Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

General Thoughts On The Google Sanbox?


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 12:52 PM

Hi,

What are your guys experiences with the Sandbox.

Does it exist?
How long does it take to get out?
Is it just matter of getting your site out there and thats why it takes some to get indexed - there is no rule that keeps you un-indexed for certain amount of time?

What are your thoughts?

Edited by saschaeh, 25 March 2008 - 12:56 PM.


#2 Respree

Respree

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5901 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 01:10 PM

What are your thoughts?


Its a good thing you didn't ask for any 'facts' since I have none, but could offer some thoughts. :)

I think it makes logical sense that the sandbox, does in fact, exist. Google's business is based upon delivering relevant results and it wouldn't surprise me if, in fact, they did have a "you have to earn my trust type mechanism." You'll probably receive opposing points of view. Unfortunately, in the end, neither side will be able to prove or disprove the theory, which is all it really is.

#3 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 01:14 PM

Thanks Garrick. Thats the thing you hear different things. Some people saying it is or there is none at all. Some say there isn't but you do score points for having a track record. So if your site improves incrementally over the years/months you are more lightly to score highly. hmm well lets see what the others think.




.

Edited by saschaeh, 25 March 2008 - 01:15 PM.


#4 Respree

Respree

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5901 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 01:24 PM

I think it I did SEO for a living, I'd lose all my hair within the first year. I tend to be very black and white. I will research things of interest, read 'expert' opinions and do whatever I can, in the hopes of making informed, fact-based judgements. In SEO, about the closest you can come to that is examining the evidence or running your own testing experiments and trying to make the best judgement you can, but that doesn't necessarily mean its fact. In fact, one can easily make the wrong judgement based upon the where the evidence leads.

You may read completely opposing points of views by highly regarded so-called experts. Then where does that leave you? Unable to make a logical decision. <Sigh>

Let's see what the other say... :)

I think I'll have another sip of coffee. :)

Edited by Respree, 25 March 2008 - 01:26 PM.


#5 Guest_Autocrat_*

Guest_Autocrat_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 March 2008 - 02:01 PM

I'm going to copy that...

I think it I did SEO for a living, I'd lose all my hair within the first year. I tend to be very black and white. I will research things of interest, read 'expert' opinions and do whatever I can, in the hopes of making informed, fact-based judgements. In SEO, about the closest you can come to that is examining the evidence or running your own testing experiments and trying to make the best judgement you can, but that doesn't necessarily mean its fact. In fact, one can easily make the wrong judgement based upon the where the evidence leads.

You may read completely opposing points of views by highly regarded so-called experts. Then where does that leave you? Unable to make a logical decision. <Sigh>


...as I think that was perfectly worded and more than accurate!


I just did a major drive on SEO... my first "real" attempt (everything else has been tinkering).
Frustrating, and tiring... and all the things I've read contradicting each other drove me mad... so I did what I thought logical, (boldly/bravely (possibly stupidly) saying sod the rest, it's waffle).

So...new site, new domain, new start.
4 Days for Google to find the front page.
5 more Days to get another 8 pages listed.

Does that help towards the "sandbox" idea?


[Note: tempted to copy ...Respreee... several more times... it was that apt!]

#6 iamlost

iamlost

    The Wind Master

  • Site Administrators
  • 4609 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 03:31 PM

I will generally echo Respree.
Then add a chorus of my own :)

Remember that anything and everything you read about SEO is opinion. All SEO 'facts' are actually 'circumstantial evidence'. And the gulf between inference and truth is wide and deep.

I consider two Sherlock Holmes comments the ultimate SEO maxims:

"It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

"Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident."

Silver Blaze

Regarding your 'sandbox' query:
* Matt Cutts is on record that there is no sandbox 'penalty'. That the effect is simply the action of an aggregate of filters that may well be different in each case. More a sandbox syndrome than a sandbox penalty.

* there appear to be heavy 'trust' and authority' components. New sites appear for a week or two (Google likes to spotlight new stuff) and then drop away for 6-months to a year until the site has acquired sufficient links, traffic, etc. relative to others in that niche. Obviously much depends on the competitive nature of the niche and the quality and popularity of the site.

* that said not all new sites get 'sandboxed'. I brought out a number of sites while the fora were debating and wondered what all the concern was about - my new sites were crawled within days and never dropped out of the SERPs. Starting with several extremely weighted backlinks, several hundred high quality pages, with appropriate linkouts, and no initial monetising in rich but not too competitive niches was my formula. Which of what kept me out of the 'box' only the Google algo knows.

* there are two types of SEO:
1. built in as the site is developed: fairly straightforward and rather simple. The holistic approach: architecture, linking, accessibility, usability, seo, marketing, conversion, all the best practices the best one knows how.

2. coming in after the site is an up and happening disaster. This is where the pro SEOes separate themselves from the pack. Not my cup of tea at all, at all. Trauma surgeon SEO. Very few of this caliber and I begrudge them not a penny of their worth.

#7 yannis

yannis

    Sonic Boom Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1634 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 03:49 PM

Here is a real story!

When the 'sand-box' theory was in vogue circa 2005-2006, I created a site, submitted it through Google directly and a Wikipedia entry (before the no-follow), got listed by a stroke of luck in DMOZ within 10 days and got No.1 ranking for quite a few keywords within about 20 days! Site then lost its 'Google appeal' for about two months and then stabilized back. At the time I was a total 'rookie'! Site went live with about 100 pages of unique original and well researched content.

My own theory goes as this:

There are two factors that come into play. Google scores your document among other factors for the following:

(01) Score A - New content 'freshness'. You very new you get a high mark (They do not want to miss
a high rising star)

(02) Score B - A score for age of website. The older the website and domain the better.

During your first days Score 1 predominates, as the days go this score goes down i.e, your content is not so new anymore and Score 2, keeps on pulling you down - that is why most people experience a good start and they lose ground immediate after. After three-four months everything settles and possibly you gained some links and you are out of the 'sandbox'!

My own experience again, Google will visit a site very quickly these days (3-4 days at most) and you should at least rank for your domain name within 4-10 days max. Stick Adsense on your pages and indexing of the whole site seems to be very quick!

However, for the whole site to see some stability in the serps expect about 1-2 months. Again my own explanation is the time Google needs to apply all its filters onto the new page(s) and propagate the results to all its data centers.

Anyway it's all Googleology!


Yannis

#8 Guest_Autocrat_*

Guest_Autocrat_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 March 2008 - 04:32 PM

"... Googleology ..."

Cool word :)

The "honeymoon" period is a bit of a pain (causes soooo much panic!), and then dropping back amongst the masses and trying to compete against old-timers and field dominators is what I think contributes alot to the "sandbox" theory.
If the "process" was a little more known, it would cut over half the posts over in the google groups, and stop alot of stress for people wiot hnew sites (at least they would understand howcomes they're may take a while to get anywhere.


Of course, they may be a wanring on the over side of the fence...
I;ve seen it reported that peole who start off "to well" also seem t oget into trouble (e.g. the seem to get a lot of links overnight etc.)... and they seem to drop out of the rankings for it... maybe trying to steer clear of the "sandbox" can result in walking into a thorn-bush?

#9 SEOigloo

SEOigloo

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2100 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 05:15 PM

I've seen sites get indexed in as little as 3 days.

That being said, I'm currently tracking a blog I launched that is behaving in the most bizarre way. It pops in and out of existence on the 1st page of Google every other day for its exact name. It's not just doing the freshness thing that Google is known to do for new sites (you know, something shows up at first high up, then drops down, then begins a slow climb up). Rather, it keeps appearing and disappearing altogether. I've never seen a site do this before and, while rushing about trying to get links to it, I'm staring in a sort of puzzled chagrin at this behavior. Rather than a sandbox...I'd call this the fun house!

Weird stuff.

In regards to the existence of the sandbox, my own observation has been that the pace at which good rankings are achieved is mainly dependent on competitiveness. I've seen both lightning fast and snail's pace indexing occur and, in the end, it seems to boil down to competition + citations. Lower competition and better citations seems to be the route to rapid indexing.

Miriam

#10 EGOL

EGOL

    Professor

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5416 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 06:30 PM

I had a site built on a great domain. I had the root of the domain trademarked. Put a lot of work into it and when it launched it went right to the sandbox. I blogged daily for over a year, built content continuously. Some of my best work.

Other sites that I built previously were making money, this one did nothing yet I gave it 90% of my work. Finally my interest and dedication tanked and I started looking for another opportunity - and found it! I was able to buy a site on a very old domain that was much more aligned with what I would like to do long term.

Today the site that was in the sandbox is out of the box. It jumped out a few months after I divorced it and rankings went from page eight up to page two on hundreds of keywords overnight. With a little work it could take the first page on plenty of terms and compete for top rankings on many. Today it makes a little money and I enjoy seeing a little return for all of the work. The site that I purchased is doing even better and it now gets 90% of my work. I am happy with how this turned out.

#11 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 25 March 2008 - 10:28 PM

Thats the thing you hear different things. Some people saying it is or there is none at all.


The best, most factual pointer I've received in the area of SEO is: test.

There are two types of SEO information: that which everybody knows (and is therefore being phased out by search engine engineers) and that which almost nobody knows.

From the first pile: not ranking at all for those searches you want to rank for (with your new site) is usually strong in specific, competitive areas.

From the second "I should test this pile": is it merely about money terms? is there a relation between number of sites competing for that term vs. ranking or not for it?

From the first pile: it can take 3-12 months to "get out" of "the sandbox" but some have reported both shorter and longer periods.

From the second "I should test this pile": why? what happens if you start 2 sites, same niche?

From the first pile: it's not a specific sandbox rule but rather a set of filters which happen to have this behavior a side effect.

From the second "I should test this pile": what could those filters be? How can you test linkability, trust, authority, content, etc.?

And of course if there isn't enough time to do experiments, think :) If you were working for Google and you need to and keep spam out and not miss out on quality sites no matter how young they might be -- how would you go about it? Which "things" would you be looking out for? Why? How?

#12 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:53 AM

:applause: Another first class reply in Cre8asite. Thanks.

you'd think it was a science. That something like this could be clearly defined through trail and error.

So if the sandbox was to exist there are two things that have been suggested to get out: (not including all the other Google tactics)
  • Google Ads (Cheeky Google)
  • Move onto an older domain
The other point made, which seems logical, is that when you launch a new site Google will index within the first week and you will do quite well because you have a tone of fresh content. However once 80% of that content gets stale you begin to tale off.

Another suggestion which has come up more then once here is that Google does give you browny points for being a seasoned domain. Have a reputation so to speak. I feel that this is silly. Major venture capitalist may have built the best thing and bought a domain that is:

a:brand new
b: negatively marked. (opens doors, i realize, as iv heard Google also flags your domain if the content and structure has changed drastically and re-indexes you. another discussion)
c: a lesser competition may have by luck bought an old domain and rank more highly due to it. The site is rubbish in comparison


I would think it makes more sense just to have/start everyone off on the same ground and let them compete - fresh content back links etc... To mark you down for several months becasue you have a new domain seems unfair - a matrix where they work out ratio of dynamic content would be good. So your content has never changed so you get 1 point. Your content changes often over this 4 weeks you get 2 points. Your content gets lots of links you get 3 points (this irrelevant of whether you have a new or old domain - in this case if the algo is unrefined then you will do well on launch and experience the 'tail off effect' :)). Having said that there is something to be said for a site that has been around for 4 years and consistently grown in both content, links and visitors. Still to drop someone for purely being a new domain could be refined.

Its also logical to assume that if your domain name and some pages have been indexed that you are out of the sandbox unless there is some kind of 'conditional sandboxing'. Meaning that you can be indexed somewhat but google applies some matrix that marks you down for certain things (God only knows what). If 'conditional sandboxing' does not excist then it just means good old hard work to get the ranking you want - Sandbox then is an 'excuse'. But trusted EGOL has had different experience and hard work wont get you out of the pit - you need an reputable domain.

I have a client who says he is in the sandbox and his domain has been up and running for 6 months. He has got some backlinks loads of niche content and apparently no decent rankings are happening. So ill look into that. I have registered a domain with keywords in it. I have loaded some content and links to resources and ill continue to populate it. it has been up for 5 days - nothing so far. Iv also added google ads... which im have second thoughts about adding as i should have added that later on on the condition that indexing did not happen. Will see what happens.

Thanks all!

Edited by saschaeh, 26 March 2008 - 03:59 AM.


#13 kichus

kichus

    Whirl Wind Member

  • Members
  • 73 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 01:25 AM

I do believe the concept has changed a lot and not the same as what we used to in those days.... where we used to here this word sandbox multiple times a day. Today we don't.

Apart from what the above posts conveys, I would like to add two more points to it.

1) I experience that only your keywords get 'sandbox'ed, not your website

2) query deserves freshness - last year you must have read about this.

#14 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 04:08 AM

1) I experience that only your keywords get 'sandbox'ed, not your website


How do you tell whether you are sandboxed or whether you are not SEO'd enough for those keywords. What you could try is add in nonsensical keywords that no one else has ("seochocmilk" or even try string like "seo choc milk souffle" make sure it is in title and bold even better h1 and accessible by google etc.. point is to see if it gets indexed) If google picks them up it would be save to assume that you are not being sandboxed for keywords. Unless google has 'conditional keyword sandboxing' (lol). So depending on how competitive the keyword depends on the level of sandboxibility.... (lol) but this somehow doesn't work for me - id cant imagine google would opt for something like that...?

#15 kichus

kichus

    Whirl Wind Member

  • Members
  • 73 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 04:30 AM

edit*** I never seen any of my website stats shows traffic from Google 0. If the website is sandboxed, it should not be listed in the SERPs for any of the keywords, I believe.

why on earth the secondary/long tail keyword theory evolved.. otherwise..?

Edited by kichus, 26 March 2008 - 04:35 AM.


#16 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 05:05 AM

I too have been getting traffic for long tail phrases, which was about half of my total, unsandboxed, traffic. So I'd say it is easy to rank for very long tail phrases.

My own opinion is that phrases with commercial intent or highly popular (with high competition) phrases get filtered. G needs to understand how your site compares to other sites and how well it's built before showing you to the main public. I hope it'll be doing it faster (though, I guess, it also depends on the amount of fresh content and natural links).

There've been rumors of people escaping the sandbox effect, when they promoted the site heavily or the site covered a current, important topic.

As for why the theory appeared: it has always been seen that the number of search queries any site is found for is substantial and only few of the queries (relatively speaking) are popular. I believe then this was called 'low competition keywords', not 'long tail' keywords. "Long tail" was used after the "The Long Tail" book appeared.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 26 March 2008 - 05:07 AM.


#17 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 05:34 AM

My own opinion is that phrases with commercial intent or highly popular (with high competition) phrases get filtered. G needs to understand how your site compares to other sites and how well it's built before showing you to the main public. I hope it'll be doing it faster (though, I guess, it also depends on the amount of fresh content and natural links).


There've been rumors of people escaping the sandbox effect, when they promoted the site heavily or the site covered a current, important topic.



I wonder if it has more to do with good links, structure content then it does to do with a sandbox? I mean, like you said, low competition keywords or long tail keywords are easy to rank for... so there is more chance of us getting traffic and listed. So our site is being indexed no problem but for competitive terms our site still needs to improve its overall SEO strategy which takes time, naturally. Is there really a filter for it? Or is it just that our SEO strategy which needs to develop with time.

This would explain seemingly varied results with the sandbox. But again EGOL's experience tells a different story - EGOL is it not possible that you site was just improved over those months and that the switch was coincidental with you improved ranking?

Hmm well all very interesting!

Edited by saschaeh, 26 March 2008 - 05:37 AM.


#18 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 05:54 AM

Well, that'd be true, if my traffic just didn't double precisely after 6 months after launch. Basically, instead of only getting traffic for 4-5 word phrases (or really off-beat, uncompetitive phrases), I started getting traffic for 2-3 word normal (more relevant and used) phrases, too.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 26 March 2008 - 06:23 AM.


#19 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 06:08 AM

And you didnt change anything in those 6 months? I guess double overnight is a serious clue and the fact that it was 6 months afterward.

#20 kichus

kichus

    Whirl Wind Member

  • Members
  • 73 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 06:21 AM

And one more point which I thought mentioning would be good...

There are other filters too which people mistook as Sandboxed.... This is commented by experts, not mentioned how to differentiate them from sandbox, though.

#21 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 06:25 AM

Well, all the while during the 6 months I've been writing good content for my site (no heavy promotion, though). But yes, the Google search traffic doubled sharply.

Basically, it still doesn't matter, if the sandbox exists and how to get out of it. If you are in for a long run, you can use the sandbox time to build value and network outside Google. In fact, that's what you should be doing, anyway. Google is just icing on the cake.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 26 March 2008 - 06:59 AM.


#22 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 07:32 AM

<misc over morning cup of coffee remarks>

Indexing: the sandbox has nothing to do with indexing. Google is kind of eager to index your site.

Old domain: it *is* stupid to boost simply based on age of domain. So which traits do old domains have that make them "worth it" *and* that is shared amongst most old domains? Remember, the majority of sites not hit by the sandbox also have a .com extension -- but the effect is not the cause...

Sandbox vs. bad seo: filters (some of them called penalties) can often be spotted by doing alternative searches. "Unnatural" searches like allintitle can give you a view on how something "should" rank. If the discrepancy between regular and advanced search is too large, something is off ... usually.

Thinking out loud: a site that is being SEO-ed will often see an increase in very targeted links. To how many sites does this happen? If it happens (breaking news etc.) which other signals tend to be present that explain the sudden increase? If an increase is not sudden but gradual, is that normal? If a site has 2 links and never gained anything else, would it simply not rank or be sandboxed? If you treat the web as your own social network, what would make *you* trust this new site that is screaming "real estate! real estate!"?

#23 EGOL

EGOL

    Professor

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5416 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 09:16 AM

EGOL is it not possible that you site was just improved over those months and that the switch was coincidental with you improved ranking?

I doubt it. Because I stopped working on the site completely for three or four months before it broke out of the sandbox. This was not a case of overSEO or underSEO. Or immediately going after a big load of low quality links. Or any of the common actions that people say will put a site in the sandbox.

The site simply ranked a lot lower than it should with the number of links and the optimization that was on it.

At the time I had a lot of knowledge with other websites for this subject. I wrote lots of their content, knew about their links and what was on my own site was superior. I even took content off of that site verbatim and placed it on a crappy little site with almost no links and it immediately outranked it.

The site for some reason ranked lower than normal.

#24 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 26 March 2008 - 09:24 AM

Well there you have it - Would you also say sandbox is on average 6 months?

#25 Guest_Autocrat_*

Guest_Autocrat_*
  • Guests

Posted 26 March 2008 - 09:26 AM

Alot of this seems t obe "comparative".
It really does seem to not only depend on the amount of competition, but who the competitors are.
I've seen some nice little sites that seem to get "stuck" for no real reasons... nothing wroong with the site that I could see - yet when I go look at the competitors, they tend to be quite "strong" in regards to either content and/or links, and almsot always age (4 plus years).

The question is, does age count for the domain... or is it something else, and the fact that the domains are older is simply the most visible aspect?

#26 saschaeh

saschaeh

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1026 posts

Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:03 AM

Another question on this sandbox:


If i have two domains and a frameforward domain A to domain B. Domain B has got the site. Domain B is an older domain. Will domain A on virtue of pointing at domain B score points and with time be less lightly to be sandboxed?

See you may have found a domain that is perfect and want to change over but then you might get sandboxed. Or you may be starting a project and you have a new domian but want the site to get ranked... so this could be a work around.

Does any one know how bots would handle this?

Edited by saschaeh, 27 March 2008 - 02:04 AM.


#27 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:29 AM

A frames B? B gets indexed, A means nothing.

#28 Guest_Autocrat_*

Guest_Autocrat_*
  • Guests

Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:27 PM

When you say "frame" - what do you mean?
1) Use of frameset in SiteA to display content from SiteB
2) Meta-refresh (scripted etc.)... so the main Domain is for SiteB... and SiteA(DomainNameA?) points to SiteB
3) server Redirect (301 via htaccess or IIS etc.)... so the main Domain is for SiteB... and SiteA(DomainNameA?) points to SiteB
4) Something else entirely?

Different methods are likely to get different results.



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users