Interestingly, Google also has its own consumer reviews of businesses such as on Google Maps. Google is in competition with review sites.
Lots of sites drop in Google and some of them don’t recover. The market is there for my site. It’s about relevance. A site that is relevant to the search results should rank above irrelevant results. Right? Mine did rank and then in April 2008 dropped out of nowhere and never recovered. I was getting 35 visitors per day from Google last time I checked. I just checked now and I’m actually getting 25 visitors per day from Google.
Before my site dropped in April 2008, my two main competitors dropped, too. It took both of them a long time to recover, about a year, I believe. Both recovered. I did not.
As for starting with another domain, my experience echoes that of many other webmasters who claim there is a sandbox. Google traffic for a new site builds for a few months then drops by 80% - 90% for no reason.
I registered a domain name in Oct. 2007 and did not develop it until Nov. 2009. From Oct. 2007 to Nov. 2009 the only content on the site was basically some crap I put on there. After I developed the site, traffic from Google started to build until April 2010 when it dropped. Here are my Google traffic figures for the entire month:
Oct. 2009: 69 (no real content except some crap)
Nov. 2009: 80 (I finished developing the site the final week of this month)
Dec. 2009: 1,696 (Google traffic starts to build)
Jan. 2010: 2,999
Feb. 2010: 3,483
Mar. 2010: 8,328 (Google traffic took a big jump)
Apr. 2010: 12,998 (Google traffic took another big jump)
May 2010: 5,534 (Google traffic crashes by 57%)
June 2010: 3,551 (Google traffic drops even more)
July 2010: 3,585 (Google traffic holds steady for a few months)
Dec. 2010: 2,889 (Google traffic drops a little more)
Mar. 2011: 4,127
June 2011: 3,351
Sept. 2011: 1,015 (Google traffic takes another drop in past few months)
Dec. 2011 (through first 27 days): 959
As you can see, my traffic from Google peaked at 12,998 in April 2010, about 5 months after I developed the site. Traffic dropped 57% from April 2010 to May 2010 then dropped some more before holding steady for a few months. Then traffic dropped and dropped and dropped.
I get a lot more traffic from Bing than I do from Google. My main competitor for two of my sites is a big money operator that operates a link farm that has a bunch of sites with duplicate, garbage content that all link back to the main site. At one time the competitor held 4 positions in the top 10 in Google using three different domain names all with essentially the same content and a subdomain of the main site.
If you don’t have big money to buy links from somewhere, you are never going to succeed in Google. That’s all there is to it.