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Case Study: How Quickly Do SEO Updates Affect Keyword Ranking and Traffic?

The time it takes for SEO strategies to show results like improved rankings, indexation and traffic is incredibly important to businesses, especially those that thrive on sales directly through their websites.

This case study covers the impact of SEO updates on a client's website performance, but also dives into how long SEO updates can take to show results.

SEO Program Background

From June 1st to August 31st, RankRealm worked in partnership with a prominent media company to enhance their website's search engine visibility and performance through a 3-month technical SEO program.

With a strategic SEO overhaul, we addressed the core issues by rectifying 404 errors, cleaning up the sitemaps, and implementing correct redirect URLs. Our objective was to enhance the site’s crawlability and indexation, thereby improving its organic visibility and traffic.

How Long Will it Take to See Results From SEO?

When fixing technical SEO issues and making on-page optimization updates to your site, many SEO experts will tell you to expect that results will take months, with the thought that it takes a considerable amount of time to notice good results from your SEO efforts.

Typically, 6-12 months is the ideal time frame you will see positive gains from your SEO strategies as a whole.

It can take a considerable amount of time for SEO to work because Google considers several key factors when ranking a website within its search results. You also have to consider that competition could also be working hard on their SEO, which makes it even harder to improve ranking on your target keywords.

You’ll need to be equal with your competition or beat them entirely on multiple fronts, covering things like relevance, quality and usability and more. Your goals and available resources might also play a factor.

But here’s the thing. Not all SEO issues and fixes are created equally and every website is different, has good or bad content, or has solid or terrible technical SEO. Google understands the issues that a website faces, which we typically see reported in Google Search Console (GSC).

If Google can give us updates in GSC on nearly a daily basis, then surely they can understand the impact of an update to something like a website's sitemaps pretty quickly, right?

Sitemap Updates Can Have Immediate Impacts

This leads me to my next point. RankRealm worked with the company to implement updates to their sitemap. The focus was to remove any URLs that didn’t return a 200 OK status (pages that returned 404, 301, 302, etc. were omitted), and see if we could improve efficiency in crawlability, indexation, keyword ranking and all of the other important website performance factors.

We wanted Google to focus on only the important pages on the site as a whole. Within 24 hours of implementation we saw organic traffic exponentially increase (note the blue spike in the image below).

spike in organic traffic from sitemap update

This led to around an 11% increase in new users, ~8.3% increase in new sessions and we saw a near 20% decrease in bounce rate when compared to the previous year.

Interestingly enough, the domain was mostly on par with the previous year until we saw that spike, so when we see those increases in metrics, they mostly came from the spike.

You’re probably thinking “but the traffic increase didn’t last forever:” You’re right, the organic traffic spike didn’t last forever, however, we continued to see organic traffic improve over the remaining course of the program.

When we look at total sessions vs. the previous period (month over month), the domain was also up approx. 14% with around 32% more users.

Improved metrics

As the program came to a close, we continued to see organic traffic increase for the domain. Though we can’t definitively say that the continued increase in organic traffic over time are directly attributed to the sitemap updates solely, as we had implemented several technical SEO updates over the course of the program.

improved traffic graph

Search console also showed continued improvements in overall clicks and impressions over time as we continued to work with them. This was a 38% Increase in overall clicks and 58% Increase in overall impressions when we compared final program metrics with the beginning of the program.

improved clicks and impressions graph

We also saw keyword ranking improvements by the end of the program as well. 15 new keywords entered the #1 position, 30 keywords improved in the top 3 positions, and 131 total keywords improved ranking overall. We also saw a 38% increase in the total number of ranking keywords.

imrpoved keyword ranking chart


Though SEO strategies may take 6-12 months to really see full results from, there are certain SEO improvements that can have an immediate impact.

Our client saw great results over time, but also within 24 hours if implementing certain updates. SEO strategies as a whole may take months to show, but certain fixes may show results quickly.

Technical SEO was the focal point of this success, which was achieved by:

  • Fixing broken pages and links (404s)

  • Optimizing sitemaps and crawlability

  • Improving internal linking within content

  • Backlink audit and disavow submission

  • + More

Since the program’s beginning in June of 2023, metrics and keyword rankings have improved greatly. RankRealm was successful in its improving traffic, indexation and keyword ranking. This was due to a well executed technical SEO implementation and on-page optimization.

Let RankRealm perform a preliminary site analysis (free, on us), find areas needing improvement and create a technical and on-page SEO strategy for your business, no matter the industry.

Contact us today!


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