I've been running my new weblog -- blog.getyouhealthy.com -- for a few months now and as far as I can tell Google still hasn't stopped by to visit my site or index me. I've heard about something called a "sandbox" but I don't know what that is and whether I'm in it. If I am, how do I get out of it? If not, why else might I be missing from Google?
First off, let's start out with a definition. The sandbox is where Google puts new Web sites for anywhere from a week to three months or longer. The intent is to avoid having new sites pop up out of nowhere to be top o' the page results for a specific search. It's one way that Google maximizes the quality of its SERP (search engine result pages).
For people building a new site, however, this is a real drag. Buy a domain name, build a nice site, get a bunch of inbound links from other sites, and you could still be "stuck in the sandbox" for months, waiting to gain a good position in the search results.
Further, I have a niggling suspicion that your stay in the sandbox might be longer than normal because of the space that you're in. No proof, but I just wonder if Google doesn't leave people in the sandbox for longer if the site is focused on topics that are commonly considered "spammy".
It's also curious that a search on Google for site:getyouhealthy.com returns no results at all, which suggests that either Google's never visited your blog or that there's a problem that has caused Google to delist you from its database.
Any of the following could be hurting you significantly:
• hidden text or hidden links.
• cloaking or sneaky redirects.
• sending automated queries to Google.
• loading pages with irrelevant words.
• creating multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
• doorway pages created just for search engines.
If you are in the sandbox, well, as far as I know, there's really nothing you can do to speed up your escape. Just keep plugging away writing blog entries, and know that sooner or later you'll be on the other side of that wall.
If you have been delisted from Google, however, then you need to figure out why that's happened, fix it, then find someone at Google you can talk to so you can have them reevaluate your site and hopefully relist you in the database. Start that process by exploring their information on pages vanishing from Google. Good luck if that is indeed the problem.
You might also want to read this related article: Paid for SEO, still have PageRank 0?
We have set up www.countryholidaylets.co.uk and certainly seem to be experiencing a Sandbox effect. The initial feeling was that it was unfair. However, it has forced us to work hard to build web traffic in other ways and we have been forced to improve the quality of our site before demand cuts in.
It is an interesting phenomenon and we understand the need for google to ensure high quality search results. Our business set up budget has risen by about 25% as a consequence, but the Sandbox has forced us to produce a higher quality product and work far harder to make the internet work for us.
From someone feeling aggrieved, I have almost become a fan. I said almost, because we still feel it presents a bit of a hurdle and protects some mainstream agencies from the heat of competition.
In the long run, if the sandbox effect proves a barrier to high, the business does not deserve to succeed. We are still in the sandbox so this is brave talk, but it is true.