Starting a New Blog? Avoid the Google Sandbox

Any blogger worth his or her salt has heard about the so called Sandbox by now, a cold wilderness in cyberspace where no one will ever find you, no matter which search engine they use.  But contrary to popular belief, the sandbox is not a permanent death sentence to your website or blog. It is more of a period of detention lasting a couple of weeks or… a couple of months. And even then, Google does not pull your site off the results pages. It merely pushes you to the bottom of the pile for a while as a polite reminder that it will not tolerate your plastic-looking backlinks. But I need them to boost my visibility and hence my revenue-generating potential, you protest. However, in the same vein Google wants to ensure it gives its users quality results whenever they make a search.

Difference between Being ‘Sandboxed’ and Being Delisted

There is a difference between your site being ‘sandboxed’ and it being delisted. A simple test can help you determine which of the two calamities has befallen your blog. Type your site’s full URL in Google and hit the search button. If something appears in the results page, you’re not too badly off, you’ve merely been pushed down the pecking order in the SERPs or search engine results pages. Should no links to your blog appear then you have cause for concern as Google could have delisted you entirely. This is probably due to Google detecting that you’re trying to hoodwink its mechanism into ranking you favourably by tinkering with keywords or backlinks. So if you’re in the habit of randomly stuffing in keywords like ‘diet secrets’ or ‘weight loss tips’ into your content to drive traffic, you could just end up achieving the exact opposite.  A site may be delisted also if it participates in paid back linking, in other words, if you get paid to be in a network of blogs that solely exist for offering backlinks.

Trying to Get Natural Links to Your Site

Now, say this with me, natural backlinks. This is the key to Google liking your site and keeping it out of cyber purgatory. Google’s search engine is continually being fine tuned to sniff pages for spammy backlinks. These are links that Google thinks are too many to have been generated in the short time your weight loss blog has been online. If all your backlinks originate from a particular source or few sources, Google will also doubt their legitimacy and dismiss them as garbage backlinks. So if you’ve been churning out backlinks using tools like XRumer thinking you’ve found a shortcut to traffic galore, you might want to reconsider your approach.

Avoid Over-Optimization

Also consider getting non-keyword anchor texts to your links. For example, recently I started optimizing a page where visitors can get the latest Nutrisystem coupons. At the start I over-optimized my anchor texts by constantly using anchor texts such as “Nutrisystem coupon”, or “Nutrisystem promotion code” or “Nutrisystem voucher”. This was not natural backlinking, because natural links include non-keywords anchor texts, such as “click here”, “more info” or “visit this page”, etc.

I actually implemented my learning for ranking another keyword mediafast coupon using some non-anchor keywords such as “click here”, “visit” etc and the results were great.

By now you’re probably feeling trapped between a rock and a hard place reading this. You want to monetize your blog, meaning you’ve got a number of ads on it that you want to make a commission out of, but it seems like Google is out to thwart your every attempt to direct visitors to your site. Well, if you know what Google requires of your content, you might be able to avoid delisting and sandboxing and instead top the SERPs. Here a few tips, don’t generate a gazillion backlinks overnight, don’t stuff your Meta tags and headlines with keywords. By looking at the Pagerank diversity, Google will be able to get a good idea of how natural they are. Build them up slowly over time instead and remember to keep the sources of the backlinks diverse.


This is a unique article written by Christofer Gustavsson and published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

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