Waiting for results – So youve spent the last while building the website, getting the files onto the server, trouble-shooting links and now you want to know how long its going to take before you see results. And since you followed all the basic SEO best practices, you know the site will succeed and pages should rank well. 

But how long should you expect it to take?

google sandbox

Well, it will most likely take longer than youd hoped for when you started down this road. Typically, new websites are handled slightly differently by each of the three major engines. Google takes a wait-and-see approach by letting the site “age form anywhere between 8 months and a year, before releasing it to roam the SERPs (search engine results pages) freely based on its own merits.

This is what is referred to as “The Sandbox, which Google flat denies even exists. If youve been doing this sort of work for a few years, though, you know otherwise based on experience. One day youre looking at pretty much zero referrals from Google, suddenly, within a month (usually around the 9 month mark) Google becomes your 2nd biggest referrer. Since Googles goal is to “bring the most relevant results forward, this aging makes sense to weed out garbage sites and parking pages. If you arent updating your website regularly, this is what you get.

MSN boot

MSN doesnt really care  so long as you have a link from a page which it already crawls, MSN will come see you and start ranking pages immediately based on MSNs own criteria. It is widely known that MSN is the easiest of the three major engines in which to achieve high rankings. They are changing their algorithm almost daily, though, so look for them to tighten up things dramatically. So, basically, youll need to do all the work on the website, get one or more links pointed to the site form a page which is regularly crawled by the bots and wait.

The engines WILL find you, they will index you and they will throw you into the mix with every other website online. It usually takes a couple of months to be “found, though if youre lucky and get a link in front of the spider just before it crawls the page, you might be “found sooner

Where’d I go?

Many times a Webmaster will notice that pages from their website appear near the top of the rankings on Google for desired keyword or phrases within days or weeks of the site getting live. They are excited and think they must have dotted all the “is and crossed all the “ts to be doing so well, this quickly.

Within days, their excitement turns to dismay as they can no longer find themselves anywhere in the rankings. From top 5 to outside the top 100 in days  what happened? Like any “system the Google system takes time to sort through new data. Make no mistake about it, this “here-today-gone-tomorrow game is part of the plan with Google. They dont intentionally set out to have things function this way, but a well optimized page is a well optimized page  and it often meets the requirements of the algorithm to rank well for a phrase.

The “system then allows the page to float to the top. Many servers away, another portion of the algorithm is crunching data and sees your pages are new. It then decides those pages should be given time to “age to ensure they are stable (stay up long term), that the domain is not used for spam and does not start to use spam tricks, that the website is actively being maintained either through additions or updates and generally watches for a whole host of other clues to see what kind of site youll be over the long-haul. As this segment of the algorithm does its bit, you fall back in the rankings.

It does take time to prove yourself and its just part of the process. 

What you should be doing during this time

Since you know you have some time to twiddle thumbs, nows the time to get busy building more unique content. Expand the current pages, add new section and new pages, add a blog to the site and begin posting daily or every couple of days (HINT: Engines LOVE Blogs). Take a long look at the layout of the site and figure out any changes you want now. Get the navigation sorted and make sure you have a fully complete sitemap in place. and get started on building links.

This period of time is going to help you come out on top if you get busy building one way, relevant, inbound links to the pages of your website. Well cover the “How to build links elsewhere, but lets just say if you do nothing else, sit down and set a goal of how many links you want to get each week during the next year or so. Go for quality over quantity and get cracking.

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