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To make it worse, I often find sites ranking up there at the top of the first page which were abandoned (as far as updates go) several years ago (or more). Usually they have been online for years and somehow they keep a high ranking. Probably a lot of inbound links still exist (among other things).
Trying to rank for a very broad nitch you have to examine the sites that rank now and allow the site you launch the time to gain strength to ever think about ranking. There is not time line here this depends on the amount of work you put into the site.
Now focus on one small part of that nitch examine the competition and you can rank in days to weeks as long as your willing and able to put the effort into the site.