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This 62 message thread spans 3 pages: 62 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Google Sandbox 2.0? Help!

 11:43 am on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I launched an ecommerce site at the end of last month and it was indexed pretty quickly. Been linked to a few times by decent sources and social activity looking good.

However, it doesn't rank for anything... even it's own brand name. It's not a keyword domain, it's just a 2 normal word but preety unique branding. It's absolutely nowhere.

It is indexed so no blocking issues or anything.

I saw recently on SEO Roundtable that Google may have started Sandbox 2.0 and also read somewhere that this lasts 30 days. It's now been over 30 days and we have a big promotion coming up in the next day or 2 and also an expensive print ad with a magazine that goes on sale next week. People searching for our brand can't find us.

We've had a lot of comments about this and it's going to kill us before we've started.

Anyone experienced this sandbox issue and anyone know how I can get it out of there?



 12:18 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just curious but why do you think your brand new e-commerce site should rank? I'm assuming you are competing against other e-commerce websites that have been working on their SEO for years. Why would a few backlinks push your websites past all of the competing efforts?

You also don't mention the text on your website or how unique your brand name is. I hope you have a good amount of text with keywords and synonyms. I have come across other websites that were built all in flash with no text for Google to index, wondering why they weren't ranking so I try not to assume anything anymore. Can you describe more of what you have done to make your site SEO friendly?

It is possible to get new sites into Google. I launched a new website about six months ago and I'm in the process of launching another one right now. Of course each industry, keyword and website will have a different experience.


 1:40 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good amount of text. Not over-optimised. All unique. Decent meta etc. All as it should be. I'm experienced in this field so I'm not being a plum.

I don't expect to rank above competitors for anything other than the brand which is unique enough for no one else to be targeting. And even as one word we're not ranking. Not page 2,3,4 ... nowhere.

I can only assume we're stuck in this new sandbox I've seen a lot of chatter about (I think aimed at stopping blackhats making thousands from payday loan terms week after week).


 2:34 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

If your vertical is under specific scrutiny such as "payday loans" I would expect indexing to take far longer than mainstream (as in "yellow shoes" or "blue widgets"). But "at the end of last month" is a little soon to draw any hard conclusions even for family widgets.

If you do a site:example.com search, what do you see? What clues do you get from GWT?


 2:36 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hundreds of pages indexed. No clues from WMT. Nothing dodgy... innocent product site.



 3:42 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

There is a relative new “waiting period” for new sites especially if they target medium to highly seek keywords.
It also happens with newish sites if incoming links exceed a certain "threshold" within a "certain time".
I think anybody, at present, that mentions a certain time period such as "30 days" speculates; only Google knows the answer.


 3:55 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just frustrating. You'd at least like to rank for your unique brand with a promo coming up. I can understand why Google have a Sandbox (assuming they do) but arrrrrgh. I just need to get out of it. Just for my brand name at least.


 5:51 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the same thing on my new site. Hands down the best content ever assembled in the niche and piles of it. It only indexes a few dozen pages a week. The site has over 1,000 pages already.

I do get their mindset though. Tech Crunch wasn't built in a week, month, or even a year.


 5:57 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Something like Sandbox wouldn't come into play for a site without some glaring issues. I would not assume that your site has been Sandboxed, I would start taking a closer look at details.

CAN Google crawl all your pages? What do you see if you use Fetch as Google in GWT and try to access your site's home page (I'm guessing from your context that you have hundreds of pages indexed but the site's main page is not showing up for you.) Have you tried searching from another computer? Have you asked friends in other locations to see what they can find. Search results you see may not be at all like other people see.


 6:51 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

We started a website 3 months ago, almost daily articles of 3,000+ words. The articles are shared well on the social networks.

We have 10,000+ genuine followers on Facebook and zero manual link building but with several decent links that have accrued naturally. To Google we might as well not exist.

We get 20-30 visits a day for them and the majority of those are likely brand matches as people do search for us on Google.

I've not experienced this before in 10+ years and yet the content on this website exceeds the quality of any of the others. It's written by a professional in the field.

IMO Google is definitely putting extra scrutiny on new websites. Naturally niche etc will have an impact.

We are going to give it 9 months and if still no change, we will be packing up. As this is pretty much a full time job right now and literally zero reward. I just hope 9 months is long enough to finally make some traction in Google.

I have started to up my game with networking to ensure we get more quality inbound links, but I still would have expected much more traction than this.


 8:40 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

We launched a new information site (linked from our related main site) early in the year. It was crawled and indexed fairly quickly, but it took a few months for it to rank decently.


 8:59 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Agreed - I added a new section to an old site last September and saw pages "indexed" right away, but until very recently, no organic traffic. It seems to be taking new additions much longer to move up than in the past. But eventually it moves up to get seen. The section is quite a competitive niche, so I didn't expect dramatic results.


 11:12 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't expect traffic on a new site for at least a year. I don't, as a result of experience, seek links to a new site for at least a year.

Sorry if this isn't what you want to hear but it's what I've learned over the last couple of years with a LOT of new sites.

A new site receiving decent incoming links has to be really special. Google expects a natural increase in links, otherwise a red flag can come up, a human visitor checks them and then, except in unusual circumstances, another site is toast.


 7:21 am on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

You'd at least like to rank for your unique brand with a promo coming up.
I just need to get out of it. Just for my brand name at least.

There is a fast way to rank your brand.

Use adwords..You'll rank within 24 hours.

After the promo you can either stop OR continue if it's worthwhile.


 7:55 am on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Fair point GreyBeard123 ... may have to do that. Frustrating but at least people will find us if using the big G.

Certainly don't want to be waiting a year though as superclown2 said though. I seen a shed load of sites rank quickly for their brand. Not seen this happen for a long time.


 8:05 am on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

I seen a shed load of sites rank quickly for their brand.

At present it won't happen..


 12:30 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

We ranked for our brand fairly quickly.

Actually, we have the first 7 results including Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

But everything else? Literally in obliveon. But we're being patient and just continuing to build our audience in other ways and producing quality content.


 12:58 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy did this information site also get links?


 2:39 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Rlilly: Yes, some. (It's still new, so it doesn't have a lot of links, but they're starting to trickle in.)

Like not2easy, I've also found that it can take a while for a new section of an existing site, or even a featured article on an existing site, to work its way into the upper reaches of the SERPs. Google is a company that focuses on the long term, and if you want traffic from Google, you might as well forget about instant gratification and share that philosophy.

(Side note: I can remember when, a few years ago, new posts on our ancillary blogs were indexed within a minute or two of publication. I don't know if that's still happening--I haven't checked lately--but if it is, speed of indexing and speed of ranking clearly are two different things.)


 3:03 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

We had a page with very thin content and kept slippng in the rankings (from 5 to about 15). We added some new content to the page, images, and placed a few links to other internal pages. We blogged about the products on the page, sent out some social signals. The page did get one or 2 weak links to it.

The page is now no 3 in Google. It started coming back in tiers over the course of about 5 months... Granted, our site does have a little power and been online for 17 years.


 3:42 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

realmaverick - Did you rank for your brand in less than a month? Did you get any links leading up to ranking? Anything else you did that could help me at least rank for brand name?


 8:58 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

The fact that Google can't or won't rank a new site for its brand name is troubling. I'd like to see what some of these brand names are, just in case they are not too generic and stacked up against competition.

Who knows, it may take a while to rank for even a brand name if it has to run through a bloated spam detection algorithm.


 11:42 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Is your brand name in the url of your site? I have launched 2 sites recently. One in April and another in May. Both sites really surprised me at how quickly they got to the first page of results in the top 5. Probably took 2-3 months, seems like closer to 2 months. Both sites had the brand name in the URL. The brand was not my brand and was a popular well known brand sold by many popular sites like amazon, ebay, and many many others. The brand also has a lot of write ups and articles on some big name sites. The thing I think really helped these sites rank so well so fast is that I waited about a month before getting any links at all to the sites and when I did get a link to the sites I only got one link to each site. The links were not on high pr pages or anything. The links only had the name of the site(s) for anchor text and nothing more. After getting these links, I waited about a month for the sites to stop bouncing around in the serps and they settled on page 2 for the brand names. I got another link to the sites (again just using the name of the site(s) as anchor text and after about 3 weeks they were in the top 5 results.
These sites still don't rank for anything other than the brand names which are in the url and in the name of the site. However, there are no other links warranting any type of ranking but the 2 links to each site. Not sure how much help this info is, but I thought I would share the info with the chance you may find a useful nugget in my experience with these recently launched sites.


 11:50 pm on Jul 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

And if you launch a site, and its gets press, and many authority sites in its industry publishes press with a link in it. How can that site now be sandboxed. OR penalized for getting to many links to quick at its launch.


 1:47 am on Aug 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

And if you launch a site, and its gets press, and many authority sites in its industry publishes press with a link in it. How can that site now be sandboxed. OR penalized for getting to many links to quick at its launch.

Don't believe everything you read.


 7:31 am on Aug 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks SincerelySandy. The brand is the domain name. Hopefully it will appear soon will the odd link here and there.

I agree Rlilly. If the links are on suspect sites then fair enough but if a brand gets enough buzz then an influx of links can naturally happen.

Update: Started PPC on brand last night. Hope it helps for now and I'm hoping the organic brand ranking doesn't take too long. Maybe this is why Google do it... look, they've got me spending already!

Robert Charlton

 8:53 am on Aug 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

A month or two is extremely young for an ecommerce site, and the considerations below are usually applied to somewhat older sites. You may simply be expecting too much from a new site.

That said... in general, when a site doesn't rank for its brand/domain name, that can mean that Google feels you've gotten too many coordinated links too soon. I remember a case of a member here about two years ago who had over-promoted at his site launch... thought he was doing things "by the book", but as Google's attitude toward self-promotion evolved, it seemed more likely that the problem was too many self-placed links in promo articles. You don't say anything to make me think that's what you've done, but I'd be remiss not to mention the possibility.

Also, I would take a look at this thread, from two years back, which suggested that Google may need to take a while to assess site quality...

Search engines need time & other signals to confirm a site is "fantastic"
June, 2012
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4467831.htm [webmasterworld.com]

In this context also, your site is very young. Google's John Mueller pointed out...

From what I can tell, your site is still fairly new - with most of the content just a few months old, is that correct? In cases like that, it can take a bit of time for search engines to catch up with your content, and to learn to treat it appropriately. It's one thing to have a fantastic website, but search engines generally need a bit more to be able to confirm that, and to rank your site - your content - appropriately.

As I interpret the article, the presence of questionable links might make Google take longer to trust the site. Usually, this question is asked the other way around, but... are you getting any other inbound anchor text beyond the domain name?


 10:24 am on Aug 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks Robert.

No, we gave a good respected source take an article we'd written for their audience (got 1 domain link from that). Any other links are natural that people have put on voucher sites and competition sites from competitions and promotions we've been running. Not many but seen a few.

Don't think there are any negative signals there.

I have another new site that launched around the same time in a different niche and just noticed that it is not ranking for it's brand. It is however, ranking for some categories/locations that others could be targeting. Weird.

Robert Charlton

 6:29 pm on Aug 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

MartiKatFish - I'm assuming that you are saying that the article in the "respected source" did not contain the link, but it led to your receiving a link. That should be fine, though you didn't say what kind of source the actual link is from.

Any other links are natural that people have put on voucher sites and competition sites from competitions and promotions we've been running.

These jump out at me as either potentially suspect or not of value. A link on a voucher site simply isn't likely to be an "editorial link" of the kind and value that Google is looking for. And a link back to you from a promotion that you've been running is probably going to look unnatural, even if you didn't place it there yourself.

The multiple sites in multiple niches also suggests you are spreading yourself too thin, and that the quality simply isn't there. Matt Cutts has alluded to this in the past as a likely weakness.

Going forward, multiple affiliate or advertising based sites, which I'm assuming these are, are IMO not going to be a good business model.

I would re-read the thread about John Mueller's take on quality and the kind of links you need. It's not about just squeaking by on a technicality... it's about creating really impressive material that will pull in links of value.


 10:12 pm on Aug 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Don't believe everything you read.

Amen to that. This thread is full of miss information. My partner and I build about 2-3 new sites each week, add links and rank within 4 days.

Don't blame Google for not ranking you, build it right, link to it the right way and guess what? Google ranks it. The sandbox as you call it, does not really exist if you build the sites correctly.

I think the name should be changed to penalty box, build it wrong and you have to wait out the 30-60 days or whatever the Gorg has set up.

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