The Sandbox Effect
What once many people thought they had a penalty, is now being called the Sandbox Effect and is causing new web sites not to rank very well in the search results of Google, not even for the least competitive phrases. Meaning that a filter is being placed on new web sites and cannot rank very high for most words or phrases for a certain amount of time.
This does not mean it's punishment for anything the webmaster did with their site, such as using Spam or anything like that. The probation likely don't apply to the web site, but instead to backlinks. After the link stays on the web site for a certain amount of time it will no longer be on probation and fully counted as a backlink to your web site. Even if your site is better than your competitors it will still be in the Sandbox.
There is a lot of debate as to why Google uses the sandbox filter. However, It is believed that this is attempt by Google to discourage web site owners that use SEO Spam techniques to rank high fast and make a quick buck before Google discovers they are using Spam. This is largely because Google uses link popularity so much to rank web sites in it's search engine.
There is no way to know for sure if a new web site is in the Sandbox, but the best way to determine if you are in the Sandbox is if your web site has a good amount of quality backlinks, quality content and a good ranking in other search engines, such as Yahoo!, MSN and Ask Jeeves, but still no where in Google's search engine results for your keywords.
It has been suggested by some that it can take up to 9 months before a new web site can get a high ranking in Google's search engine results and out of the Sandbox, but this does vary from web site to web site. This Also depends on how competitive your new web site's market and keywords are.
There is no known way of speeding up the amount time a new web site is in the Sandbox. Before you fully put up your web site you could get a few backlinks to it before you fully put it up, even though you will still be in the Sandbox this way, you won't waste much time. You could also buy a domain that's already being used, so you never have to be in the Sandbox.