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My Experience of the Sandbox Effect

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Micallef, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Micallef

    Micallef Supreme Member

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    Half the new threads on this forum seems to be about the sandbox effect. To clarify what this thread is about, the official definition of the sandbox effect is: "when your website carries a high position in Yahoo and MSN, but is nowhere to be found in Google".

    Many members here will maintain that the sandbox does not exist. I agree that there is no sandbox "filter", but there certainly is a sandbox "effect". We cannot know its mechanics in detail so theoretical discussion on the matter has little value. I prefer to concentrate on results.

    Here's another one of my experiment logs. It will give some hope to people who have created new sites and put countless hours into backlink resourcing, only to see their site vanish from the google serps.

    I registered a new domain in early March 2009, and it was indexed soon after. I wanted to get 20 subpages ranking for multiple competitive marketable keywords.

    Note: No linkwheels have been applied to this site

    What I did:


    • April - Start a major linkbuilding campaign. My knowledge of Google's treatment of backlinks was unrefined at this point. I was working under the simple mantra: more high PR ******** comment spam = higher rankings. No attention was given to relevance or any other factor. Therefore, a great many of the links were extremely spammy, some on sites with thousands of outbound links.
    PRE-RANKING PERIOD

    • June 20th - By this point I had 300 backlinks to home page, 100 backlinks to subpages 1-12, 300 backlinks to subpages 13-18, and 1000 backlinks to subpages 19-20. Prior to this date, none of my pages ranked anywhere. After June 20th, however, I began to see my pages in the top 5 in most cases on Google, Yahoo and MSN.

    • June 22nd - Removed from Google serps.

    • June 24th - Return to June 20th Google position.

    • June 26th - Removed from Google serps. As of June 26th, all backlinking ceased immediately
    SANDBOX - 2 MONTHS

    • September 1st - Begin to see all pages return to the Google serps, between page 3 and 10.

    • September 15th - All 20 subpages return to page 1. 6 subpages take position 1, 14 subpages land in the top 5.

    I can't believe how well this has worked out. Since June, I was working under the assumption that I had done something wrong with my backlinking, and turned to a sort of backlink purism. I conducted another experiment on this here, with a different domain:

    http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...arged-backlink-experiment-results-so-far.html

    This is a classic open and shut case of the sandbox effect. It is characterised by an alternation between domination and total absence from the serps. Something more than the "google dance" is going on here.

    It is often conjectured that the sandbox is a test to see if links continue to come in after serp removal. My experience speaks against this theory.

    One final note: Google has ranked one of my pages number 1 for a highly competitive software product. The page has over 1000 spam links with same or similar anchor text. None of these links are from relevant sites.

    Perhaps we should be less paranoid about google's ability to detect us.

    If I've left anything out feel free to ask.

    Micallef.
     
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  2. squelsh

    squelsh Regular Member

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    As always, great post! Love seeing these experiments!
     
  3. tata668

    tata668 Newbie

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    Yeah, I like those kind of posts, me too!

    One important thing to know though: we shouldn't speak about Google's algorithms as if they were static, not changing. Some people say Google change their algorithms every day. So sadly we can't say "this experiment is the final proof that Google will always act in that way".
     
  4. ashok

    ashok Regular Member

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    i too have this effect,,,,,, before 3 weeks,, i was in 6 & 8 rank for two very competitive keyword,,,, but suddenly there is a heavy rank down,,,,,, one from 6 - 15 and other from 8 - 104,,,

    i don't know why it has happened,,,, i too was a comment spammer spamming comments then and there,,,,,,,,

    now my rank seems somewhat increasing after 2 weeks,,,, i got from 15 - 10 and 104 - 88,,,,,
     
  5. mediamaniac

    mediamaniac Newbie

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    very interesting!

    question:
    what kind of links did you use to test this..

    abc links
    recip linking
    or one way linking?


    MM
     
  6. bijikpalir

    bijikpalir Regular Member

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    Some questions.. Do you update your site content during "sandbox period"?
     
  7. Micallef

    Micallef Supreme Member

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    This is true.

    All links were 1 way comment spam with full anchor text.

    I performed one large update during the sandbox period, around early August. Around 30 new pages were added. They were esentially a paragraph each with an aff link.
     
  8. blasterpro

    blasterpro Registered Member

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    Apart from the update to the site did you do any more link building for the site during the period it was sandboxed?
     
  9. SuiteTieLies

    SuiteTieLies Registered Member

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    Sandbox effect= Blast a page with links that it should not naturally have. Against the page history, push it up to top 3 positions in google (xrumor/prstormish). Stay there for 3 days and then bounce to page 13. Stay there. Thats the extreme penalty that is real but few are this sloppy. It was interesting to watch though.
     
  10. stillfly09

    stillfly09 Registered Member

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    i love to see a great post like this one. i believe there is a sandbox effect
     
  11. Micallef

    Micallef Supreme Member

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    All linkbuilding activity ceased as of June 26th. There will have been some spider-lag in finding some of the backlinks though.
     
  12. advancedfuture

    advancedfuture Junior Member

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    very informative post thanks for sharing your experience, I've been looking for something just like to gauge my website off of. Kind of experiencing the same results as you at the moment.
     
  13. MichiganManiac

    MichiganManiac Regular Member

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    I've seen two different versions of the "Sandbox Effect" myself.

    One of my sites followed the classic pattern of rising high and then dropping off to about spot #150.

    The others I have never seem to get the "new site booster" at all. They drop in about spot #350 - 450 and then rise to somewhere between Spot #45 and #75 where they sit for what seems like forever.

    I followed the advice I heard long ago and just always build links, ignoring the effect.

    Time seems to be the major motivating factor from my experience. My sites tend to jump out of the sandbox to page #2 somewhere between Day 60 and Day 90. It takes another 7-10 days after that to drag them to one of the Top 3 spots.
     
  14. blasterpro

    blasterpro Registered Member

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    Keep us posted on this please mate... as it could be very useful information if you can keep hold of those ranking with that type of link.
     
  15. capflam

    capflam Junior Member

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    The funny part is when people think that Google can distinguish spam from legit links :)
    100's of PHDs working for 15 years at Google and here we are, spam is cheaper and easier and works.
     
  16. blasterpro

    blasterpro Registered Member

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    Maybe we are giving g0ogle more credit than they deserve as people can easy see spam links thru the OBL on that page, so it is logical to think that google will be able to pick up these links in a similar fashion.
     
  17. Micallef

    Micallef Supreme Member

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    I thought I would let you guys know that I've been building linkwheels around some of my subpages in the past few days. I've also been resuming direct linking to the subpages. The same rules apply - any link, anywhere - although of course, they are preferably high PR and always ********.

    I'm beginning to agree with you. I wonder if those PHDs will ever find an automated solution to linkspam.

    The thing is, it should be so simple for them to do it. High outbound links, common spam words, anchor text not related to the site being spammed, links appearing in a comment structure etc.. these are all pretty obvious signs. I'm no coder but I suppose it must be really hard to make an automated spider identify all of these things.

    Remember, however, I rank now but it may just be temporary.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  18. demigod888

    demigod888 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    What you think about this?

    [​IMG]

    • Shows that I'm IN index.
    • Shows that I have 29 Links (made 200 I think). Subpage(moneypage) has 11, homepage 9.
    • Shows that I have 27 indexed pages.

    PROBLEM:

    Top search queries:
    NOT AVAILABLE - I mean, I'm not in serps.

    This is sandbox?

    What to do next?
    What you suggest?
     
  19. iglow

    iglow Elite Member

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    when i got sandboxed wuith my fully whoite site i asked for reindexing and it got back to #2 at its keywords [and it dropped to 10th page form top3 before]
    dunno if it always works, but i did that for a test and worked like a charm.
     
  20. dexterfly

    dexterfly Regular Member

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    What is the software used to find out the position of my website in google based on the keywords I'm going after?