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Sandbox Question and SEO for Google

Will a new website be sandboxed

     
2:52 pm on May 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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i was told by a person who claims to be a SEO that if i have a new website, i must not get into link exchange and should only look up for one way links.

He said the reason being, my website will be sandboxed by google in case i get into reciprocal linking.

I think one way linking will be difficult and even will cost me lot more compared to reciprocals.

Please help me with the situation.

thanks
Sachin

8:48 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I challenge anyone to prove that any NEW domain (never owned before with existing residual links, content, etc.) with content built from scratch avoids the sandbox or age filter or whatever name you want to apply. I've yet to see definitive proof that anyone escapes Google's "wrath" with a brand spanking new domain with a site they're building from scratch. If you got it, show it.
9:56 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I challenge anyone to prove that any NEW domain (never owned before with existing residual links, content, etc.) with content built from scratch avoids the sandbox or age filter or whatever name you want to apply.

That is pretty easy. Watch any news source and pick up something new but somehow still rare.
The chance is good that the top results will have a few new domains.
It does not have to be an obscure term.
E.g. the actual news in Europe is about voting for/against European constitution. Try search for the phrase "vote no". Would you more than 45,000,000 results call enough competitive?

On the second place (from here) is nocampaign.com (mod:delete if needed), the name registered in March of this year.

The site was simply picked up by the mainstream media, got valuable natural links (and probably bookmarks, etc) and Google was able to recognize authority in them.

Of course, if anyone wants good results for competitive terms in short period of time he should be REALLY good and recognized as authority by others (especially in the field). Nothing new.
But what new is that Google is finally able to recognize scam among new sites and applies filters.
No DMOZ can help you here.

12:10 am on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I agree... I think that Google has seriously reworked their 'link quality' algorithm to add less weight to DMOZ/Recip Links/Free directories/Farms and to add more weight to predefined 'quality' sites (probably with a good percentage seeded by hand).

The problem as I see it (speculation, of course!) is when sites are in a niche that Google does not recognise any 'quality' sites for.
I would think that Google work on a system that says 'unless I know otherwise, this link is not worth much' hence you can get a load of nice backlinks but you get sandboxed.
However, by manually seeding large news sites, universities, big corporates, etc then they are getting back to the way PageRank was supposed to work.

Just my 0.02 British pence!

6:42 am on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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nocampaign.com was registered almost exactly 3 months ago by the CURRENT owners (March 2). Sites go in and come out of the sandbox within that time frame in some cases, obviously. A lot depends on Google's timing with updates and tweaks. Obviously some new domains go in and come out quicker than others. I'll wager this one didn't go from brand new (no previous incarnations) to first page of SERPs at G (on a competitive search term) without at least a quick trip to the sandbox. Can you show me that didn't happen?

schmoker

7:01 am on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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#i have a new travel website and will anyone give me some advice on what i should do?

Build say 1000 one way links?

or build 2000 reciprocal?

i want to start with quickly and have people who can give me links within a month's time.

can anyone suggest one more thing
#
I suggest if you have a new travel site ,go and travel to all the places you have in your website and come back after 2 years ,maybe then you will be out of the googlebox :>

7:40 am on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well, all i know is the site i help run was submitted to all the major engines 2 weeks ago, now the major keywords have us listed in the first page normally within the top 10 and sometimes in the top 5 or the first position.

If the site was in the sandbox it was in it for a very minimal period of time and jumped stratight back out into the listings.

Considering it took the original site at least 2 months to climb up i think two weeks is quite good.

8:41 am on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If the site was in the sandbox it was in it for a very minimal period of time and jumped stratight back out into the listings.

A normal part of the sandbox phenomenon is a fast rise in SERPs very early on, then oblivion. I saw the same thing with each of my new domain sites. Report back in couple of weeks if you can still find your site.

I'll also mention that what you consider your site's main keywords may not get searched much. I can find all of my sandboxed sites if I look hard enough with search terms that are useless to getting any traffic. Sites that are sandboxed are in the index, just buried for the good search terms and sometimes even for the co. name. It's a strange animal.

9:48 am on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Dear Swebbie,

How many more evidences do you need in order to confirm that sandbox effect does exist but is NOT applied to ALL websites?

I'll also mention that what you consider your site's main keywords may not get searched much. I can find all of my sandboxed sites if I look hard enough with search terms that are useless to getting any traffic. Sites that are sandboxed are in the index, just buried for the good search terms and sometimes even for the co. name. It's a strange animal.

By the above statement, I guess you mean (!) that if - for example - I create a new website for "travel insurance" it should not be buried for the search term "travel insurance"? According to your theory, Google should use just the content relevancy factor and get you listed on the top10 within the 1st month, just because you have the term in your domain, in your meta tags, in your text, in the anchor text, bla bla bla?

I am sorry but it just doesn't make any sense!

I PM you my own website that was NOT affected by the sandbox, although its main 2 keywords show 1,180,000 results on Google. What else do you need as evidence?

PS. I did created a website for "travel insurance" two months ago indeed, but OF COURSE it's nowhere to be found for the exact term yet and OF COURSE I didn't expect it to be there as well! :)

2:04 pm on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Aris,

That's a non sequitur. You're arguing with me about assertions I have not made. You're mixing level of competition with sandbox characteristics. As I posted in response to the so-called examples of non-sandboxing, even sandboxed sites will show up in SERPs for certain search phrases. The question is, of course, is anyone actually searching with those phrases? When I check my logs for all my sites that are sandboxed, I see a trickle of Google referrals for every site. I've never suggested that being in the sandbox means you can expect nothing from Google.

Regarding your travel example, obviously I understand that you can't just throw up an optimized page and hope to get high rankings for such a competitive phrase. But I know you'll agree with me that when you look through the top, say, 100 results for a search like that, you can pick out all kinds of sites that are far less relevant for that search phrase than your own (or others). My point has always been that Google should stop pretending that providing the most relevant and useful SERPs is their first goal. I may have been in the past, but clearly in recent months they've shifted the focus to preventing spam, even when it means throwing out some of the more relevant sites through their inexact methodology.

Bottom line - I maintain my assertion that all NEW domains (never used before with no pre-existing links or indexing) get sandboxed. I've watched all my new domains with no prior history in the last 16 months follow the same pattern: indexed, some pages showing up where they "belong" in SERPs for a short time, then buried. All along, once indexed, you can still find the sandboxed site if you dig deep enough. If there is any debate here, I think it's over how to define "sandbox," which we can't do with real exactitude since we aren't privy to the inner workings at G-plex.

2:27 pm on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You're mixing level of competition with sandbox characteristics.

Swebbie,

Anyway, friends here have understood your opinion and hopefully they have also understood mine :)

I think the above statement is very well presenting our argument!

According to my opinion the level of competition is related to the sandbox characteristics for sure; this does not mean there are not other factors that have effect on sandbox; there are many others indeed.

I wish you best of luck with all your sandboxed sites. I am sure you will have it, hopefully soon.

10:59 pm on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'll wager this one didn't go from brand new (no previous incarnations) to first page of SERPs at G (on a competitive search term) without at least a quick trip to the sandbox. Can you show me that didn't happen?

Are you serious?
A quick trip to "sandbox"? There is no sandbox.

The whole point here is that naturaly you can't publish a site and next day be the very first among 10,000,000 results.
Well, not anymore. Your sites do NOT belong where you think they should be. The system does not work anymore.
Yes, if you have a steady flow of inbound quality natural links, you can make it in (very) short time.
How do they know the links are natural?
Good question for the meeting.

3:30 am on June 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well, I do appreciate all the comments in this thread... it's very enlightening and confirms to me that Google is one confusing engine. I'm sure that's just what they want. LOL

Maybe the only answer is for Google to hire a ton of people to do nothing but respond to complaints about scraper and other spam sites messing up SERPs. Let every submitted site in, forget all the age filters and artificial ways to try to control spam without a human being involved, and then respond to complaints by removing the crap later. They could afford it and they'd have a truly awesome engine again!

I'm kidding of course. There is no easy answer here, and I realize that Google is trying. I just think the sandbox is too broad a brush to paint every new site with (or nearly every one).

8:04 am on June 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm kidding of course. There is no easy answer here...

Well, don't be surprised if one day (don't know when will it be!) Google decides to give webmasters the opportunity for a human review to their websites for an annual subscription...

I do expect to live this one day. :)

PS. This would certainly need annual recurring fees for the human review, while the bot/algorithm would still be in use to check spammers as well.

8:31 am on June 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The sooner the better!
9:46 pm on June 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I was sceptical about sandbox existence, perhaps until now - a new site I launched in December 2004, which ranked #32 on it's main target phrase, now jumped up to #1 or #6, depending on spelling the keyword!

I did no change that could cause it, no change in last several weeks. Page gained a few another natural links, of course, and there were some changes in content (it's dynamic and recent user posts are shown on main page), but I don't think it was enough for such a climb.

This may be algo flux, but if this good rankings stay for a few months, I'll believe in sandbox :))

7:37 am on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This _was_ a flux, now it's back #32 - but perhaps they turned of sandbox for a few hours? Anyway, there has to be a trigger that caused it!
7:50 am on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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there is a sandbox, I've also launched my site in December, in a VERY competitive topic, and mine was not #32: it was nowhere in results AT ALL, even #1032...

Now it's #40. For my keyword with 41,500,000 of results it's a BIG achivement. I didn't change anything on my site for the last 30 days, as honestly I've already started giving up and abandoning it.

But I hope they didn't just turn sandbox off for couple hours :( That would really suck... Mine is still #40, but after what happened to your site, I am not so optimistic anymore :{

2:30 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have two language versions, and it was local one that ranks at least #32, international one is still nowhere to be found, and I hope it's just sandbox or maybe too small PR yet.

This effect is rotating, yesterday at midnight (GMT) it was as I told before #1 and #6, today morning back #32, right now it's back #1 and #5.

I hope in four days it will be just #1 :))

I wonder if this will rotate for long time or are they just testing and switching indexes - a few months ago there was a regular rotation in the algo.

I'm not sure is it really related to sandbox, and if so, is it just my site already out or is sandbox going to be depreciated.

Of course there is one solution I recommend to the others and gonna do myself - submit to DMOZ and hope it will help ;)) But you cannot re-apply too often so I'm making sure I have enough good content first.

6:05 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've just bought a domain that has existed purely as a parked domain since '97.

Any ideas about whether Google would class this as a new site, or an 8 year old site?

Hopefully, I may be able to avoid the 'box!

6:15 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've just bought a domain that has existed purely as a parked domain since '97.

Any ideas about whether Google would class this as a new site, or an 8 year old site?

Hopefully, I may be able to avoid the 'box!

My understanding is that it's down to link age. So if it was parked but there were links pointing at it you may have a head start.

6:25 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I guess it's essential when Google indexed it for the first time. But if Google uses whois information, it might be less important.

Google will consider dates when your other pages will enter the index, so your site won't rank entirely as 8 years old site, but I wouldn't surprised if you were safer from the sandbox.

Tell us about your results when you get them.

6:26 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've just bought a domain that has existed purely as a parked domain since '97.
Any ideas about whether Google would class this as a new site, or an 8 year old site?

Hopefully, I may be able to avoid the 'box!

A site that expired on May 23rd, 2005 and is currently parked, has already been deleted by Google index. The site still has many backlinks and 1 DMOZ listing.

I am sorry Tiebreaker but I am afraid you are in trouble, as you may stay in sandbox even for more time than a new site. I hope I am wrong though.

PS. I would suggest NOT to change the domain's Whois info, if this is possible.

6:43 am on June 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hmm Interesting.

Site shows up in archive.org going back to '97 - so I assume there must have been a link pointing to it - presumably just from the owner offering it for sale.

The domain has never actually expired - I just bought it from someone who has been sitting on it for several years, waiting for the right offer - so hopefully, it has never dropped out of the index.

Whois info has already been changed to my details - not sure how I can avoid that - not if I want to legally own it?

I will certainly post back if it manages to avoid sandboxing.

7:02 am on June 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As soon a domain expires it looses all inbound links (and pagerank) in google's eyes. This site will definitely be sandboxed and would have been even if you had supplied the previous owner's whois details. Also, as Aris is hinting, some people believe it's harder to get an expired domain out the sandbox (even if the domain didn't have any penalties in the past).
7:10 am on June 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just edited my previous post - forgot to mention that the domain has never actually expired.
1:59 pm on June 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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That's how I previously understood - and my posts were written under this assumption - that the domain weren't expired, but just parked.
7:46 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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mblair:
"Are there any rules of thumb, other than Google's webmaster guidelines, that can help a new website get balanced consideration by Google for good rankings in the SERPs or is it prudent for the webmaster to plan for a neccesary passage of time before a website has a potential to rank well?"

GG reply:
"mblair, it usually does take time for a site to build up its reputation. There are always going to be a few sites that are so good or so viral that they don't really need search engines at all. In the old days, the hamster dance swept through the known internet world."

Probably the closest I've seen to any response on "sandbox"

"it usually does take time for a site to build up its reputation." is quite intriguing.

11:14 am on June 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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> usually does take time for a site to build up its reputation
(emphasis mine)

Thank you wordy. This was the beginning and the end of the whole sandbox thing, as far as I'm concerned.

Sandbox has been derided by many and woefully misinterpreted my many; indeed many people did cast their derision after misinterpreting the idea.

Sandbox merely describes the way that Google started to add a domain based component to rankings, that takes considerable time to apply.

What we still do not know is whether the lag is so long on purpose, or for some other reason.

11:27 am on June 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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i am not going to care about rules

will get as many quality links
one way or reciprocals
will have lot of sub domains
and

will tell you all the results of this experiment.

i am sure we will rank higher within next 3 months or 2 -3 google updates

already got 200 pages indexed by google.

sachin

11:31 am on June 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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1: I think one way linking will be difficult>>> not if you have old domains
2: Any new website will be put in to sandbox.>>>wrong I got many brand new sites #top 10
3:answer to 2: because i have many old domains that link one way to the new domains:)
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