How Quickly Can I Get Ranked in the Top 10 for My Keywords?

video-37MARK: Hi, I’m Mark Steinbrueck, and this is Kurt Steinbrueck. We’re with OurChurch.Com. In this video, we’re going to address the question “How quickly can I get ranked in the top 10 for ______”

And then just fill in the blank, whatever the keyword or search term that you’re trying to get ranked well in the search engines. So, what goes into that, or what kind of things make the determination of how quickly you can rank well for a particular search term?

KURT: Sure. The first thing is there really isn’t a straight answer. There’s no one particular time or anything like that that you can say it’s going to take X number of days to rank well for a keyword. There are a lot of factors that go into it;

  • how competitive a keyword is,
  • how strong your site is in search engines, things like.

But here are some of the things that are going to determine how long it’s going to take you.

The first is the age of your website. 

Is your site a new site? If so, are you competing against other sites that have been around for a year or two years, 10 years? If that’s the case, then you’re going against sites that the search engines already know and they have already decided they trust them, whereas you’re the new kid on the block, and it’s going to take a little time to build up that trust with the search engines.

It’s even theorized that some of the search engines will put you in what’s called the sandbox, and say, “Okay, you get to play with the other kids for now, for at least six months or so, and then we’ll let you start ranking for some real keywords.” So you may get some of the noncompetitive keywords at first, but the competitive ones, you’re probably not going to see for awhile.

MARK: Yeah, when it comes down to it, the search engines are really trying to provide the best results for their visitors and their users. So ,it’s going to take time for you to establish yourself as an authority or someone that understands and is knowledgeable on a particular subject matter. It’s not going to happen instantly, so it does take time.

KURT: Absolutely. You mentioned, establishing yourself as an authority, and that’s really the next thing to look at:

What is your site’s authority?

When I talk about authority, what I mean is how important do the search engines think your site is, within your niche? This is determined a lot by the number of links that you’re getting, but also by social shares and citations and things like that. It’s basically every time someone is referring to you and they’re linking to you, they’re telling the search engines “this is an important site; we think that you should look at this site.”

The more people that do that, and the more important sites that do that, reputable sites that do that, the more authority the search engines give you, and then they’re willing to rank you for more and more competitive keywords. So if your site isn’t authoritative yet, it’s going to take some time to build that up.

The next question is, is your site optimized? 

If your site is already optimized and you’re not ranking for the keywords that you’re targeting, then it means you have a site authority problem. Like we just said, that takes time to build that site authority. If you aren’t optimized yet, though, your site may actually be able to rank well. You may have the authority that you need to rank well for these keywords; you just haven’t told the search engines what to rank you for. In that case, it could be a very quick process. It may just be optimizing the site, and then within a couple of weeks, as the search engines adjust, you start to rank well for those keywords.

MARK: So making sure that you are actually using those particular keywords on your page and in other parts of the site, like text and things like that.

KURT: Exactly.

Then competition is another aspect of this.

We talked about site authority, but remember, you’re not trying to get to a certain level to get to a ranking. You’re going against other websites, and so it’s a moving target. If other websites are doing things to build up their site authority, then you have to be doing that as well, to be able to keep up with them. If they’re already above you, you’ve got to be doing more, because you’ve got to catch up to where they are. If you’re not doing as much, then even if you get the rankings, that competition can come up and knock you out. So how competitive is your competition? What are they doing? That’s going to make a very big impact on how long it’s going to take.

MARK: Yeah, and SEO really is like a race that does not have an end to it. It’s not just a matter of you getting yourself in position and getting to a certain point; you’re competing against all these other websites that are out there. Like Kurt said, if there’s a lot of websites that are out there competing for particular search terms or search phrases, that makes it even more important that you have to be doing things on an ongoing basis.

KURT: If those runners are running hard, you’ve got to be running hard with them.

MARK: Exactly.

KURT: Penalties is another thing.

This is a little tricky because a lot of people think that they’re being penalized just because they’re not ranking well, but they’re not actually being penalized. What we’re talking about here is real penalties. If you’ve done something that violates the search engine’s terms of service and they have manually taken action against you, that’s a big deal.

It takes a lot to recover from a penalty; that’s something that doesn’t happen overnight. They want to see that you are fixing what you’ve done, that you are not violating those rules anymore, and they want to see that over a period of time. So you may fix everything and then contact them and say “Okay, everything’s fixed.” They’re going to say, “Okay, that’s great. We’ll come back and see you in about three months and we’ll see if you’re still doing things right.” It’s a slow process.

Even at that point, you probably lost a lot of what was giving you those rankings. If they said, “All your links are purchased links,” you don’t get credit for those anymore, so you’ve lost those rankings. So there’s a lot of process to it, and quite frankly, they’re not very talkative. It takes time to do that.

The last thing is what are you willing to do?

What are you willing to commit to? Because like we talked about in that race, other people are running, other people are doing this race, and if you’re not willing to put the time and effort, or pay someone to do the time and effort and the work that needs to be done, then you really can’t expect to rank well for keywords anytime soon, or really maybe not even at all. If there’s already 10 sites, they’re doing a lot more than you are to rank well for a certain keyword, and you’re not willing to do that, you’re never going to get into the top 10. It’s just not going to happen.

MARK: And 10 sites is even a pretty low number. There’s probably hundreds, if not thousands, that are competing for the same kind of search terms.

KURT: Exactly. So you need to be willing to do what it takes to unseat those people from those top spots if you expect to get there. There’s really different levels of that. You can be running the race or you can be sprinting in the race, so there’s even different levels within the work that you do.

How long is it going to take? It really depends on the keyword, depends on the competition, and on this variety of elements:

  • The age of your site,
  • How much authority you already have.
  • Is your site optimized?
  • What is your competition doing?
  • Have you been penalized?
  • And what are you willing to put into this?

All of that is going to determine how long it’s going to take.

That’s why when you ask a search engine optimizer “How long is it going to take me?”, you get this “Well, probably take a few months, or maybe longer than that.” It really is because there’s so many factors that go into it, some of which we don’t have any control over, that we can’t really answer the question. But usually you can get kind of an idea.

MARK: Good. Thank you, Kurt. I appreciate your expertise. And we appreciate you taking the time to watch this. We hope that it’s been informative, and if there’s anything that we can do here at OurChurch.Com to help you accomplish your mission and goals online, please fill out the form below to request a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as .

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