The sandbox is definitely a subject of debate, in some of my (fairly extensive experience) optimizing new sites for large clients new products, all things point to its existence.
- at the very least, it's definitely more than a myth. Some serious players in the game agree that the sandbox is quite real. There isn't one authority on the subject of SEO
who isn't somewhere well disputed by other equally accomplished individuals. It's the nature of the game - and sandbox or not, a new URL is going to have weak and volatile rankings, unless it's in a few specific categories (ie. news item with strong inbound link).
In either case though, page titles are no longer particularly key, unless there's not any other ranking factor in play. Also, links from pages with a lot of outbound links in best case have no effect, if they're large enough to be quantified as link farms, can cause severe penalties. Some guys in this line of work actually use the practice to cause Google to blacklist legitimate content by adding sites to link farms. I'd strongly dissuade people from the practice of seeking links on outbound heavy pages (unless we're talking specific sites like DMOZ or the paid Yahoo directory).
Age of URL, frequency with which content is updated, traffic, and quality inbound links (most importantly) most significantly rank.
I'm not flat out disputing anything, as SEO
is by its nature a bit of a guessing game, and guys much smarter and more accomplished than I still argue about many of the finer points. I do get paid nicely on occasion by some Fortune 500 clients for successful work in this area, so while I may (often) be wrong, my stand points are not just based on repeating other peoples opinions and theory, but practice and recent experience.
My points are referring to the nature of many of the posts in this sub forum, which will most definitely lead people to chase their tails. :-) Our only goal here is to help each other get more business, hopefully my (free and unsolicited) suggestions are taken only as such.
Pressure-pros.com for instance, I'd suggest a much stronger focus on your geographical areas with your keywords / content. Tighten that up, add some pages with more city/county/region specific content mentioned, update those meta tags (no more than five or so different at the most per page), link it to Google Local, and you'll start picking up some better local rankings.
It's all about picking battles you can win. A keyword like "pressure cleaning", a tall order. Is it really something that we can expect to get traction for? Interestingly enough it's definitely the common thought process, so if you are the one person to really focus on localizing your keywords, you'll have the potential to really dominate local search.
Even AdWords may be worth a look, some of those local keywords, while not a big traffic source, might be going at the minimum bid - add the free Google Analytics, define a goal, quantify the results ... investing an ongoing two hours a week can yield a nice payoff over time!
If you want some more details/suggestions, drop me a line.