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Peeking Out of the Sandbox

Peeking out of the Google Sandbox

About a month ago I wrote how my new site was an apparent victim of the Google Sandbox. My strategy for getting the blog out of the sandbox is the exact same strategy I used for getting it tossed in the sandbox. My strategy was to post high-quality articles to the site once a week (more frequently if time allowed).

While in the sandbox I would periodically check the Google search results to see where my site placed. The first few times I checked, I gave up after page 30. A week later I found my site on page 20. I did a little bit of the happy dance because at least I was able to find it before page 30.

Weekly Page Rank Checking

Each week after I added a new post, I’d check the Google search results to see if my site had moved up in ranking. It first moved from 20 to page 17 and the following week it moved to page 12.

Last week after posting my weekly article I found my site on page 3. Well, once I found it on page three I became a little obsessed. I started to check the search results daily. The site bounced from page 3 to page 4 back to 3 and sometimes to page 2. Actually, I was perfectly fine with it bouncing to and fro. It was much better than placing on page 30.

RankingsSearch Result Ranking Game

I played a little game with this obsession. As the site started placing better, I started my search on page 4 and worked backwards to page 1. Imagine my surprise when I not only found posts on page 3, but I found 2 posts on page 2 and get this…my site is showing as the second entry on the first page of search results. So, not only does it appear on page 1 but it also appears on page 2 and page 3.

I’m enjoying a muted celebration today. I say muted because you never know with Google what could happen next.

Understanding Google’s Point of View

As odd as it sounds, I can understand Google’s logic with the sandbox situation. Of the major search engines Google is always the first to index a brand-new site. A new site usually gets good rankings when initially indexed. That doesn’t always last. Because there are so many scrapers, scammers and unscrupulous Internet folks Google tosses the new site at the back of the line until it can figure out whether or not the site deserves top billing. So the good and the bad is your site gets indexed quickly, but you never know where it will end up.

Bing, Yahoo, Ask and the others take a while to index new sites. So while the other search engines had not indexed my site I was receiving traffic from Google because of its quick indexing. By the time the other search engines got around to indexing my new site Google had tossed me in the back of the line. The good is I still received traffic from the other search engines.

Whatever Google does behind the scenes to determine whether or not a site is worthy of top billing takes time. Some sites get top billing faster than others. This depends on a host of factors, one of which is keyword competition. I may not enjoy sitting on the receiving end of this treatment but I do understand why it needs to be done.Keep on Truckin'

Keep on Truckin’

While Google was doing what Google does, I continued doing what I do. I continued building my site. The upside of being in the sandbox is that it gave me time to build a more robust site. The site has so much more to offer readers than when it was first indexed.

If Google changes things again I will stay the course. When I think about Google sandbox and their rules and regulations I can’t help but think about that article I wrote many moons ago entitled How High is Your Bar. If you set the bar high enough and maintain that level of quality, I don’t think there is much to worry about.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Crystal @ Custom Memorial Quilts June 18, 2011, 9:53 am

    Glad to hear things have turned around, Felicia. And I love the peeking out graphic – gave me a chuckle to go with my morning tea:)

    BTW, did you turn off the latest post feature on purpose? If so, I’m sure there’s a good reason we all need to know. Maybe a post to explain the pros and cons? At any rate, I find a lot of great reads following links at the end of comments so I hope it was as accident or glitch of some sort.

    • Felicia June 18, 2011, 10:11 am

      Crystal, that is one of my favorite graphics. I found it several years ago and use it on my “File Not Found” page on one of my sites.

      As far as the latest posts goes, I didn’t turn it off and still see it on my computer. I’m not quite sure what’s going on. I’ll have to test it on a couple of other computers to see if it displays.

      • Crystal @ Custom Memorial Quilts June 18, 2011, 10:19 am

        Well, dang – it must be on my end then. Hmm. I’ll try a restart and hope for the best. If that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll have to call in the big guns. Good thing I have a geeky BIL:)

        • Felicia June 18, 2011, 10:29 am

          LOL. I’ll still try it on a different computer to see what’s going on. You never know when it comes to computers and software.

          • Crystal @ Custom Memorial Quilts June 18, 2011, 11:10 am

            Now I am confused. The CommentLuv thing is working on a couple of other sites. Whether it’s missing on many more, I don’t know. So it may be some weirdness with my silly computer. Oh well. I need to spend less time online anyway:)

  • Master Dayton June 21, 2011, 11:35 pm

    I think your strategy is right on – just keep steady and do the right things and eventually your site will pull out of any Google sandbox.

  • Alina Bradford June 29, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I feel like my sites are peaking out of the sandbox now that the last Panda update has passed. I’m earning more than I ever have. It just goes to show that you have to keep plodding along on your own sites to reap the benefits. 🙂

  • Believer with a Bible July 1, 2011, 8:40 am

    I’ve noticed that there isn’t a whole lot of rhyme or reason to the whole google listing thingy (technical term), and the traffic I receive to my blog/hub pages. It fluctuates wildly. My blog is only a couple of weeks old, and occasionally my posts will be on page two of a search. Then, sometimes not at all. Some days I get a little traffic, then some days not hardly any. I keep having to remind myself to be patient, that seems to be the key.

    • Felicia July 1, 2011, 9:00 am

      Believer, with a new blog you’re in for a bumpy ride. It takes a while for things to settle. Google usually indexes new sites quickly so you get the initial boost in traffic then over time things settle down again. Once things begin to settle with Google, the other search engines find your blog and traffic may pick up again.

      I’ve learned not to expect much during the first 6 months of a new blog.

      • Believer with a Bible July 1, 2011, 9:59 am

        I know, it’s just kind of bewildering is all. I’m going to try and just keep plodding along. I appreciate the encouragement though.

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