View Full Version : The sandbox Effect
04-25-2004, 03:40 PM
The SandBox Effect,
This post at that other forum, a long time ago stuck in my head, considering the source was “G man” himself.
“I heard that at PubCon, DaveN suggested that Google should only update the visible PR and link: data once a quarter or so... ;)
Now I hadn’t given it much thought until recently when a few clients of mine went out and purchased thousands of back links, and within 1-2 months were at a PR 8 for a new domain 2-3 months old.
Now the situation: (And no I’m not going to post the domain don’t want a million link request coming in because of the PR 8) but take my word for it, the site is well written, decently SEO’d (Completely SE Friendly from inception and just needs tweaking) and has more back links then anyone in its field. Also It’s field has hundreds of thousands if not millions of searches combined for its main keywords so a well ranked site would get tons of traffic, however this site is getting some 60 uniques per day from Google…60!
There are thousands of pages in the domain all targeting different terms and Like I said it’s a PR 8 so even with the slightest hint of SE friendliness (Which is not overdone btw density is like 1-5 % in most cases) they should by all rights ROCK EVERYONE!
So what’s the problem? Some good friends of mine and I have been tossing around the idea of the sandbox effect. Basically it states that PR and back link (pure link popularity) credit is placed in a reserve for a period of time say 2-4 months before it is applied to ranking and has an effect. The theory behind this is to combat PR purchasers from Google bombing, jumping into a field and dominating right off the bat. If PR appears to not be working people will stop buying it. If people stop buying page rank then its original purpose gains validity again. But instead of having to dump it because of abuse wait till people realize its no longer useful just put a delay on its effect and people will “think” it no longer counts and those spending thousands abusing it will quickly realize after 1-2 months of no benefit that it no longer works and move on.
Pretty sneaky and rather effective I think, however I can’t prove or disprove at this point I just wanted to put it to your attention for discussion. Also please realize I do not subscribe to this theory although it supported by a few hundred observed instances of the same phenomenon.
I would love to hear members comments on this situation and its implications, evidence to support but also evidence to refute its existence. Situations, examples etc also if anyone has access to any articles, forum posts, discussion groups etc pertaining to this phenomenon I would love for your to share, I am anxious to put this theory to bed either proved or disproved.
04-25-2004, 05:32 PM
Im in the exact same boat. I've got a pr 6 website with tons of backlinks and seo'd as best as possible. I've done the following in google and beat all my competetors (of which none have a pr of more than 4):
I have 500 more backlinks than anyone I found, I'm number 1 for 'link:', and I've got over 50 more pages than anyone. Total returned search results are 90,000. Now Im not at a horrible place, Im listed #23 for my keyword, but my competors are on the first page. Whats the difference? My site is only 4 Months old, and only indexed by google for about 3 months. All this talk about SEO's able to get people to the top in a month is no longer true, at least not for new domains. Any Suggestions?
04-25-2004, 05:45 PM
Great Topic. I don't buy into the theory... Its obvious something is happening, but I don't think it's a blanket sand-box effect.
I fairly recently purchased quite a bit of PR for client, and they jetted up to a top contending spot as soon as the links were picked up ( commercial $$ terms, but a relatively small market fighting for the top 30 spots or so ). Then, the link site over-sold its PR, and they drifted down to a second page spot, which I'm slowing pulling up.
I think that the PR leveraged at the site should be "worth" far more than is being "calculated" presently, but it was very clear that there wasn't a time delay associated with PR transfer.
Google's definately playing around with something. I have another site which I manage which has significant PR thrown at it, that was wiped from the serps about 3-4 weeks ago. It ranked alot better with a PR4 than a PR7.... If I wasn't watching closely ( I was ), I might have thought that it was the PR that was killing it.
In my opinion, the severity of the situation can be better viewed by viewing more non-competitive key term areas. It looks to me like Google is just busy shooting itself in the foot.
Let me give one concrete example... Google at times is using some sort of key-term coupled with link anaylsis word filtering. My proof is my ability to bypass it.
Take a key term that google should not be having a problem with: tile installation dallas texas.
How difficult is that? If you do a search on all major search engines, my client holds at least the 2nd position, and I haven't even gone back and tweaked the site yet. Hardly touched the site at all; no need.
But study the results on google... I hold the top #1 spot, but I had to bypass the trip filter to get it. I figured this out after Florida, and even knocked two websites off the SERPS by throwing links at them. I wrote an article about it at the time, and it was amazing how FAST the old results returned. I still think a similiar filtering method is being used, but I think it's toned way down.
If you study the difference in Google term results with very related key terms, the results are night-and-day different. Look at tile installation dallas tx rather dallas texas.
Now, I could take the site and turn up the SEO... But I know from experience, it won't make one bit of difference.
You'll notice that ALL of the real dallas texas contractors are not on page 1 of Google. They are on yahoo, and they are on msn. That is NOT a coincidence. I have a dozen more equally ugly examples I've been studying.
Now, if there were 30,000 dallas tx tile installation contractors, then I bet we wouldn't be able to see the descrepency.
I hate to say it, but there is a giant gaping hole in google's algo right now, clear as day. One of these days, the porn industry is going to see it, and Google's going to pay a serious price for the state of its SERPS. Imagine every single key term combination that would normally require a solid & quality website PR 3/4 for a top ten listing, all being dominated by a few porn spammers. I could do an example right now. I've held off, because every once in awhile, I see a completely different set of results for a few minutes that look decent. It looks to me like Google is still working on it.
I won't say too much more, but the evidence has thus been presented - in black on white.
All of this is one reason I stopped posting on WbMstrWld. :mad:
I don't see any of these "Google challenges" as "Hilltop" algo implementation, successful "spam filtering" or any other of the hair-brained ideas passed around the UN ( did I say U.N.? Freudian slip ).
The above simple example is not an isolated incident. I think the more competitive the terms are, the harder it is too see the effects, but I think that the problem is widespread.
Anyway, those are my observations, based on what I see, but may not necessarily reflect what others see, so... :D
04-25-2004, 07:44 PM
[QUOTE=AVWeb]You'll notice that ALL of the real dallas texas contractors are not on page 1 of Google. They are on yahoo, and they are on msn. That is NOT a coincidence. I have a dozen more equally ugly examples I've been studying.[/QUOTE]
google local accomplishes this.
i personally hate the results at google local.
but it spits out a solid list.
04-25-2004, 09:06 PM
If I understand the possible SandBox Effect, it sounds like a good thing for the small time web designer / business owner. I don't see any negative affect for those of us in it for the long haul and who don't have the money to go out and buy 20,000 links for $10,000 a month. For those of us who's only choice is to personally contact other webmasters and maybe get 30 links a month should see some benefit in in this, if for no other reason than spammers and people out for quick money will get bored or maybe if we're lucky give up.
04-25-2004, 10:27 PM
2 more threads (Members only) from webmaster world. More info to come!
04-25-2004, 10:30 PM
A comment from a friend in the mod circle
A suggestion might be that this penalty (if it does exist) is in relation to the ratio of internal links to the homepage from those external to the site - if you'll using too many links to your homepage with the keywords in it you will notice a ranking drop - or at least I did!!
Doesnt really apply to the sandbox as much as in general. OK Morgan Stay on topic!
04-25-2004, 10:35 PM
[QUOTE=morgan]2 more threads (Members only) from webmaster world. More info to come!
You may not be able to quote these posts but can you give those of us who are not willing to pay a brief synopsis?
04-26-2004, 12:37 AM
Umm there is 22 pages in one of them lol I will have to finish rereading tomorrow please remind me I promise I will do it. its 130 am kind of hard to concentrate lol
04-27-2004, 09:20 AM
Well I have my bucket and shoval ready to play in the sandbox..if it comes to that!
04-28-2004, 09:23 AM
Two questions here:
> Morgan - any idea what the ratio is of external links to home page versus other pages?
> AVweb - you talked about the trip filter - is there still something like that today - especially on KW stuffing at all?
05-01-2004, 01:33 AM
Hi SEO Guy
The Sandbox effect
When you register a site it immediately gets crawled by Freshbot [recently I had one that got to the top, with a "friendly" phrase, in 4 days and I thought that was quick - but I have topped that this week with one that did it in 12 hours!!!] which I believe sets the "tone/theme" of the site from the information it gives - It has a PR of 0. G has come back 5 times, 1/day, but I expect that now to stop [as it did on the other new site] until later when it gets crawled by other Gbots.
Now logic says that it is not possible for a site to have a huge number of supporting links from elsewhere when it is new, so logic also says that G is not going to be looking for those links [from those other robots] until later, and, as we know, it takes some time for the Robots to get around, perhaps this is intentional.
PR and position - we know that in Austin the PR factor was reduced in importance [based on numerous tests by numerous people] to a point where it was no longer a dominant factor but that links were increased in importance and, that being said it appears that "any" link from "any" site will do! However I don't do "links", but if I did I certainly wouldn't go rushing out buying up, or exchanging, links with anyone as I "gut feel" don't think it works, and is a very expensive way [time or money] of "getting there" and if you don't you've had a very expensive lesson!
So you come down to onpage SEO, anchor links, title, H1, text, and links
05-01-2004, 05:52 PM
Hi Foxy and welcome to the forum!
I agree that PR has less weight then it did pre florida/austin however it still is a factor. Getting a site indexed is no problem and has nothing to do with the sandbox effect, getting rankings for kw's is the problem. I can get a site in the index within an hour (One of the advantages of having lots of PR 8's)
What we are finding is that sites whether new or not who get links whether free or purchased whether themed or unthemed are not getting rankings for anything when adding their new links. It seems the links arent counting towards their ranks at all even though PR and backlinks are published and the SEO is identicle to that of established sites that rank well.
I tested this by duplicating a client page on my SEO Guy site for the kw "phoenix realtor" which is pretty competitive and within 2 days I was top 10 go figure.
So something is going on for sites with new links (and no real old links) so that they cant rank. In fact that client doesnt even rank for his own name www.jimmessenger.com "Jim messenger" or at least he didnt for a long time and that is hardly competitive at all
05-03-2004, 07:10 AM
This is very interesting-so what is your proposed solution.
Is the key to get a fair number of links for internal pages as well...and keep all links for a period of at least 90 days?
I just began buying PR based links at a popular link auction website. Will these links be useless unless they are renewed. I must admit that I am somewhat concerned that some of the sites that I bought links on have placed my link on 80k pages...all with the same anchor text-and all pointing to my home page.
05-03-2004, 08:23 AM
I can back up what Morgan is saying.
I put similar content with similar target keywords and with the same amount of links pointing to them in two different places, 1 on a brand new URL, the other on free webspace from my ISP which I use for experimenting with.
They are both PR5 now with the same amount of links to them, The one on the new URL is nowhere to be seen, yet the one on the previously used URL is top 5.
It's increasingly looking like it is best to add a page to an existing URL than creating a new one, any comments on this?
05-03-2004, 11:03 PM
Jonathan, your situation is the exact theory as to why they would implement this effect. If pagerank purchasers were to be led to believe that the links they were buying werent having any effect then they would stop buying. This would stop the abuse of PAgerank and its natural effectiveness would be restored, when in all probability they just put a few month delay on its effectiveness (Stuck it in a sandbox) time will tell
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