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Old 01-16-2005   #1
randfish
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SEO World Obsessed with Sandbox

It's certainly hypocritical of me to point this out, but check out the number of results for the search "google sandbox" - http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...e+san dbox%22 - 147K

Impressive & distrubing...
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Old 01-16-2005   #2
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A few of those are for the Adwords sandbox as well.
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Old 01-16-2005   #3
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Oh yes, the great "sandbox". From what I can tell it (what ever "it" is) only applies to those that launch a site primarily set-up for SE and not users.

I wonder if will overtake the SEO obsession with PageRank. Or should I say the SEO obsession with a green bar
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Old 01-16-2005   #4
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We certainly have a long way to go:

http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...le+pagerank%22 - 2.64 million results

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...ox%22+-adwords - without adwords, there's still 137K results...

Dave,
So you think if I remove my SEO optimization, my site will climb in the rankings at Google?
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Old 01-16-2005   #5
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More like 20 million:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...PR&btnG=Search

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Dave,
So you think if I remove my SEO optimization, my site will climb in the rankings at Google?
It could do. Often sites built for humans out rank those that are obsessed with SEO. Now aint that a paradox
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Old 01-16-2005   #6
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Just took a peek at your site and see you require a link back to be submitted free. IMO, you would do far better to not make this a requirement.
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Old 01-16-2005   #7
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Interesting - I have two sites that mention the Google Sandbox:


1. One mentions it very briefly and in passing within body text;

2. The other has a series of articles focussed on the Google Sandbox as a topic and research topic, with the keywords in the title, and a few internal links to it containing the phrase.


Site 1 has been established for nearly a year, but Site 2 is only 3 months old. Both sites have very strong linkage. Guess which site pages rank highest of the two on Google?

Yup - the first.

It is precisely this sort of silly filtering that makes Google's results less relevent.

Whatever the Sandbox is, it is real - and applies even for those non-commercial sites built specifically as a resource for human users.

Last edited by I, Brian : 01-16-2005 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 01-16-2005   #8
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Originally Posted by Dave Hawley
From what I can tell it (what ever "it" is) only applies to those that launch a site primarily set-up for SE and not users.
Dave - I'm curious about from what great experience you speak. Have you personally launched a site since last March or April that is now ranking well for anything other than absurdly non-competitive searches?
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Old 01-16-2005   #9
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Have you personally launched a site since last March or April that is now ranking well for anything other than absurdly non-competitive searches?
I can say that I have, and that many others I know have too. However, there are several reasons for this some of which include "proactive" handling of the Sandbox issue (or whatever you want to call that algoritmic detail).

For the sites that have been hit with what we now call Sandbox this is very real. Some may not have seen this, and some probably never will (for example most sites in most non-english languages) but that dosn't mean it's not there. In this issue, as so many other algoritmic discussions, the question is not if you haven't seen this, the question is if you have.
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Old 01-16-2005   #10
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Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
I can say that I have, and that many others I know have too. However, there are several reasons for this some of which include "proactive" handling of the Sandbox issue (or whatever you want to call that algoritmic detail).
Mikkel - I won't press you on how you did it. I've heard of several solutions, and they're generally described as not suitable for your standard company site.

This "proactive" handling of the Sandbox issue, though, doesn't sound like you were ignoring the SE's and just focussing on users, which I'm gathering is what Dave is suggesting in this matter.

The solutions I've heard about... maybe not yours... require a very great focus on the SE's.

To add a PS to this... I've also seen, within the past couple of weeks... some results on Google, in all likelihood tests, which were temporarilly displayed and then reverted back, that suggest that Google is experimenting with releasing the Sandbox, or thawing the deep freeze or whatever you call it. I'm guessing they pulled the first results back because they also released a lot of spam. I'm further guessing that they're going to make some move at roughly the time that Microsoft announces its new engine has gone live.

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Old 01-16-2005   #11
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just focussing on users
On many SEO-projects I work on users are in fact the main focus. However, I would never be "just focusing on users" - you HAVE to keep a close eye on your target too. The question is what works in any given situation. My focus has allways been on "what works" and often that is a strong focus on users - but definately not allways.

Especially when it comes to short term issues (such as Sandboxing) and goals you WILL have to focus a lot more on the engines than the users. Short term really strong spam WILL outrank most, if not all, sites made for users. Long term may very well be another strory.
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Old 01-16-2005   #12
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Mikkel - Very well stated. I'd go on to say that probably the best long term SEO strategy is to build content for users that's worth linking to. It also helps if the content is focussed around what users actually search for.

My contention with Dave's dismissal of the Sandbox is that I've seen some extremely good sites, from the user and industry standpoint, that have been affected. To say that the effect doesn't exist, or that the sites that have been affected have been hit because of their undue emphasis on SEO, is just plain nonsense.

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Old 01-16-2005   #13
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I continue to believe such thing does not exist. It's all part of the job on doing SEO by knowing the search engine's algorithms and ranking your pages well for them under ANY circumstance (new domains or old).
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Old 01-16-2005   #14
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Mikkel makes the suggestion that non-English language sites are not particularly affected - might that especially apply to your area of expertise, Nacho?
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Old 01-16-2005   #15
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I think that what some folks call it the "sandbox" relates to the difficultness to optimize for a website or webpage depending on the competiveness of the keywords. Things that Google can determine for each keyword such as:
  • search query volume
  • number of pages on index
  • speed of how documents exist when crawling (TLA & DIP)
  • linkage data among top pages
  • And much more. . .
Those factors are what make it necessary for you to need to dedicate more or less time optimizing your website or pages and achieving the goal of ranking at the top.

The keyword is NOT dependant to a language. Search engine's at this stage of their lives (at least that I know) do not have formulas as part of their global algorithm that are applied to one language and not to the other.

Once you are able to achive beating the algorithm, you will rank high for it, and that is all. From tests that I have seen or performed, I just don't believe the theory of a page sitting in limboland for X time before it ranks well. All Google is doing, is just making it more difficult for us webmasters and website owners to be successful on the fly. Notice that I say "difficult" but not impossible. Anything is possible still today. It can be done.
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Old 01-16-2005   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hawley
Just took a peek at your site and see you require a link back to be submitted free. IMO, you would do far better to not make this a requirement.
Dave -
I think we're talking about 2 different sites. The one in my profile is not the site I'm referring to. But thanks much for the suggestions.

Whatever you want to call Google's unique algo piece, it does exist. Note the sites that rank high at Yahoo!, MSN, Teoma, Gigablast, and for the allin set of searches at Google, yet can't break the top 100 in Google's regular results. Whether or not you dislike the name 'sandbox', Google has a unique element in their algo that other search engines and the allins do not.
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Old 01-16-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randfish
Whatever you want to call Google's unique algo piece, it does exist. Note the sites that rank high at Yahoo!, MSN, Teoma, Gigablast, and for the allin set of searches at Google, yet can't break the top 100 in Google's regular results. Whether or not you dislike the name 'sandbox', Google has a unique element in their algo that other search engines and the allins do not.
Oh I agree that Google has arranged its algorithm to make such effect. I just don't believe in the concept of how many describe the "sandbox" as having to wait X time with your pages in Limbo before it ranks well without doing anything about it. Like I said, I've seen new domains start ranking well for competitive U.S. English keywords in just a few days. So this thing, whatever it's called, can be beaten.
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Old 01-16-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randfish
Whatever you want to call Google's unique algo piece, it does exist. Note the sites that rank high at Yahoo!, MSN, Teoma, Gigablast, and for the allin set of searches at Google, yet can't break the top 100 in Google's regular results. Whether or not you dislike the name 'sandbox', Google has a unique element in their algo that other search engines and the allins do not.
I agree. Now, let's look at this another way. I don't think this is an intended consequence of Google raising the bar higher to make its index more discriminating. I think this is collateral damage, and that it's a problem for Google, not an asset. I'd guess that they'd like to get rid of it as quickly as possible in a way that won't open the floodgates of spam.

And, more complete conjecture... the timing of the solution will be competitively driven and probably related to Google's migration to 64-bit architecture, which I would guess is neck and neck with Microsoft's own implementation. At that point, Google is liable to have better tools available to fight blog comment spam, etc... though conceivably there might be other collateral damage as spammers take advantage of whatever positive ranking loophole they can find.

It's also conceivable that Google might have to settle for a partial solution if Microsoft goes public with a much fresher index before Google has its 64-bit system in place.

But there are too many good and important sites in limbo to think that this is something that Google wants to happen. I do think, though, that they're putting the most useful spin on it they can.

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Old 01-16-2005   #19
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Oh my, the "obession" is worse than initially suggested

Ok, first mistakes, I never stated there was no "sandbox", what I said was "From what I can tell it (what ever "it" is) only applies to those that launch a site primarily set-up for SE and not users." In other words it's self-inflicted.

Secondly, there are umpteen different "professionals" that all have different theories on "sandbox". They cannot all be correct However, most if not all, do mention links and anchor text. Arguably the 2 most powerful and abused, methods of SEO.

Now look at it from Googles view-point. A natural new site should have little/no links pointing at it on it's Birthday. If is does, or shortly after, then it has been set-up primarily for SEs. If these same links are also loaded with the targeted keyword/phrase then it's likely very apparent to Google that all these links are mainly to please SE over humans, which is waaaaay outside Google's guidelines.

IMO, this will naturally attract the attention of Google and they will err on the side of caution and not give the same credit these same links would give an established site that would have obtained and attracted these links over time. In fact, you could well be adding yourself to a "watch this guy" list.

Set-up a new site only for humans and Google has no reason to "sandbox" you.

Last edited by Dave Hawley : 01-16-2005 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 01-16-2005   #20
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Oops, sorry. missed the question

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I'm curious about from what great experience you speak
It's called common sense and logic. This "great experience" is mainly what I use when there is nothing but conflicting theories and no proof.
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