I haven’t seen any brand new sites with new domains appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERP) since early in 2004. There seems to be a delay of about 6-8 months. […]
If you are launching new sites for clients, make sure you set the expectation that it is likely to be 7-8 months before the site achieves any real results in Google.
I have a site I’m working on that’s suffering from this phenomenon. We’ve done everything we can for SEO — the code is perfect, the keywords are perfect (especially compared to its competition), it’s in DMOZ, it’s in AdWords, it has multiple inbound links — but it’s just not living up to its potential.
I suspect even more strongly now that this is the reason, and the site will take a big jump forward in five months or so.
There’s a lot more good information about this in Johnny’s comment.