Saturday, April 09, 2005

Evidence of Sandbox effect? The smoking gun

The Google Sandbox effect is a real or imagined filter, which [alledgedly] causes new sites that aggressively build link campaigns to suffer delayed SERPs for a certain period. Time spent in the Sandbox would effectively constitute a probation period.

But as with all things Google, the assumption of algo filters is mainly based on equal parts of speculation, logical deduction, expected evolution, some experience and a good sprinkle of SEO intuition, rather than hard fact. Other than what is already in the public domain, Google is telling us little or nothing.

StepForth, a Canadian based SEO firm, claims Google’s latest patent application
”Information retrieval based on historical data” gives some serious clues to the existence of a Sandbox, or at least the intention of creating one. In particular the strong emphasis on all things historical would suggest these tools could be used in creating Sandbox type filters or algo tweaks.

The application doesn’t make for entertaining reading. Here’s the abstract:
A system identifies a document and obtains one or more types of history data associated with the document. The system may generate a score for the document based, at least in part, on the one or more types of history data.

And here’s the first four claims:

  1. A method for scoring a document, comprising: identifying a document; obtaining one or more types of history data associated with the document; and generating a score for the document based on the one or more types of history data.

  2. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more types of history data includes information relating to an inception date; and wherein the generating a score includes: determining an inception date corresponding to the document, and scoring the document based, at least in part, on the inception date corresponding to the document.

  3. The method of claim 2, wherein the document includes a plurality of documents; and wherein the scoring the document includes: determining an age of each of the documents based on the inception dates corresponding to the documents, determining an average age of the documents based on the ages of the documents, and scoring the documents based, at least in part, on a difference between the ages of the documents and the average age.

  4. The method of claim 2, wherein the generating a score for the document includes scoring the document based, at least in part, on an elapsed time measured from the inception date corresponding to the document.



Jim Hedger of StepForth concludes his reading of the application:
By the time a reader gets to item 63, the document has covered dozens of page, site, link and URL related factors that may or may not be included in the current working algorithm.

Certainly, it’s this type historical data that would be required to operate a Sandbox. Proof it ain’t but it’s as close as it gets…

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