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thejenn 8th June 2006 03:22 PM

Is There Really a Google Sandbox?
Authored by: Jennifer Laycock

Full Text:

A Snippet:

Anyone that's spent some time in a search related discussion forum knows what a popular topic the sandbox is for debate and a great deal of the search community accepts the concept as fact. Guess what? They're wrong.

Old Welsh Guy 8th June 2006 04:55 PM

I have said all along that the sandbox is simply an algoruthmically triggerd result of a series of events, rather than a specific item. All new sites that are built and promoted these days all follow the same pattern:-

1. site suddenly appears with loads of pages, all optimised and ready to rank
2. site gets submitted to thousands if not millions, NO, EVERY PAGE ON THE WEB is asked to trade links.
3. Links tend to be reciprocal, directories, or blogs
4. Backlinks appear across all the article sites that can be submitted to by using autosubmission software.
5. Run of site footer links appear pointing to the new site.

Wake up people, it doesn't work that way in real life. Much as I feel what Shari has said is not far off the mark, I think she has really not graspedthe right stick here, and she has certainly not said things how they could have been said. WHy is it that people feel they must be downright nasty and/or controvercial to get heard?

thejenn 9th June 2006 08:36 AM


Much as I feel what Shari has said is not far off the mark, I think she has really not graspedthe right stick here
I's one thing to say that the sandbox doesn't exist. Anyone can say that. ;) (though they CAN say it a bit nicer...LOL)

But for people that ARE seeing their sites 'delayed' there's no reason for them to give ANY credibility to someone that says "well I haven't seen it, so therefore it doesn't exist." It simply makes you look silly.

What needs to accompany any "the sandbox doesn't exist" commentary is an explanation of WHY it can't exist and what it is that's happening that makes people THINK it exists.

That's what I was trying to accomplish with this article.

The reason WHY it can't exist is because search engines aren't dumb enough to shoot themselves in the foot and limit their content. Search engines want MORE content, not less. So why would anything think it's logical for them to decide "your site isn't 9 months old yet, we don't want it." That's just silly.

The reason that people THINK it exists is because some sites really do experience a "delay." The delay isn't triggered by age's triggered by a graduated scale of what makes a site "worthy" that just happens to be harder and harder to reach depending on how competitive the market is. That makes perfect sense from a search algorithm point of view AND from a business point of view.

Call it a 'sandbox effect' if you want...I call it "having to earn your way in." Seems like simple business logic to me.

vangogh 9th June 2006 11:28 AM

Great article Jenn and I agree with you. I've always called it a 'sandbox effect' and have never seen the sandbox as a thing a new site gets put in. You're right about the need to explain why it appears to exist though. Too many people just say it does or doesn't and the people reading that can get los very fast, especially when they see their new site as having no hope of ranking for anything until their domain has aged.

I do think Google considers age as part of their ranking algorithm. It seems to me they are moving away from PageRank and towards TrustRank and trust can be helped by time, but I do think the 'sanbox effect' is mostly due to the time it takes to compete for certain keywords.

New sites can compete very quickly for less competitive keywords in the search tail often within a matter of days or weeks. If new domains and sites were being held back somehow until they reached a certain age then it would be impossible to to rank for these keywords and that doesn't happen.

It takes time though to compete for a phrase when there are already thousands if not millions of sites already optimized for the phrase. This isn't necessarily a bad thing that it takes time to compete for these phrases. From a searchers perspective it might make more sense to see more established sites to many queries. Would you prefer to hand over your credit card information to a company that's been around for awhile or one that just opened yesterday. It's not automatic that the older company is to be more trusted, but there is something to be said for being able to stay in business for awhile.

It really just takes time to build the links necessary to compete for competitive search terms and I think that more than anything is where the 'sandbox effect' comes from.

[email protected] 14th June 2006 03:33 PM

Sandbox Schmandbox

Testing always helps? Better than opinions or guessing I think.

About 6 months ago I put four test webs online, all Google compliant and structurally correct, same number of pages, two webs were industrial in nature, two were consumer product oriented and one of them was a 3 P subject - not porn, not pills - POKER!

Two webs were in the Google index in less than 14 days with rankings.

Two webs were crawled within the first 10 days, home pages showed in the index within 35 days of the initial home page first cache date. No other content showed in the index for 6 months plus or minus a couple of weeks.

Whatever you want to call Google's aging delay or content filter or Sandbox, it's real and I believe related to the subject matter catogization of the algorithm.

I have 40 other examples, but this little test was done specifically to prove the point.

Regarding search engines wanting more content, as Robin Nobles wrote a couple of weeks ago, Google spends most of its time examining and eliminating spam. Get rid of the spammers and scammers and the Sandbox might go away.


Ron Castle

thejenn 14th June 2006 04:41 PM


Whatever you want to call Google's aging delay or content filter or Sandbox, it's real and I believe related to the subject matter catogization of the algorithm.
Ron, did you read my article? You are pretty much making the exact point that I did. It's related to the subject matter.

It's not something that exists across the board, as other people have said. It's simply a progression of search engine algorithms to the point where there's a sliding scale for entry.

It makes PERFECT sense that a good algorithm would have a higher barrier of entry for a topic that already exists quite prevalantly in the search results. That's not a sandbox filter, that's just good algorithmic technology.

In reality, a lot of this argument is semantics. A lot of people are saying the same thing, they just don't realize it. ;)

[email protected] 15th June 2006 07:47 AM

Reply to TheJenn
Hi, Jenn,

Yes mam, I read your article, which is why I thought I would make a post.

I did something else I did not tell you about. I took an almost duplicate page of the poker web and put it in a directory in my web, put a link to it in my clients page and another in my site map and I had first page Google rankings for a VERY competitive target in 5 days.

How does that fit your sliding scale?


Ron Castle

sarabrown 29th August 2008 12:16 AM

Wow! Two years later and this article is still accurate. My site definitely went through that "sandbox" phase the first few months it was up.

oliviaharis 29th August 2008 01:27 AM

There has been a lot of speculation about this for a good while. According to this, there really is a "sandbox" and some people from Google have admitted it.

chesa7 1st September 2008 09:53 AM

Can Vangough expand a bit on the notion of "TrustRank"??

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