Just 2 short years ago the “Google Sandbox” was all the rage – people feared it and its ability to take your semi-successful website and pound it into the deep dark depths of Google rankings. SEO companies forged their sales pitches around being able to get results while avoiding the sandbox.
In late 2008 I recall experiencing some sandboxing (only on test projects) – nothing major, but still clear signs that I needed to slow a few SEO campaigns down a little. I feel the best way I’ve learned such effective SEO is by pushing the boundaries continually. Finding the limits and then taking a small step back. But since late 2008 I haven’t managed to find the line which causes a site to be sandboxed anymore.
Interestingly this seems to correlate with Google’s move towards “Live Search” – and could be explained by a refined news algorithm that might trigger an improvement in your rankings temporarily, rather than a sandbox algorithm which distrusts large volumes of link acquisition.
So I thought I’d test the limits of link building for myself with an admittedly reckless link building campaign to a brand new website.
10,000 links within one hour, to a brand new domain name and website. And then nothing further. If that isn’t begging for sandboxing, I don’t know what is.
This site is actually doing unexpectedly well 2 months down the line, having received no additional attention. 70 uniques per day in the property market (a very competitive market in other words.)
So the other day I took a calculated risk and tried dumping 10,000 links on a money site that already held the #1 position for its keyword, currently receiving 400 uniques per day from that keyword alone. Within 3 days the site had a double listing, and generally saw a ranking improvement across the board.
Which leads me to conclude… sandbox? What sandbox?