Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Sandbox is a hoax on the Internet to discourage new SEOs

By Brent Sweet

I had to put something down to give people some information. Daily I get questions on the Google Sandbox and the filters like the overoptimization filter that Google is rumored to have. I just had to come out with something that showed the results of my tests. I think that this could help some people, especially new SEOs identify if their site has some problems.

I will start with the Sandbox, because from my prospective it is easy. I read all the time about the 3-6 month sandbox and that if you have a new site that it is impossible to rank high in the search engines regardless of your keywords popularity. I say this is crap. I just started promoting about 3 sites in November, they were all brand new and within a few weeks they were all on page one.

I am not sure I dont believe the Sandbox exists, however I know for a fact that there are methods to getting around it, even though I cant say definitively what they are. I mean how could 3 of my sites jump to page one if there was a sandbox within a month or two? If there is truly a sandbox filter, or a method that gets you put in it, I missed out on it with three sites, so maybe my methods are just superior to everyone out there who says there is a sandbox.

Now we go to overoptimization, I am sure this exisits, and this won't just hurt your rankings it will bomb your rankings. The overoptimization filter is like an atom bomb to a website. The good news, it is easily fixable and you will see rankings improvement in a few days. Here was my test for that. I had a very competitive keyword, two weeks after launching my site I was number five on Google, great promotion, everything going good, then one day I searched just because I do that every day because I am so proud of myself, and the site was gone. I don't mean it had dropped from page one, I mean it was gone from the index. I went through every page of Google for that keyword and it was gone. When I searched for my domain name including the dot com I didn't even rank on the first page for that.

Right away I screamed Sandbox, read everything I could on it, and accepted that I would not be ranked for six months. I then pulled half of my hair out wondering if my other sites would drop like that too. As a matter of fact I obsessed over my rankings sometimes checking them hourly just to make sure they were still somewhere close to page one. You know Google rankings change a lot, I learned this during my little breakdown. After about a month of inaction because I assumed Sandbox I boldly made a move. At the top of my site in my H1 tags I had my keywords, I changed that tag, took the keywords out of it. A few days later, though not number one because I still am overoptimized, I was in position 100. Guess what? I wasn't sandboxed, I overoptimized.

The results of this test were impressive. I jumped from not being indexed to being just over position 100. I have since made another change reducing my keyword density some more. I found that my keyword density for my main keywords was about 4% which people in forums, who I dont believe know a lot, say is good, somewhere between 3-7 percent. The sites ranked for this keyword have a density for the phrase somewhere between 0-1%. I am now waiting to see what this reduction does for my rankings.

Until today really, I was a believer that no matter what, it made no difference what was on your site, if you had a good method of building links, which I do, you would rank well in Google. The reason is I didn't think Google could weigh much on what a webmaster could control. What I really learned is that changes to your page may not improve your rankings a great deal if you are already ranked good, but they sure can kill your page. You have to watch the density of your competitors and test out what modifying the density does for your rankings. If you overoptimize for any term, your site will get blasted there is no doubt. My major problem is to get a good ranking on Google I had to lower my density which was doing real good on MSN. I think though that I can handle MSN, because all my sites still rank better there than they do on Google.

So to those people in the forums stating that they have been sandboxed for 6 months, change your strategy. There is no way that Google is holding you back for 6 months but putting my sites on in 2 weeks. I am no different than you. I don't know Matt Cutts and I don't have ANY clue what the algorithim is. But I do get to page 2 sometimes within weeks of launching new sites. So if someone told me this, I would be going back to my site saying ok what am I doing wrong here.

Oh yeah also, don't contact me to link to your site. One of my major linking strategies is I do not exchange links, nor do I put a single outbound link on my site even to one of my own sites. Why? As far as I have seen anybody in the universe can link to my site and it doesn't hurt me, but I can get a penalty for linking to someones site. Therefore I don't link out to anybody. - 16651

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