The Google Sandbox
The simple premise of the Google sandbox is this: Google doesn’t want to list spammy sites. Some
spammers, however, have been able to get sites listed quickly, get good ranks using questionable
techniques, and make a buck before Google can react. Because of this, Google seems to have
increased the importance of the age of a website among its ranking factors.So now,to be desig-
nated “Not Spam,” one of the things a site has to do is, apparently, get older.
It’s age before beauty: A brand-new site, even one with no spam qualities, may disappear into
ranking oblivion for several months until it’s had a chance to age its way into Google’s heart.
The gossip and guessing surrounding the Google sandbox rivals that of any celebrity breakup, fed-
eral interest rate hike, or Supreme Court nomination.Questions—many,many questions—have
been asked, and anecdotal answers are all we have:
Does it exist? Does it affect a whole site or just
And we are totally serious here:
When Google’s Matt Cutts smiled and nodded, did
he mean anything significant about the sandbox?
We’ve done some poking around under the shroud of mystery,and still,the best we can do is pro-
vide you with unconfirmed but oft-stated rumors about the sandbox:
Commercial sites are more likely to be affected by the sandbox than .edu or .gov sites.
Regardless of how a site finally breaks out of the sandbox,many sites are commonly released
at the same time.
Age is not the only factor involved; a sudden increase in inbound links and page overopti-
mization may also be penalized.
So here’s what this means to you: First and foremost, don’t think of Google as the only way to get
traffic to your website.Nobody loves Google like we do, believe us. But the sandbox proves that
Google can pretty much play whack-a-mole with sites’rankings in any way it likes. And second,
wait it out. It might take months (yes, months) to get out of the sandbox. If you think your site is
sandboxed, make sure it’s optimized and well-linked from quality, relevant sites.Then you’ll know
it’s ready for its debut.
Every major search engine, as well as plenty of minor search engines and independent
websites both large and small, displays paid listings today. Most of these listings are
provided by the two major U.S. pay-per-click services, Google AdWords and Yahoo!
Search Marketing (YSM).
The market is huge: According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional
Organization (SEMPO), close to $5 billion was spent on paid placement advertising in
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