We've said it repeatedly: the only important thing for a recipe start is to put out as much high quality content as possible.
There's no firm answer for how long it takes for a website or individual posts to rank, but there is a generally accepted consensus among SEO agencies.
New Websites: 6-9 months
When first launching a website, you're put in what's colloquially known as the "sandbox". During this period, search engines simply don't trust that you're not just another spammy site.
Another key factor is that you don't have enough high quality content, which search engines need to properly categorize and algorithmically rank your site.
Note that the official statement from Google is "we don't have a sandbox" but:
With regards to sandbox, we don't really have this traditional sandbox that a lot of SEOs used to be talking about in the years past. We have a number of algorithms that might look similar, but these are essentially just algorithms trying to understand how the website fits in with the rest of the websites trying to rank for those queries. […] It's always kind of tricky in the beginning when we have a new website and we don’t quite know where we should put it.John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google
If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck...
How long for new posts?
Roughly 4 months for well established sites, 8 months for new sites.
This means that if you're trying to write holiday-based content, you should get it completed and published at least 4 months before the holiday. This means you should probably start researching and prepping a full 4 months before that holiday.
While we wouldn't consider this an authoritative source, it does provide some good background information and anecdotal evidence:
Personally, I set my expectations low and expect any post I'm writing to perform at its full potential a year from the date I publish.
Can I speed this up?
- Write high quality content
- Target long tail keywords
- Post to social networks to kick start traffic
- Generate natural backlinks
Doing this once or twice won't have much effect. Doing it repeatedly for every post will help.
When you're just getting started, we recommend setting your expectations low (or non existent) for the first 12 months. Just be aware that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and the process to get there is unrewarding.
Note: social traffic has no official place in organic search ranking according to Google, but could generate additional discussions and backlinks naturally.
While these aren't hard-and-fast rules, we find that these are more or less the bare minimum metrics people need to get onto a good ad network and earning ~$600/month:
- 100 high quality articles
- 100 backlinks
- 18 months
Killing it on one metric gives you some leniency on the others. For example, 150 high quality articles and 150 backlinks in 9 months can get you there. Or 200 backlinks for 50 high quality articles.
Very rarely will sites see significant traffic under 100 backlinks though.