Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Google Sandbox Effect Encourages Better Websites

I'm certain by now you've heard of the "sandbox effect." If you haven't, it's simply a term used to describe the collection of observations that lead most search engine experts to believe, that, for one reason or another, a new web site must wait the better part of a year to begin showing in Google SERPs for competitive key words/terms.

Though intentional, the sandbox effect could also be an amalgam of a couple factors. Some experts believe that Google ran into technical issues shortly before they went public, and they are fixing/patching/testing to improve as we speak. Here are some facts:

  1. Google adjusts the algorithm regularly: Google dance

  2. During the Florida update, they tightened the standards too much and reversed the filter

  3. The "sandbox" is clearly affecting many sites

  4. Google does not officially recognize the "sandbox" effect

  5. From a financial point-of-view, they could not admit to technical problems on the eve of going public, nor so recently afterwards
Thus, they admit to using filters in the past, we know the existing effects are filter-like, Google denies applying a new sandbox filter. So is it a bug?

The other possibility is that the effect is in place to filter the spammy sites that held down top positions in SERPs. The filter encourages smart web site owners to build good content on sites during the waiting period because the quick link networks SEOs were creating are no longer profitable business services. Would you pay an SEO $5000 plus if you couldn't see guaranteed results within a year?

After we rebranded our website, we spent probably 250 hours between last March and December trying to figure out ways to get our site out of the sandbox. Finally, we gave up and focused on Adwords and the blog. Two months later, we cleared the sandbox and started to appear in the top of the Google SERPs in most relevant categories.

I disagree with some of Wayne's explanation here, but it's one of the more thorough, recent things written on the subject: Google sandbox theory validated by search engine giant