Google Sand Box

February 3, 2012 - by admin · Filed Under SEO Leave a Comment 
Be Sociable, Share!

    I’ve experienced a good amount of automatic filters, periodic loss of rankings or sandboxes (whatever you want to call them) in my experience of doing SEO on websites.

    I always thought that until recently there was a specific trigger or reason why my sites all lost their rankings – such as too many over optimized backlinks, poor quality content, high or unstable link volume, links from questionable sites etc.

    What I’ve started realizing now however (thanks to lengthy conversations with other people on my Skype and PMs) is that if your site is under 12 months old, there will be anti-trust measures and filters that Google will be implementing if you build lots of your links to your site whilst it’s still young.

    Tripping these anti-trust filters seems almost irrelevant of the actual quality of your sites or its content.  Rather then a punishment, it seems to me that Google is just protecting itself against new sites that build links too quickly.  This explanation is probably what many people have referred to as a sandbox in recent years.  It doesn’t have to happen within the first 3 months of your site, it can happen at any stage within the first year – 5 months or even 8 months in.

    This is what I’ve never realized before.  Every time I had an algorithmic penalty in the past, I always assumed that I did something wrong and that I needed to fix it or find out exactly what set it off, such a buying low quality links from another site.  This drove me crazy some days!

    So now it’s a huge relief to come to a conclusion that most of these periodic loss of rankings were probably just Google getting suspicious of new sites and naturally implementing a site-wide devaluation over a certain period of time.  It’s not the end of the world; it’s just a natural algorithmic filter on new sites implemented by Google.

    Case Examples: Young Sites that Have Lost Rankings for Extended Periods of Time

    Complete Loss of Rankings Between April 20th and May 16th

    I can show a few examples of 6-month old sites which have lost traffic and rankings and then re-appeared again 4-6 weeks later.  Take a look at the screen shots below for example:

    You can clearly see that both these sites lost their rankings and traffic for a period of about 4-6 weeks.  In terms of what I did to get them out of these filters, I might have bought have a dozen brand links, but in general I didn’t make any changes to these sites and they pretty much came back by themselves (you’ll hear stories from a lot of other webmasters saying the same thing).

    I’ve also had two sites in competitive niches, which have lost all of their rankings for EXACTLY 3 months.  FYI: It does seem that if you’re targeting competitive niches then your new sites will be much more at risk.

    The reason I’m writing this post is because I see SEO and Webmaster forums FILLED with cases like this: where the owner of a 4-month or 6-month old site have completely lost their rankings.

    Complete loss of rankings between May 10th and June 16th

    Of course, a lot of these guys will have just been far too aggressive or stupid with their SEO campaigns, but for the most part I think it’s just a natural part of Google’s trust-filter mechanisms to protect themselves from new sites.  If these guys kept building their sites and adding quality then I’m sure they’d re-appear within the next few months.

    There will always be ways of increasing your chances of returning back from Google however.  The most important step seems to be getting high quality, authoritative links that pass trust to your site, however overall you just need to be patient and accept it for what it is.  I’d also ensure you keep building content and doing what you were doing before – consistency seems very important.

    How to Plan Your SEO Campaign with These New Site Filters in Mind

    A number of the biggest webmasters and affiliates actually give their site plenty of time to age before building backlinks to their site of any kind.  Most authoritative people I’ve spoken to on this subject have said that they wait 6-12 months before they even begin building backlinks.  In the mean time, they just keep adding quality content and get their site made known in the industry.  If they do decide build links early on, they also focus a lot on inner pages and natural branded links.

    Anyway that’s the lesson I’ve learned this week.  I know it’s impossible for most webmasters to wait 12 months before doing any sort of link building, but I’m just pointing out the physics and natural risks of building new sites that are less than 12 months old, with regards to SEO and Google.  It also makes a lot of sense too.  If there’re authority sites out there that are 3-7 years old then Google shouldn’t see much reason for these 4-month old sites to suddenly be ranking 1st page for all these competitive keywords.





    Follow Me on Twitter @AffiliateFYI for Even More Affiliate, Business and SEO Updates!

    Be Sociable, Share!