How long does it take before search engines find new content?
It varies a lot. It can be within a few hours, days, weeks, or even months. Usually, though, it takes a few days for a search engine (e.g. Google, Bing or Yahoo) to pick up content on your website for the first time, assuming you do everything to link you website and content to those same search engines.
How long will it be before I see my website at the top of search results?
The more you adhere to best practices, the sooner you can see your website on page one of search results. Still there are other factors that should be considered, and it can take between a few weeks an a couple of years, depending on these factors:
- How much original, relevant and useful content you add to your website, and how often you add it.
- If your market is local, your appearance early in search results usually happens sooner than if your market is national/global. This is mainly because of the likely numbers of competitors. The more competitors, the more organizations there are competing for top placement.
- The profitability of your market. In high gross profit margin companies -- e.g. software product companies -- the tougher the competition tends to be.
- The condition, size, quality and activity of your competitors. If you have several competitors deeply committed to success in organic search placement, you will have a tougher time getting to page one of search results. On the other hand, if your competitors publish no fresh content, have dated, non-responsive websites, you may be able to get to the top of search results relatively quickly.
At the risk of oversimplifying it, achieving success on the Internet is a "marathon, rather than a sprint". Companies who work it patiently every day, in the long run, seem to experience the best results.
You may not be able to hire a full-time social media manager, but you might be able to post details of work done for customers to your website. A blog posting about a plumbing repair -- assuming that is the business you are in -- can make the perfect blog posting, together with a few pictures to support it.