Ah Houston, how long does it take to rank on Google?


The benchmark timeline for Google rankings and what the Apollo 11 can teach you about getting to the top spot quicker

Ever since Google started ranking pages, three questions have consumed the minds of SEO marketers:

  1. What factors affect Google rankings?
  2. How long does it take to rank on Google?
  3. Can you improve on the benchmark timeline?

Using data the Longtail UX team has collected and data from other reputable SEO sources, this blog post will focus on question number Deux: how long does it take to rank on Google?

Then, you’ll get a vision of how LUX Smart Pages speed up the ranking process and why they dominate search engines.

Busy, busy?  Here’s the TL;DR:

  • ahrefs research showed that only 5% of top 10 pages get there within a year.
  •  Within the first 30 days, all Longtail UX clients saw a minimum of 4% of keywords on page one and .09% of keywords in position one
  • After 12 months, Longtail UX clients get more number one Google rankings than any typical site can expect page one results––regardless of their position history. 

Mankind's race to the Google moon

The year was 1969.  

JFK sat in The White House. 

Woodstock was high on hippies and blazing guitars.  

And, the world witnessed the epic finale of the race between the US and the Soviet Union: Who would be the first to put man on the moon?

Scoot ahead to present day, and the race hasn’t changed much.  

Except now it’s about who’s self-funded spaceship can go the furthest into space and who the current top-ranking pages in Google search are.

So when it comes to the topic of how long does it take to rank in Google?  And with every SEO astronaut working with the same ranking factors…

i.e. headings, a target keyword, link building, mobile optimisation, etc.

Can we really predict the time it takes to become a top-ranking page?

And, is there an SEO strategy we can implement to speed it up?

Well, saddle up, space cowboy (or cowperson).

All shall be revealed in the following cosmic paragraphs.

The benchmark timeline of Google rankings


ahrefs researched two galaxies worth (i.e. two million) of random keywords and pulled data on the top 10 ranking web pages for each.

What they found was that just over 5% of pages that hit the top 10, did so within a year.  The other 95% of top 10 pages took longer.

The other 5% do it in 2-6 months. 

Source: ahrefs

It takes anywhere from 60 and 365 days to page one.

More depressing findings from the ahrefs data:

👎  The average page on Top 10 rankings is over two years old.

👎  22% of Top 10 ranking pages are less than a year old.

Age of top-ranking pages in Google. source: ahrefs.com

👎  Around 1% of pages in position one are less than a year old. 

A relatively new website often ranks poorly within the first year. source: ahrefs.com

👎  5.7% of all pages studied made it into the Top 10 search results for at least one keyword within one year.

Of course, all the above data assumes your content quality isout of this world, your meta description is heavenly, and your keyword research is down to earth.

The hard truth about the Google ranking timeline

Let’s assume the following SEO variables:

  • Your domain authority is high
  • Search volume for your relevant keywords is significant, and you’re targeting low competition keywords with a high monthly search volume
  • Your on-page and off-page SEO is strong
  • You have clean user metrics
  • Your website has plenty of good backlinks, and you have an active link building strategy in place

Even if you got all that right, you’re still looking at a waiting time of anywhere from 60 to 365 (maybe more) lightyears days before you find out if your pages ranked anywhere near position one.

To broaden the perspective: you could drive from L.A. to Vegas 1,752 times before your keywords get anywhere near position one.

Honestly, the data is depressing for any business wanting to use SEO as a revenue stream.

So why would almost every business happily gamble away their time and efforts on a prayer that the SEO stars will align?

Why your Google rank is everything

If you rank higher, you earn more revenue.

As any enterprise marketer knows, the payoff of being number one in the Google universe far outweighs second place. 

And the return from page one far outweighs the return from any other page.  

The difference in revenue potential between position 1 and position 2 is insane.

So how can you ensure your product pages land in the top-ranking position over the efforts of your competitors?

The answer is in the vessel that takes you there – the technology you use to get your pages to number one.

Let me ask you this:

Would you prefer to go to the moon in the Apollo 11 or whatever spacecraft the Soviets had?

The Virgin Galactic, or whatever Elon Musk still has sitting in his garage?

In the same way, you need technology that helps you do more than general SEO strategy and content marketing.

You need the Apollo 11 (or Virgin Galactic) of SEO.

So based on what we now know about how long it typically takes a page to start ranking on Google, let’s compare the data to how long it takes a LUX Smart Page to rank.

How to rank high in Google search results – in under 30 days

At Longtail UX, we do things a little different.

So let’s jump back in time… again… to grab some context:

Back in March 2014, while SEO “gurus” were tinkering away with meta tags and Google+1s, the Longtail team built the Apollo 11 of SEO – the internationally patented LUX Smart Page.

LUX Smart Pages are a multi-product landing page that shows only exact match products based on a searcher’s intent – targeting long tail, low competition, and low search volume keywords.

Each page is geared to one specific long tail search term. For example, one page for “mens navy suit jacket” displays every single men’s navy suit jacket you sell. 

Longtail UX creates tens of thousands of these Smart Pages for some of the biggest eCommerce retailers in the world—in a fraction of the time it would take most development teams.

LUX Smart Pages: quality content and high-quality links – a digital marketing dream

LUX Smart Pages routinely rank higher and up to 10x faster than any standard product landing page

What’s more, they pull in a galaxy’s worth of new customers.

What would a 10x ranking speed mean to you?

The heading poses an interesting question.  What good is all this data without unpacking the benefits of getting there faster with the LUX Smart Pages?

So let’s set up some real-life examples–eCommerce businesses using the Longtail UX Customer Acquisition Platform–with a few of the most talked-about benefits from our clients:

Marketers don’t get lost in the Jira backlog.  There’s no more waiting for minor changes to existing pages.  Also, no delay in building new pages targeting long-tail search terms. 

And as it only takes one click for your customer to find exactly what they’re looking for, you’ll all but eliminate pogo sticking.  Every click counts for more.

Engineering teams won’t be hearing, “Is there an update on my Jira ticket?” every five minutes from the marketing department.  

That means you’ll have way more time to develop new features for the native site.

CEOs, CFOs and managers get 100% measurable and attributable data for their organic spend.

Want to see how it all works?  Click here to request a demo with one of our customer acquisition experts

Now all this is easy to say type.  

Promises like the above are a lifeless planet if they can’t be proven—dead, drifting, and honestly, no one cares.

So let’s look at some real-life Longtail UX clients who use the LUX Smart Pages to hyperdrive their rankings.

Real-world examples of how long it takes LUX Smart Pages to rank in Google

Here are two examples–real examples–of how long it takes LUX Smart Pages to rank in Google.

For both examples, we’ll look at the following:
  • How many LUX Smart Pages made it to Google page one within the first 30 days.
  • How many LUX Smart Pages ranked number one in Google search within the first 30 days.

Then, I’ll give you a snapshot of where each client is at now and a few other bits of data that might interest you.

First up is a retail and trade hardware eCommerce store.

Example: Retail and trade hardware store

Here is a graph showing the timeline of Google rankings for LUX Smart pages on Google page one and position one.

This retailer has 10% of their pages ranked at number one after only eight months.

Google search results in the first 30 days: 

  • 3311 Smart Pages indexed (out of 7504)
  • 567 Smart Pages on page one
  • 7 Smart Pages in position one

Current positioning (8 months in):

  • 7813 Smart Pages indexed (out of 8000)
  • 4,400 Smart Pages on page one
  • 800 Smart Pages in position one

Using the data we know from ahrefs:

Without LUX Smart Pages, this business would only have 400 pages on page one – with no guarantee of any pages in position one.  And this is assuming they have the resources to build the pages in the first place. Instead, they now have 800 Smart Pages in position one – that’s position one, not page – and counting!

Example: Department store chain

How many keywords apply to your products?  This business has over 37,000 LUX Smart Pages

NB: this graph only shows the last 12 months’ worth of data.  They have been using LUX Smart Pages for over 18 months.  

Here’s what happened in the first month.

Google search results in the first 30 days: 
  • 3423 out of 5299 Smart Pages indexed
  • 1,496 Smart Pages on page one
  • 220 Smart Pages in position one
Current positions (18 months in):
  • 36,668 out of 37401 Smart Pages indexed
  • 25,200 Smart Pages on page one
  • 8,781 Smart Pages in position one

Returning one more time to our benchmarks:

Without LUX Smart Pages, this business would only have 1870 pages on page one – with no guarantee of any pages in position one. Instead, they now have 8,781 Smart Pages in position one.

Mora data:

Just to show you that this works across any industry, here are some more starry-eyed clients of Longtail UX.

LUX client selling beauty products:

  • 3447 of 4688 Smart Pages indexed
  • 1585 Smart Pages on page one
  • 448 Smart Pages in position one

LUX client who operates as a marketplace:

  • 51,051 of 69,551 Smart Pages indexed
  • 27,625 Smart Pages on page one
  • 4,923 Smart Pages in position one

LUX client selling liquor:

  • 12,869 of 13,517 Smart Pages indexed
  • 8,643 Smart Pages on page one
  • 3,997 Smart Pages in position one

After 12 months, Longtail UX clients get more number one Google rankings than any typical site can expect page one results––regardless of their position history. 

A quick note on the rising data

Just so there’s no confusion on the continuous rise you see in the data, there’s two things to note:

  1. LUX is always optimising Smart Pages.  If a page doesn’t perform, we swap it out for one targeting a different long tail keyword.  Naturally, the new page needs to index and rank.
  2. Clients see the results and add more pages to their portfolios.  With each new Smart Page, just like with optimising, they need to index and rank. 

LUX is as simple as this: 

More LUX Smart Pages = more page one and position one rankings = around +40% more traffic and a boost in customer acquisition of (at least) 30%.

It’s not astrophysics.

LUX Smart Pages rank up to 10x faster

As you can see, search engines love LUX Smart Pages. And you can be on page one, position one in under 30 days, instead of waiting anywhere from 60-365 days.

Typical results in the first year of a LUX Smart Page campaign launch

To drive the point even further, moments before I sat down to write this, I heard from our commercial team that one of our clients just saw 23 pages jump to position one.  Their campaign has only been live for a few weeks.

Six reasons why LUX Smart Pages move quick

So, what’s the secret?

Why does Google love Smart Pages more than any other type of landing page?

The answer: 

Google considers LUX Smart Pages to be hyper-relevant.

And for good reasons too:

  1. They target one specific search term with low competition
  2. The search term is used in their URL
  3. Metadata such as page titles, meta descriptions and image alt tags all contain the exact match search term
  4. They only show products that match the keyword search term in their name or description
  5. They have a grid and list view on the same URL – in the list view, the platform pulls through a snippet of text that contains the search term. Google sees this as high quality content relevant to the user’s search 
  6. Our LUX Smart Links connect across your site – knitting Smart Pages to your native site and increasing your overall domain authority.

It’s no wonder why so many Smart Pages are on the first page and in first place.

Alright, let’s bring it home.

More than search engine results

LUX Smart Pages aren’t just about impressing search engines and having a higher rank than other sites.  

Oh no, siree.

LUX Smart Pages convert like a supernova.

Actually, they acquire 30-80% more customers than a single product landing page.

This means a high clickthrough rate and an excessive amount of ROI.


Ready to rank in Google at hyperspeed?

Ranking success is yours for the taking.

All you need to do is make contact.  

We’ll show you how we’ve used these pages to send business after business to the Google moon.  And how we can do the same for you.

Click here to talk to us.

Book a demo

Start capturing your longtail growth potential today

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