2/12/2008

Age of Sites & Google's SERPs

The following chart diagrams ten searches performed at Google for somewhat competitive terms in the same industry - commercial real estate financing. I have opted to use terms from the same industry so as to have the most relevant results possible. If Google does segment algos and SERPs by theme (as has been suggested on SEO forums, i.e. Florida update hit travel sites, etc.), these results may not apply equally to other market segments.

Search terms were typed into Google from datacenter 104 on Dec. 12, 2004 - no customized features turned on, no quotes used. Links were calculated at Yahoo! using the command linkdomain:url.com -site:url.com. Ages were obtained through Archive.org's database.

Chart begins below:

Search Term/Top 10 Sites
HomePage PR
LinkDomain @ Y!
Age
Search: Commercial Loans

www.c-loans.com
www.loanuniverse.com
www.steelheadcapital.com
www.hsh.com
www.amo-mortgage.com
www.invest-2win.com
www.land.net
www.wellsfargo.com
www.mortgageresearchcenter.com
www.find.co.uk

PR5
PR5
PR5
PR6
PR5
PR5
PR6
PR8
PR7
PR7

2980
3100
321
27,100
15,800
618
3210
181,000
23,300
22,400

1999
2000
2001
1997
1996
2000
1996
1997
2002
1997
Search: Bridge Loans

www.realestateabc.com
www.bankrate.com
www.help-finance.com
www.investopedia.com
www.entrepreneur.com
www.kennedyfunding.com
southflorida.bizjournals.com
loan.yahoo.com
www.myflorida.com
www.state.nj.us

PR7
PR8
PR5
PR6
PR8
PR5
PR6
PR8
PR8
PR8
240,000
532,000
280
54,300
162,000
142
870,000
100,000,000
226,000
287,000
1998
1997
2000
2000
1997
1997
2002
1998
2000
1997
Search: Hard Money Loans

www.bankrate.com
www.businessfinance.com
www.kennedyfunding.com
www.crhome.com
www.carpenterleasing.com
www.realestatelink.net
groups.msn.com
www.craigslist.org
loans.phpnuke.org
www.craigslist.org

PR8
PR6
PR5
PR5
PR5
PR5
PR8
PR8
PR7
PR8
532,000
3690
142
1130
688
18,700
20,400,000
229,000
10,400,000
229,000
1997
1996
1997
1997
1997
1999
2002
1998
2000
1998
Search: Non-Conforming Loans

www.efanniemae.com
www.nva-mortgage.com
theage.com.au
ni.infochoice.com.au
www.nzherald.co.nz
www.rbcmortgage.com
www.legalwiz.com
loans.phpnuke.org
www.nationalmortgage.com
www.wizard.com.au

PR7
PR5
PR7
PR7
PR8
PR6
PR4
PR7
PR8
PR4
6770
761
743,000
17,900
352,000
16,100
1660
10,400,000
598,000
772
2001
2000
1997
1998
new
2002
1998
2000
2000
2002
Search: Commercial Mortgages

www.c-loans.com
www.steelheadcapital.com
www.realwebfunds.com
www.businessfinance.com
www.rbs.co.uk
commercial-mortgages.uni.cc
www.find.co.uk
www.startinbusiness.co.uk
www.commercial-mortgage-loan.co.uk
tiscali.xbridge.com

PR5
PR5
PR5
PR6
PR7
PR5
PR7
PR5
PR4
PR6
2980
321
296
3690
22,100
299,000
22,400
1120
80
13,500
1999
2001
1998
1996
1998
1999
1997
2000
2003
2001
Search: Commercial Real Estate Funding

www.rebuz.com
www.americancashflow.com
dmoz.org
www.business.com
dir.yahoo.com
www1.shore.net
www.realtor.org
www.prudential.com
www.commercialfinancing.com
www.propertyvalu.com

PR6
PR5
PR9
PR7
PR8
PR5
PR7
PR7
PR4
PR5
2710
3830
7,460,000
309,000
100,000,000
57,500
109,000
47,000
333
68
2000
2000
1999
1996
2000
1996
1996
1997
1999
2001
Search: Hard Money Nevada

www.thecreativeinvestor.com
www.1loansusa.com
www.adminlabs.com
www.fecwatch.org
www.reviewjournal.com
www.reiclub.com
www.theunion.com
www.usa-lenders.com
dmoz.org
sos.state.nv.us

PR5
PR4
PR6
PR7
PR7
PR5
PR5
PR7
PR9
PR8
88,900
594
12,100
786
103,000
587
6250
13,000
7,460,000
113,000
2002
2001
2001
2002
2001
2002
1996
2003
1999
1998
Search: Business Real Estate Financing

search.epnet.com
dir.yahoo.com
www.business.com
www.prudential.com
www.loanuniverse.com
www.bbean.com
www.amazon.com
dmoz.org
www.trebs.ac.th
www.sba.gov

PR8
PR8
PR7
PR7
PR5
PR5
PR9?
PR9
PR5
PR8
175,000
100,000,000
309,000
47,000
3100
646
66,500,000
746,000
187
249,000
1999
2000
1996
1997
2000
1997
1998
1999
2002
1997
Search: Hard Money Lenders

www.bankrate.com
www.kennedyfunding.com
www.businessfinance.com
www.realestatepromo.com
www.thecreativeinvestor.com
www.rebuz.com
www.reiclub.com
www.prweb.com
www.1loansusa.com
www.iraqi-mission.org

PR8
PR5
PR6
PR5
PR5
PR5
PR5
PR7
PR4
PR6
532,000
142
3690
12,000
88,900
2710
587
137,000
594
10,300
1997
1997
1996
2002
2002
2000
2002
1998
2001
new
Search: Private Money Financing

www.klas-tv.com
sbinformation.about.com
www.multi-housingnews.com
www.collegeboard.com
biz.yahoo.com
www.kiplinger.com
www.entrepreneur.com
www.proma-investment.com
www.ventureplan.com
www.whitehouseforsale.org

PR6
PR8
PR6
PR8
PR8
PR7
PR8
PR5
PR5
PR7
57,700
4,120,000
9020
152,000
100,000,000
54,600
162,000
671
289
16,600
1997
1999
1999
1998
1997
1996
1997
2001
1998
2003

Analysis

The average site age and median site age for all the above searches is 1999. This figure suggests an exceptionally high preference for older sites, as the number of domains that have been developed since 1999 far exceeds the number of sites existing prior to 1999.

Google's clear preference for older sites, particularly in the single industry above (although circumstantial evidence and other, less documented testing shows this effect to be quite broad), could be due to several factors. I will attempt to document the possible reasons and then attempt to disprove them through the evidence gathered from the SERPs.

  • Older Sites are Preferable Due to Age of Links

    This possibility cannot be dismissed and would be exceptionally difficult to disprove. It would account for all of the factors of an age bonus, but would have to be overwhelmingly strong in the algorithm and have a negligible effect after a certain period - i.e. a link that is 24 months old is just as good as a link that is 48 months old. Several searches above suggest that the effect is almost plateau-like, or simi liar to a challenge system. Once a certain level age. links ,or some other unknown factor is reached, the site is given a 'pass' that allows it to compete in the SERPs with other old sites. This is definitely one explanation for the 'sandbox effect'.
  • Older Sites are Preferable Because they Inherently have More Links

    Unfortunately, this is a naive assumption. While many of the sites listed above do have a great number of links, not only due to age but also to quality of content and link building programs, they are clearly surpassed by many newer sites in both quality and quantity of links. Sites with higher PR and higher numbers of links are ranking well behind these sites in Google's SERPs. Older sites have nothing 'inherent' to them except their age.
  • Older Sites Rank Better Because they Offer Better Content

    This myth is exceptionally simple to reject by looking at GG's search results for non-conforming loans or business real estate financing. Although I have not completed an independent analysis of the quality of each result, most of the searches above offer ten sites with excellent information in the top 100-200 results, but only 1-2 are in the top 10. Logic also tells us that older sites will often contain outdated information, and dozens of the sites above have seen few updates over the past 2-3 years, further degrading their content.
  • Older Sites Rank Better Because There are More of Them

    This argument presumes that the ratio of sites from 2002 and before compared to sites from 2003-2004 is higher in the top 10 because there simply are more sites from this time period. However, the ratios are vastly unbalanced, with only 4 sites in the above 100 results that were started after 2002. Site registration and promotion, on the other hand, has been progressing at a breakneck level over the past 2 years, fueled by a recovery from the post-dot-com-crash era.

What is the Solution?

With the knowledge that Google, the dominant leader in search, prefers older sites for one reason or another, the key is to register and build well in anticipation of use. Sites launched today may not be able to achieve competitive rankings for 18-24 months making it wise to put a small amount of relevant, placeholder content on a newly registered site, attempting to update it 1-2 times per month and point several links to the sites from established sites. With this technique, you can help to circumvent problems that you may encounter due to site youth in the future

SeoMoz

3 comments:

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