By Kaitie Frank
29 Nov 2023

How Long Do Backlinks Take to Start Working?

Basic SEO     Link Building

Backlinks play a critical role in SEO, and industry experts agree that high-quality, contextually relevant links are key to achieving higher rankings, increased visibility, and referral traffic. 

However, link building is not a quick fix. In fact, SEO results take time, and link building can take several months from content creation to outreach efforts. 

Assuming you have overcome those hurdles, how long does it take for you to see results from your backlinks? 

We at Page One Power know that the key to link building results is a sustainable link-building campaign, which is why we prioritize building long-term relationships with our clients. This enables them to experience the direct impact of our link building services on their sites.

The Backlink Lifecycle

Discovery Phase

Understanding the timeline of backlinks requires knowledge of the initial steps involved in the process. Search engines use web crawlers to scan the internet for new content to index continuously. When a website links to another page, a backlink is created. However, search engines need to locate and register the new link before they can recognize and include it in their index. This marks the beginning of the journey for the backlink.

Indexing Time

After discovering a new backlink, search engines need to index it into their database. This indexing process can take a few days to several weeks and depends on various factors. The authority of the linking site and the frequency of search engine crawls are two significant factors that affect the time it takes for a backlink to be indexed.

To speed up the indexing process, search engines prioritize high-authority sites that are frequently crawled. However, the indexing process can be delayed if there are technical issues with the website or the content is of low quality. To maximize the impact of new backlinks on search engine rankings, it is essential to give search engines enough time to index them and ensure that they are of high quality.


After your web page has been indexed, Google will evaluate the authority or ranking power of your backlinks, which can take a few weeks. Google uses a complex algorithm to assess the quality and relevancy of backlinks to determine the trustworthiness and authority of a website. Although Google's algorithm is not fully disclosed, it evaluates several key factors, including relevancy, human value, and anchor text placement.

To help determine the strength of a backlink, you can use third-party metrics such as Moz's Domain Authority and Ahrefs' Domain Rating as a guide. But it’s important to note that Google does not use these metrics; third-party sites created these characteristics to understand the different features of a high-quality backlink. 


When done ethically, link building can have sustainable results, and after the ranking stage, you'll typically see a steady increase in results. However, it's impossible to predict how long this stage will last. By acquiring links from reputable websites, you're more likely to observe an upward trend that may persist for years.

But external factors can interfere with this trend. Competitors who earn more powerful backlinks or algorithm updates that cause your rankings to drop are examples of this. That's why it's critical to take advantage of the growth of your backlinks and create more to maintain the momentum.

Factors Influencing Backlink Impact

Building a successful backlink strategy involves understanding that not all backlinks carry the same weight. Certain factors can impact a backlink's authority, thereby significantly influencing the effectiveness of your backlink strategy. Having a clear understanding of these concepts is crucial in gaining more visibility and organic traffic to your website.

Source Authority

Backlinks from authoritative and reputable websites tend to have a quicker and more significant impact. Search engines trust these sites, and when they discover a link pointing to your content, it can positively influence your own site's credibility.

Relevance of Content

The relevance of the linking page to your content is a crucial factor. If the content surrounding the backlink is closely related to your own, search engines are more likely to recognize the connection and attribute value to the link.

Anchor Text Optimization

The use of relevant and optimized anchor text in your backlinks can expedite the recognition of the link's relevance by search engines. This is a subtle but impactful factor that contributes to the overall effectiveness of your backlink strategy.

The Waiting Game

Backlinks can have short-term and long-term impacts on search rankings, but it's important to remember that "short-term" results could still take weeks to see.

In other words, you may not see immediate results from backlinks, but it's worth the wait, as they can still significantly impact your search rankings in the long run.

Short-Term Impact

When you acquire new backlinks for your website, search engines will begin to take notice of them, which may cause some changes in your site's performance in the short term. Some link building strategies, like searching for unlinked mentions, may have a more immediate effect on your site since there is no content to create, and the outreach is minimal. 

However, the full impact of these links may not be immediately apparent and can take some time to manifest fully. Therefore, it's recommended to regularly monitor your website's performance and make adjustments as necessary to ensure continued success.

Long-Term SEO Boost

Over time, the full potential of backlinks is often revealed. As search engines consistently review and enhance their algorithms, the accumulated impact of high-quality backlinks becomes increasingly evident, resulting in a steady and prolonged growth in search engine optimization. 

Consistently building links creates sustainable results. The long-term benefits of quality backlinks are apparent as they continue to contribute to a website's prominence, acknowledging its relevance and authority in the online space.

Managing Expectations

It's important to remember that SEO is a gradual process that requires patience and persistence. Setting realistic timeframes and regularly monitoring your website's performance can help you stay on track. 

Set Realistic Timeframes

Understanding the gradual nature of SEO is essential. While some changes may be noticeable in a few weeks, the full potential of your backlink strategy might take several months to unfold. 

To avoid any misunderstanding about not seeing instant results, it's best to set up a realistic timeline that shows when stakeholders and decision-makers can expect to see the results of the campaign. This practice will help address any concerns and ensure everyone is on the same page. 

You can also remind them that link building has long-term benefits, and investing in ethical link building strategies will help boost your site’s SEO for years to come. 

Monitor and Adapt

Regularly monitor your website's performance using analytics tools. If you observe positive trends, it's an indication that your backlink strategy is working. If not, consider refining your approach based on the insights gained.

Regular backlink analysis can help you monitor where your backlinks are coming from and how they are affecting your site. You should perform these analyses multiple times throughout the year, but the cadence is up to you. 

Patience is a virtue in SEO. Backlinks are a potent tool for boosting your website's visibility, but various factors influence the timeline for their impact. By focusing on quality, relevance, and a strategic approach to backlink building, you can position your site for long-term success in search engine rankings. Remember, the journey to SEO success is a marathon, not a sprint.

Kaitie Frank

Kaitie is a copywriter and content writer for Page One Power who specializes in SEO-optimized content. She has written for various niches and prides herself in knowing random tidbits of information. In addition to putting words to paper, she indulges in physical fitness and telling her cat why he is, in fact, a good boy.