“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:
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 61-182 days.
By looking at this graph, you might think that, on average, it takes a page anywhere from 2-6 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?
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.
Check out these tips from Sam Oh if you want to rank #1 in Google quicker:
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.