My favorite definition of SEO is “SEO is perpetual process of improving your site”. You can’t just stop it, you can only postpone.
But today we’ll look at it from another angle, like majority sees it – promotion by certain queries. And since it is is not about improving the site but some kind of sorcery which is guaranteed to reach the goal, then how much time would it take? How much time is it takes to get your site to the top for a certain query?
Let’s try to analyze this question together. What could it be dependent of?
It is obvious, that the more competitors you have, the longer you will have to strive to achieve your goals. Competition itself is dependent of search engine, target region, promoted query itself.
The query can be popular or rare, it can be commercial or not so, informational or transactional, etc. Most “delicious” ones are already eing used by traffic hunters. Different search engines can have different levels of competition, since each has it’s own ratings and own TOP. Target region matters as well: there are regions, where even most “delicious” queries has no competition at all, although it may have demand.
If you make a web-resource that already has hundreds of it’s kind across the web, why would SE show it in it’s TOP? Having all other odds equal, non-original content is a huge obstacle on the way to the TOP. If SEOs gave you the hope that in 6 months your non-original site will make it to TOP-10 in highly-competitive region, it’s not an easy question who’s to blame but be ready to wander between different companies hoping to make the impossible.
3. Quality of linking domains
For new sites, that doesn’t have incoming links yet, SE has to define the level of it’s trust to these sites. It can form some basic trust out of some internal factors, but to maintain and improve it you’ll need to use external ranking factors. Who put a link at you first? Who linked to your site in it’s first month? Were that high-quality natural links, that led traffic to your site, or it was a bunch of paid SEO-links?
The better sites are linking to you in first, the faster trust to your site will grow and faster it could be led to the TOP (without risk to get hit by Penguin or it’s kind)
But you must see the line here. There are “doorways”, that quickly hit the TOP (mostly by black hat techniques) and as quickly leave it, and there are sites that use healthy, white hat marketing strategies. It takes more time to promote them, but they really deserve to be in the TOP. So your chosen strategy will heavily impact time needed to promote your site, and how long will it stay there.
All this is nothing, but theory. Where are the numbers? There must be some average estimated promotion time that you can show to site’s owner? And it is! You can figure it after analyzing the TOP.
Say, we want to get our newborn site in Yandex, targeting Moscow for a “ведущий на корпоратив” query, which means “corporate party host”. Let’s see dates of pages in TOP-10 by this query(Using WebArchive), and registration dates of those domains (using Whois). This is what we’ve got for now:
Now, taking minimal, maximal and average values, we can see, that by given query in Yandex TOP-10 resided documents dated by 2010 year (so, they’re more than two years old), but also, there is one document of 2012 at 8th position, but it’s domain is registered in 2008. Apparently, considering average numbers, it will take us 2-3 years to get a site in TOP-10 for “corporate party host” in Yandex in Moscow. That’s not a very good perspective, but still, these are the average numbers, so who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and with perfect strategy you’ll make it to the TOP-10 in just one year. But you should better look for some other channels to attract people to your site and improving it, making accent on less frequent, thus less competitive queries.
Check the queries you are planning to or are promoting for new sites. You can also widen range up to TOP-20 for more precision.