"I understand that there are practices that can allow you get top search engine rankings in the Big 3 search engines (google, msn, yahoo) in a matter of 48 hours."
first let's pin down the terms:
(a) "practices" means "things a communal garden webmaster can do at any given moment of a day"
(b) "get top search engine rankings" means "have a page appear in the top handful of results on the first page of results from queries on search engines"
NB with reference to (b)...
do you consider a page to have top search engine ranking if it averages 1 hit per day from a search result in the first 10 results of google/yahoo/msn (in that order of likelihood too)?
if the magic you are wondering about simply consists of getting one page to appear on google search results right at the top at least once per day, then i can assure you now, within minutes i'll have filled you in thoroughly (not at all without thanks to a lot of posts i've read on this webmasterworld site in many an agonising moment as i watch google and other engines do weird and wondrous things with my sites completely out of the blue);
if you are wondering, rather, how to get a billion hits in 48 hours by having your site found at the top result of many many many searches, then you wonder unreasonably.
fortunately, however, the 48-hour approach can endure in such a fashion as to allow you the billion hits if you use each 48 hours as another vital stage in building the billion hits.
cutting to the chase:
to get a page grabbing users from google, yahoo and msn within 48 hours of making it is immensely easy if you have the right tools; i do and have in the last 2 weeks (just by way of example) seen 50 to 100 completely new pages (on an already listed domain and also on a pair of previously mostly-abandoned ones) getting listed on at least 2 of the 3 engines you're after, and those pages have been attracting users from searches which are mainly in the top page, but an undercurrent of hits also comes in to some of them from pages 4 to 5 of results;
the first thing you need to have is a website which those 3 engine's robots are crawling every single day, more or less; eg if your site contains well over 3 million robot-grabable pages, you can rely on google and its buddies to crawl a few thousand pages per day, sometimes many thousands in a single day;
if you DO have 3 million pages, the chances are that a great number of them are scripts, rather than .htm / .html pages, so that means you can throw in an extra link at any time.
if you have a page you want fed to the robots, you simply shove it into some .asp or .cgi page which is likely to receive a few hundred hits from the robots of an afternoon, and see it appear on results around 2 days later.
in other words, if you have a site which has a page rank level of 4 (i gather, from the usual material you can find on google) and above, with a lot of pages in it, then you can feed new links to the main robots at any hour of the day and know that they'll be live within 3 days
this is NOT the end of the yellow brick road, however.
every single 48 hours which passes is another one in which google and the others eat more pages; hence, your pages are not permanent, more like fruit and veg; they do go off.
before you know it, other newer pages will be higher than yours and gradually they get pushed down.
what this means if you choose the complex path of carrying gigantic loads of pages through cyberspace, is that if you start making any traffic (and hence money) out of large volumes of data, you have to keep updating and superceding the data if you want to protect your positions at the top of the charts.
in the end, even though you can get the pages you want up in 48 hours, the number of YOUR pages going down in 48 hours (or at least getting superceded by someone else's links) is increasing as does the number of internet marketeers (which doesn't seem likely to decrease in a recession really).
so the more money there is going round the internet and the more traffic there is flowing, the more you have to ensure you keep updating your data.
naturally most people would choose to do this by manipulating content 'falsely' (at least in terms of basic human consciences) - i.e. just rejigging the same thing so that it can be eaten again, rather than preparing something new;
this is, if i may be so bold, as immoral as spam and junk mail, and the predominant thing done, these days.
the totally correct approach is, when choosing the structure of what you're designing (even if it is something being designed for specific concrete functions - like a commercial site for a business), to ensure that you have a system in which thousands of pages are constantly available (don't think you have that much to say? think again; take what you have and go into every part of it deeper, and what you've already got is #*$! loads more; then repeat the process until you really can't stand it any more);
writing programs and scripts (with stuff like perl or asp) to take blocks of easy-to-produce information and carve it up into a myriad is the way to do it if you don't believe in borrowing investment money;
constant updating is the final bit of the puzzle - and what it boils down to is the very thing you were wondering - every 48 hours you better have something new for the robots, coz they don't take long to lose interest if someone has nothing to say to them which they haven't already heard!
want a concrete example?
go to msn and search for
get work done more quickly
(i put that one up in the last fortnight, maybe even the last 8 or 9 days; it's been up almost as long)
((my link is currently the number 1 result on that search - it tells you how to set up and use activeperl on your windows xp machine))
but like the fate of ozymandias's statue, my no.1 ranked page will gradually drop down the list of results as more pages come in which coincidentally feature the words "get work done more quickly" as a complete phrase; naturally it will help them to have the phrase in the meta-tags, like mine does, but it's really not necessary (some of my most profitable pages don't have ANY metatags).
so the guy who said in answer to the question "how long will it last", that the answer too was "48 hours" was not jesting by means of an untruth, merely an exaggeration, of varying degrees, as prescribed by circumstance.
just bear in mind that the answer is "yes you can get pages out to users in less than 3 days" (i.e. as fast as a clearing cheque/check).
but the answer to the question "can i get money for nothing within 3 days" is always NO.
hence the fact that people CAN get pages into the top results 3 days from when they choose is the root cause of why those results are, per se, worth less with time. however, getting it out in 5 minutes is still worth a hell of a lot, and that's where google adwords IS the correct answer; google adwords currently represents the only method of totally instantaneous reach; as soon as that's as easy to achieve as the 48 hour thing, it'll be that much harder to stay afloat on the ocean of e-commerce.
are you qualified?
to be qualified you need to be very unique; on the one hand all your bills, paperwork, bureaucratic bull#*$! is in perfect order and at your disposal, your life is neat, healthy, clean-edged; on the other hand you can be awake at 4am, sipping gin, stalking robots, calculating things, running scripts, checking things, even having new ideas.
i think, from experience, you have to get experience in both those lifestyles separately first and THEN combine the two together.
enough. i rant so. hope that i haven't completely missed the point and merely demonstrated my profound ignorance of all things, without exception.
appendix A: the relevance of schrodinger
getting 'a page' into the top results is generally easy; however, getting 'a phrase' or 'a keyword' is totally different; which words work and which don't are not things even remotely possible to calculate in advance; but by using multiplicity (lots of pages, or a page with lots of words, lots of phrases, good synonym usage, good interchange of repetition and variation) you can ensure that each 'thing' you want to throw traffic at can get a staple amount of traffic from a small bunch of salt-of-the-earth pages.
finding out which words are the ones getting the users in is not always completely unpredictable, but by no means chartable; eg a list of comedy dvds which goes up is likely to attract users from the less mainstream titles on the page;
in other words, the behaviour at a microscopic level is completely different to the behaviour at a macroscopic level
(hence, again, getting 1 page up in 48 hours is not something that can be scaled up to get a billion pages up in 48 hours - the billion page crawls have completely different rules, some quite infuriating).
summary of the entire post (probably - well could YOU be bothered to reread it WHILE typing the summary?)
1. yes you can get a page up in about 2 to 3 days
2. you need a website which already has thousands or more pages which the engines already know about
3. the pages don't stay up forever;
4. you can only do it a few hundred or thousand times a day or week
5. it may well be possible to feed engines much more if you have highly expensive bandwidth (tens of thousands of dollars per year so that a million pages can be read in the space of a minute)
6. it follows from 5 that as bigger bandwidth comes down in price (assuming technology to be something which always moves forwards) instantaneous search engine updates WILL become commonplace and the wild-west days of e-commerce (which we, here, are all a part of) will be far behind us
7. it follows from 6. that the best thing to do is make a fortune now, buy a small beach and 100 year's supplies, and move out of the real world.