A really late night post (was thinking about this on drive home from work…now it’s 2:20 am)….
When you run a search at Google, and are fed the top 10 results, you are commonly given these types of sites listed back.
Overall, the average age of the sites in the top will be 6 years old, and a site newer than 2 years old is very rare. Your chances of seeing a site less than 1 year old in the top 10 of any phrase (that’s searched even a little) will be 1 in 1000.
- The College Paper top 10 Listing (.edu’s). That .edu link that might not have much to do with the topic, but Google will serve you the best it can find from a college site.
- The Government Paper top 10 listing (.gov’s). Again, might not have too much to do with the keyword phrase, but is best they can find from the government.
- The site that has lots of edu’s and some .gov’s linking to it. Googles best guess as to who has the highest "trust rank".
- A huge site’s subpage on your topic. It’s that sub page PR 0 or PR 2 page of a site that has 1,000,000+ pages, and the homepage is a PR8 – examples are Amazon, Yahoo directory page, shopping.com, etc.
- The old page which hasn’t changed in 5 years. With a backlink history of slow and steady link growth.
- Pages from sites that have historically held top positions, and change their content on the pages on a regular basis (Fresh newsy stuff).
- New pages from old established sites (looks fresh) – they fade in and out of rankings.
Sub pages of old established sites that just got a bunch of backlinks which co incided with new content on that page. (looks like hot news).
The old sites that keeps updating and keep getting new links (the authority)
The spam site that won’t be around next month.
I think that for most searches, the top 10 will consist mostly of these types of pages. I think Google does this on purpose to show a variety of Types of pages to the user.
If you’re targeting a phrase, you should start by figuring what type of result your site will be, and what it’s role is in the top 10, and who you’re "real" and "direct" competitor is and what it will take to replace them.