Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sandbox effect and Search Engines

What is sandbox effect in search engine optimization? It's about a phenomena that the new domains do not get similar weightage as old domains. Though Google has maintained that there is as such no official filter like Sandbox effects bit in words of Matt Cutts from Google "There is no sandbox, there are just elements of the algorithm that may look and act like them."

So even though there are no filters for sandbox but there is a sandbox effect, which we cannot deny. From SEO perspective that means the impact of effect needs to be incorporated.

Let's take a day to day example to understand this phenomena. Suppose you are looking to make a new wardrobe and you are looking for someone who can make it for you. One aspect that you would like to understand is the workmanship quality of the individual. How good is the carpenter in his trade? 

A guy comes to your house and knocks your door and claims that he is a carpenter and a rather good one. You look to him and try to size him up. You also would start the conversation trying to judge how good he is, but you are not going to give the contract right way and hand him the advance. However you need someone to do that work and there is a guy standing in front of you and ready to do the work. The market is still not created because what is lacking is the trust. The next thing both party will do is to increase the trust. Think about the new website as a carpenter who has just been put and want search engine to respect it in search results.The site is confident about the quality of its content but the dispassionate eyes of search engines don't look very encouraging.

Both parties start doing more conversation so that the trust can be build. You start by asking where all he has worked. While telling the details of his past work, the carpenter mentions about John who works in your office and you happen to have a good opinion about John. You might just excuse yourself for a minute and go to next room and call John. John will pass his impression of the carpenter to you and that will become your impression at the moment. If by chance, the carpenter mentions about doing work for Ronney and you do not like Ronney, the carpenter is more or less not going to get the work.That's what inbound linking is about. You want to build your impression based on the impression existing in your circle.

The other situation is that even after doing a long conversation both could not find a common thread. And you are desperate to get the work done. Search engines are usually desperate about content. What you do? You may not commit the big wardrobe immediately. You might just give him a small corner table to be done to build the trust and see how carpenter performs. Once you are comfortable with the workmanship, the big contract is awarded. Similarly search engines do small things before they start building the trust on the website and start ranking them higher on competitive keywords.

Another aspect that also brings sandbox effect into picture is the existence of link spamming, also popularly knows as Black Hat SEO. People build spammy websites to just generate outbound links to tank certain pages higher. These websites and domains hosting them are usually transient.

The other thing is making website on an old domain. The domain might be trusted but it would be trusted for a different set of keywords. You got your wardrobe done by the carpenter and you are happy with quality of outcome. Now you want to do electrical work and the carpenter says that he can electrical job also. You will sort of trust  him but not completely and you will look more closely about his newly claimed skill set, before you declare him an electrician.

In a nutshell, everything boils on the aspect of building trust. The notion of trust is important in human world and is equally important in search world.

What to do so that the website starts getting trusted. You can look for opportunities of back linking from trusted and good quality site. Don't get into the trap of link spamming. The carpenter can hire fifty people and pay them to call you and tell how good he is a carpenter. This will only annoy you and the carpenter might get banned for life long. 

Consider the trust building as a journey and it happens slowly. Do not consider it as a black and white phenomena. it's not like you are untrusted and suddenly in next moment Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Matt Cutts are going to trust you or for that matter the Bing folks. It's an incremental process. Focus on your content and you will be rewarded.

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