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Google Sandbox FAQ

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by aaron_nimocks, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. #1
    I think we need one of these.

    What is the sandbox?

    Basically its a time period that keywords that are competitive must wait in order to achieve results on Google.

    Is it real?

    Better believe it.

    Does the sandbox effect my entire site?

    No! It is keyword related only. Say you make a site for home loans. Everything about the site is home loan this and home loan that. But you name your site www. doodypants.com. Now you will rank well for the term "doody pants" because it is not competitive. But you will be in the sandbox for the keyword "home loans".

    What can I do to avoid the sandbox?

    This is really not possible. I dont care what trick you have up your sleeve, you will not rank in the first few pages for "home loans" until you did your time with the other children in the sandbox. This just cant and wont happen until they remove it.

    To avoid the sandbox though you can target non competitive keywords. By doing this you are able to jump up in the ranks very quickly but chances are those terms have a crappy search per day so it wont be bringing in much traffic.

    What can I do while I am in the sandbox?

    Just go on about your business. Create backlinks and work on your content.

    How long will I be in the sandbox?

    The general term that is thrown out there is 9 months. But this is dependant on how competitive your keyword is. The more competitive the longer you wait.

    How can I tell if I am in the sandbox?

    Doing a search for allinanchor:"keyword" is the best way to tell. My general rule is if you have go through and search page by page looking for your URL and find it then you are not in the sandbox. But if you get tired of looking and your fingers start to hurt and you quit before you find it then you are in the sandbox. :)

    I heard if I build links slowly I wont go in the sandbox

    We have all heard this and I dont know who started this whole theory but I personally dont believe in this. I think someone people just tried this out and they started ranking for the keyword they were targetting. What I bet is that keyword wasnt competitive anyways.


    All of the answers are based on MY experiences. Everyone on the internet has had different experiences and has different opinions. If you disagree with anything here I would like to here why. (be detailed)
     
    aaron_nimocks, Apr 3, 2006 IP
  2. Calivad

    Calivad Peon

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    #2
    Good post, but I would include the way to quit it. Very difficult, but you can quit the Sandbox.
     
    Calivad, Apr 3, 2006 IP
  3. NameWolf

    NameWolf Guest

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    #3
    Quit the Sandbox ? How does that work ?
     
    NameWolf, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  4. aaron_nimocks

    aaron_nimocks Im kind of a big deal Staff

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    #4
    I never heard of this too. Only way I know to quit the sandbox is to delete your site. :)
     
    aaron_nimocks, Apr 4, 2006 IP
    JohnScott likes this.
  5. Calivad

    Calivad Peon

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    #5
    :D

    I have seen some cases. A huge, HUGE amount of links can make you quit the Sandbox. Google is intelligent, so has a door open to good sites. As far as I'm a newbie here, and you'll not believe me, see some expert people who thinks as I am:
    http://forums.seroundtable.com/showthread.php?t=219

    I think the name for this is quality content...
     
    Calivad, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  6. TangoUK

    TangoUK Guest

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    #6
    My feeling is that if you're targeting a competitive phrase, just accept that you'll be sandboxed from day 1, and continue with your content and link building as normal. That way, you'll be in very good shape when you get out.
     
    TangoUK, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  7. Nintendo

    Nintendo ♬ King of da Wackos ♬

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    #7
    And a HUGE number of new links can get you Google bowled/banned!!!!! grrrr!!!! It's better to be sandboxed than banned!!!!! Use the co-op wisely or it could hurt you!!! 20,000 of weight on a new site is really pushing it!!!! :D:D:D:D
     
    Nintendo, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  8. mohdsoft

    mohdsoft Peon

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    #8
    Thanks for the nice information. I have a question. How did people know about the sandbox? did google announced it?
     
    mohdsoft, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  9. Calivad

    Calivad Peon

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    #9
    Years suffering it :D In fact Cutts confirmed it existed last year, but you know, you can't rely on what says a Google employer...


    Nintendo: :D Yeah, that's why we talk about quality :D
     
    Calivad, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  10. Jim_Westergren

    Jim_Westergren Well-Known Member

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    #10
    Yes but I want to add to that. In my theory it has to do with some test of sort. If you launch new sites and track them you will notice that they rank unnaturally high once google first index them for a number of weeks before hitting the sandbox. My latest 2 observation cases was 8 and the other 16 weeks before going in the box. I believe that Google first makes them rank unusually high and track what happens to the site. If the site fails the "test" it goes in the box as potential spam or unnatural. Unfortunately I guess 99% of the new sites fails the test and goes in the sandbox.

    Here I wrote some more about the "fresh boost" effect.

    Here are some other excellent links covering what is the sandbox:

    11 pages thread on WMW that started nov 17, 2005.

    Article from Barry (SE Roundtable) maj 20, 2005

    Article from maj 20, 2004 - just a few months after the effect started.


    What you write is partly true, however I believe that it is the KWs and the "test period" in the "fresh boost" that triggers the sandbox filter and once it triggers it does that on the whole domain. I have seen brand new sites getting 50 uniqes a day from google to internal article pages and then when getting boxed - ZERO. On my first site I could not even rank on my own unique name even when it was in domain/title/h1/copy and was PR 4 - and when out of box - #1 solid.

    It has to do with Googles trust for a domain and that is a very sophisticated area.

    There are 3 ways IMO to avoid the sandbox:

    1. Earn Googles trust in the test period of the fresh boost.

    This is done by getting trusted links such as dmoz/wiki/.edu.gov and having an excellent unique content and getting very natural links at a large quantity.

    2. With a 301 redirect fool Google to believe that the site moved to a trusted old domain.

    3. From Randfish:

    With other words you show to Google that they can trust the domain.

    About the above quote I want to mention some things. I have been on the front page on digg for my blogg and I have seen the snowball effect. For example a week later the same page went on del.icio.us/popular and I got some good links from bloggers.

    I was trying to simulate the above effect and thus I launched a new site and instantly added a huge amount of links from PR 5-6 pages and DP coop, result? Google banned it. It HAS to be natural or very very carefully done. I guess it is almost simplier to produce something real link baiting to get the effect then to try to simulate it.

    It is also interesting to see what Mike Grehan is saying about this matter. Here is his ClickZ column and here his blog post. Basically his answer is to start a buzz marketing and other SEM strategies and don’t bury yourself under SEO tech. For him the answer seem to be marketing and not SEO. Here is Randfish reply to that article.

    On a follow-up post by dazzlindonna on SEO Scoop it is interesting to see that her preferred choice is to target all those non-sandboxed keyword terms and build up the site until until it gets realesed from the box.

    On a follow-up post by dazzlindonna on SEO Scoop it is interesting to see that her preferred choice is to target all those non-sandboxed keyword terms and build up the site until until it gets realesed from the box. The so called "long-tails".

    See also this excellent recent article from Randfish

    John Scott has a theory on the sandbox that I agree on but is not complete IMO. his theory is that it has to do with the age of the backlinks. Now that is of course very interesting but I have not done any tests on that.

    Hehe. Well try and it and see that you anyway will fail ... it requires more than that.

    Here are also a few theories posted at SEOFAQ.net

    Bottom line:

    Make something useful and or valuable for visitors. Make the site sticky and have a reason for them to return. Use link baits and you will see the increase of traffic will compensate the loss of traffic from the sandbox.

    Also BTW, don't target the hardest words in the beginning - start with non-competitive terms/phrases. Have more than 500 words of uniqe content on the home page to get the long tails. Use user-interaction, omg there is so many tips ...
     
    Jim_Westergren, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  11. keynes

    keynes Active Member

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    #11
    I think, my site is in that box stuff right now.
    I can find all pages in index when i search for site:domainname.com but no one enters via keywords but only via domainname.com query.

    In my opinion, html based websites are luckier than others in this case, what do you think?
     
    keynes, Apr 4, 2006 IP
  12. Jim_Westergren

    Jim_Westergren Well-Known Member

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    #12
    Yes, that is probably it.

    Actually that is not a factor.
     
    Jim_Westergren, Apr 4, 2006 IP
    aaron_nimocks likes this.
  13. aaron_nimocks

    aaron_nimocks Im kind of a big deal Staff

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    #13
    Good adds to the post Jim.

    It just goes to show you how many different theorys there are out there about the sandbox. Which ones are true? Who knows.

    Just dont make a site trying to make huge money by targeting competitive keywords and you will never have to worry about the sandbox ever. I personally have never had a site in the sandbox nor will I ever make a site that has to go through it. It just isnt worth it to me.
     
    aaron_nimocks, Apr 5, 2006 IP
  14. kneukm03

    kneukm03 Active Member

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    #14
    I would add:

    But my site is indexed in Google, and I launched it three weeks ago! I get all my sites indexed in three weeks! Why do you think there's a sandbox?

    Because the sandbox has nothing to do with indexing your site. Google will show results for your site, it just won't rank them well for commercially-oriented terms.

    But I rank #1 for the phrase "awesome website about the little kid from that Indiana Jones movie." I'm not sandboxed! Why do you say that?!?

    Because no one searches for that. It is not commercially oriented, and your "term" has like a dozen words in it. The "sandbox" does not apply to all terms - usually either because Google does not consider them commercial or they are so obscure that it does not consider them competitive.

    My sites are never sandboxed. You're dumb. I build sites naturally and I've NEVER seen the sandbox. I have this great strategy where I start on small terms and write one page, then wait a month, then write 10 more pages, then wait a month, then...

    Well, duh. If it takes you a year to start targeting any competitive terms, then of course you won't see the sandbox. You'll be out of it before your site ever would be competitive enough to rank on its own anyway.
     
    kneukm03, Apr 5, 2006 IP
  15. sundaybrew

    sundaybrew Numerati

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    #15
    So does the 9 months go by the age of the domain or by the age of the content?
     
    sundaybrew, Apr 5, 2006 IP
  16. kneukm03

    kneukm03 Active Member

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    #16
    Can't tell you for sure whether it's nine months (I've seen six mentioned more often), but generally people say by domain. However, some people think it's a link aging filter - so they think that links to your site are not being given any weight until a period has passed. That could mean different content on the same site getting ranked faster.
     
    kneukm03, Apr 5, 2006 IP
  17. amnezia

    amnezia Peon

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    #17
    from what i've seen the age of the domain makes little difference, i would agree with john scott when he talks about the age of the backlinks ;)

    havent had a new domain stuck in the sandbox for months now :D
     
    amnezia, Apr 5, 2006 IP
  18. member@smeigh.wanadoo.co.

    member@smeigh.wanadoo.co. Guest

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    #18
    Do you not think that if everyone susses out how google ranks sites, then all SEO's would be top of the rankings, and joe bloggs with his natural content would be nowhere. The world then would not be such a wonderful place.
    Just a thought. :)

    Joe Bloggs
     
  19. ramakrishna p

    ramakrishna p Well-Known Member

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    #19
    That is an intelligent point to be noted by SEO's. Google may be having some other theories to which no one can understand. I always worry about good and useful content website publishers who want to share their knowledge with world for good cause and not for earning money on internet. What about those sites? What happens to those sites if they do not know anything about SEO and Sandbox? Is Google only good friend to SEO experts?
     
    ramakrishna p, May 6, 2006 IP
  20. ericeric

    ericeric Guest

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    #20
    My experince:
    4 years ago i created website and submitted to 1000th directories, farms, websites, and have no idea to where using some automated software.

    I did it 2 times during 2 weeks.

    I dod not do any SEO.

    Sinse then i did not do anythign to my website. Nothing!:)
    Guess what is my PR? 5/10.

    Have no idea how this happend...

    Any idea?
     
    ericeric, May 12, 2006 IP