Last month I launched a site that offers a free web service in exchange for a link back to my site. Got it to rank on competitive terms (although not in English) in under two weeks. The site has no affiliate links and so far no ads. So I guess Google could be treating it as a non-commercial one.
I really don't believe that there is a sandbox effect. I have yet to hear anyone getting removed from the sandbox. What I see happening is Google takes time to filter sites so new sites enjoy a brief moment in the sun until they get hit hard just like everyone else. It seems that by converting sites into directories and building strong local rank a site can leave the penalty box. But really this doesn't help commercial sites much. I notice in my own industry if I do an exact search for my company name (which contains a commercial phrase) the top 100 to 200 results are sites that are only relevant because they link to my site. They are directories and link sites and often have lower pr. My site appears well after them. Competing for the actual keyphrase has become very challenging. I had manged to get into the top 10, by buying high pr links and building basic links through directory submissions. But this is only temporarily benefical and my rankings soon slid again.
Google seems to put its filtering emphasis on commercial terms and city terms. I believe that its filtering technology is getting to be quite good so that now only relevant directories are showing and fewer fake directories make the cut. I tell those who want to do a commercial search don't bother with Google, it's useless, instead use Yahoo.
I posted this in another thread but didn't get any opinions on it; it seems to fit better here.
Could Google be devaluing links to the home page? I think that the majority of link exchanges swap links to the home page. It seems that true "quality" websites have many links to interior pages. Is it Sandbox or a devaluing of links to the home page? Maybe new links are being credited immediately (not Sandboxed), but those to the home page are being devalued.
Through my web travels lately, which have been significant due to a large link campaign, I have noticed a large number of homepages with no PR. Many of these websites have PR5+ on internal pages.
|I really don't believe that there is a sandbox effect. |
There is a sandbow effect actually which is making newer sites much more difficult to rank. We launched 2 sites some 3-4 months back, one commercial and one pure informational. Both are having really really difficult time ranking in the serps, in fact even a search for "SiteName Keyword" first brings up other sites which would have linked to our site with the keyword "Sitename" and coincidently even happens to have the "Keyword" in the same page. Its that bad!
All of our other old sites are doing very good in the serps and we had promoted them in a similar manner as we are trying to promote these 2 sites. I think there is something about sites being semi-penalized on the basis of speed of acquiring links. If anthing looks unnatural, then there is a sandbox trigger.
|What I see happening is Google takes time to filter sites so new sites enjoy a brief moment in the sun until they get hit hard just like everyone else. |
We never even enjoyed any type of 'brief moment in the sun', the pageviews are just not there.
|Has this been happening to non-commercial sites at all as well? Has anyone been able to get rankings for new informational sites without having to sit it out on the bench? |
On the contrary, the pure informational site that we launched is still completely in Sandbox, whereas the slightly commercial site has started to rank just a little well as compared to earlier.
I've actually been focusing our link building efforts in that direction for the last 6 months or so (i.e. getting internal pages/products linked to)
To date...it appears to finally be startign to pay off, as those individiual pages are rising steadily in the serps each month, and should hit the top 10 within the next 6-8 weeks or so (if they continue their current rate of improvement) - just in time for the holidays ;-)
The side benefit of this approach has been that our site (which is roughly 450 pages to date) gets completely crawled almost everyday, allowing me to fine-tune and see the results much faster.
|I really don't believe that there is a sandbox effect. I have yet to hear anyone getting removed from the sandbox. |
I've had one site come out in May nothing since. It's an affiliate site striaght links no funky redirects or hidden links. 5 who started later have not.
You said your site is purely informational this doesn't mean that Google doesn't see it as commercial. Are you competing on comercial terms? Is your site a directory or just good content? My sites offers lots of great content and would be considered probably the best content sites for their topics; however, they lack a directory feel and are competing for commercial terms.
The problem I have with the sandbox theory is that it only looks at new sites. Really I believe this is too narrow, really the problem exists for all sites.
As I said before Google wants to filter out commercial sites this means producing results that are relevant but not comercially targeted towards the term. Directories fit this bill. They are less likely to spend money on travel or real estate terms so why filter them. Instead filter the realtors sites and travel brokers sites that are easy to spot. Usually the best commercial sites are the ones with the most content and fewest links to competitors sites. If they do link out it is usually to link partners and usually their linking out structure is done through a small section of the site rather than throughout the site as I directory would. These top commercial sites make the best advertisers and therefore are the best ones to filter out.
Google wants your money not your content.
"It's an affiliate site striaght links no funky redirects or hidden links. 5 who started later have not."
This type of site might appear as a directory.
I see lag time effecting informational sites the same way people talk about it here. Also new pages on domains. I doubt there is anything special happening to any type of site. Whatever is happening is happening to everything.
my non-commercial site has lost 50% of its google traffic
Just to add to the thread... Most NEW sites we have our commercial in nature and have been sandboxed since April with no exceptions. I don't think there is any difference if a site is informational/commercial in the "sandbox" effect.
This is awfully sad considering many quality sites could have been created in the past 3-4 months and have no chance of being found. Imagine some spectacular new trend or phenomenon is introduced and a person creates a site about that trend... No chance to rank for 3-6 months? Sounds like a bad quality index to me as being relevant means also being timely. IMHO.
|The problem I have with the sandbox theory is that it only looks at new sites |
allan where did you get this information?
I have been hit by the sandbox on a 2 year old site. Sandboxing does not affect a site but it affects in bound links.
I acquired links including a pr7 page, 20 pr6 pages, and hundreds of pr5s and 4s. These links were sandboxed and it took nearly two month to see any impact of SERPs. Then over the next month and a half the impact of the links slowly started taking affect.
Pre sandboxing I would have seen the impact of these links either immediately or at the next dance.
A bit off-topic but... Just checked a semi-competitive search, and found a page on a major news website moving behind the two official sites for the query. Five paragraph news story from August 11, sort of garbage "fresh" result that Google threw up all the time last year, and presumably what the lag time business is intent on preventing.
Worst part, I link to this news story, which is probably the only thing that even got a buried story on this megasite indexed in the first place. <open site, delete link, publish> I make new pages and they sometimes rank terribly (other times medicore). I link to page on a mega-profit domain, poof, rises above my older page on the topic.
I'm with allanp73. There is no sandboxing. Thinking it exists is the best way to fail. Just follow the logical path to build a site and things will happen.
I built a number of Amazon affilate sites, linked them from other PR 5 sites and Googlebot started visiting pages at the next day. Googlebot visits started to increase within a two weeks. Then the site started showing in serps.
Of course, Amazon AWS site populate serps, so it is clear that these new sites cannot compete with more stable sites with many backward links already processed by google but they receive about 30 to 50 Google search engine referrals per day. So, what sandbox are we talking about? As long as I don't do anything to get more links or improve the relevance of the current linkings my sites will remain the same. It is not up to Google, but if you believe so, you will wait for a year and nothing will change.
|allan where did you get this information? |
I have been hit by the sandbox on a 2 year old site. Sandboxing does not affect a site but it affects in bound links.
This was my point too. Sandboxing is something affecting all sites new and old. Really what people are calling Sandboxing is just the same thing many experienced after Florida. I think Google has spread out its filters to cover a broader range of terms. Or if you don't like the word filter it has applied a new weighting system that favors directories, links out, and strong local rank over content and pr.
You can beat this system by working toward building better links and designing for the new "directory is king" Google.
I believe the reason people feel that it is a new site penalty is due to the lack of link depth that newer sites have compared to older established sites. Generally it is easy to build pr; just have a bunch of sites and link them together and puff pr. However, local rank is harder to establish because the links you get can't be affiliated to you. Therefore it is a slower process and new sites would need time to build these types of non-affilated links.
I have produced 8 sites for a specific industry since 2000.
The sites all have (roughly) the same number and quality (meaning anchor text) of links. The content on these sites is similar but in no means duplicate, and the sites are not cross linked. I have noticed that the older sites perform far better.
I do believe there is a sandbox effect, and I noticed it kicking in about the spring of 2002.
read the original page that explains pr this also explains why older sites would rank better. Pr can build according to the paper every time the robots index your site. Older sites would have been indexed more often therefore rank better. This is no longer the case though.
Old or new sites are affected. I am surprised people keep bring this theory up rather than focusing on looking at what sites are listed and why they are highly ranked.
|You said your site is purely informational this doesn't mean that Google doesn't see it as commercial. Are you competing on comercial terms? Is your site a directory or just good content? |
- The site is just good content, no directory. I wouldn't say that I am competing on commercial terms, the terms are competitive, but not commercial.
>>> Could Google be devaluing links to the home page? I think that the majority of link exchanges swap links to the home page.
Yowza, I don't think Google has to undergo that path in undermining link swapping or manipulation. It would be more effective by first determining the type of page where the links are placed whether that page is meant for inorganic link placement and then discount its voting strength from there.
I recently bought a new domain, setup some non-commercial content. Gathered some recips and was found in SERPs 10 days after it was registered.
The terms are absolutely non-competitive though.
So if there is a sandbox I think it's for very competitive phrases.
>So if there is a sandbox I think it's for very competitive phrases.
This is the only way the sandbox could seem to apply only to commercial sites. Algorithmically it would be *very* difficult for Google to determine if a site was commercial. What if I put up an info site about widgets, where the real intent of the site was to draw in people searching about widgets, and then follow the links I had on the info site to my widget sales site? Google could get around this by sandboxing based on competitive search phrases, by assuming any site ranking well for them is commercial.
>>Gathered some recips and was found in SERPs 10 days after it was registered.
Found in SERPs for looking for the site itself, or ranking for search terms?
BTW, has anyone given any thought to a connection between the so-called sandboxing and that Local Rank patent Google got last year?
[quote] Algorithmically it would be *very* difficult for Google to determine if a site was commercial. [\quote]
Actually, if you read what I wrote you'll realize this isn't true. I think the confusion comes from what we see as commercial and what Google sees as commercial. We think commercial means selling some product. Google sees commercial as not a directory and targeting terms which have adwords. The site could be a non-commercial org site but just happens to target what Google deems as commercial keywords.
If Google uses HillTop to determine what is commercial and what is not, then the process is simple. It doesn't matter to Google if good content sites get lost. What matters is producing quasi good results that lack potential advertisers.
So the problem affects us all commercial and non-commercial site owners.
|This is the only way the sandbox could seem to apply only to commercial sites. Algorithmically it would be *very* difficult for Google to determine if a site was commercial. |
Agreed, but how difficult to determine if the phrase entered was commercial?
>Agreed, but how difficult to determine if the phrase entered was commercial?
Not very. My point is that Marcia needs to clarify her original question. Does she mean non-commercial sites, or sites that are non-commercial AND aren't targeting search terms that are commercial?
Take a successful domain move it to a completely new URL, wait two months and I assure you will beleieve sandboxing exists. Don't forget your 301's.
I can only speak from our experience. You can call it anything you want but the ability of new pages, and new sites, to move upward in the Serps, or be even remotely competitive, has definitely taken a turn for the worse. It started early this year and you could get out of the box in around 4 to 6 weeks. Now itís up to 90 days and counting. It is stuck, and no amount of links, on page optimization, or deep prayer does anything for us. It is very difficult to improve something that just wonít budge, no matter what you do to it.
Some say its links, others a filter, and many profess its all in how you introduce it. Personally I have no idea what it is, but what started out as a curiosity, graduated to a minor nuisance and is now a real pain in the butt.
If someone knows how to solve this please share. I think a lot more people than admit it, are dying to know.
Of course, a new site would experience problems. It would have zero links. My point is content is no longer king. If anything links are now more important then ever. When I say links I mean links from non-affiliated sites.
Read what I wrote. I have sites that have turned the filter on and off and off and on many times. What triggered the filter was weak local rank and few links out. The problem never had anything to do with the age of the site or the age of the links. It was based whether Google thought my site was a good directory or not.
For Google directories good -- commercial sites bad.
Google counts links and transfers PR from 301 redirects. It would have the same links as before. A page that previously ranked number one would not rank in the top 300. Same links, same content, same PR, new domain, no rankings. That is the sandbox.
|Of course, a new site would experience problems. It would have zero links. My point is content is no longer king. If anything links are now more important then ever. When I say links I mean links from non-affiliated sites. |
Marcia, The site I have in question is a local information site which only included Adsense until very recently. The keyphrases for which the site ranked well while on its previous domain were both commercial and non commercial, although the locality is decidedly commercial (travel destination).
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