How Quick Into Google Search Results?

Technical SEO Jan 31, 2006

So, how quickly will a brand new domain show up on Google? I should have been checking day-to-day, but today is January 31, and the site was technically launched on January 16th. That’s just over 2-weeks, the period of time traditionally quoted as the minimum for a Google sweep. So, now’s a good time to do a quick review. Thankfully, the domain name is a totally made-up name, and I can do some very insightful tests here.

I decide to search first to ensure that at least the blog posts are in the specialized blog-content engine. It produces 28 results, including the first test post made on (now defunct). Every post was made since January 25. So, in one week, every blog post has been included in the blog search.

Next, I search on HitTail in the default search, and I see one result. It’s the domain with no title or description. This is what’s often referred to as the Google sandbox. We can see that Google is aware that the domain exists, but is not producing any of the site’s content in the results. We see in the spiderspotter app that the first visit by GoogleBot was January 25th, the same day I started blogging.

From the 25th to today is exactly 1 week (7 days). In seven days, we have gone from an a previously unknown site to the domain being findable, but collapsed down to 1 page, and no actual page-content in the results. How recent is it? A quick search on a couple of different Google datacenters reveals that even just this 1-page listing is only on a couple of datacenters, and non-existent in others. So I am indeed catching it during the process of propagation, and we have our undisputed evidence that a site can go from zero to listed in some form in 1 week. Have I avoided the Google sandbox penalty altogether?

And finally, we check for specific quoted content from the first blog post. I know it won’t show, but I’m at least doing the text for the sake of completeness. So, it’s 1-week to show up at all. And it’s sometime longer before content appears. After content appears, the results tend to “dance around”, nicknamed the “Google Dance” before the data has propagated across all data centers.

Another factor affecting the results settling down is something people don’t talk about much. The Google patent from March of last year revealed the fact that Google is very sensitive to the amount that a site has changed from one visit to the next. That is to say, how much of the site has changed? How many new links have been established to the site? And when a site is brand new, every few pages you add constitute a significant percentage of the overall site. So, Google is seeing a very volatile site. And the results are correspondingly volatile. Therefore, when a page is first discovered, it goes into what I think of as a moving window of opportunity. I believe they get this extra relevancy boost to see if they have the potential for gangbusters fad-like success.

Fad-like success? Fads, I believe, overrule traditional rules of slow organic growth. These are pages that somehow become massively popular and everyone starts linking to, passing around in email, finding due to events in the news, etc. If a page does suddenly become massively popular, Google sees this, because they’re quietly recording click-through data, similarly to how DirectHit did back in the day. But DirectHit’s system, subsequently merged with Ask Jeeves, was ultimately defeated, because by touting that they were doing this, they invited click-stuffing abuse. Google on the other hand not only doesn’t advertise click-through tracking, but they use very clever JavaScript to keep it from even look like it’s occurring. It’s not evil. It’s just smart. And if a site goes gangbusters, there is a totally organic pattern created that is difficult to fake, because there are hundreds of links from non-related sites, and thousands of click-through from disparate IPs that couldn’t possibly be under one person’s control. This fad traffic pattern then “buoys” that page’s relevancy in future searches. This is just speculation based on observations, and only stands to reason that certain relevancy criteria can outweigh each other criteria, that criteria is both particularly difficult to fake and out of balance to the others.

Anyway, what are my conclusions? This test proves…

  • How long does it take to go from zero-to-being in Google results at all? 1-week.
  • How long does it take to go from zero-to-being in Google results in a meaningful way? Verdict not in, but expected soon. Stay tuned.
  • How long does it take to go from zero-to-being in Google resuts in a stabilized decent and decent fashion necessary to drive sales? Will not know for three to six months
  • How long does it take to go from zeron to being viewes as a healthy, growing site worthy of regular, predictable inclusion of new content? Well, that’s the purpose of HitTail!

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