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March 02, 2006

Is there a Rogue Google Data Center not Using the Sandbox?

Recently we have launched several new websites with brand new top level domains.  We quickly got them indexed and began to gain ranking for some non competitive terms as is the usual pattern.  However, we also have noticed with some of them, a major traffic spike for some quite competitive terms.  This issue is that all the traffic seems to be coming from one particular google data center.


While the other centers have stuck to the pattern of making it tough to rank new sites for the more competitive terms (more then 100,000 exact matches) and you really have to throttle your link building to avoid a "google bomb" this new data center has picked up, on one particular niche not only our site but 3 others that appear to be new as well and ranked them in the top ten among some very powerful sites with high PR and a good deal of age on them.


(clearly we are unwilling to release the exact terms and the sites in question for obvious reasons)


This has us thinking [and for now it is only a thought], that this data center may be rogue in nature and perhaps Google is looking to see if the "sandbox" is being over used and having a negative effect on their results especially on new topics.  Here are the factors we have noticed that at least are worth considering.


1.  40% of the top ten terms on this one data center are new to very new sites (one is less then 5 days old! and drawing close to a thousand visits for one term per day all from one data center)


2.  While some decent links were used to get the indexing done swiftly they were from PR4 to PR5 sites (not pages) so now major power of a PR7 or PR8 is at play here.


3.  More interesting the traffic is from all over North America so it is not like this data center is serving a particular region or anything like that.  If you wanted to "test" something you would get better results with a broad sample.  The traffic logs clearly show that this traffic is from a very broad geographic region.


4.  The sites are all indexed by the other data centers and rank for non competitive terms but not the competitive ones that rank top ten in the rogue center following the typical pattern.  Only this one data center gives the newer sites a high rank for the harder terms.


This is an interesting concept to consider.  We have not yet decided whether or not we are going to publish the IP address of the Google Rogue Data Center so stay tuned and may be we will release it. 


Of course we did all the things right with these sites to avoid the sandbox and they are optimized well, have reasonable links for a new site, etc.  Still it is clear one data center has for some time treated this group of new sites a lot differently then the rest.  Dusting off and old quote, "things that make you go hmm".  There is no doubt that highly revelant new sites are penalized by the sandbox and that it must hurt searches as well that are looking for the newest content available.  So may be just may be there is indeed a Rogue Google Datacenter and perhaps it is intentional.  As marketers we know that testing is the best way to get answers based on facts so that could be what Google is up to. 


Any thoughts or comments are appreciated,


Jack Spirko

SEO Specialist

The MasterLink Group

Dallas Web Design and SEO Firm

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