Among one of the most important things a blogger with a new blog can do is to develop a blog strategy. Whether or not the Google sandbox is real has been debated over and over. Google has not clearly stated if the “sandbox” is a reality or just a myth but the SEOs I know do believe it exists. Thus my blogging tips include advising bloggers to determine whether or not their new blog or a blog they have moved from free hosting to their own domain is in the sandbox and to account for the same in their blog strategy.
Is your new blog in the Google sandbox?
The Google sandbox debate arises when Google does not assign PageRank to a new website until after six (6) months. This is presumably to serve the purpose of giving new websites time to develop or disappear altogether.
The situation we found ourselves in now is that the sandbox has become a normal everyday reality for ranking on Google, and most SEO’s now accept that. The result is that to rank on Google for any kind of competitive keyword, you need to be able to leverage some degree of “trust”.
In fact, as Michael Gray astutely put it – “The sandbox isn’t something you are trying to get out of, it’s the trustbox that you are trying to figure a way into.” — From an educational post for those seeking to determine if their blogs have been Google “sandboxed”.
These are the positive factors that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration when determining PageRank:
- Keyword use in title tag
- Global link popularity of the site
- Anchor text of incoming links
- Link popularity within the site
- *Age of the site*
These are the negative factors that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration when determining PageRank:
- Server is often inaccessible to Googlebot
- Content which is very similar or duplicate to existing content on the web
- External links to low quality sites
- Participation in link schemes or actively selling links
- Duplicate meta tags on more pages
New blog “sandboxed”: What to do?
Develop a blog strategy that effectively addresses the positive and negative factors for determination of PageRank . Make it part of your blog strategy to focus your attention on the following:
- writing high quality unique content;
- creating clean code and ensuring your site validates;
- use keywords and tagging properly so the content can be found and indexed;
- linking to exceptional content on authoritative sites with PageRank;
- being careful not to link too link to frequently to sites with lower PageRank.
*You shouldn’t link to any content unless it’s exceptional and related – this goes double when you’re in the sandbox! Earn Google’s trust by linking to authoritative sites with PageRank, and not to too many new sites.