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.

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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"