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Up The Sandbox!
by Keith Thompson
Go to any internet marketing forum you want these days and one of the topics is sure to be whether or not there is a "sandbox" at Google where new sites are forced to come and play for 3-6 months before joining the ranks of ranked and searched results. On the surface it would appear that this is so. New sites are typically taking a long time to get indexed and even longer to show up in the search results. So hence, the sandbox theory. Let's examine some possible reasons and more importantly, our reaction to it.
The most obvious possibility, (since no one outside of Google really knows) is that because of the proliferation of spam on the engines, Google is checking all the links to these new sites. Sometimes a new site will appear sporting thousands of backlinks, and this takes some time to check, even given a rolling schedule of indexing by that pesky spider! Google it seems is serious about link farms, and anything that smacks of that may take some time to get indexed. But then, so will most other sites. It is a very large index, (some say nearing capacity, though I doubt that will turn out to be true) and it is a gargantuan task to keep it current and free of extraneous (read poor) search results. There are other ideas out there, and conspiracy theories abound, one being that it is an evil plot to force newer sites in search of traffic to resort to paying for Google Adwords. Uh-huh. A particularly amusing thread is currently taking place at the High Rankings forum, a must-read for all conspiracy theorists!
Since we don't know, can't know, will not know for sure until the Google Gods unlock the keys to the kingdom and enlighten us; it only makes sense to this webmaster to get on with life. I've got new sites waiting, as do many. We all languish at PR0 until (or if) there's another update. Some sites get picked up quicker than others, and to some extent that is a measure of SEO. However just get over it! Since there's nothing concrete we can do except build great content sites with lots of relevant links (legitimate) why worry about any sandbox?!? Don't get your knickers in a knot! Write more content, articles, and get more sites to link to you because of the worth of your site. There are other sources of traffic, go get them! Do the right thing for your business. Spend time on it, not worrying about this.
Many of the leading voices in SEO agree that there may indeed be a "sandbox", and if there is, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. You don't want some farmer (link) ranking ahead of your carefully crafted content site, do you? Of course not! One thing is sure: if there is a sandbox, it belongs to Google and if you want to play, follow the rules and don't cry! Pay or play!