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Old 9th June 2006, 11:28 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boulder Colorado
Posts: 523

Great article Jenn and I agree with you. I've always called it a 'sandbox effect' and have never seen the sandbox as a thing a new site gets put in. You're right about the need to explain why it appears to exist though. Too many people just say it does or doesn't and the people reading that can get los very fast, especially when they see their new site as having no hope of ranking for anything until their domain has aged.

I do think Google considers age as part of their ranking algorithm. It seems to me they are moving away from PageRank and towards TrustRank and trust can be helped by time, but I do think the 'sanbox effect' is mostly due to the time it takes to compete for certain keywords.

New sites can compete very quickly for less competitive keywords in the search tail often within a matter of days or weeks. If new domains and sites were being held back somehow until they reached a certain age then it would be impossible to to rank for these keywords and that doesn't happen.

It takes time though to compete for a phrase when there are already thousands if not millions of sites already optimized for the phrase. This isn't necessarily a bad thing that it takes time to compete for these phrases. From a searchers perspective it might make more sense to see more established sites to many queries. Would you prefer to hand over your credit card information to a company that's been around for awhile or one that just opened yesterday. It's not automatic that the older company is to be more trusted, but there is something to be said for being able to stay in business for awhile.

It really just takes time to build the links necessary to compete for competitive search terms and I think that more than anything is where the 'sandbox effect' comes from.

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