06 Oct 2006

Google Ranking Filters: Trust and Age Factors.

Call it what you want: Sandbox, Trustbox, TrustRank, Filters, Kitty Litter, etc etc.
In case you didn’t know, TIME is a huge factor to Google’s rankings. How long you’ve been around, how long you’ve had people link to your site, how old are the site that link to you, what has your backlink growth and history been, etc, etc…..it’s all about TIME Factors.

There’s another nice thread over at Webmasterworld where Whitey starts off with:

A lot of discussions tend to focus on the generality of a "Sandbox", but it has long since been debunked as a useful term, by Matt Cutts and many senior forum members. So i propose the Sandbox is dead 🙂

What does exist, are filters.

What opposes those filters are good techniques and "trust" – one good member recently referred me to it as "Trustrank".

Then Whitey and others start to list some filters that they’ve noticed.

There’s also a nice quote from TheRealTerry:

In my experience an older domain with a long history in the SERPs gets away with murder. A new site has to prove itself for a while before it gets any Google love, unless it takes off like a rocket with a bunch of relevant inbound links and other things that a general PR buzz can generate. I don’t care what it’s called, sandbox, litter box, or what, bottom line seems to be crusty old domains get love, new ones get ignored until the popular kids start talking about it.

Continue reading this discussion on Webmasterworld.

TheRealTerry’s comment above is sooo true.

I know that I won’t touch a site that’s less than 2 1/2 years old (a webuildpages policy for almost a year now).  Yea, there is no sandbox really, only levels of filters. The newer the site, the more filters it has to flow through.

The biggest drawback to new sites is that their put through much more rigged filters than the older sites are put through. 

As far as some the the "age related" items that might be looked at,  several items are talked about in the "big news" Google patent called "Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data" that came out in May of 2005. Rand does a nice job of rewriting this Google Patent in more simple English here (if you haven’t read it, you really should – at least Rand’s translation).

I tend to believe a lot of the words and ideas in this patent and feel they have a large role in the: Sandbox, Google Filters, Age of Website, TrustRank, Trustbox, Etc, etc, theories that are out there.

If I were handed 2 sites, and I had to vote for which one has the best changes for highest ranking:

Choice 1 – site registered in Aug 2005 with 10K of great backlinks.

Choice 2 – site registed in August 1997 with 1k of great backlinks

I’d easily bet on Choice #2 beating the 2005 website – even if they both had great backlinks. The biggest advantage to the 1997 site is that google might have found them in 1998 or 1999, and also recorded people linking to the site back then as well…..this site was building history that the 2005 just doesn’t have. (according to the patent, Google might Date the day someone links to you…building your history. 

It’s a lot easier to move that 1997 site up….and handful of focused backlinks mixed with nice on page optimization – and results are "quick".

The 2005 site requires lots of varied backlinks from trusted sources going slowly and "naturally" (unless there’s the "new news pages" that gathers lots of links quickly…but beyond these "blurps" the underlying work still needs to be slow and steady). Results are also much slower and you keep having to think about possible filters and hope you don’t get hit by collatoral damages along the way.

Additional resources involving how Google views websites historically and how older sites are easier to work with:
1. Mike Grehan’s article called "Filthy Linking Rich, and Getting Richer (HIGHLY recommended reading).
2. Aaron Walls "Determining Domain Link & Age Related Trust".
3. Stuntdubl’s "The Trust Knob is WAY too High – Google Trustbox"
Some prior posts about this topic I’ve written:
1. I Like ’em Old
2. Playing with Google’s Domain Age Factor
3. Telling a prospective client, "You’re screwed"



  1. Jim Boykin October 6, 2006 at 12:46 PM

    I’ve got to include a great quote from Graywolf that he made today “The sandbox isn’t something you are trying to get out of, it’s the trustbox that you are trying to figure a way into.”
    Great point!

  2. Darrin Ward October 6, 2006 at 1:19 PM

    So, the obvious questions are:

    1. How many stages of “Trust” are there. How many steps are there on the way from being 100% non-trusted to 100% trusted?
    — Do “steps” of trust-rank exist, or is it a steadily increasing quantity.

    2. Is the curve of trust over time linear, or is trust “authored” disproportionately in time?
    — I’d like to devise a method by which the increases in trust-rank over time can be monitored. Particularly interested in knowing if trust-rank peaks at a particular point of it it’s unlimited. It seems logical to assume they would use a non-linear system, such as they did for PR.

    3. Is there any way to buy trust e.g. by buying an old domain with in-links?
    — Straight forward!

    4. Are there any X-dimensional factors in trust accumulation?
    — I like to believe that Goggle uses varied criteria (in addition to time) to determine trust. I’ve given thought to: data from the toolbar, click-streams on Google.com (did searchers click on your site for search “x”, and did they hit the back button?), data collected from AdSense & Urchin (Did people stay for more than a particular number of page views or seconds?).

  3. Tom Forrest October 6, 2006 at 5:52 PM

    Hello Jim,

    This is one of your best posts ever, I really enjoyed reading it.

    Please keep up the good work.

    Best regards,

    Tom Forrest

  4. Alex Piner October 6, 2006 at 11:17 PM

    That is the mos timportant utility of the cool seo tool.

    Wish I could see what goes on in your office (allthose other tools)!

  5. aaron dalrymple dot com » Search Engine Marketing, SEO, Online Travel Marketing » Blog Archive » Are you Willing to Wait a Year for Google Rankings? October 7, 2006 at 11:37 PM

    […] Google Ranking Filters: Trust and Age Factors. – Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog […]

  6. Manish Mathukiya October 8, 2006 at 1:56 AM

    Does it mean if your site is linked with relevant good SERP sites than you shuold also have good SERP?
    Generally older sites will have goos position for their keywords

  7. Zoran October 8, 2006 at 3:43 PM

    Hi Jim,

    This link is broken :
    Mike Grehan’s article called “Filthy Linking Rich, and Getting Richer (HIGHLY recommended reading).


    Can you post the right link ?

  8. kid disco October 9, 2006 at 5:06 PM

    Great post, Jim. 🙂

    From my observations, it seems like Google has been weighing age even more heavily after the last few updates.

    This sucks because you can’t really do anything about it for immediate effect… aside from some kamikaze SEO. 😛

  9. Whitey October 10, 2006 at 2:46 AM

    The scary thing is they know more about most folks sites than site owners know themselves.

    It won’t be long before they know what a site was long after teh owner has no idea.

  10. Google’s Trustbox - Older is Wiser October 12, 2006 at 5:35 PM

    […] Jim Boykin has an excellent post on Google’s Trustbox – more commonly referred to as the Sandbox in SEO circles. In the post, he suggests that time is the most important factor in ranking well (and easily) in Google. In case you didn’t know, TIME is a huge factor to Google’s rankings. How long you’ve been around, how long you’ve had people link to your site, how old are the site that link to you, what has your backlink growth and history been, etc, etc…..it’s all about TIME Factors. […]

  11. Jim Boykin’s Favorite SEO Writings. - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog October 20, 2006 at 5:59 PM

    […] Ninja KnowledgeI like ‘em old.  Playing with Google’s Domain Age FactorGoogle Ranking Filters: Trust and Age Factors.Linking out – The overlooked link neighborhood.New Pagerank Patent – Jims Abstract Translation.The Historical Importance of Backlinks.What does Google know about your domain names? by Nick WilsdonDamned to Google Hell – Supplemental ResultsPsssst — GIVING away DMOZ Editor Accounts! Abhilash on the Future of Text Link Building. […]

  12. Keeping ’em old with domain auctions| 300km North of Moscow October 21, 2006 at 8:45 AM

    […] Well aside from the existing IBLs, they have often passed into the trusted zone. Jim Boykin has plenty to read on this subject and says it better than I can (1, 2, 3). The interesting thing about domain auctions is the initial registration date (CREATION DATE) remains untouched when the domain changes hands – as technically the domain never drops. […]

  13. Big Pig November 9, 2006 at 3:25 PM

    Definitely, from my experience, if a new site gets a link from an old *trusted* site, it starts rank faster and higher.

  14. Forward Links - Because who you link to matters - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog December 13, 2006 at 1:26 AM

    […] Some Dead End sites are SEO relics from ideas of a few years ago where there was a fear about "Leaking Pagerank"….but that was when Pagerank was a hugh ranking factor, and so lots of people wanted to horde thier pagerank….but wake up…it’s almost 2007 and fears of leaking pagerank need to be replaced with fears of trust levels and co citation. […]

  15. Sorry, I won’t do SEO for your new website. - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog February 4, 2007 at 7:01 PM

    […] Find out why by reading that post. […]

  16. Learn how to build trust online February 5, 2007 at 1:08 AM

    […] Getting into your industry means that you’ll be getting links from other trusted websites and you’ll be better off it, as Google begins to give more weight to trust nowadays. […]

  17. Manish Pandey February 19, 2007 at 2:31 PM

    Very true Jim!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Manish (aka Sam)

  18. Filthy Linking Rich The Value of Link Popularity August 29, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    […] Google Ranking Filters: Trust and Age Factors Jim Boykin – October 2006 […]

  19. Alex October 15, 2007 at 3:23 AM

    Hi, Jim

    It would be a great idea to make a full list of the time factors webmasters should be aware of. You mentioned some of them already.

    Regards, Alex

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