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Google Sandbox = Dampening Filter Applied
Google Sandbox Link Dampening Filter
Seo1




msg:716903
 2:54 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

Google Sandbox- I have read this topic so many times in the last two years it hurts.

The "Google Sandbox" as it is called is not Googles way of dumping on your site, keeping your site at bay till Googles happy with you.

Google Sandbox is actually a tool in the Google Adwords Adsense campaigns.

What I see many websites suffering from is "gross misinformation", spewed about by all of the so called "Google Experts"

People just refuse to use common sense when it comes to getting front page rankings on Goolge.com SERP's.
This is apparant by the sudden rise in popularity of text link ad sites as a way to help bolster rankings in the SERPs.

I also se it in many freelance job boards I visit with the webmasters submitting projects to build them 100's of reciprocal or backlinks with so many stipulations it makes me laugh.

I have some bad news for you.

Links WILL NOT get you front page results on Goolge..

What they will get you more often than not is what is known as a dampening filter(Read Google Sandbox" for Google Experts).

What the "Google Experts" forgot to tell you was that Googlebot is an indexing bot which keeps information on every website that it indexes in it's database.

In this "cache" are your pages, and the links from those pages. Google uses this information to determine if you are attempting to influence the search results ranking by participating in practices such as agressive
link building.

Google also has in the database, the amount of time it took the authority sites in each category, to build natural links over the last 7 to 10 years. (Natural Link Building)

So all those sites who go on a link building spree and exceed the averages it took an authority site to build links, will receive a dampening filter for trying to manipulate the SERPs . (Artifical Link Building).

Hopefully this will put the "Google Sandbox" myth to rest and allow people to open their eyes to the real problems of trying to get websites with great content listed in the front page rankings of the search engines.

Clint

 

diamondgrl




msg:716904
 4:34 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I don't think it puts anything to rest because you didn't prove anything despite your seeming assurance of your position. However, I will give you that you have provided interesting fodder for thought.

walkman




msg:716905
 4:45 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

someone just told me to watch out for "Experts" who says that links don't matter.

Seo1




msg:716906
 11:54 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ok to put this to the test I actually did some research.

Under the keyword "tax" for example.

Most of the sites on the front page results have been on line the 7 or 8 years needed to validate my thoughts.

I then checked the links Google (and no I don't look at other SE link counts since they have no reflection on Google). had in it's cache for each of the top sites.

Most sites in the "tax" category managed to build on average 100 links per year.

100/12 = 8.3 links per month.

Walkman - I am no expert - However of the 45 sites I have helped reach Googles front pages in the last two (2) years there has not been one that I have had to build links for in order to get them the front page results.

And yes some are in the 200,000 competing pages and others are in the 20,000,000 competing page ranges.

So from "my" own personal findings I have found there is no reason to build links as aggressively as I see others trying to do.

And the only reason I posted this is so that the "google sandbox" myth would disappear and so that unsuspecting webmasters will stop beinf duped by the constant misinformation about links being needed for front page Google results.

Take from it what you wish, toss the rest in the garbage, because ultimately it's nothing more than my opinion and we know all about opinions.

Peace

sacrelage




msg:716907
 8:33 am on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

SEO,

So does this mean that Link Building wont help?

But how come I see so many new sites that are not even less than a month old making it to the top 10 listings of Google?

So if we push aside aggressive link building, what are the other elements left to improve your sites rankings.

1milehgh80210




msg:716908
 10:20 am on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think there may be more than a little truth to your idea.
Maybe G has found a way to make links -all important- , and -not important- at the same time!
Taken a step further, this could also explain how some sites get cemented in place in the SERPS.
Like the #1 result for 'discount broker', which has been #1or#2 for about 2 yrs. Even though no actual site has exisited at that url for the same period.

larryhatch




msg:716909
 10:44 am on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi 1mile:

You mean that real short URL with no snippet or description?

I see what you mean. Looks like a lapsed and parked domain.

There's something like that in my narrow niche, but not at the top like this.

The hog in my neck of the woods has a 100 word title and 150 word description.
Both are complete unadulterated keyword stuffed spam.

Cemented in place? That's a good term.
Its been years and I'll never understand it. - Larry

1milehgh80210




msg:716910
 10:54 am on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ya, Maybe G gives new sites some sort of 'probationary' period, where sites are only allowed new links @ a maximum rate. And sites that exceed that get pushed back to the back of the pile.
But sites that escape that period get free rein.

Just speculating of course.......

Seo1




msg:716911
 11:46 am on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi All

Sacrelage - no it does not mean link building won't help, it will as long as it is naturally done, with a huge emphasis on one way links being more valueable than reciprocals, which I feel do get downgraded over time.

1mile - thank you for the vote of confidence, I am not trying to come across as knowing everything and without being able to prove Google applies a dampening filter it makes it harder to validate my thoughts.

I am looking for others to rethink things and input thier thoughts as well so that we can all learn.

As for why sites suddenly jump to the front, new seo techniques involving css, a press release written and distributed can do it, but I doubt aggressive link building will.

Also it seems keyword spamming the actual content on your pages works. I am going to try this for a client and myself so I will let you know the results.

I've also noticed full urls in your page coding as opposed to linking to your short urls seems to add value to your rankings.

As for results cemented in place Google has two indexes a forward index and their normal index. The authority sites in most categories would comprise the forward index as those are the websites that will more often than not be returned for the users search query.

for example "accounting software"

www peachtree.com has and will return in # 1 for years.

Peachtree is a huge accounting software manufacture which had a huge offline presence before the net.

They have streets, plazas, and buildings named for them in a large US city, and having been one of the first to market, along with quicken, once the internet took shape it is only natural that they as an authority site will stay put.

Just like if you went to Staples or Office Max you would expect to find it in the store when looking for accounting software, so too should they appear when you are "searching" online for accounting software.

My parting thoughts on links

Google and all other majors at one time decided to ignore the meta keyword tag, due to spamming, and it would take a huge amount of convincing and evidence to make me feel they don't penalize for "link spamming" (New keyword term?)
perhaps....

Your thoughts please.

Clint

JudgeJeffries




msg:716912
 9:17 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Seo 1, I have sites that I've linked agressively, sites that I've got just natural one ways pointing at and sites that have just a few mixed links but its all the same i.e. they're all in the sandbox.

Giga1




msg:716913
 9:33 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you make some excellent points regarding the motive for a sandbox effect. Some of your observations are questionable, however you may be dead on with your assesement of natural vs aggressive link building idetification by google. If I were a search engine I would apply the same tactics as it makes sense. If I understand you correctly, the only way to optimize a site based on this theory would be to identify the trends of what the ACCEPTABLE (natural or average growth) ratio of links growth per month is by google, and adapt your linking practices to that conservative ratio even if it means avoiding additional links that month....

Seo1




msg:716914
 10:45 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Judge Jefferies

You said

Seo 1, I have sites that I've linked agressively, sites that I've got just natural one ways pointing at and sites that have just a few mixed links but its all the same i.e. they're all in the sandbox.

Well for the agressive links, as I said in my post so it seems true, as for the natural links, this could be a shear numbers things. Mixed well again if you stepped over the threshhold.

However what you haven't told me is
A. If your domains were registered after December 2003

B. Who optimized your sites and what makes you think it's the links which have you in a filter.

As for a sandbox again its a Adword Adsense tool.

Giga - Thanks for the compliment, even about the questionable thoughts...I never claimed to be a great writer or a mental genius..my thoughts at times get ahead of me

I know I also come off a bit authoritative when I haven't the entire proof to prove my thoughts, but I let them loose none the less, can't change a tigers stripes.

Besides all thoughts are just that thoughts and opinions which we all have however expressed.

More importantly I believe Google has applied a freshness date (?) to everything to do with a web page.

Whether it's fresh content or fresh links each month.

I also want to comment on a line of yours which I also feel is important for anyone optimizing a web page or web site.

"If I were a search engine I would apply the same tactics as it makes sense."

When I discussed this post and an article I wrote on the topic with a client, he asked me what it was that gave me the anti-seo views many others have, and I told him " I think like a search engine robot"

Next time you go to do anything related to SEM or SEO of your website think like you are the search engine spider bot and not like you are the SEO trying to beat the search engine spider. I guarantee it's much smarter than most of us humans.

Now I have a question for you...concerning links....witin Google it states a link is a vote from site A for site B. If links are votes ....and we know votes last year do not count this year ..but we know links are indexed in the database could the dampening filter (Google sandbox for those still stuck using that term) be set with a numerical value.

I am not trying to say links will eventually lose their total value but more along the lines of this years links count for full value, last years links valued at 90%, links two years old are worth 80%, and degrading per year accordingly, then a total value of all links is given and those that valuate over the average score get the filter applied and this lasts till the links cycle through the aging process and the filter lifts off naturally.

Perhaps instead of years it's months with a possible lowest value link worth 1/100s of a new link.

My reasons for this is (this should really cement the sandbox arguement) Google I do not think would sit and monitor sites to see if they should be pulled out of this fictious spot.

So it would make sense it is somehow automated.

What are yout thoughts?

Clint

Giga1




msg:716915
 11:06 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

A possible theory is that rather than links losing or decaying their value over time, I theorize that links actually improve their value over a set period. I have always subscribed to the believe that google applies somesort of grandfather effect on a domains age (or perhaps the age of the links to that domain). In other words, the longer the establishment of those links, perhaps their value actually incremtally increases over months/years as they are now cemented links, rather than fly by night linking strategies applied by seos. I have read your posts in the past and agree with your train of though on alot of topics and would like to discuss ideas with you outside of the forums. I'll send a pm.

xrtza




msg:716916
 11:09 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmmm wouldn't be easy to send your competition to the sandbox if it was all about rate of link building?

Giga1




msg:716917
 11:10 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmmm wouldn't be easy to send your competition to the sandbox if it was all about rate of link building?

No as it would not incur a pentalty, rather just a dampening effect.... in other words, the more aggressive the link campain, the less bang for the buck..

Ledfish




msg:716918
 11:14 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

SEO1 Said "They have streets, plazas, and buildings named for them in a large US city" in a remark about Peachtree accounting software.

Now that's really funny, those streets, plazas and buildings in Atlanta Georgia existed long before the accounting software, which was actually probably named so because of some association with Atlanta by it's designer and founders. Not the other way around!

Seo1




msg:716919
 11:26 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

xrzta

Google can crawl the links and could see if the site was paticipating in the linking.

What you are speaking of would also only be one way links
Since the competitor cannot reciprocate the link for the site they are trying to degrade.

Those aren't a bad thing generally.

Clint

xrtza




msg:716920
 1:04 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

good point I am sure google could see trends and identify linking schemes. The question always bugs me that at what threshold does a link directory become a link farm etc. Too many gray areas to explore, I guess they have to draw the line somewhere. Unfortunatly I am having trouble figuring out just where the line is so I can keep out of trouble. When does good strong marketing become spam? I wish I knew exactly.

identity_00




msg:716921
 6:16 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

All theories aside it is a poor business model to penalize sites for over marketing. I really have my doughts Google really knows what their service is doing or providing. It doesnt have the human touch and cant always determine good or bad.

I am starting to think there are a lot of good sites in the sandbox and with the adwords program, you always have this "suspect" feeling of manipulation for financial gains. Perhaps they should confront these issues and at least make a statement?

God forbid they actually provide a little customer service for their unstable, not reliable system.

larryhatch




msg:716922
 7:25 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's an odd question:

Suppose my site gets a really great review on a killer blog, news site or whatever.
Suppose that 100s or 1000s of people visit, and many of those suddenly put links to my site,

This is as organic as it gets, but would there still be risk of a penalty for this? - Larry

suggy




msg:716923
 7:51 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

As the man said, Sandbox is not a penalty, but a dampening factor.

It's not that excessive link building trips an penalty. That's not what was said. It's that when you go at it like a man possessed, all your work is for nothing because Google devalues the links. They all become relatively worthless.

I could actually subscribe to this theory. When I think about the sites I have in sandbox and the one that isn't. I remember my little cheat when I set the latter two up: I did a wholesale link exchanges with all my previous link partners from the first site! Unnatural link building - possibly.

Agree also that, despite what some SEO firms tout, thousands of links are not required to reach the top in very competitive areas.

Sug

wanderingmind




msg:716924
 8:44 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

If Sandbox is 'just' a dampening factor, then I have a question.

Say site A gets a 100 links suddenly. As you say, Google applies the dampening factor, and they all become worthless / valued less.

If that is the case, the complaints which I see here mostly say - my site has lost its position due to sandbox, it has gone to the 150th page etc. A dampening factor would just mean that the new links will not be valued, but your existing links will still be valued, right? Or do you mean to say that once the dampening factor is applied, the value of the existing links too diminish - and you too disappear into page 100? In that case, its not a dampening factor - more like a penalty as you have LOST position. The complaints we see here are that people have LOST positions and practically disappeared.

Am I making any sense?

suggy




msg:716925
 9:01 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good point Wanderingmind.

I think the Sandbox concept has been widely misused as a way to describe any site suddenly going AWOL and disappearing into the words. It's become a scapegoat when anything goes wrong.

I don't believe that all these instances are attributable to the Sandbox. It's perfectly plausible that other filters or penalties are at play.

One time I've heard Sandbox bandied about in this way is when people make big, big changes to their site. Is that the effect of Sandbox? Maybe not. Perhaps it's just another check or balance that hasn't added up for Google. Perhaps, there's a "Is this the same site" effect, so when you start changing all your URLs and what not it trips....

Suggy

MHes




msg:716926
 9:32 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

>I then checked the links Google (and no I don't look at other SE link counts since they have no reflection on Google). had in it's cache for each of the top sites.

Links shown by google are only a snapshot, they don't show all the links. It is impossible to know which and how many links are being seen for a site. In fact, using other se's link tools is probably a better reflection on what links google is counting or seeing.

Link evaluation by google has improved. Top ranking sites in competitive serps need good quality links to maintain their position. Older sites have naturally acquired these links over the years, hence older sites often rank well.

Links are still very important, it's knowing which links are counted which is the tricky bit. Google made the link tool useless last year to stop webmasters figuring this out.

incrediBILL




msg:716927
 9:45 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

someone just told me to watch out for "Experts" who says that links don't matter.

Well they do and don't.

I just ran an experiment with a new ecommerce demo a couple of months ago that had about 30 products in it. It had only 1 link which was from our web site - google crawled it, about half of the products came in at top 10 and are still there.

Go figure.

I have found there is no reason to build links as aggressively as I see others trying to do.

I do the links just for alternative traffic to augment the traffic from the search engines. If it raises my SERPs too, thats just a bonus. But the search engines massively undercount links anyway, Google claims 1,400 and I know the number is more like 5,000 + based on site stats alone.

fom2001uk




msg:716928
 10:09 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I subscribe to the link maturity filter theory. It doesn't matter what you call it, Sandbox or whatever. It exists.

Seo1




msg:716929
 10:46 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi again

Identity 00

All theories aside it is a poor business model to penalize sites for over marketing. I really have my doughts Google really knows what their service is doing or providing. It doesnt have the human touch and cant always determine good or bad

Over marketing no they won't penalize for that, they do however penalize for manipulating the SERPs. Marketing & link building while intertwined are two vastly different undertakings.
---------------------------------------------------------
LarryHatch and others

Site popularity is a good example of one way links, these again will not get you a dampening filter applied.

Also it should be noted Googles measures the traffic to your site so it uses that as a measure as well of your linking habits.

For example a site with 10 visitors per month drawing 100 links looks bad, where a site with 10,000 visitors a month drawing 100 links is more plausable.
----------------------------------------------------------

Wanderingmind

All links have value, some more value than others, so no the links do not loose value.

----------------------------------------------------------

MHes

You wrote

Links shown by google are only a snapshot, they don't show all the links. It is impossible to know which and how many links are being seen for a site. In fact, using other se's link tools is probably a better reflection on what links google is counting or seeing.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Google will give a value to other links on Yahoo and MSN etc, but those links matter little to Google. As for Google not showing all links, this only leads me to believe that they are filtering out those links which are perhaps obvious attempys at boosting page ranking in the SERPs.

Google I doubt would let links counts on anpother SE determine anything about how the site fares in their results.
------------------------------------------------------------
IndecridiBill

Interlinking your pages to your other pages is a naural rank booster. Using your keywords to link to your products and services shows relevancy and will count high in google.

---------------------------------------------------------

In closing there had to be a link dampening filter applied in order to stop sites from shooting to the top of the serps by over aggressive link building.

I think as time went buy links were having to great of an impact on site rankings, and when you consider the algo is made to measure over 100 points on a website, being able to rank high due to 1 point being overused would throw the work of the other 99 points about your webpages out the window.
----------------------------------------------------------
PS from what I found the easiest way to get to Googles front page and stay there is to just keep adding content.

Hope this helps

Clint

MHes




msg:716930
 11:37 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

>As for Google not showing all links, this only leads me to believe that they are filtering out those links which are perhaps obvious attempys at boosting page ranking in the SERPs.

No. High pr relevant links are often not shown and Googleguy himself has confirmed that the links they show are a snapshot with relevant links not always appearing.

>Also it should be noted Googles measures the traffic to your site so it uses that as a measure as well of your linking habits.

I don't think so. Alexa data is very unreliable and so are all the other traffic monitoring methods/suppliers. Its too easy to fool traffic monitoring sites like alexa. Google does the occasional tracking of click throughs but I doubt for serious ranking purposes.

Seo1




msg:716931
 12:29 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

MHes

Well whatever they show my point is that google has it's own count and is not going to be influenced by a competitor.

Also as far as traffic ranking Google doesn't need to rely on Alexa or any other traffic measuring applications, it crawls your server and as such most likely can interpret hits, again links come into and depart your server not the actual webpages.

I really don;t understand people...everyone claims Google is filtering websites with domains registered Since January 2004, yet with something so simple as server stats nobody thinks Googles capable of deciphering those, and the ploys others choose to get better rankings.

But, that's why there are plain & peanut m & m's now isn't it?

We all have different likes and dislikes, thoughts and opinions

My aim is just to stir some thinking other than what is accepted as fact but also based on supposition.

Peace

Clint

OptiRex




msg:716932
 1:08 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Seo1 is pretty much on the button here since this has been my thinking and actions for the last year or so, natural organic growth linked to the right places will reap great rewards.

For instance, seven new specialty widget information sites launched last November with only one link to the authority site and linked back through their site navigation (that's how authoritative the information pages are) and all seven sites rank #1 in G, Y! and MSN already.

OK, the authority site is getting on for ten years old and has many natural links and has seen every update without so much as a quiver.

No doubt links do help however it is the quality of those links which assist much more than the quantity.

Anyone else with a similar experience?

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