Link building is a slow strategy. Does the thought of waiting make you want to abandon it? Read this, and you’ll feel better.

Link building is the blood that runs through the veins of any organic search campaign. To support your great content, a well-rounded link building campaign is essential: it’s how you get your work in front of potential customers. We’re becoming so used to concept of digital instantaneity that we’re getting impatient in areas we can’t afford to be.

In line with that, there are the two questions clients always ask us:
1. How long does it take to get rankings after links are built to a page?
2. How much increase we can see after a link is built?

We’re going to be honest here. You’re not going to see any immediate effects on rankings. We wish we were wrong, but in every campaign we’ve ever heard of or run, this fact has been proven time and time again.

The US-based digital marketing team at Moz testified on this matter in a recent investigation (which you can read in full here). They experimented with nearly 200 000 indexed pages that got new links organically every month. From these, they picked 76 links that pointed to pages which were similar in content, and hadn’t had any significant alterations to their content or host web page in the last 6 months.

And when we saw their results, we weren’t that surprised at all. Even if we were a little disappointed. Here are the three big take-aways.

1. Wait ten weeks for the jump.
For one ranking space, that is. Experiment showed that link building seems to produce conservative results at first, but that in the long run, the effects are huge. Patience, we said. So we’ve got to play the waiting game after we build the links to see some effective results.

2. Low ranked, but light on their feet
A link’s effect is more visible on a lower ranked page. Pages that started with a first page ranking didn’t show any movement and barely moved one spot in 22 weeks. It’s a colossal contrast with the pages that started on 2nd or lower page rankings, which showed great progress within a shorter timeframe.

3. Top speed for top of the tree
Links from higher domain authority (DA) sites showed bigger impact early. This could be because higher DA sites gets crawled more often.
But something these pages have in common is that they both made big jumps at around the 10-week stage.

If you like instant gratification, you’re in the wrong game. Improving your page rankings organically is a long-term process and requires a thorough on-site and off-site optimisation strategy. Depending on search competition, you need good amount of time to see actual results from your investment. Don’t forget that your competitors are also working on their strategy, so it’s crucial to have a plan in place to not only keep up with competitors, but also propel your business ahead of them.

But here’s our verdict: Strategy and planning pay. Impatience never will.