The Google Keyword Sandbox – Biggest Source of Paranoia Since Y2K?

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Google Sandbox

The Google Sandbox keeps new websites from rising through the Search Engine Results Page, because it is biased against new sites that it has not yet come to trust. It has created ruckus throughout the Internet community. This is a pretty impressive accomplishment for a phantom that may only lurk in the minds of SEO geeks.

Those who believe in the Google Sandbox protest that there are many pieces of evidence to support their belief. They argue that newer websites have a hard time with their SERPs, therefore Google has a bias against them. This is a dangerous conclusion to draw, because it is based on evidence that could easily support another explanation.

The reason that smaller sites struggle with their SERPs could more likely be supported with the fact that it simply takes time for Google to become acquainted with a website or blog. When a new page or site is published, Google does not immediately index it. First, a crawler must find the site.

The search engine also cannot know how relevant a webpage is to SERPs for a keyword until it has had time to visit it frequently and become familiar with its context. Obviously this takes time. As more backlinks are created, spiders are able to find the site more often and the indexing rate increases substantially. All sites are discouraged from building links too quickly so it is impossible for a site to appear at the top of Google’s ranking page for a keyword right after it was launched.

In a sense, new sites are penalized by Google. Most likely, not because of a deliberate Sandbox on the part of the search engine developers, but because of the constraints of indexing technology itself.

Google itself has stated that the Sandbox does not exist. Many people still refuse to believe this, insisting that Google is most likely lying. They have even made statements referring to the politicians in their home state lying about scandalous affairs.

The question these people must be asking themselves is why Google would lie about the sandbox at all. If Google did create it and told the truth they would not suffer from it. Just like the controversy that was created after the institution of the “nofollow” attribute, the sandbox would only create a few angry developers at the beginning of their site’s life.

Of course, older sites would love the idea because they would not have to risk having their keyword rankings stolen from newer sites on blackhat compaigns. If Google created a sandbox to add credibility to their search rankings, then it would add credibility to them as well. Why would they deny it?

The problem with the sandbox idea is that many sites are extremely paranoid with how they are developing their SEO campaigns. Many claim that because of the sandbox they limit their link-building campaign to a couple links a day for the first three months. Obviously, such caution will probably keep a developer their own sandbox for a lot more than three months.

Major topics on the Internet create a lot of hype. SEO is a topic that has created a lot of concern and conjecture. It is important to be skeptical about SEO advice you receive that is open for interpretation and become part of the circus.

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Image Credit:Mr Blixit

Article by Kalen Smith

Kalen has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Car Rental September 7, 2010, 2:16 pm

    Google might call it something different but i am pretty sure that such a thing exist. It’s really hard to survive with a new website for first few months.

    • Alex Dumitru September 8, 2010, 4:06 am

      It does exist, but it’s not what everybody thinks. It’s more like a penalization caused by grey SEO techniques.

  • Alex@Jocuri September 7, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Sandbox is a myth in my opinion just to scare little webmasters when they go to bed. I sandbox would exist I would just make loads of warez, spam websites and then link to big website like youtube, mashable, twitter etc and make then be sandboxed and drop in SERPS.

    About new websites not being ranked up for their keywords: I think this is something normal, even if you appear to be legit and all that you cant expect the be the bully after being the new kid on the block! All new website need time to develop their authority and be examined by SE, after that period of testing and observation (not only your website wont be new anymore) the website will grow in SERPS from lets say p10 to p2 and as the time passes and your garner more link it will eventual (maybe lots of factor here) get no.1
    Ok i am going to stop here before transforming this comment in an article.

  • Danny @ Tampa Homes September 7, 2010, 5:09 pm

    Well just the fact alone that backlinks are one of the most important factor and new sites will not usually have more backlinks than established sites is what keeps newer sites down in the serps.

    • Alex Dumitru September 8, 2010, 4:07 am

      No, it’s exactly the opposite. Websites that get too many links from low-quality websites in a short period face the “sandbox” penalization.

      • Kalen September 9, 2010, 12:21 am

        Many of you are talking about the difference between unnatural link-building patterns and the sandbox effect. Google penalizes unnatural link-building there is no room for argument there. But this penalty happens for ALL websites. The sandbox theory is predominantly that new sites are penalized because they are not trusted. But if it takes time to build quality backlinks they will simply take a while to rise through the SERP rankings on their own. This isn’t an intentional penalty to new sites IMO just the way the system works.

      • Alex@Jocuri September 10, 2010, 5:20 am

        I think it if you get 1000 links from high authority website in the first day you launched your website, you will get penalized!

  • Paul/ Entertainment tonight September 7, 2010, 7:06 pm

    I’m still scared of it right now.

    • ZK September 8, 2010, 10:33 am

      I agree it is scary for a new website owner, I’ve noticed that its much easier to get “blogs” out faster of the so called “Google Sandbox” v/s traditional websites. Blogs are more rich in content and likely to be linked than the traditional ecommerce website or corporate websites that would require some work on the link building front.

  • Property Marbella September 8, 2010, 3:06 am

    Google sandbox exist, I have seen many new website been there for a couple of months before they have coming up in the SERP. But with 5-6 nice links and little SEO to the site can you be out in a couple of days.

    • Aluminum Cases September 10, 2010, 3:42 pm

      It may exist, but not how people claim. People think that it is some time based penalty that all new sites go through, but I have had new sites ranking well quite quickly. As others have said it is only natural for a site to not have enough backlinks or trust to get rankings right away. When a site has few backlinks and little trust, I believe they may be more strict about unnatural link building patterns. So it is probably more common for new sites to incur such penalties if they are using less than natural link building.

  • Cheap Voip Calls September 8, 2010, 12:28 pm

    It is also called honey period for new sites. Google normally sees what potential site have before giving it permanent indexing.

  • Car Rental September 8, 2010, 1:13 pm

    @Alex, thanks for the link.

  • used tires September 8, 2010, 2:17 pm

    It’s definitely been a myth for a long time… I personally don’t think it’s as legit as people think it is, it might have been at one time or another… but I still see daily new websites being able to achieve rankings for their desired term in less than 6 months. I think domain age definitely does help a website rank though!

    Till then,

    Jean

    • Aluminum Cases September 10, 2010, 3:45 pm

      Yes it is a common belief that an older domain is trusted more. It only makes sense for search engines to trust an older domain vs a newer one as the older one is less likely to violate the search engine’s terms and conditions. Meanwhile a newer domain is much more likely to use spammy techniques as they can just switch domains if they get penalized.

      • used tires September 11, 2010, 4:15 am

        @Aluminum, you say the word “belief”, so does that mean it is a fact or a “myth”? From your response to me, it seems to me a fact more so than a myth?

        Thanks,

        Jean

  • Plumber Sydney September 8, 2010, 11:09 pm

    While i believe it exists i never really pay it any attention . I build links consistently and eventually the sites begin to rank well.

    • used tires September 9, 2010, 12:29 pm

      @Plumber, that’s a really great approach to it, just by doing the best you can, and then letting the rest of the pieces falll where they may is a great approach to it! And plus you are gonna be as stresed out with that aproach in mind!

      Till then,

      Jean

  • smart metering September 9, 2010, 1:17 am

    Yes, sometimes it happens with new site, but you need to continue your work as you do, it can be improved well after few days.

  • Software Development Company September 9, 2010, 7:41 am

    Yes, i agree with sometimes it happens with new websites. If you do proper off page optimization, you can out of sandbox after some days.

  • Fitness Products September 9, 2010, 7:55 am

    I am also fairly certain that such a thing exsits. But, it is not a big deal. If you are serious about making money online, you should be looking more long term. Just create your content and build links, and have faith that google will eventually pick up your site and give it the credit it deserves.

  • Blueberry Fruit Juice September 9, 2010, 10:37 am

    I think Google’s sandbox is the best monitoring tool that prevent newly created site to rank well in search engine ranking instantly. Great post and must read for all…

  • Colleen@Kennewick Homes September 9, 2010, 3:44 pm

    I was once a proponent of the ‘sandbox’ effect, but no longer am. If a new site has something unique and useful, Google will index it. 😉

    • Hersh @ Business marketing September 10, 2010, 12:55 am

      Until you start to build too many links too quick, which would put you at top of many SERPs were it not for the sandbox. 🙂

      For the people that build websites with unique and useful content, they have nothing to worry about.

  • TriNi September 9, 2010, 8:37 pm

    I personally don’t believe in the Sandbox theory. I’m no expert, but I’ve heard that the sandbox affects those that didn’t let Google find their site naturally, and instead submitted their site directly to Google.

    Well I for one did submit my site personally to Google, and off course I didn’t see high rankings soon after submitting! Who does? It isn’t supposed to work that way or else Google would solve no purpose of helping others find anything. They are supposed to rank the most popular sites for a certain topic. If a site was just launched.. chances are, it’s not that popular yet. I guess that’s why Google has developed their algorithm for defining what’s “popular”.

    Well all I can say is that after hard work when it comes to content and SEO, I AM seeing results with google and my SERPS are higher than ever, so I cannot say that I had any “sandbox effect” when it comes to my blog.

  • click2rank September 10, 2010, 4:26 am

    ugh.. a year later and I still have to debunk this? Why are people still writing about this topic. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SANDBOX. If you dont know how to get a site indexed within a few hours you do not deserve to call yourself an SEO.

    Here is a stupid little test we did over a year ago. Took 2 hours from domain purchase to indexation and ranking for the random term we selected for the project. http://www.plzindex.me <-

    Please stop spreading this misinformation all it does is confuse the n00bs.

  • Emergency Lighting September 10, 2010, 9:13 am

    With enough work new sites can rank.

    • used tires September 13, 2010, 8:26 am

      @Emergency Lighting, you said it simple enough, and you are 100% right, with the right amount of work, you can get your site to rank, no matter what 😀

      Till then,

      Jean

  • Edgar September 11, 2010, 10:47 pm

    Nice Article, I found your site thanks to John Chow,. I saw a comment you left.

    • ZK September 12, 2010, 5:13 am

      @Edgar

      Thanks for visiting this blog 🙂

  • Ipod Touch 4 September 14, 2010, 12:52 pm

    sorry i dont understand what you mean by adding “couple of links each day” . how many links soes that mean , and why ? if a site is instant hit , why bother woth the no of links

    Sourish

  • Dan Lew September 15, 2010, 8:44 am

    Hi Kalen, nice post!

    This is also why there is a big industry in buying old domain names, so that some can jump the gun so to speak!

    Cheers!

    Daniel

  • Proiecte case lemn November 5, 2010, 3:38 am

    Very nice guide, cleared a few things for me!
    Thank you for posting it!

  • Jesica Wills December 23, 2010, 5:17 am

    Google will index, if you have something useful, new and unique. Thanks Kalen, for sharing this informative article.

  • teo December 24, 2010, 9:52 am

    I don’t think that Google has a sandbox these days. I have a lot of new sites(3 – 6 months) that rank in the top 10 results for high competition keywords. I make hundreds of links every day for all of my domains and i have no problems at all because the links are not indexed the same day.
    Also (New Sites = Poor Results) that became known as the Sandbox effect and had controversial definitions, does not exist anymore (in my opinion). Matt Cutts confirmed the sandbox existed, somewhat, in his Coffee Talk with Brett Tabke 7 years ago. But since then, they did not discuss it much.

  • Marious December 24, 2010, 9:56 am

    Yes i totally agree with teo.
    @Trini: I’ve heard also that the sandbox affects those that didn’t let Google find their site naturally, and instead submitted their site directly to Google.

  • Gagan | iPhone 4 Jailbreak December 26, 2010, 6:26 am

    One of my blog took around 2 months to get indexed by Google and one of my blog got indexed in only 3 ways.