A significant Google algo change and update happened over super bowl weekend. As with any update, many optimized sites dropped. However, this time it was a lot of sites, including many who have had top rankings for years. At the same time, many sites came out of the sandbox for the first time to rank well for competitive terms. This update, for the most part, did not affect our SEO clients. Two of our clients came out of the sandbox to get fantastic rankings; both are now in second position for their main keyword. What I find interesting, and has a lot of other SEO experts talking, is that this is the first mass exodus out of the sandbox. Many sites that came out have been waiting since March 2004. What happened to only having to wait six months? Do we really have to wait 11 months to get out? Is there a shortcut to get out sooner? A very interesting article www.socengine.com explores that very topic. The article concludes with six popular theories about how to shortcut the sandbox. Several SEO's claim to have escaped the sandbox quickly. IMO, none have provided adequate proof of a new website ranking well for truly competitive terms. I have seen no evidence of a shortcut out of the sandbox from our clientâ€™s sites and other sites we are involved, which represent a wide range of link building and on page optimization levels. To review the dozens of sites we have been involved with since March 2004:
- Virtually all are registered with 5 to 25 directories when launched.
- Most have some level of on page optimization that has them ranking well in Yahoo and MSN.
- All sites launched after July 2004 were W3C HTML compliant, although some clients have made non-W3C compliant changes. Those that aren't 100% compliant still have relatively clean code (compared to a WYSIWYG site builders).
- None have black hat techniques (unless the someone else has done it to the site) such as stealthing, keyword stuffing, etc.
- Most sites are fairly static, yet some continuously have content being added or changed.
- Some are brand new domains; some have been around for many years.
- Some we host between four different IP blocks, some are hosted elsewere with completely independent IP blocks.
- A few have steady, continuous link building both from manual link finding and some from natural linking (e.g. people like the site so much they link to it. Note: nFluentMusic.com is a SEO dream, it has people constantly linking to it because they are promoting themselves or just like the tools).