Don’t some sites achieve overnight success?

Almost. Remember, there s a sandbox for search engines to guard against new, fly-by-night sites. But you could get out of that sandbox pretty quickly   maybe even in 90 days, with the right techniques. A niche site can often do that. If you bought a domain for 10years up front called InstantBreastCancerCure.com and built a dynamic site (supports frequent updates), and updated it constantly (every day or every other day) with original, unique, relevant, search-engine-optimized content, you are likely, once past the sandbox, to come up on page one. Why? How many sites are competing for that search? Not many. For one thing, there s no such thing as an instant breast cancer cure. So your competition is sparse at best. For another, you re doing all the right things. You bought a keyword rich domain. You bought it for many years up front. And you are updating your site with fresh content continually   content that doesn t exist anywhere else on the web (Google penalizes for duplicate content), is highly relevant to your desired search terms, and is search engine optimized by a professional to be attractive for search engines to index. But if you re competing for a search term like San Antonio appraiser, you aren t going to hit the front page overnight, if ever. The good news is that enough of us skip the initial  junk  listings (which are often those directories and national clearing houses) and go right for the first  real  listings we see. In other words, searchers are learning what s on the other pages. I ve been known to hit page 3 and ignore the first two pages right off the bat in some searches. The other good news is that search engine optimization is no longer the only way that sites are being found. In older days, it was just you and yahoo. Now, it s you and Google and Yahoo and social networking   Facebook, Twitter, and social dig/bookmarking sites. The old days are gone   don t throw all your eggs in one basket with just SEO.