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New Sites Put Into a "Sand Box" by Google


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#81 amabaie

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 08:53 AM

Is it a Zero sum game or is that the value of CPC will keep on rising and rather than be a cheaper, cost effective way of aquiring customers will become as expensive as traditional advertising, which I am sure Google would like to see.


That is undoubtedly what will happen, but not as a result of sandboxing. That is a factor of supply and demand. There will still be only 10 free results in the top ten, but if there are more sites vying for them, the price for paid listings will go up.

#82 Black_Knight

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 08:57 AM

I can see a problem arising for SEO in the future as how can you show results when you can't get any traction with Google

If you see that being a problem, start looking at what personalized search will mean, and how the SERPs you see are not the same as the SERPs the client sees, and neither of you may see the same SERPs as the customers you want to reach...

#83 DianeV

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 09:10 AM

I've occasionally been seeing that anyway. Very annoying.

#84 Black_Knight

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 09:34 AM

Annoying for you, Diane, but absolutely devastating to any SEO that is selling their service based on position in the SERPs. Especially if they offer pricing based upon specifics, such as top 5 or top 10. Top 5 for whom? The SEO, The client, The majority of average users of search? The most likely potential market segments?

The writing has been on the wall for a while, but now the breathing room is getting smaller, and companies may soon have to exit or be suffocated.

#85 OracleKid

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 09:54 AM

Hi John

I get the same feeling that the wind has changed. If SEO's can't guarrentee when the SEO exercise will work how can they charge a fee or expect customers to wait and wait until google catches up, if it ever does.

When we took our first to site to market it was easy you paid for SEO you built some links and hey presto you got a resonable inclusion in the free index and therefore traffic.

This has changed now and as far as I see the only way forward is to niche to a finite level across many specifc search terms or wait five years until you have built up such a link / content presence that you automatically qualify. It will soon become 'not best of breed' but who has the deepest pockets.

The only other route may be that networked communities vote on sites rather than allowing search engines to decide which is the best site for them.
cheers

OK

#86 amabaie

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 09:57 AM

Black Knight is bang on. Even now, when Google is updating its servers and I see a slightly different result than a client for a day or two, it fels like a major upheaval in the client/supplier relationship. Imagine what personalized search will do!

#87 Mike521

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 11:32 AM

I agree it'll be a big problem for SEO's in general, but it's still a bit of time off... Just getting everyone to fill out their little personalized search profile will take long enough

#88 sanity

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 09:18 PM

absolutely devastating to any SEO that is selling their service based on position in the SERPs. Especially if they offer pricing based upon specifics, such as top 5 or top 10.

Agreed Ammon. That's why search marketers really should be using different sets of criteria to determine success. There's a host of measurable criteria out there - increased traffic, leads, sales, sign ups etc etc.

Judging success on the number of top 5's, top 10's etc was never a great way to measure a campaign. After all what good are they if your site doesn't convert. :wink:

#89 sonic10

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 05:54 PM

I agree with sanity. "Any business relying purely on free traffic from the search engines is a disaster waiting to happen"

I have come to accept that google's index is so large now It will take months for my document or homepage to rise to the top.

So while I am waiting my question to everyone in this waiting period -

My site has been indexed since late June. Currently pr5 homepage. Top five in allin commands allinanchor,allintext,allintitle etc. Site has pretty good rankings on a few other engines. I really like the new beta msn search #1 for my 2 & 3 keyword phrases. But nowhere to be found on google using my keyword(s).

Once you feel you have fully optimised your site at what point do you decide not to make any changes for a few weeks?
Do you keep changing your content in hopes of that it will make a difference?
Do you continue gaining good anchor text links?

Just wondering what others are trying to get out of the box earlier.

#90 NorthStar

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 08:53 AM

"Any business relying purely on free traffic from the search engines is a disaster waiting to happen"


People are always saying this. But any business relying purely on free traffic also has some fantastic upsides. Depending on the business your return on investment can be pretty staggering. I've quite enjoying doing nothing every month and having Google send me checks. Some months they are bigger than others, but i do NOTHING to get them. I know there are plenty of people out there that work full time at businesses relying solely on free SE traffic. It is BIG business. Is it easy to forecast or reliable? No. But it can make a lot of money. Is it getting harder? Sure. But there are many businesses that are foolish to not exhaust the possibilities of free search traffic for their businesses. I've got clients that get an extra million visitors to their site each year due to my SEO. That is a whole lot of targeted traffic.

High risk, high reward.

#91 kensplace

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 06:53 PM

Ahh google, when will it learn, people starting to realise what its like finally?

Still waiting for it to improve, as it is, its degrading rapidly, but Im HOPING competition from micro**** will force them to pull their fingers out of their bum and do something..... But, its unlikely, they are big now, and I cant see any chance of improvement unless they have been working on it, and keeping it secret. I hope they do improve, I really do miss the old, real google.

#92 projectphp

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 08:13 PM

But any business relying purely on free traffic also has some fantastic upsides.

The key word in Sophie's Post was rely. You can't rely on free traffic, any more than you can rely on a TV show plugging your product for free forever, but they may mention it once or twice in passing.

Any site that has one revenue generating stream of traffic, and that stream is not financially vested in sending you traffic, is on a collision course with disaster.

So what can a site do? CRM (working with existing customers), newsletters, affiliate programs ad nauseam. Free traffic is risky traffic and longer term, the reliance on risky traffic can come back to bite you. That doesn't mean one shouldn't chase it, just that one shouldn't chase it at the expense of other, revenue generating avenues and in exclusion to all else.

#93 Black_Knight

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 09:44 PM

But any business relying purely on free traffic also has some fantastic upsides.

Hmmm, nope, I can't agree with that - because the key word there is the word relying. A business set up to exploit windfalls, and even encourage them, is smart. But reliance and dependance? No way.

That's like claiming that having a bet on a horse or at a casino is business with a good upside. It's not business, its gambling.

Develop, encourage, promote and exploit free listings as much as you can. But never, ever rely on them. There's no contract and no insurance policy.

#94 NorthStar

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 07:47 AM

If you gamble you have a good chance of losing.

If you can consistently drive lots of free traffic (and i know lots of you can, I've been doing it for years) than you can only stand to win....or not win if the traffic goes away. But if you didn't blow a bunch of money on advertising or marketing, you really can't lose. Either the check shows up or it doesn't.

That said, have I quit my SEO job to just rely on free traffic? Not just yet. Its "reliable" to drive lots of free traffic for clients and get paid well for it. However, is Google making the mortgage payment on the investment property I just bought with income from some sites I haven't touched in a year? Yes. Thanks, Google. Do I expect them to continue to pay my mortgage forever? Not unless I start working on those sites some more. But that is why i'm dumping the money into real estate instead of websites. And considering shorting Google's overpriced stock with some of the other money they send me.

To ignore the ridiculous amount of money created by free traffic seems odd to me. That is what SEO is all about.

Am I taking on new clients with brand new sites or launching brand new sites myself? Not until the sandbox goes away. But there is plenty of traffic out there for existing sites that aren't in the sandbox.

#95 gravelsack

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 08:06 AM

because the key word there is the word relying.


And that means 'relying' on any one source of revenue - nothing to do with search engine traffic specifically - its about risk management.

If I was a small business selling lawnmowers and got a contract with Walmart - that'd be cool, but........ chances are I would need to expand and take on staff, new premises, new manufacturing equipment etc. at this stage, Walmart effectively 'own' me - if they cancel, I am toast. So what I would need to do, and do quickly, is use the money I earn from the Walmart contract to establish new revenue streams that don't depend on Walmart.

See the search engine traffic as a 'Walmart Contract' - It can kick start you into big money, but you need to use your gains to establish non-SE revenue streams.

#96 NorthStar

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 08:44 AM

GravelSack, i think your point illustrates why i'm such a fan of free search traffic. I come from the old side of things. I've worked in big consumer product companies and i've run my own small company trying to get a product into stores like Walmart. To launch a new food product in America and get into the main grocery stores you need to pay a "slotting fee". That can be $5,000,000 for a nationwide launch. That is just to get on the shelf, if nothing sells in the first 6-8 weeks, you get dropped and that $5,000,000 is gone. Then if you want end aisle displays (which you need) you need a sales force that goes to every store and gives the store "incentives" like free tickets to the big game and other bribes. You don't get into big stores without paying a lot of up front money. And they they want a $20 million TV ad campaign. That is on the big side of things. And if on the small side of things you somehow miraculously break into the big chain stores and you start selling a lot of lawnmowers Walmart is going to copy your design, outsource the manufacturing to China, undercut your price and run you out of business. It is almost impossible to make it work as a small business trying to break in. I worked for Nabisco. If some local chocolate chip cookie maker in St. Louis got a deal to get into the local grocery stores (a huge break for them) Nabisco would just give away coupons for Chips Ahoy for as long as it took to run the new guy out of business. Same goes for the beer business. If Microbrewer gets a tap handle in a bar that has Budweiser the Bud sales person will give free kegs of bud to the bar to take the tap handle off. This is traditional business.

And then there is free web traffic. Ever heard of www.cleanairgardening.com? Me neither. But if i type in "push reel mowers" into Google, Yahoo or MSN, they come up #1. I bet they do a lot of busines via free search traffic. Lots of paid ads for that term on the SE's. But cleanairgardening.com isn't paying a thing. Free targeted traffic. Having seen how hard it is to create that so many other ways, I am a diehard free traffic fan. These guys can grow their business without a lot of upfront marketing money. That takes a lot of risk out of things. I understand the concern about "relying" on the traffic. But if you have a solid long-term SEO strategy and know what you are doing, it can be a very successful low risk business strategy. But not for everyone.

I've also seen multi-million dollar ad campaigns declared a "success" because they drove 20,000 people to a website that previously didn't get any traffic. And the site wasn't selling anything, just "raising awareness" That is high risk behavior in my opinion.

#97 gravelsack

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 09:11 AM

I have supply chain management background myself.

The point I was trying to make was that SEO is the way to BREAK INTO the market relatively risk-free and at a lower cost than might otherwise be available.

Once you have broken into the market spread the risk or face wipe out when 'son-of-florida' arrives.

#98 gravelsack

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 11:15 AM

...it can be a very successful low risk business strategy


Its not low risk - by risk analysis standards it is high risk.

The dominance of Google means that you have a significant percentage of your income in the hands of a single party and are subject to their decisions and mistakes - as in the florida update. Some companies practicing solid "whitehat" SEO were wiped out through no fault of their own.

Sure, you can spread your free SE traffic around, but until Yahoo and MSN catch up in the traffic stakes, Google is likely to be 50%+ of your free SE traffic (often more on a larger site).

No amount of clever SEO strategy can work around the risk of Google dropping your site due to error, enemy action, or an algo change not liking your previously safe techniques.

#99 sanity

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 04:05 PM

Excellent points Gravelsack!

#100 NorthStar

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 05:28 PM

I think this really comes down to what business you are in. If you just spent a ton of money buying a lot of inventory, hiring staff, etc and you are relying on free SE traffic to succeed, you are taking a lot of risk. However, if you have a business that requires very little up front investment and can make money off of free SE traffic, there is much less risk.

Also, I think things are becoming less risky with the MSN search on the way. 3 main search engines. 2 years ago it was Google or nothing.

I've been burned by Google in the past. Traffic gone for 6 months. But all I lost was teh "upside" known as cash. Didn't "cost" me a thing. Now if I had a warehouse of inventory and a staff it would've cost us all quite a bit. Free SE traffic works for me. Don't rely on it if you can't afford to lose it. But ignore it and you are leaving money on the table.

#101 projectphp

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 05:47 PM

No amount of clever SEO strategy can work around the risk of Google dropping your site due to error, enemy action, or an algo change not liking your previously safe techniques.

Absolutely!!

I think people that work with SEO and free listings, as all marketers do for their industry, tend to occasionally believe their own propaganda. There is tremendous upside to SEO. Massive upside. But the risk is equally unbelievably large.

Gravelsack's Wallmart example is good, but doesn't go far enough. In that example, there would be a contract, and as such the risk is mitigated for, at the very least, a set period of time. With free Search Engine listings, there is no contract whatsoever, and with shorter and shorter crawl cycles, and SERPs on Google changing sometimes hourly, there is no medium or sometimes short term stability at all.

Everyone who looks into SEO understands the benefits. Everyone. What people fail to see is the risk. Every complaint post a major Google update is always one of utter surprise that this could happen. That surprise is, or should be, the enemy of every business person. Understand the risk, weigh up the benefits, assess the impact of problems and have back up plans.

#102 projectphp

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 05:58 PM

...if you have a business that requires very little up front investment and can make money off of free SE traffic, there is much less risk.

Now we are talking :D IMHO, and I am willing to be corrected, but risk in the end comes down to acceptable and unacceptable, not more or less. One's own unique circumstance needs to be understood, and risk assessed not as an absolute, but relating to one's own circumstances.

For a young, single guy living at home, SEO as teh only source of traffic for an income producing site may be acceptable risk. Not less risk, acceptable. For a married man with a stay at home wife with 5 kids under the age of 6, a large mortgage and barely making ends meet, quitting to pursue a website that relied upon free Google listings is probably unnacceptable risk.

In the end, said risk needs to be accepted and understood, and ignoring it makes decision making less likely to lead to the best solution.

<added>BTW, Gravelsack, you aske me many moons ago if we would ever agree and, well, shoot me dead and bury my corpse, but you posts above were great,and I ageed with them a lot :)</added>

#103 xoom

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 07:18 PM

I lunched a web site late december at least it was #1 with using the business name for search. there is not a single other site on line that have the same name after last google dance it is gone, although it is still in the index ( search by domain i can find it). I build a good IBL with high rank websites ( almost same IBL used to a different site PR5).

#104 Black_Knight

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 02:12 AM

Did you use the same or nearly the same link text for all that link-building?

#105 AbleReach

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 04:16 AM

Is this the right place to bring this up?
From Ammon:

There have been comments elsewhere that Google have changed at least one of their algorithms in this past week...

There have been some big changes in the Internet over the last year.
Their database manipulation must be VERY complex, obviously. I'd imagine that it would be a mess to redirect or unsnarl, army of PhDs or no. Do they publish their theories/goals/data, more than what's in the Google for webmasters section?

Blogging has been an explosion they've needed to look at - ie what is a note to and from friends, what is content, and how much weight do blog site links (blogger et al) or personally hosted blogs get versus "traditional" sites?

Also, Google doesn't like duplicate content, correct?
So how does Google deal with RSS feeds? Anyone want to hazard a guess as to if they know how they want to deal with RSS?
Blogs are to RSS as the baby boom generation is to the wave of boomers' kids, except it all boomed in the last few years. They've been here since CERN, but easy and booming maybe 4 or 5 years, I think.

And (speculating) Google's got to be constantly looking at the whole SEO concept, comparing it with how to best serve Joe Google User, while keeping track of keyword value for revenue purposes. Sounds like a wild ride on all sides.

Elizabeth

#106 Guest_scottiecl_*

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 07:37 AM

If you just launched the site in December, you've got a while to wait. My theory (based on observation and questioning others) is that there is an Aging Filter at Google

#107 NorthStar

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 01:11 PM

The Aging Filter is also the only thing that makes sense to me based on 3 sites that were in the "sandbox" for the last 8-12 months. What I'd like to know is the recent change a "backing off" of the aging filter? It doesn't seem likely that 3 sites that all launched at different times and all were getting links at different times would all have such radical changes in their rankings in one update. In your article you say to assume it takes 7-8 months for a new site to get ranked in Google. My question, is that true still or did they decide the aging filter wasn't working so well. I know no one can answer this right now. Unfortunately, I haven't launched any sites in the last 6 months so I don't won't be able to test this myself. Hopefully others might have some data to share in the next few months.

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 01:34 PM

I don't think it was... but I don't know. To me, it appears that they have removed or modified some of the filters that were put into place with the "florida" and "gladys" updates last year and it's possible it's affecting some younger sites as well.

I am seeing some sites that found their rankings drop in those updates are now appearing back at the top of the SERP's.

Another change is that it appeared that .edu sites had been given a heavier "weight" in the algo calc and that seems to be removed.

#109 NorthStar

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 01:38 PM

In another forum there are people saying that sites launched "mid 04" aren't getting out of the sandbox so that would seem to say that there is some sort of aging filter in place. Of course they may just not be well optimized sites to begin with.

#110 AbleReach

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 05:28 PM

Sandbox-ish part of the question--

My assumption has been that after a new page is found by Freshbot, Google will guess a placement, then "disappear" the site if there's some puzzle to figure out. The puzzle could be a Google thing (duplicate content?), could be potentially blackhat thing, could be that Google is experiencing difficulties over if it has a thing or not. I watch and gather information than I crunch any algorithms. Could I get a read from those of you who crunch about if I understand what seems to happen?

Does the same thing happen with new (with their own url) pages generated by blogs? Or established pages in constant flux because of RSS feeds?

I'm wading through setting up my first locally hosted blog, so I don't have the stats for making my own educated guesses, yet. Googling around for info shows a variety of opinions. I am coming to value the opinions on cre8asite highly, because you fact-check each other right out in the open - ego is secondary to the learning process.

The blog will eventually have private and public areas for small business work groups. I am starting with the private areas - log in, no spiders. By the time there are public areas I want to have my bearings on blogs and serps.

Thanks!!

Elizabeth

#111 premiumtap

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 07:16 AM

My site has a link on a high ranking site that ranks in the top ten for my niche keyphrase on all the major search engines, I got this link a month ago and my sites fairly new.
My site comes in no better than 523 for the keyphrase though, why is this?



http://www.keysheet.com

#112 Black_Knight

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 02:00 PM

Is that link from a PR7 page? If not, you are probably over-estimating the value of a single link.

#113 chmcwebmaster

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 03:41 PM

What if two sites hosted on the same server had seperate, distinct ip addresses? Would that help?

#114 randfish

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 08:26 PM

chmc - SEs can recognize sites that are hosted together. If you're looking for diversity, you'll want to think in terms of C_block IP ranges.

For example:

123.456.78.910

123 - A block
456 - B block
78 - C block
910 - D block

So, if your siets are at separate IP blocks, but still share the same C-block address, they will not be considered truly 'unique'. Hope that helps!

#115 mecrasun

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 05:05 PM

As this if my first post in the forum, hi to all.

I launched a site on August 04, which had done well with the selected keywords (was on the first page).

Since last week, for the very same keywords, the site is not in the first 10-20 pages. (no big change made on the site, just regular content updates.)

Do you think Google now decided to put it in the sandbox, after all these months?

Thanks.

#116 AbleReach

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 03:11 PM

Randfish:

SEs can recognize sites that are hosted together. If you're looking for diversity, you'll want to think in terms of C_block IP ranges.

I had a bit of a wakeup call this morning when checking the IP addresses of sites I've started up and hosted on 1and1. They all have almost identical IP addresses. (So much to learn!)
www.1and1.com itself is 217.160.232.1
the www.1and1.com accounts I checked are 217.160.226.xxx
Anything hosted on the same account has the same last number.
The xxx seems to be more or less chronological, older accounts having lower numbers, and separate accounts started at the same time having consecutive numbers. ALL of these but the main 1and1 domain are class C duplicates. Are these too similar?

Is a different subnet enough to differentiate?

Even if the IPs are a red flag, if they're linked because of content, that's still OK, yes?
Also, are they losing some of the power of offsite links, if the links happen to be from other sites also hosted on 1and1's (huge) system?

In an industry where word of mouth works, does building the most effective sites for separate businesses that want to support each other mean making sure that they are on different servers? (eg the dentist who links to the oral surgeon, and they both like to link to the denture guy)

Elizabeth
(edited twice for a type o dyslexia)

#117 chmcwebmaster

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 02:33 PM

I have two sites, on the same server, at the same ip address, with some related content. The two sites do link heavily to one another. The newer, smaller site is not ranking well on Google, even though it is highly optimized. I can't find any good reason why the site doesn't rank well for its keywords. Some pages do better than others, but for the most part, the site doesn't rank well when it should be number one for most of its phrases. The site's competition sites are not even comparable in terms of content quantity or quality.

My second, newer web site was not built to support the first site, but my fear is Google may be penalizing the second, newer site because it sits at the same ip address as the older, more established site, and because the two sites link heavily to each other. Of course the links between the two sites are to related content -- and I don't want to break the links because they benefit visitors to both sites.

Has anyone else had experience with one of two sites at the same ip address, linking heavily to one another, being "held back"?

I read an interesting thread about the "Same Site Penalty" here:

http://forums.digita...ead.php?t=12846

Some seos suggest using rel="nofollow" as a link attribute to tell spiders not to follow the link. If I did that, I could still have a link from one site's home page to the other site's home page for human visitors, but I would think the "nofollow" attribute would indicate to spiders that this link is insignificant from a search engine "vote of importance" perspective.

Has anyone used this approach? It makes sense to me since every link to a site is considered a "vote of importance" to a spider.

Does anyone think this would be enough to "release" the second site, in Google's eyes, and allow the second site to rank naturally for its keywords? I've done all of the normal seo checks: code validation, keyword density, keyword research, etc. The second site does well in other search engines, just not Google. The new site has several prominant, related sites linking to it, and it has a Google PageRank of 5. The new site has been live since December 2004.

#118 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 04:39 PM

Using REL=NOFOLLOW is shooting in the dark. Google is not known to penalize sites for using the same IP address. Virtual hosting is an extremely popular model and many virtually hosted sites get good rankings in Google.

A lot of SEOs prefer unique IP addresses for historical reasons and peace of mind, although you can easily get stuck with a burned IP address (a lot of people have) that requires you to either beg for forgiveness or to move to a new C-block.

The most difficulty I have encountered with burned IP addresses actually comes from the email spam blocking community, rather than search engines. If people are not sending email from their servers, then they can usually set up new domains and get things rolling in six months or less with the major search engines (Google being the odd man out, sometimes indexing new content, sometimes not within that time frame).

And despite what you've read, not every link is treated equally. There are indications in several Google papers that they normalize outbound links. They don't define "normalize", but the process of normalization CAN include throwing out secondary occurrences (it may not).

Google also has indicated that they minimize or filter out links from certain types of pages, such as address books. And so on and so forth. Of course, they may change the way they handle links at any time, so yesterday's hints and confirmations from Google may no longer be valid.

#119 bobbb

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 06:23 PM

Virtual hosting is an extremely popular model and many virtually hosted sites get good rankings in Google.


I'm glad you mentioned that because it did not make sense. All the BIG players in the hosting business have to be on the same address(es) and thus everyone would be penalized.

I get good to top listing in a very niche market and I'm on "mydomain . com" so I am not alone there.

#120 Black_Knight

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 08:35 PM

is not ranking well on Google, even though it is highly optimized

This statement is not possibly true. Unless you mean it is optimized to not rank well on Google.

Seriously, throw away your preconceptions about what makes a page 'optimal' to the Google algorithm and open your eyes to the inescapable fact that the site you mention is not optimal, for one reason or another. Analysis of the differences between the site that ranks well, and the site that does not, should give you a ton of leads to work through. You already know it isn't a bad IP or server, as that would affect both sites.

My hint for you would be to start by looking at the links, both inbound and outbound, especially in regards to identifying hubs and authorities for both.

Essential reading at this point is Mike Grehan's "The Filthy Linking Rich" article which explains how power-laws apply to links.

Now, assume that all the things that got your successful site up to the top stopped working, but that in the time it had been at the top, it had gained enough actual usage and citation from it success to keep it there. Yet another site started now could not use the same techniques with success, because they wouldn't get it to the top to start with...

Get your thinking cap on, and good luck.



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