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Keyword Ranking in Google - How Long?

(This article is concerned with generic ranking in Google, i.e., without PPC (PayPerClick).)

There are a lot of factors that affect keyword rank in Google:
  • Age of website (older is better as it has a better chance to establish trust rank)
  • Onsite optimization (strategic placement of keywords )
  • Offsite optimization (backlinks from websites, blogs, forums, etc).
  • Age of incoming links (Google doesn't pass along link juice right away)
  • Your choice of keywords (3 or 4 word phrases will have less competition than 1 or 2 word phrases)
  • PR (Page Rank) not as important as it used to be but still affects keyword rank.

Don't Overoptimize your Keywords

Because of Google penalizing sites for overoptimization this last year (same exact words in title and H1 etc tags) I have started mixing up the words so they all contain the same major words but in a different order (see title in browser and H1 above) and I'm finding that I can rank on first page of results for several keywords in different arrangements including plural versions of the some words.

Benefits of Semantic Search

Google often allows you to rank when you don't use the exact same words, but similar words that would be found in a Thesaurus (a result of semantic search), i.e., I don't have the word scam on the US Commerce Association - Fraud article in my blog, but I still rank just as well for that phrase when "fraud" is replaced with "scam" anyway.

How Long Does it take?

On a website that is well established with adequate PR (page rank), which is also well optimized and has addequate links, etc., it usually takes about a week after Google indexes the page before you notice a change in rank for your keywords. It all depends on Google's indexing schedule for your website.

However, if your website is new it may take Google longer to index the new page. Sometimes Google will allow a new website to rank well for a few months and drop it if it doesn't attract enough attention.

Tracking your Keyword Rank

Seo Book has a new plugin for Firefox called Rank Checker that allows you to track multiple keywords in Google, Yahoo and Live (MSN) and the data can be downloaded as a cvs file (spreadsheet). Check the rank of all keywords before your page goes online and then every week thereafter until the rank settles then you can tell how long it takes for your particular website.

PS. Ranking in Yahoo or Bing requires more onsite optimization and less on Google so what will get you to rank high in Yahoo and Bing may get you penalized in Google so it's hard to rank evenly in all 3 search engines at the same time.


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Lori Eldridge
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Keyword Ranking FAQ
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Submitting websites to Search Engines and Directories
How Long Does It take to Rank in Google

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