Sat, Apr 7, 2012
If you have a website that has had over active On-Site SEO carried out by a bad consultant or agency and you have been buying web spamming software to build hundreds of poor links there’s a good chance that your website will be penalised. Penalised with the ‘so called’ sandbox effect. When I say penalised I mean losing your search engine rankings for specific keywords and sending your site into no man’s land otherwise known as Google Sandbox effect.
Does a Sandbox even exist?
It has been a topic for some time whether a sandbox even exists. Well in fact there is no box where Google just chucks naff sites. Instead this is just a term for filtering sites that are restricted and not meeting sufficient requirements to rank for specific keywords.
Reasons why a site might receive the sandbox effect
* New sites get a short period (honeymoon) were they are “boosted” due to fresh links and traffic. So what you see in month one may not be as good as month two or three as the honeymoon ends.
* Poorly structured sites may have content that ranks well to begin with, then falls due to bad site structure.
* Weak content or copied content from other sites
* No sitemap or internal link structure
* Internal Duplication (Canonical, Multiple URLs, Replicated page contents etc.) which may be filtered.
* Duplicated content from your pages on other sites and directories may be an issue if Google sees your site as the duplication version.
* Only low quality inbound links or inbound links that have all appeared at once.
Is a banned site the same as the sandbox effect?
Being placed in the sandbox is different to having your website banned.
If you do a search for your domain in Google and they return zero results for your website (and you had been previously listed in Google), there is a chance that you have been banned. One of the best ways to determine if you have been banned is to look at your log files to see if Google is visiting your website. Banned websites will typically not see Google visit their domains.
The sandbox escape route
My advice is to focus on building your website around good fresh original content for your users. Making your website informative and include pages that will be refreshed like news or blogs. From an On-Site SEO perspective all the usual rules apply i.e. don’t repeat titles or stuff keywords into the content or duplicate pages etc. See sandbox effect details above.
Whilst seeing the sandbox effect it is a good time to revaluate your keywords and possibly switch to less competitive long tail keywords in an attempt to still drive traffic to your site. You can use Google Adwords Keywords tool to review the best keywords for your site or contact Red Alien for assistance.
If you have some thoughts on the sandbox effect or have seen this occur with one of your sites please leave your comments below, it would be great to have your feedback.