Surviving Google’s Aging Delay
By Lawrence Deon
Google has always been the search industry’s innovator and that’s just what Google’s aging delay symbolizes, the evolution of search innovation… yet another significant step forward for Google.
Google’s success as a search engine can undeniably be attributed to its ability to consistently return the most relevant search engine results. That’s what kept the search giant on top of the pack and leading the multi-billion dollar search industry & that’s what’s going to keep them there!
That said, is it any wonder why Google incorporated the infamous aging delay into their ranking criterion? The simple truth is, Google’s aging delay is a full frontal assault on artificial link inflation.
With the induction of multiple clever off-page reciprocal-linking strategies engineered to artificially inflate link popularity and PageRank, Googles aging delay wasn’t only necessary and long overdue; it was the next logical step in the evolution of search.
The confusion and misunderstanding of the aging delay among site owners is nothing short of amazing. Many of my clients are confounded because their new sites are well positioned in Yahoo, MSN & the other large search engines while their sites are no where to be found in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs)… except for perhaps on the most obscure search terms.
Current and unconfirmed speculation has been misplacing the blame on Google’s ‘sandbox’ effect. While this is a possibility I believe it’s also highly improbable.
The sandbox holding period is typically anywhere between 90 to 120 days, the aging delay appears to be much longer. I’ve seen new sites delayed for up to 6-8 months.
The premise of the sandbox delay theory suggests that new sites are being penalized for gaining too many links too fast. To date I haven’t seen a scrap of evidence to support that claim.
The sandbox theory is further disproved by the fact that newer sites engaged in procuring relevant links experience the same delay in climbing Google’s SERPs as other new sites utilizing scores of purchased text links. This lends credibility to my thought that new sites are not being penalized on the premise of acquisition or quantity of inbound links and; supports my theory that it’s the reciprocated links that are being delayed by an aging filter.
It just doesn’t seem ‘reasonable’ for Google to penalize sites for acquiring legitïmate directory listings & building an optimized reciprocal link based network. In my opinion, mainstream SEOs are confusing the existing sandbox effect, with Google’s new ‘aging filter’ that arrived on the search scene earlier this year.
It seems more likely that Google’s aging filter is weighing the ‘maturity’ of inbound links and not the new site itself. Meaning that in addition to the traditional ranking criterion, the age of a site’s inbound links are also considered.
My own theory is that newly acquired inbound links are placed on a ‘probationary’ status until they’ve ‘matured’ before they’re considered. For example, a new and relevant inbound PR 6 link would not be given the same weïght or consideration as a ‘grandfathered’ PR 6 link until the aging delay expired.
By placing newly acquired links on a probationary period and delaying the ranking of newer sites Google has effectively offset the immediate frëe ride to the top of their SERPs. Purchasing volumes of brokered links to that end is today a moot point. After all, your site will still be delayed regardless of the amount of links you purchase and you won’t see any return on investmënt (ROI) for at least 6 – 8 months.
Existing Site owners interested in immediate (ROI) are now strongly motivated to build new pages or expand existing sites in order to avoid Googles lengthy aging delay. With the ‘all-the-rage’ mini-network strategy shifting to more of a long-term commitment, it seems likely that’s exactly what will happen!
Whether by clever design or not, the only alternative to riding out the aging delay that produces immediate results in Google’s SERPs is to advertise through Google’s AdWords Program. So it seems that Google’s solution vis-à-vis the aging delay has turned out to be an excellent vehicle to promote Google’s own AdWords Program as well. Hmm…
How do you survive Google’s aging delay? By taking pro-active action!
I haven’t seen any new sites with new domains appear at the top of Google’s (SERPs) since early to mid 2004. I’ve consulted with and tracked many of my clients’ new sites and despite the fact they have hundreds of number 1 positions in Yahoo, Alta Vista, AllTheWeb & MSN for their keywords, I’ve yet to see any remarkable results in Google until the 6 – 8 month period.
The trend I’ve noticed suggests that new sites are initially indexed; ranked accordingly in Google’s SERPs for a week or so and then literally vanish from the SERPs for several months. In most cases they can’t even be found with the most obscure search terms… including their own name and address.
If you’re launching a new site don’t panic. Once you’ve registered your domain name and configured the hostïng, you should set up a few temporary pages. Obtain links to them from other sites in Google’s index to start the aging delay count down. I recommend launching a site immediately with enough content to set up and facilitate the requirements for directory listings to start. The sooner Google is aware of your domain the better. Just don’t hold your breath waiting to see results… It could be as long as 6 – 8 months!
Gauge your optimization efforts by where your site ranks in the other search engines. Provided you’re not engaged in unethical practices and followed Google’s Webmaster’s guidelines this should give you a ballpark indication of where Google will rank your site after the aging delay, just be patient.
To that end, don’t keep tweaking and changing your pages source code and trying to manipulate your rankings until your site has been in Google’s index for at least 6 – 8 months. In other words, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel because it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, your site will still be delayed regardless.
Don’t keep submitting your pages to Google either! It won’t make any difference.
Examine your server logs to confirm Googlebot’s crawl and then forget about it. Googlebot will find your site again if you’re actively reciprocating links so your time would be better served building an optimized reciprocal link network to get your site out there and linked to as early as possible.
If traffïc from Google is crucial to your marketing and promotion plan, and I don’t know anyone who would argue otherwise… budget to run an AdWords campaign for a few months until the site is indexed and positioned. You might even consider running an Overture campaign as well!
If you purchase non-directory links, reallocate that budget to Adwords advertising.
It’s pointless to purchase links when you can invest in an AdWords or Overture campaign. Purchasing links is an investmënt you won’t see a red cent ROI for at least 6 – 8 months while an Adwords campaign will drive targeted traffïc to your site that can convert immediately. Keep in mind that Lycos, HotBot, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Iwon, Netscape & Teoma also receive paid results from Google! MSN, AllTheWeb, AltaVista & Yahoo receives paid results from Overture.
Do other search engines have an aging delay?
Google provides primary search results to other search engines. It only seems reasonable to expect that your site may be delayed in Google’s partner sites as well.
One-way you may be able to work around this, and I can’t emphasize this enough; is to make sure you submit your site to DMOZ, the open source directory. Google, in addition to the other major engines, receives directory results directly from DMOZ.
Yahoo and its partner sites don’t seem to be utilizing an aging delay, nor does MSN, so focusing your early efforts on these search engines might give you a competitive edge in the Yahoo network.
At the end of the day when it’s all said and done surviving Google’s aging delay is just a matter of time. The days of purchasing immediate link popularity and PageRank are over and in due course you will see Google give your site the recognition it deserves.
About The Author
Lawrence Deon is an SEO/SEM Consultant and author of the popular search engine optimization and marketing model Ranking Your Way To The Bank.