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Is the sandbox dead?

     
11:55 pm on Sep 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I just heard that google stopped not allowing completely new sites to get decent rankings during the first 6-9 (or so months)...a while ago?

If I remember correctly thats what people referred to as the sandbox (with most arguing it exists, and others saying its all in peoples' heads).

Anyway, can a completely new domain/website do just as well in Google as a 10 year old website, if they have similar backlink patterns?

PS: or is it that the age of the domain/site doesnt count anymore, but the age of the links still does.... (not sure if the age of links thing is true, because i havent seen enough evidence of it myself, but ill give it the benefit of the doubt here :-))
7:40 am on Sept 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I don't think the sandbox effect is as pronounced as it was. two or three years ago. It may not in fact now exist. I have had new niche sites ranking fairly well within a month or two of launch.
9:15 am on Sept 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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very interesting heard something similar as you stated in the second phrase. May I ask how competitive those terms are where you had sites ranking well (I assume this means top10?) within a month or two of launch?
9:22 am on Sept 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed this as well, depending on your keywords if you are targeting competitive markets and in what language. I guess google is also trying to give new websites a chance as well instead of showing the same sites over and over for each keyword. with the intention that maybe that new site is just as relevant as that 10y old site.
9:42 am on Sept 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Actually I would say top 20 would be nearer the mark. The one in particular I am talking about is not particularly competitive but I have noticed that it is ranking above established websites for some phrases (launched July).
10:00 am on Sept 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Most of my sites are small and probably quite niche, but they all seem to grab good rankings above older sites even in the absence of any page rank.

Generally for a brand new site it seems like maybe 1 - 2 months for rankings to stabilise as google finds all the backlinks and indexes the whole site. And in most cases I would probably agree with the rankings that google has assigned based on the authority of the sites that my pages go up against.

I would say that for sure that Page rank and age are not a big barrier in the hunt for good serps.

This may be different for highly trafficked and sought after keywords though...
1:19 am on Sept 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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thanks guys.

Btw, I have asked on another forum where a guy I know who is in a fairly competitive niche says he has been seeing the same thing happen for some of his main keywords.

Just anecdotal evidence, of course! - but maybe the same holds true for competitive keywords, too...

I really cant believe Ive heard about Google Instant, Google Suggest, Google Wave, and plenty of news about search that I might never get anything out of, but I somehow failed to hear about age no longer being an important ranking factor / the sandbox apparently being dead lol
2:19 am on Sept 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Makaveli2007,

In my opinion the sandbox is still out there, especially for sites competing for competitive keywords.

I think a new website can do better than a 10 year old site, but not over night and not just from backlinks. Strong overall SEO can do great things.

From experience, I believe aged domains definitely has advantage over new domains but maybe not quite as significant as it once did. Although their has been recent debate over aged links, I do feel links add value as they age.
5:19 am on Sept 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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thanks yellow_Sun. always good to hear about contradictory(exp?) evidence, rather than falling for a confirmation bias!
10:34 am on Sept 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you think about it, imagine what it would be like if everyone built a new site and google started to rank them right away knocking old sites to the bottom. I would like to have my new site ranking right away but for google fair to everyone else, a site has to earn its ranking over time.
11:08 am on Sept 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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but for google fair to everyone else, a site has to earn its ranking over time.

Yes but don't forget that Google's responsibility in delivering SERPs is to the people who are using it for search, not we website owners. ;)
1:24 pm on Sept 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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5 months ago, I got a site to page 2 for a competitive keyword (1mill+ searches month) within 60 days. I tried doing the same to another 2-3 sites in the last 2 months, but they still haven't got a keyword rank.

I think Google disabled the Sandbox before and perhaps it's re-enabled now after a huge flux of new sites? Who knows... I sit and wait :(
3:56 pm on Sept 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@np2003:

Maybe it is different from one keyword/industry to another?

In certain SERPs/for certain keywords it might make more or less sense to use age as a(n important) ranking factor?

Interesting to hear that there is contradictory evidence, however...
5:34 pm on Sept 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Even in its earliest incarnation, the word "sandbox" was a bit of a misnomer, and there was no set time period for "release". Instead, it was more about establishing trust. With the emphasis today on new and fresh results, we don't see early rankings (after a short honeymoon ranking period) being so crippled any more, but establishing trust is still part of the picture.

If a new site is hoping to rank for very competitive keywords, then it's very unlikely that it will just pop onto the scene with enough trustable backlink juice to compete right away. Churn and burn spammers tend to exploit that early honeymoon period rather than hoping for a long term win.
5:48 pm on Sept 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Maybe it is different from one keyword/industry to another?


exactly my recent experiences tell me that the effect is still there for new sites...
6:06 am on Sept 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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thanks for the (further) input @ tedster+indyank! makes me take the input i had gotten on this before with a grain of salt hehe..(as in..it seems to be quite a bit more complicated than "age is no longer a ranking factor")
7:00 am on Sept 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The trending word of the moment is "nuanced" - as in most SEO answers are nuanced, rather than pure "yes" or "no".