You probably hate it when someone answers "Well, how long is a piece of string?" That fact is the answer depends intrinsically on a number of complexly interwoven factors, like: which string, where you're using it, and whether or not it's folded, wound, or scrunched!
It depends on several very critical factors:
These primary factors are the most reputable, and most difficult to create from thin air, which is why Google and the other search engines trust them so much. They are essential to seeing your site compete with serious web site owners.
Then there are the essential factors:
When resolved, these factors can give you the edge over your competition and you will likely see your site bob up (from somewhere on page five) to result #5 on the first page.
It's then just a matter of a little ongoing work for your site to prove it's relevancy and authority to the search engines before you reach the top. So the answer is anything from one to six months for surprisingly good initial results.
Then you need to consider your competition and what they are doing so that you can build a long-term plan. This means being in SEO for the long haul is the way to maintain your rankings. The good thing about SEO is, if you have to cut back on your budget or even halt promotional work for some time, your visitors (and sales) keep coming. See our AdWords vs SEO point under the Success heading.
Through our SEO Audit, Research & Recommendations, we also work to outline a tailored campaign which will achieve some quicker results first, on some of the 'low-hanging fruit' depending on your site's current status. Your ongoing SEO work will then be graduated into the more competitive - but higher volume - keywords that require more time.
Then something has gone horribly wrong. Pioneer Websites can very quickly and effectively determine if that is so, why that may have been so, and return your site to the search engine results pages.
See the second case study at the end of our article on free CMS vs custom websites for an example.