Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Google SandBox - Sandbox How It Works

Google SandBox - An Introduction

The Google SandBox is a metaphorical term coined by SEOs and Webmasters, not associated with Google, to explain why most new Websites have very poor rankings in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). The existence of Google SandBox has not yet been clearly proved but there seem to have some changes to Google's Algorithm sometime around March 2004 that denies top ranking for newly launched web sites. Of course, there are exceptions and many Web pages have made it to the top of the SERP in spite of the sandbox, but the sandbox seems to be an inevitable page rank dampening concept.

In November 2003, Google implemented what was popularly known as the "Florida Filter", a filter added to the Google Algorithm to reduce spam. The "Florida Filter" proved to be a disaster as it wiped out many small online shops but didn't fight spam producers as much as it was expected to. Spammers and link farms generate zillions of websites and millions of links every day adversely affecting the SERP rankings of certain legitimate sites. Thus Google might have decided to keep away new sites from getting good ranks till they proved themselves.
How It Works?

It seems of late Google has been withholding high ranking ability of newly launched websites for 2-4 months. The penalty is applicable to new sites only and doesn't affect domains that are 4 or more months old and have good backlinks. The sandbox effect also doesn't affect new pages on long standing websites.

After the newly launched websites prove their worthiness by developing good back links and spend some time on the web they are given a weight and eventually the sandbox effect goes away.
Are You in the SandBox?

Google's spiders may pickup your site through an inbound link or you may have submitted your site to Google but almost all newly launched websites successfully get into the sandbox. Although there are some exceptions mostly all new sites are relegated to the sandbox for sometime.

But How do you know if your site is in the SandBox?

    * If the page is in the SandBox, Google doesn't give the page a pagerank
    * A "" or "" search on Google doesn't return any results. i.e Google doesn't show signs of any other websites linking to yours nor displays pages related to yours.
    * No pages other than your HomePage are listed. Sometimes even the homepage isn't listed.

How Long Does This SandBox Effect Continue?
Although no accurate information is available in this regard, it is generally believed to last for 3-4 months.
What to Do When You Are Struck in the SandBox?

SandBox can really be a boon instead of a bane if you know how to utilize the period of dormancy to optimize your site for better ranking when it comes out of the slumber. Use this time to

    * Write good content: Content is the king. A better content will attract more visitors to your site.
    * Optimize your web pages: This could be tricky as there would be no way you can measure the effect of your optimizations. But it is worth it, for when you are listed, all this optimization will pay off.
    * Build Links: Inbound links go a long way in improving your page rank on SERP and your Google Pagerank. Therefore, start building links.
    * Optimize for MSN and Yahoo: These two search engines are growing fast and can definitely bring quality traffic to your site if you concentrate on optimizing for them. MSN and Yahoo don't have a sandbox, so it's worth a try.

How to Get Out of the SandBox?

All though the effectiveness of these methods is not guaranteed, some people claim they work.

Method One: Join Google Adwords or Adsense Programs. Google seems to have different spiders for adsense / adwords and general site crawling but it is widely believed that subscribing to the adsense/adwords programs gets your pages spidered in minutes even by its search related spiders.

Method Two:The most widely used, this method involves purchasing an old domain for its longevity and back links.

But beware Google is known to change their algorithm quite often and the rules for sandbox may change too.

From the various discussions that have been going around the SEO world, it is quite evident that your newly launched Web page might not show up well on the SERP rankings in Google because of Google's dampening filter, the Google SandBox. Sandbox is inevitable and has to be lived with. Thus, it is the duty of the Webmaster or the site owner to plan the site launch date in such a way that there is minimum damage. During the sandbox period of a site, there is a great opportunity to improve incoming links, apply for directory listings, improve content, and so on. Please note that if all these are properly done, when you come out of the Google SandBox, you can get listed in the SERP with a good rank.

With some planning and by properly utilizing the tips mentioned in this article, you can utilize the dormancy of your Web page during the sandbox period to burst into the top rankings of the SERP pages when you come out of the dormancy.

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