Google Loves You, Even When You’re in the SandboxSeptember 27, 2006
For a long time people who spend time trying to get their sites ranked highly on Google would debate whether there was a “sandbox”, or a place that Google put your site for a while to see if you played nicely. If you played nicely (meaning that you created good content & got some links from “trusted” sites), then your site got to leave the sandbox and actually get ranked for something desirable, which maybe meant you would get money or happiness.
In my experience, getting out of the Google sandbox takes 10-12 months, which for most Webmasters is an eternity.
Via Search Engine Roundtable comes this list from Andy Hagans on how to “beat” the sandbox. It’s all good information and something that every Webmaster should be doing, but in my view Hagans isn’t offering ways to beat the sandbox as much as he’s offering ways to rank well when you are out of the sandbox. Doing these things may cut down your time in the box the tiniest bit, but unless you’re a major corporation or movie star putting up a new site, you’ll stay in the sandbox for a while and you need to prepare yourself for that up front.
In Hagans’ mind, you’re let out of the sandbox in stages, which means you start with Google acting like you smell bad and refusing to touch your site with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. You then graduate up, meaning you start to see your site ranked #95 for a search term you’re targeting, and then if you’ve done your work well, you start to move up to the big leagues, meaning the first two pages of results, which is all most people ever look at.
I think he’s right about the stages, but for Webmasters the most pain comes in stage one, when you’re building your site out, writing original content, finding trusted, relevant sites to link to and hopefully be linked from–only to see that you’re still persona non grata in Google’s eyes.
This is when many people get discouraged, because you have absolutely no idea when you might actually snag a ranking, or whether you ever will. (Or, whether you’ll get any rankings before you run out of money, or starve.)
Hagans’ advice is good–do all the steps he advises, at least as many as you feel comfortable with. But maybe more important, stick with it. Google loves you, yes it does, and eventually it will show you the love that up ’til now has created an emptiness in your heart (and wallet).