 128
    Data from Content Explorer tool.

    Shows how many different websites are linking to this piece of content. As a general rule, the more websites link to you, the higher you rank in Google.

    Shows estimated monthly search traffic to this article according to Ahrefs data. The actual search traffic (as reported in Google Analytics) is usually 3-5 times bigger.

    Get notified of new articles

    46,388 marketers are already subscribed to Ahrefs blog. Leave your email to get our weekly newsletter.

    • vinogradsky

      What about link profile for these pages? Obviously, it’s much easier to get at least 1 link in 1+ year than in a month.

      So, did you take into account the link profile of these pages or it’s kinda “dirty” data?

      Thank you in advance,
      Alexander

      • we studied the correlation of rankings with links before. Did you see this one? –> https://ahrefs.com/blog/on-page-seo/

        obviously, links have a quite high correlation with rankings, so the more you get — the better you rank (as a general rule)

        • vinogradsky

          Of course links have quite high impact to rankings.
          I just would lke to know — did you separate the pages with links in this research or not?

          The reason I’m asking is:
          1) you say that an old page more likely to rank for at least one keyword than a new one
          2) it’s obviously that older page has more chances to get some links (its just about the time)
          3) so, if you didnt filter page with links may be you just repeat your research about links/rankgins correlation

          I hope I was able to explain my point 🙂

          • I see, but what is your question exactly? 🙂

            Does age of the page help you to rank better, regardless of the links acquired?”

            If that is your question, we studied the correlation of “age VS rankings” (link factors removed) in the post that I’ve just referenced. There was a positive correlation, but quite small.

            🙂

            • Roman Dobronovsky

              First of all, thanks for the article, it’s excellent and answers very important questions!
              Tim, I think Alex asks: “How a number of referring domains influences the speed of getting to the first page of Google and getting a specific position in top-10”.
              It’s especially interesting for “young” pages (less than 1-year old) because the majority of SEO’s and clients want to be on the top position as soon as possible.

            • thanks, Roman 🙂

              I’m pretty sure this kind of study won’t reveal anything particularly interesting.

              I bet there will be a small positive correlation between the speed of acquiring new ref.domains and speed of getting in top10.

              Do you think that it is really worth testing with actual data?

            • Roman Dobronovsky

              P.S. It’s not a question just about correlation (good links accelerate this process for sure) but more about specific details, e.g. how many referring domains usually have “young” pages which sit on the 1, 2, 3, etc. positions in Google SERP?

            • yeah, what you say in “PS” makes sense.. I’ll think more about it and figure out what we could research and how

        • Manar Sabet

          Hello 🙂

          V. nice article BTW, this is the most important Q,. any client asks us about in the beginning of the engagement. Just one note, you say about link building that he more you get — the better you rank. I do believe that the more of high authority links you get the better you rank

    • Mathew

      Completly agree on this one, i have similar observations. Thats why typical seo done in many agencies is “dead” — how many clients are willing to wait 1,5–3 years for seo success? Starting from scraps is just very time and resources consuming and only small percentage of clients are willing to understand that. Oh and by “seo sucess” i mean serious organic visibility growth, not just endless optimization with no added value to client.

      • Roman Dobronovsky

        This is absolutely correct if a SEO specialist just throws a good piece of content to the wall and waits for several months/years if it sticks to page 1.

        However, if it’s a really GOOD SEO specialist he/she promotes this content, gets links and it usually takes much less time to get to the page 1 for many keywords, especially low-volume ones.

        The majority of people still believe in Google mantra about “just write excellent content” and forget about promotion phase.

        • Jeff S. Wiebe

          This is the point at which I start to question whether we really talking SEO anymore, or simply marketing. Websites as informational and sales material written for readers versus keyword piles being written for web crawlers. The whole process of getting links to me isn’t really what SEO is, or at least what it used to be. SEO used to be about arcane tricks that had more to do with algorithm manipulation and gaming rather than the things that we’re doing now with guest posts, ranking via links, time and genuine authority and/or credibility. In other words, Google is succeeding in making Search actual Search.

    • Osama Khan

      Great info thank you so much.
      I have one Question in my mind that what if we rank a blog which is related to particular event.Can we rank an event blog in less then 3–4 months.
      Thanks in advance.

      • That entirely depends on the keyword that you are trying to rank for.

        As an experiment, I added a unique and meaningless 3-word phrase to an old blog post on my website.

        I then used “Fetch as Google” to get Google to re-crawl the page

        Within one hour, the page was ranking No.1 on Google UK for that phrase. (Of course, I was the only person searching for this phrase)

        When Google has no better option, you can be No.1 on Google within an hour.

        Hope this answers your question

        • You took it right out of my mouth 🙂

        • Osama Khan

          Wow Thousand words explanation in just a single paragraph thanks Danny Richman 🙂 You are surely Richman when it comes to Explanation 🙂

    • Well, this is horrible for fresh bloggers. Waiting more than one year to rank on 1st page (top 10) of Google is a difficult task, so mostly bloggers back out

      • Which is why you shouldn’t rely on Google for traffic when launching a new site. There are plenty of other ways to drive traffic while waiting for your site to gain trust/authority.

        • I’m with you on this David, there are many ways to get your traffic as your site builds authority, I agree with these stats, my site is around 3 years old and to be honest, I was not producing high quality articles for at least half that time, 3 years later and a lot of hard work, and things seem to be happening at last.…

    • Thanks for sharing.
      It depends on how competitive the keywords you’re are targeting are. With a pretty new website, I managed to get pages appear on the first page of Google, within days but it was a niche.
      If you’re targeting competitive keywords, then it’s more difficult.

      It’d be great to share with us what those 5% of “lucky” websites/pages have in common. That’d be of a great value.

      Thanks,
      -SR

    • hey @ericvanbuskirk:disqus , you can’t call this article a derivitive of yours, because the research was done way before you asked us for data for your own research. See the attached screenshot where I’m sharing our results with “Ahrefs Insider” community on Facebook in early December. 😉 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/332c98c5abf91eaee5856caebfe316c8f1f5c8ddeda1f716700b337e444b6bc3.png

      • dog_cat_rescuer

        That was 61 days ago. How recent do you want?

      • YES, absolutely. To put it here for the record: this was a big coincidence in timing. You’d already started your’s and used different methods. Cheers.

    • Thank you for the case study Tim.
      I’m ranking some of my low competition website and got ranked #1 in just one week.

    • Good research!! Totally agreed with your post but sometimes it take only few weeks to come on first page so I think depends upon competition

    • Great information — especially for SEO clients to see what we are up against in trying to get rank! I have seen this even with some of my older long term clients. I have one client who finally after 18 months is seeing some tremendous gains to page 1 — it is like one huge spike up after a slow uprising.….thanks for putting this together.

    • Great article Tim, thanks for sharing. It would be interesting to do this study with a comparison of several “controlled” SEO techniques to see what the effects of search optimization can have on the speed to rank. Given what I’ve seen taking my own sites from zero to #1 I can say it’s possible to improve the speed. The only question is how much? It would require a controlled test, but I know the industry would be really keen to see this information.

    • Andrew Tai

      what really amazed me is big media corporation can just launched a site and get boosted to the top 3 positions in 2 months (with the help of linking from their other high DR sites of course). I guess the domain age is important too, even they just launched it.

    • Some really great insight here. I think this is something a lot of people in the SEO community already kind of understood but seeing some data behind it really brings the reality to life. Thanks for sharing this data with us Tim.

    • Jeff S. Wiebe

      Another excellent study. Sobering, but there is opportunity once you shift the paradigm. Websites really are replacing journalism, and traditional publishing, by being forced (in a good sense) to offer things that people want to read and return to.

    • I’ve been seeing this as well. There is a lot of talk from Google about “creating quality content” and that will be enough.

      In truth, even my best quality content doesn’t seem to rank without some serious link juice. And even when it does, the results can take MONTHS.

      SEO shouldn’t be your sole play. If it is, you’re going to have a bad time.

      • hey Puranjay! 🙂

        imho it makes perfect sense that it takes you a few months to get to top10.. think about it, most top10 pages have a good amount of backlinks.. so if you want Google to consider your own page — you need to get some too

        and earning links naturally takes time.. people should discover your page, then go to their site and reference it.. that doesn’t happen in a day

        so yeah, it’s pretty discouraging that the SERP is dominated by “old” pages.. but if Google would let new pages in fast — it would be a total mess 🙂

    • Вискяр Градинаров

      How long is the average life of a site?
      How is the average lifetime of a web page?

      The answer to these questions given above results.

      How many young cockerels managed to overcome old cock for six months or a year and become leaders flock of chickens ?!

    • Google algorithm is changed and it’s doesn’t matter how Long blog is old.its Depend on Your On page and Off Page Strategy.

    • Pierre

      Great post ! Do you have the right side of the last graph ? after 365 days ? it would also be interesting

    • Eagan Heath

      Fascinating. Bad news for SEO agencies working with clients under a year at a time, but could also be good news in the sense that as your client’s website ages, its ranking may track higher. Being an older domain alone isn’t enough, but looks like it really helps.

      Would love to see something similar for Local SEO results.

      • actually I think it is good for SEO agencies.. they can use our research to persuade their customers to stay longer 🙂

    • An interesting article answering many questions!

    • Tim J Stokes

      That’s all very interesting, but includes all the sites that do nothing at all to rank.

      Now how about study, for all of us that want to do something about ranking, to show how hard it is to rank in the top 10 when you DO know something about SEO. 🙂

      • Eagan Heath

        Could maybe filter the results by # of links, UR, DR, etc. to get this.

    • Nice research Tim, thanks for depressing me… time to dig out the advertising accounts!

      • …or you can put some more efforts in some of your “old” pages 😉

    • Really great content! It’s interesting to see the data you have available, but it’s hard tell whether the “lucky pages” are news articles that ranks because of the freshness factor, if it’s because of the link profile or something else. But great work!

    • ocean one

      Hi Tim. Just say “Hi” back to me please. Otherwise, I wont start working on linkbuilding for my blog. :p

      • That’s mighty impressive (and even more encouraging) Tim! You guys are absolutely kicking ass on this blog.

        • Colin Kelly

          Honestly this is an awesome and cool company. The post of Tim: LOL!

          hope it wasn’t photoshopped(just kidding)

        • thanks, mate! 🙂

      • That’s what I love about Google. Sick!!!

      • Unfair do it with new domain 🙂

        • Ha! Everybody should aim to accumulate as many unfair advantages as they possibly can 🙂

        • yeah.. good domain, established brand, loyal audience, “viral” piece of content — all these things contribute to the speed of ranking 🙂

      • Wow, awesome, How this thing work? Can you please share some reference on this?

        • quite a few people in comments already said it 🙂

          easy keyword to rank for + established domain/brand + big and loyal audience, that generates immediate traffic + a cool piece of content, that is worth ranking

          • Do you mean here one day AFTER Crawling? (and not after publishing) Isn’t it? After publishing would mean Google registers new URLs (of established domains) immediately??? Thanks for your Answer 🙂

            • Maybe

              Some sites index, cache and rank within minutes. It has a lot to do with the age and authority of the sites in question.

          • Reshma

            I agree with you Tim. Did all these for a few posts and I can see them on page 1 🙂

          • Creative Click

            Hi Tim,
            A cool piece of Content definitely work to get good results. Here I am not talking about Rankings but Good Results :). It’s total dedication & hard work if you want good Rankings through SEO.

      • how long does it take to rank the keyword has not much more search volume and competition of the keyword is to low .. And when you published a new post from your high DR website , it will get juice from your main site backlink , obviously it will rank in very sort time than a new low DR site. I think you got my point .

      • Awesome! While i am adding here Buzz+Quality+Data Analysis

      • George Fine

        Haha!

      • even if it’s junk…

        🙂

      • Abraham

        To create a “buzz” how many visits to a website per day would you say are required?

        • less about visits more about links that were shared all over the place at fast speeds

        • I recommend checking out some “viral marketing strategies”

      • It’ easy for Big websites. But it takes more time abusively for new sites.

      • LOL no doubt and good point.

    • Hi Tim,
      I am talking about the third image of this post. If I am not wrong in my analysis, should not the sum of the percentages be 100%?

      Let me elaborate.

      You took 2 million random keywords and analyzing the top 10 ranking pages, so the total pages are 20 million.

      Of these 20 million pages, 22% (that is 4.4 million pages) ranked within 1 year.

      You’re showing the distribution of these 4.4 million pages in the Google’s first page. So, should not their sum be 100%. I made a rough calculations and it shows 29–30%.

      Correct me if I am wrong.

      Best regards
      Kawser Ahmed

    • Awesome insight! I bet there are so many variables that contribute to top 10 ranking for those lucky 5.7% and hope you will share more of these in your next pots.
      — Whats the breakdown for easy vs difficult keywords? Search volume might not speak all the truth: “how to play guitar” with 60k monthly searches will be relatively easy to rank comparing to “tree removal toronto” with 500 searches and cut through competition.
      — How many of newly published pages that rank on the first page have 301 redirect. I’ve seen a lot of cases when company moved to a new domain or recreated a page under new URL and 301 redirected all traffic and backlinks. That can explain how they rank so fast.

      • easy vs difficult keywords” — I’m pretty sure the results would have a very high correlation with our distribution by DR. 🙂

        But I’ll consider studying this specifically in our future articles, thanks!

    • What this article does not consider is that the majority of sites they picked may have had no SEO done at all and its just took time for them to rank naturally. So the real question is how long does it take a site to rank if you SEO it!

      • I think the distribution by DR is indicative of how sites that do SEO perform. I mean high DR = many backlinks = SEO/marketing investment

        Makes sense? 🙂

        • Not necessary, big and popular companies may not have done any SEO, but still have high DR.

          • so you’re trying to say that popular companies don’t do marketing? How come they are “popular” then? 🙂

            • That’s not what I am saying. Many do marketing, but not many do SEO and if they do any SEO, all they need is light onsite SEO because the links they would get naturally. What I would like to see is a list of sites that are not mainstream, launched in past 3 years that did SEO and how long it took them to rank.

    • Good article.

      That could be understood like 95% of people don’t do SEO.

    • What do you think about Buy expired domains and then 301 redirect to our domain?

      Does it matter for rank? if so how long does it take to rank in Google

      • That won’t matter, because some time back in 2016, Tim wrote an article where he explained after a domain expires its value is reset by search engines. Doing 301, might help a little but not much.

        • wow! hold the horses, I never said that.

          I recall saying that “resetting expired domains” could be a nice way of fighting PBNs, but I never said that Google is actually doing that.

    • Russell Lobo

      If DR correlates so well, why isnt it used to consider KD for ahrefs?

      • because UR of the page correlates way higher than DR of the domain 🙂

        and in essence, websites have high DR, because they pages have high UR.

    • Great post @timsoulo:disqus — I agree; it’s all about skill over luck when it comes to SEO. Never easy, must always be patient, while the WIN can be HUGE!

    • Fantastic post with some great insights!

    • I have written several posts that STILL rank on the first page.
      When I wrote them, I had no SEO knowledge.
      I simply shared my thoughts and experiences.
      Google anything to do with:
      — false teeth
      — suicide or killing yourself
      — a letter to a son
      — the Liebster award
      … and Wording Well will be listed on the first page for all of these!

      Try it. You’ll see.

    • Michael Schramm

      Just wondering: are we talking about domain age or website age?
      What if I have an old domain and redesign my site?
      Would this mean my new redesigned website would also take that long?

    • Guillaume Tessier

      Thanks for giving insights on this $1M question @Tim Soulo.

      Beyond a higher DR and lots of hard work done, do “lucky ones” have similar characteristics?
      Influencer’s content only
      Length of content
      Type of content

      Thanks

    • I’ve found that time definitely helps on my own site. But isn’t there a point at which Google would have to cull old results to bring in fresher material? Otherwise eventually all of Google’s top results will be “old news” which especially matters in niches where things change fast.

      • hey @Azdee:disqus

        you’re hitting the nail on the head with this question!

        I see so much “outdated” content ranking at the top of Google.. it has a lot of links, because people were finding it in Google for a while and then referencing it (vicious circle)

        This makes it really hard for new content to get to the top, while it objectively deserves it

        hopefully guys at Google will figure something out

    • In this article one thing I face every time when get new client. they all ask me first question “How long till my website (page) ranks on top of Google?”.

    • Albert Tan

      My conclusion after reading this whole post is:

      1. Unless your content is targeting super easy keywords, you really need to work very hard to rank those high volume keywords.
      2. No shortcut for ranking to the top because only 5% gets to the top within 12 months and I believe most of them are working hard to earn the links.

      Let’s go back and work on our link building!

      • 100% agree, thanks for a recap @disqus_qO47RnlfKx:disqus 🙂

    • Moustafa A.El Moaty

      Good article, Thank you.
      I think that the lucky pages “here” are STRONG brands website and Google trusts them.
      This means YEARS of hard work the Site.

    • Your article, @timsoulo:disqus is simply awesome, I needed it so much!

      It’s years I try tell this concept to my customers who ALL believe getting top Google position is something completely similar to: “If I pay you $50 (once!) how many **days** is my new website going to take to to get #1 in Google?”.

      I tried telling them: “it’s like getting #1 in Formula 1 / Champions League, there’s millions competing for it and they have millions as budget.

      No way! It’s either “sign me official papers stating I am going to be #1 in a couple of weeks or you don’t get to design my website”.

      Now, if anything, I have an authoritative source to point them at!

      • hey @dfumagalli:disqus

        Well, there are guys who just use PBNs to rank their clients 🙂 These guys can promise a certain result in a certain period of time and for a certain budget.

        But what they can’t promise it that the client website is 100% safe.

    • Devin Harper

      Surprising stats. Well done.

    • Glenn Medeiros

      Hey
      Thanks for an interesting post. I am curious if this affects web pages that are renovated and re-structured as well?
      I’ve got a company with a 6 year old website (10 yr old domain). In about a month we will change the structure of the site to better tailor it to our most important keywords, but of course keep the domain name. Can anyone tell me if this means my web pages get sent back to start and I have to work my keywords up from scratch again?

      • Percy Martinez

        IF you change important parts of the content i,e the content itself, Title, Headers etc you will receive a lower ranking for a little bit, depending how authoritative the site is. estimate 1 week to 2 months

        • Glenn Medeiros

          Thanks s lot for your reply. Appreciated.

      • hey @glenn_medeiros:disqus

        Changing the structure of pages is very-very risky.

        If you change the URLs of the pages — you’re going to lose links, that are pointing to them.

        I would recommend to hire someone with a lot of experience to help you do this.

        • Glenn Medeiros

          Thanks for your input! I will aim to keep the 10 most visited URLs and keep the body text unchainged.

    • Chase Reiner

      Great article Tim, thank you

    • Hey Tim,

      For me, the study has two extremely important missing points. So it is not very valuable for an SEO. Rather C-level than A or A +.

      How was the link building of the 5% relative to the others (amount? Quality? …)?
      How much (more) content have the 5% generated during the year?
      And, of course, the answers to new questions that arise from it … THAT would be interesting and should have been a piece of cake for you.
      Could you please complete your research and make those data valuable for public?
      Would love to read.

      • Agreed. Those are excellent points and can truly pinpoint causation, more accurately as we’re generally making educated guesses as SEOs.

      • hey @ralfseybold:disqus

        You know and I know that the things that you’ve listed aren’t the only factors that Google uses for ranking.

        So basically, any level of complexity that we add to this study won’t be enough — there will always be something extra, that we didn’t take into account

        This is why this time we tried to look at the “big picture”, without studying any details

        But obviously, we’ll continue publishing similar studies and will try to get as deep as we can.

        Stay tuned 😉

    • Dave Chadderton

      Pretty much echoes what I’ve been saying for a couple of years without any real data to prove it. Services such as Ahrefs (etc) get such great data! This is CM gold. I’ve been trying to get the agency I work at to switch from selling Organic SEO (content marketing to get backlinks), PPC and (not selling) Social Media to taking an holistic, one channel supports the others, marketing strategy for our clients. Still banging the drum atm …

      • hey @maxwebsolutions:disqus

        Yeah, there’s so much more to SEO today than it used to be just 3 years ago

        If I were running an agency, I would be vetting clients as hell and only work with those, who have superior offering to their competition

        That’s because it’s damn hard today to make an awful product outrank a really good one.

    • If I modify the content (update) a blog post that already exists to 2 years or more. Does this have any impact on your age or rank?

      • yeah.. why would you want to publish new content if the old one doesn’t rank?

        go update it and re-promote it.. build some links, etc

    • Dear Tim Soulo,

      Though your study reveals a hidden age factor in ranking of a website. But I am much motivated with your last paragraph. The hard work and dedication will bring the result !!!!!!

      Of course I am sure dedication and hard work can take new sites to those “lucky ones”.

    • Percy Martinez

      Or you can be cool and obtain some high quality links — Ultra competitive keyword for lawyer in 2 months

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/81755629ce0a30dd3453833c6c10bbdbe11aa609b8f7cdad05b54d2a0b087132.png

    • I agree with you, really domain age matters. But it amazing to see that its is being difficult to rank higher than the low quality site (with high domain age) with the quality site (with low domain age).

    • Chandan Nasta

      Tim when you say “PS: if you generate enough buzz, you can rank in a day :))”. Why dont you create a completely new web page and let us all know in advance that tomorrow you will be working on that new web page. So that we can see ourselves what you did and ranked 1st on google the next day after that. Because we would like to see what you did almost to rank your webpage on the top 10 of google.

      • hey @chandannasta:disqus

        I don’t think I did anything secretive to make this post rank in Google in a day.

        a few things to consider:

        1. it ranked for very long tail keywords, which don’t bring a lot of search traffic, so it’s not that challenging to rank for them

        2. Ahrefs has a pretty big audience, so I’m pretty sure that Google noticed all the buzz around this article, and that is why immediately pumped it to the top

        if you go for a popular keyword and you don’t have an audience — it will take quite a while to get there

    • Felix

      The world may never know 😉

    • Monika

      Bardzo interesujące dane, dzięki.

    • Hi, Thanks for this post. One of my website going down and down in SERP, Any tips to get back my SERP position again please! Thanks

    • Michael Robles

      Better have this when your client says they need to be in rank 1–10 of serps within one to three months! Aside from the search volume, maybe we need to consider the number of exact matches, titles, urls, and webpages being optimised for certain keywords to rank. Percentage for those factors are important too.

      • hey @disqus_xPw5ruMMJB:disqus
        Yeah, there’s a ton of things that influence your ranking and how fast you rank.. our goal with this specific study was to look at the big picture, which turned out quite interesting, right? 🙂

        • Michael Robles

          Yes, this study is really interesting. Most of the readers always hear this question more often than not when talking with their clients too. We all can relate. haha

    • Yes, its hard to rank with new domain but its not impossible though. If you have well written article and share it on Reddit. If you got enough upvotes, you will be on the first page of Google in matter of hours.
      Dont forget to add tags, as they are better traffic driver than your main content,

    • Bill E Aslin

      Here is a new guy question, Tim .

      Have a 3 year old domain about to expire, not really done anything with it, site hasn’t been touched for a long time, little content.

      If I were to reactivate it, start adding content and things, would the maturity of the site help to get noticed quicker over a new domain with similar name in same market ?

      • hey @billeaslin:disqus
        yeah, I’m pretty sure that aged domain has some benefits over a brand new one. that’s not a HUGE advantage of course, but still helps a bit

      • Derek Strahan

        Not likely since you don’t have aged links or content. Anyone can get a domain.

    • lol, yeah.. according to Search Console, we keep getting search traffic from relevant search queries

      not sure how long that will last though.. the trend seems to be fading 🙂 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/48f9e18c9ef2e55f93c610033b24b16969a2636c2652aca4f19674a92bfdc7bd.png

      • KO’C

        Hi Tim — curious how this trend is playing out now six months later. Can you update?

        • Giovanni Breccia

          I’m curiosi too, Tim. Can you update?

    • hey @disqus_EFVpekJGou:disqus

      thanks for your comment!

      yeah, personalized search has some influence of course.. as well as the location of where you’re searching from and the time of the day (rankings change all the time)

      we didn’t study the impact of the speed of acquiring new ref.domains, but I think it might be a factor too, as it shows that people love the page a lot

      but at the same time, I’m convinced that there’s no “universal model”.. Google is clearly treating different keywords and different niches differently.. so what works in one case might not work for all other cases

      hope that makes sense 🙂

    • if you have full control of the anchor texts of your incoming links, you’re probably not really “white hat” 😉

    • Jim Craig

      At the end of the day only 10 can be in top 10…

    • Thanks for sharing awesome post, as per u saw its really fact when ever we seek the sites it will show the authority, if we see the backlinks all the links are high authority .it’s better if you have any case study so that it can help.

    • Great piece of article. I have a new blog with a few posts. I’am following you for a few weeks, and studied some of your articles which are simply amazing for Newbies.
      I have increased my website’s traffic to some extent by following your tips.

      Keep writing such kind of articles.

    • nice piece !

    • Lol..quick thinking

    • This is extremely useful information because it help to manage the right effort .

    • Its really awesome post that really helps me to learn the new tactics and by the way u shared the each and every tips to get ranked in the google.
      Thank You
      Cheers

    • harold

      That’s a really good research. But this does not give any absolute result as you told. Will keep reading your blog 😉

    • My website ranking is getting down , Many of my posts shifted from 1st page to 2nd page in google search. Help me

    • Rob James

      Great article very helpful for training new staff in understanding the efforts it takes to get to page 1. I would be very interested to see if there was any correlation between the rate of link acquisition and length of time to reach page 1 and looking at the average authority of links gained. Does acquiring links too fast have a negative effect? Some data driven conclusions would be really insightful!

      • I’d love to see the research on this too!

      • Great question. Seems to me that there is a direct correlation between the rate of link acquisition and how long — or if ever — the page reaches a top ranking in SERPs.

    • Now I have some actual numbers I can show clients when they ask why site they built yesterday isn’t on the first page.

    • even if it’s junk…

    • Useful info ! I grab lot from here

    • Super interesting data Tim — thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Tro

      Great job, Ahrefs!

    • Great base!

      If the webmasters search analytics data does NOT show growth in impressions in 4 months with consistent onpage and offpage SEO, you may need to break down your domain to various parts and find out what you need to change and break that resistance on growth.

      Beautiful data.

    • David Gaskin

      Finally — a realistic overview of the ranking power of a page against keyword volume and domain authority. Makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

    • muhamad ridwan harrist

      from my experiences, it depend on backlink! and competition! but for every experts most of them can rank with a week or 2! but my fastest record are 3 day, getting page one, rank 7 in 3 days!(2 phrase keywords searcher about 100k pe rmonth medium comp only cost me about $100! lmao) for hard keywords it will need a budget about $1000 to $5k usd! depend on niche! not so sure about forex niche, but I think it will need about 10k budget!

      • Giovanni Breccia

        The budget is for create the content or for other purpose?

        • you don’t have to ask! because I am sure you already know the answer 🙂

          • Giovanni Breccia

            Truly Muhammad. Mine isnt a rethoric question…

            • if I don’t mistake! Matt Cutt already tell on youtube! they already test without backlink! but the result are not good! (find on youtube about matt cutt video)
              but I have to admit, if you have huge content, my blog have more than 1 thousand content! when you push with backlink! it spread like wildfire! and boom! 😉 they get thousand ranking! so if you have to choose between link vs content! it will depend on niche and competition! if your niche low competition! try to add more content, and push with little link! but for heavy keywords such as forex, stock, investing, loans and weight loss, you’ll need good skil! and big budget!

    • Marc

      Using this data, one could argue it’s best to create great content for existing domains with high authority (DR) and piggy back that authority to achieve first page placement. Why even create the primary/top of funnel content on your own domain when there are others that can be leveraged to gain immediate visibility?

      • A good argument indeed 😉

        • Marc

          Amen brother. I’d rather have 4 of the first page SERPS displaying content I own within 1 month while working to get my primary URL to rank. All the while, linking back to primary from existing high DR to help her out!

    • Jithin Chandrababu

      Is the impact and growth of location based searches taken into consideration while preparing this data?

    • Thanks Tim Soulo,I appreciate your work!

    • Bill Widmer

      You should break it down further by shreds keyword difficulty. I’m curious how long it takes to rank for low difficulty (<20 KD) keywords compared to medium (20–50) hard (50–70), etc.

      I’m working on a strong page targeting a 22 kd keyword with 9900 volume. The DR is a measly 10, but I ranked 1st (and 2nd) for a related keyword with a kd of 8. I’ll report back the findings in a few months. 🙂

    • WOW seriously this is really amazing 🙂

    • Simon M. Macbeth

      Interesting stuff!!

    • Eugenue Bimbirekov

      page with 620 keywords does not exist anymore…

    • I still think a large part of it is luck. As you said there are too many variables beyond your control (i.e. what competitors are doing) to accurately predict the outcome of any post.

    • Anthony Collins

      Is it the age of the backlink, or maybe older links have had more time to accumulate backlinks?

      Seeing as Google is all about providing the most relevant content to the search query, it would strike me as odd that the age of a page would have such a drastic effect on rankings.

      Thanks for the interesting post! 🙂

    • Jessica Miller

      This is great to see. It makes me happy about the few top ten rankings I got in a year and optimistic that the rest will rise up in time! This really helps add a mental image to the “aging” concept.

    • Eugenue Bimbirekov

      page with 620 keywords does not exist anymore…

    • You didn’t mention the domains of the lucky pages. Moz blog posts can get top 10 ranking within a month. That is the most cruel ranking method, “domain authority”. Just how many travel sites managed to cross tripadvisor pages?

    • Perfect and interesting information. This information is very useful and may help us to understand ranking factors in 2017

    • laura lippay

      Would love to see how long to get from a #4–10 to a #1.

    • Hello guys ! Thanks a lot for the study. I hope you don’t mind, I translated a short summary in french on my blog. Must I ask for authorization first ?

    • I do lots of affiliate promotions, and for me it’s been taking between 6–12 months to rank for medium competition terms. The low comp keywords are very easy, can rank within weeks, sometimes sooner if there’s very little competition.

    • EnglishinRussia

      Thanks for another informative article! My question concerns the QUALITY of the content on the pages you tested in your study. Were these just randomly selected new pages on various random websites or did they have to meet certain criteria in terms of: length of content (thin/short vs long-form), how unique the text was, how valuable the content was deemed for its potential readers, domain authority, etc.? It would make sense for the vast majority of new pages to perform poorly if they are thin, poorly written, repeat stuff that is already in SERPs, etc. This is a quality issue and not one related to age. As a % of the pages tests in this study, how many contained high quality content that objectively deserved to rank in the top-10?

      I’ve just penned a long-form post for a fairly high volume keyword and I can see from the stats that Google is “experimenting” with it. The graph for impressions/clicks/CTR/position is very spiky, but seems to be showing an upward trend, although we’re only 2 weeks in. Looks like Google is throwing the page into search results at different positions, seeing how it performs in terms of clicks (time on site, engagement, etc.) and then promoting/demoting it depending on this. I’m presuming this will level out after a while and that Google will give the page a more or less static average position. Current CTR is above 17%, which is better than the majority of our pages. However, it’s to early to draw any real conclusions. Will be interesting to see what happens over the coming weeks and months.

    • Gary Yeardley

      Hii Tim, Is it possible to find out the correlation between young sites ranking and branded links.This may give SEO’s more data into what types of links help younger sites rank faster. Thanks Gary

    • Hey ranked at position 16 within 2 weeks, it was hard work yes 🙂

      • Positions ranked 11–20 are much easier than 1–10.

    • Affiliated.io

      Love this study Tim. Would be nice if this could also be linked to keyword difficulty and amount of links (and the quality of those links).

    • Thanks for sharing the data. Good to see it laid out like this.

    • Rich Kletting

      I learned more from this article than anything else I have ever read. Thank You for this valuable insight!

    • Pardeep Goyal

      You have not accounted the competition in your analysis.. That’s the major thing to get ranking.. Is it possible for you pull a graph with competition metrics?

    • Paul Tufts

      great job Tim laying out the parameters of who ranks where and when. Incredible amount of data from ahrefs. Will use this article with my clients.

    • Superuser Hasse

      Great post!
      It would also be interesting to read a case study that shows great tips on how to get a newly registered domain name to climb to the top with more difficult keywords.

    • I’m a little confused. These data clearly suggest that there is a good correlation between age and ranking but there are so many cases where every new post of an old domain, will get to the first place on SERP. It is arguable if Google use domain age as a ranking factor or a age of the target page as a ranking factor. I think the first is the case IMHO.

    • Thanks for your article. I deal with this question quite often and I’ve used your post with my clients to help with the explanation.

    • Thanks for the data driven article.

      Does anyone know if similar research has been done for Bing?
      I’d expect the results to be similar but would still be interested to see a comparison.

    • How to get loyal traffic easily? For ranking

    • These are some great stats and indicators to set a framework for those clients that are in the dark about ranking timelines. Changes in google algorithms, an exponential increase in online content, and improvement by savvy creators by which to engage their audience, has made ranking brand new arrivals a longer process.

      Quicker rankings are, of course, possible. Resourcefulness is key

    • Tony Poruba

      Well I have 1 lucky keyword out of 800 in top10 after 7 months on new domain…I supposed this is bad, but after reading of your article I know that this is my little victory as I’m a newbie in SEO 🙂

    • Wow it’ really interesting!!Loved it, 🙂

    • This is a really helpful. I got much info in this blog post.

    • Really Great post. I would love to see some content and backlink analysis of those to 5% of pages that ranked within a year — or a small sample of them — what is it about the content and link profile that got them to rank?

    • Nice study but the main problem is; internet world is not fair. While some smart guys who are exploiting internet from shady places earn money despite all the efforts made by Google, the ones who obey the rules will be punished just because they are doing everything according to the rules.

    • I visited your website for the first time today and really impressed. Very fresh contents.

    • very very great note man

    • CryptoDaily

      We managed to rank with 3 out of 6 most important keywords in 2 weeks. I am talking about new domain, new hosting, new content — everything from scratch

      • Derek Strahan

        2 weeks…huh. Keywords must not have any search volume

    • Thanks for the great article! I agree that those smaller websites who start ranking within 6 months do so because they work really hard and implement some type of SEO strategy.

    • GłupioMądra

      Thank U for that numbers! 🙂

    • Interesting data. There’s obviously exceptions when looking at spammy-er types of niches like payday loans, gambling, pharma, etc. Serpwoo just put out an interesting study on this as well.

      Non the less, great article Tim!

    • Hi Tim,
      I’m building a new website and the web developer seems to lack enought experience — Just found out after the project was started -How do I switch from them to a different Web Developer without compromising my Good Rankings on Google?

    • interesting article but I think it is really good for big websites but new one is hard to do it. First of all, it depends on the budget. I think it is the most significant feature in the websites promotion

    • I agree with you but this question is too difficult because of the wide list of different themes for sites. Every niche has the unique way to rank in top. It is my opinion.

    • Its a real good analysis though the way Google changes its ranking algorithms can change everything that you analyzed..
      Search Engines and its dynamic nature makes search engine optimization specialists to always stand on their toes.

      Thank you

    • It depends on the efforts you make, if you are having a good content on your website and strong back links then your website will rank faster, but sometimes this is not enough you should also have good brand awareness, this will bring traffic through website, this can be done through facebook and other social media websites.

    • Keyboard Soldier

      What I’ve witnessed is that Google is generally not interested in a website, if it is less than a year old. It only starts giving it any facial value in its second year.

      So, if you are planning a website might as well start today and expect results by the same time next year.