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Still in the Sandbox

 3:49 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey guys I have a site - thats been live and indexed in Google now for almost a year (was launched 16/05/2005)

The Site has a PR5 with 3,000+ Back Links.

Is there anyway of knowing how long you have left in the Sandbox? How long are you meant to be in the Sandbox for?

Wouldnt be great if Google had a tool which told you how long your were left in their sandbox? :P

Please let me know your thoughts on this popular topic!



 10:49 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no sandbox!

If you where to put up a site tommorow with links from lots of high authority sites it would be in Google almost immeadiately.

Sandbox is a excuse used by poor performing SEO agencys.


 10:52 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

That's backwards of course. A bunch of high quality links will normally immediately kill a site.

The sandbox can last for over 18 months. I haven't seen anything over two years, but the century is still young...


 11:13 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

how are you guys determining that you're 'boxed'?


 11:37 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

The easiest way is to check your allin's and if your listed for those allin's your definitely BOXED!

If you don't know what I'm talking about with allin's go to google and do a allinanchor:"Keyphrase", allintitle:"Keyphrase", allintext:"Keyphrase", or allinurl:"Keyphrase". If your site is showing up for your keywords with allinanchor or allintext your site is in the SandBox.


 11:52 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Heh ... I have a site (live since early 2004) ... PR 5, a lot of on topic backlinks (acquired consistantly over time) ... Went into "sandbox" in August 2004 ... Still isn't out yet ...


 11:53 pm on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

if your listed for those allin's your definitely BOXED!

Isn't that pretty much the same as just checking to see if your pages have been indexed? In which case, how is your definition of SANDBOXED different than the definition of YOUR SITE DOESN'T RANK VERY WELL?


 12:25 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no sandbox!


 12:57 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

ok.. now i'm confused..
i checked my ALLIN's, and some of my keywords/phrases show up.. so by your definition, i'm boxed..


if i do a G search for some of those same phrases/words, my site shows up at number 1 - 20 (depending on the phrase)

So.. how does that work?


 1:34 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think what MLHmptn means is if your site shows up for the allin's on the first few pages but not easily found by searching by "keyphrase" (like on page 150, for example), then you are playing in the sand.


 1:38 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I just did a quick search using a Domain Age Tool Program and it told mt that my domain has been running for 1 year and 6 months.

Surely by now it would be out?

WHats the longest you can be in it for?


 1:53 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are domains that have been showing this effect since the whole thing started - almost 2 years now. That's why the name "sandbox" is not a good name for what we see. It's more like a set of quality measures that Google applies, but we don't know exactly what they are.

When I get a domain stuck in this situation, I look for every angle where the website mught be trying a shortcut of some kind, anything "sub-standard" and fix whatever I notice. It can get mighty frustrating, I well know. But we cannot think of it as just "doing time" and then the domain gets released.


 1:59 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

interesting tedster ... could you expand on alist of things to do - that might help getting out of the 'sandbox' or whatever it is :P

would a new design of the site help?


 3:03 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Probably not -- googlebot has no eyes to see pretty graphics, and sometimes seems allergic to major changes. Some members here have reported a non-sandboxed site going back into a sandbox-like situation after a major redesign.

Instead, look for things like:

  • unique titles and descriptions for each page
  • only one url (including the query string) for any given bit of content
  • right use of 200/301/302/404/410 http headers
  • a domain name that resolves directly - no redirect of any kind for the Home Page
  • a variety of quality inbound links, some to deep pages
  • code that is relatively free of errors
  • no broken links, internal or outbound
  • some outbound links -- be a citizen of the web
  • no dead-end pages
  • no pages without inbound links
  • a sitemap, or at least a short html click path to every page from the home page
  • "comfort information" that helps visitors anyway, like a privacy policy, refund/return/shipping information for any product or service offered, solid contact information including a physical address or phone where feasible, an email address associated with the domain. In other words, evidence that the business is real and not just a Potemkin Village [en.wikipedia.org].

    ... all the kinds of things we talk about here regularly. And then, continue to do whatever you can to build traffic in a natural and healthy way. Just build the business, whatever it is, and make the people who visit happy.

    As I said, we don't know everything that Google looks at, but we do know they say we should be building a good site for our visitors -- and I just listed some of the key factors that help visitors. None of it would be time wasted, that's for sure.

  • jrs_66

     3:12 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    --- 3,000+ Back Links

    Did you ever think an 11 month old site with this many inbound links may be considered a bit spammy? 273/month... almost 10/day!


     3:12 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    The whole "sandbox" thingy started on St. Valentines day in 2004.

    Apparently Google is looking for "signals of quality" before allowing a site to become a citizen of Google Land.

    From what I have experience, the level of the signals of quality a site needs to have to become a citizen of Goo, depends on how competitive the site's market is.

    A site can choose to be a legal citizen or and illegal.
    Illegals adopt someone elses identity.


     3:23 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    It's amazing to me. Everything that Tedster put up applies to my main site. Actually a client's site but a favorite of mine.
    And google has beat the stuffing out of this site. Sandboxed, supplementaled, deindexed, basically treated like a red headed stepchild. Peeks out of the sandbox in the weirdest ways lately. Today...two word search term producing a 14,500,039 return and this site was #4. Go figure. Been in the sand box for a year.
    And for those that say "no sandbox"...I would appreciate urls for sites that have achieved success in three to six months that perform well in google serps that ARE NOT authority tyoe sites, such as University sites.


     3:32 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    depends on how competitive the site's market is

    I see the same thing, minnapple, and I wish I understood exactly how that is being measured. Some have conjectured it's based on the price or number of bidders in AdWords for a search term, because a site can be "sandboxed" for a pricey two word phrase, but add a third term to the query and there it is high on the SERP.

    That sure sounds like a possible measure -- and highly valuable terms (not just competitive in a "pages returned" sense) would be more likely to have highly aggressive methods applied -- so Google might well be a bit wary. But then again -- just talking -- it might just be the number of searches, whether or not they are financially lucrative terms. I lean toward the first, but am not 100% convinced. Maybe it's some "Combination of the Two".

    [edited by: tedster at 3:39 am (utc) on April 27, 2006]


     3:33 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Links .....

    So can you guys confirm that if you have too many inbound links pointing to your website - than it can penialise you?

    Isnt this a contradiction to the earlier rule of acquiring alot of links?

    Most of the links pointing to our site are from our other network sites which are mainly directory based.

    Would it help if we removed these links?


     3:42 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    No Mercenary, the point is to add links slowly so as not to raise a red flag to Google. If your adding links at the rate of 10+ a day in a competitive market or even for that matter a non-competitive market, Google perceives it as spam. Ridiculous? YES! If your adding links to your site do so in a slow natural way.... 5-10 (IMHO) a week or less. Or if you can, score a few PR 8+ links that are relevant to what your site is about and you may just instantly be out of the sandbox.

    But realistically, NONE of us know exactly how the sandbox works except Google!


     3:49 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    im still a little confused if Im in the sandbox ... How do I check?


     3:54 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    You must update your content and data on your site many time. I can get PR 2/10 within 4 month


     3:56 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Mercenary...Do a YAHOO search on Google without Filters. #1 result...use it.

    Also isn't it funny that the #1 site is excluded from Google's RELEVANT results?!


     4:01 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    hmmm im not allowed to post domains here am I?

    Dam ... :P

    is there a tool which checks if your in the sandbox?


     5:06 am on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    [ Some have conjectured it's based on the price or number of bidders in AdWords for a search term, because a site can be "sandboxed" for a pricey two word phrase, but add a third term to the query and there it is high on the SERP. ]

    Ted, I have seen sites on non-boxed sites struggle on certain search phrases that are not competitive, but one word is related to a competitive phrase.
    ~stuff [ search phrase plus the tilde in front ].

    Often, it takes months before Google sorts out that site isn't about the competitive relational word, and is more about the intended usage of the word based upon the other words.

    A blinding light was set off with that thought.

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