I Don't Believe In The Google Sandbox, Dragons or Unicorns...
I was browsing the Digital Point forums earlier, when I came across this quote:
"The Google Sandbox is something that people either believe or don't believe. It usually means that within the first 6 months - 1 year you won't get a lot of love from Google."
I saw the quote shown above and I had a good laugh. Yes, many people believe in the existence of the Google Sandbox, and I am not one of those people. I place the "Google Sandbox" in the same category as the leprechaun... they both make a neat children's story, but I see no truth in either.
What Is Google Love?
Google love is the imaginary "feeling" that Google has for the websites in its index. The more Google loves a website, the higher that website will rank in the Google search results.
No matter how many search results Google shows for a particular search term, Google will only show a maximum of 1,000 website listings in its search engine result pages (SERPs). However, few people, except nuts like me know that as you go to each consecutive page in Google's SERPs, the actual number that Google is willing to show you gets smaller with each additional page visited.
For example, I just did a search on the keyword phrase "Google Love". My default Google settings are set to 100 results. When I first typed the search phrase, Google showed 68,300,000 results, and Google shows me that I can look at ten pages of results. But, when I get to the tenth page in Google's results, there are only three listings. Google only loves 903 web pages for the search term "Google Love".
Google has told us that they attribute value to a web page, based on the number of inbound links that page might have. Google Love primarily comes from , which is derived from inbound links.
The Suggested Lifespan Of The Google Sandbox
I see the "sandbox" as being a term that some person working in SEO derived to explain why so many of his client's new pages appeared in Google's search results for about one month, before the pages disappeared into the deep recesses of the Google index.
In absence of a better explanation, some SEO person coined the term "Google Sandbox" to explain to his or her customers why a page disappears from the Google index and stays missing for months or years.
According to those who preach the Google Sandbox theory, the lifespan of the Sandbox is six months to one year. That is a lifetime when you are running an online business.
The Life Curve Of A Web Page
Google's algorithms rely heavily on inbound links to determine the value of a web page. But a brand new web page has not had the opportuníty to attract any inbound links, because after all, it is a brand new web page. So Google gives new web pages the benefit of a doubt.
News stories are a good example of web pages that may very well be important to the world-at-large, but their importance cannot be determined by the number of inbound links available to that page.
As a result, all brand new web pages on the Internet are given an intrinsic value by Google, as if the pages housed a news story. But what was important thirty days ago, will not necessarily be important today. So news stories are given early value and then their value fades with time.
Once the news cycle is completed, the web page will slide down to where it deserves to be according to the normal Google algorithms. This often means that a new web page will disappear into Google oblivion (or the theoretical Google Sandbox), if after 30 days the page has not generated any link popularity of its own.
After The News Cycle, All Normal Rules Apply
We have all heard it before. The way to get a web page to rank in Google is to build link popularity for the web page.
And how do you build link popularity for a web page? Build inbound links to that web page, of course.
Once the news cycle is done, a new web page must compete with every other web page, based on Google's normal algorithm.
What If A Page Could Develop Link Popularity In 30 Days?
What if you were able to build inbound links and therefore link popularity for a web page, before the news cycle runs out? That would be a twist, wouldn't it?
Personally, I know for a fact that if you can build link popularity on a page, within the news cycle window, that this new page will not fall into the dreaded and mythical Google Sandbox. The page will not fall into the Google Sandbox at the end of the news cycle, because the page will have already accrued some link popularity within Google's primary algorithm.
You Are The Master Of Your Domain
As the master of your domain, you get to choose how long a page is sandboxed. Most people don't realize they have that kind of control, but with smart link building, one can prevent a web page from entering the sandbox. Or, if the web page does slip into the sandbox, the smart online marketer can bring a web page out of the mythical sandbox in days or weeks, instead of months or years. The beauty of this truth is that you define the time line for when a web page exits the sandbox, not Google.
I Boast That I Can Prove It To You
I built a new page 16 days ago (June 10th, 2008) that is holding page one results in Google against 200,000+ websites, with my Blackhat Fish SEO Contest entry.
Now, one could argue that I am still in the news cycle for this web page, so in another two weeks, my page could disappear from the Google results. But, I have built so many inbound links to this page that I fully expect that when the news cycle is done, my page will remain outside of Google's mythical sandbox.
I Challenge You To Test My Results
Test my proof by checking back here in a couple weeks, or even in four weeks or six. If I am right, you will be able to clíck this link to Google's search results for the keyword phrase Blackhat Fish, and you will be able to see my page title on page one or two of Google's search results: "Whitehat vs. Blackhat: Fish For Links or Die Trying".
I say page one or page two of Google's search results, because I would be surprised if I actually won the competition. However, if I am still in the top 20 results for the search key term after , then I will have proved to you that anyone can beat the sandbox, if only they exercised the right strategy for escaping the sandbox ahead of the end of the news cycle.
I have actually pulled this off with three web pages in the last 60 days. The above listed example is just one of many examples I could show you as proof of concept here. But for brevity's sake, I am only including the one example here.
You can accept my analysis as sound, or you can call me the fool. It does not matter to me which you choose. If you want to believe that the Google Sandbox really exists to thwart your online business, then more power to your fears.
For those of you who have found my words worthwhile, let's meet next Saint Patrick's' Day to share a green beer and a laugh.