Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting in trouble with Google

When your site ranks pretty good and then it slips in ranking, the first thing that comes to mind is:
Google Penalized Me?

In Search Engine Optimization parlance there is an urban legend called the "Google Sandbox"

The "Sandbox" is a term to indicate that you got caught doing something Google Disapproves of. You're not banned, but you are 'sent to a corner' for being a 'bad boy'.

I had a Frederick Internet Advertising Client that I made a blogspot blog for, just like this one. The same style Business Blog I made for several other Frederick Maryland small business owners. The first few Business Blogs I created outperformed the local competition and often out performed a companies existing website.

This particular client had stiffer competition than the first few early successes I had. The blogspot blog temporarily ranked high (in the top ten search engine results) but faded.

This made me look bad.

I posted to the Warrior Forum to get help. If my clients don't do good, I don't look good... here are some excerpts from my request for assistance:
It would seem that I over did the keyword phrase thing.

I've got a client, a moving company, they had a site but it didn't rank at all...
not for the keyword phrase he wanted targeted.

so... I made him 3 blogs, the blogs were ranking a lot higher than his main site.

keyword phrase: Frederick Maryland movers I got on the second page
keyword phrase: Frederick Maryland Moving company I couldn't get...
this next one ranked on the second page but I think I over did the keywords because it's vanished today:

What must I do to get that last blog out of the sandbox?

I'm thinking I should post more to 'thin out' the keyword stuffing I did.

any more ideas gang?

The response to my question:
Google doesn't have a sandbox to get out of. You never were in a sandbox. There is a common event that people often refer to as a the "Sandbox Effect". It's not a penalty or even a bad thing.

Google ranks websites in it's index with an algorithm that uses many different factors. One of these factors it the "freshness factor" (a.k.a. QDF) that will temporary boost the ranking of newly added pages. After this "freshness factor" boost wears off, your web page will drop to it's truly deserving rank.

Your new web pages were given a temporary boost (this is a good thing). Now go to work building traffic and backlinks so that you can earn a lasting higher ranking in Google's index.

QDF stands for "Query Deserves Freshness" and it's the term Google's algorithm specialists use internally.

how do you got out of the sandbox??? hmmm

The sandbox that doesn't exist?

The question you should be asking is "how do I improve my ranking"?

Just because the freshness factor only helps your ranking when your page is um... fresh, doesn't mean your in a sandbox or penalized in any way. It means you have competitors that rank higher than you do.

Thanks Don, so I didn't run afoul of the 'powers that be'.

Cool, so then my creating a company blog for my client ranked at first only because it was 'fresh'?

Just build your links gradually. The sandbox is just an occurance of having a new site. It's a time thing i'm afraid. Google needs to 'trust' your site first before it will allow you to rank for competitive keywords.

This doesn't mean that you can rank at the top for less competitive, long tailed keywords though. Why not conventrate on them. In time your site will naturally rank better for the more competitive keywords once you gain a bit of trust and page rank from Google.


** Just read the post above. The sandbox is debatable. I don't think of it as a sandbox to be honest... it is more an effect of curcumstances.

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