How to set realistic search engine ranking expectations
Your business is about to wade into the unknown waters of search engine optimization (SEO), and now you're dying to know: how long does it take to get great rankings?
How long will we have to wait?
Very little in the world of SEO happens overnight.
Don’t expect to sprinkle some keywords throughout your site and suddenly grab the #1 ranking in Google the next day. After all, if it were truly that easy, everyone could be #1, right? Right. And we know that's impossible.
It can take several weeks, (and often months, and occasionally years) before your SEO work begins to show dividends in the form of improved rankings.
According to SEOmoz, an SEO management software company (and a leading resource of valuable SEO news on the web), it can take anywhere between 20 - 40 days before Google adds brand new websites to their search results—yep, that's just for just getting Google to include new websites in their database; we're not even talking great rankings yet.
SEOmoz also shared that it can take the average website as much as 6-9 months before competitive rankings can be expected in Google.
Can I Do It Myself Or Will I Need Professional Help?
The basic concepts of SEO aren't mysterious. The web is filled with detailed information, case studies, walkthroughs, and explanations about how search engines work and what businesses can do to own their own to improve their rankings.
If you have substantial time and energy to devote to improving your rankings every single week, SEO is something you may consider working on in-house.
The caveat is time: SEO is labor-intensive work—and we're talking labor-intensive work after you've cleared the hurdle that is the steep learning curve you'll face as you set out to undertake the work on your own.
This being said, keep in mind that...
The SEOmoz data listed above assumed that the ongoing SEO work was completed by professionals.
If a business attempts to rank well in the search engines without assistance from professionals, the timeline is almost guaranteed to take much, much longer (and that's if top rankings are ever achieved at all).