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Don’t Be Bullied by the Google Sandbox

This is a guest post by Kalen Smith.

I sometimes feel that Internet marketers are too obsessed with Google and their SEO strategy.  Don’t get me wrong, Google is the biggest traffic generator on the Internet.  However, their quest to dominate the front page may hurt them in the long run when they choose to go about it the wrong way.  I am always disappointed when otherwise brilliant entrepreneurs limit themselves when they catch a case of Googletitus (yes, I just made that word up, but bear with me a moment).

The Google Sandbox Theory

The Google Sandbox concept suggests that newer sites are penalized by Google and if they build links too quickly they may be delisted from the search engine.  The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make is shortchanging themselves over something that may not even exist.  Unfortunately, too many website owners limit their link building strategies, because they are afraid that they will have to endure Google’s wrath.

I have actually heard website owners say that they will not build more than three links in a day because they are afraid that their link building practice will look “unnatural.”  This is ridiculous.  Given the nature of our niche, the diets coupon and discount site I am a member of has a number of keywords and there is no way we could ever optimize them if we were to limit ourselves to three links a day.

Matt Cutts is one of the key developers of the Google algorithm and one of the most important SEO figures in the company.  He has gone on record saying that the Google Sandbox does not exist the way we think of it.  He says Google cares about trust and would only ban a site for link building if it looked like that site was guilty of spam or another unethical link building strategy.  There is no specified limit to the number of links that a site can develop and the algorithm takes a number of factors into account to decide if a link building strategy is normal or not.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that one of the most respected members of the Google community has tried to end the paranoia, Internet entrepreneurs continue to obsess over it.  They crawl their way through the SERPs and never get to the front page, simply because they are too timid to challenge this theory.  It is okay to believe in the Sandbox, but you can’t let it ruin your opportunity to perform well in the search engines or drive quality traffic to your site.

You are Trying to Be Part of a Community

The fear site owners have of the sandbox has done more than harm their opportunity to rank well in the search engines.  Remember, when you are building a site, your goal is not to reach the front page of Google.  You are trying to build a quality site that people are going to enjoy and buy your products or services.

In order to pull this off, you are going to have to engage with other people in your niche and share links to your website.  Some communities may actually be more beneficial than Google because you can target people in your niche and engage with them on a more personal level.  We found that communities related to other diet to go products were the best to participate in, because they catered to our target audience.  If we were afraid of the Google Sandbox, we would miss out on many great networking and sales opportunities.

Creating a successful brand for your blog and company is far more important than your ranking in Google.  People will come to your site because they enjoy engaging with you and buying your products.  They really couldn’t care less how well optimized your site is (unless of course you were an SEO consultant).  Sharing links to your community is a great way to introduce yourself and get people interested in coming back to your site.

Also, people are more likely to click on a link in Google if they’ve seen your site somewhere else already.  On my first blog, I made the mistake of focusing on SEO almost exclusively.  I was able to rank on the front page for two of my target keywords (both very competitive), but I got very few visitors because I didn’t market myself properly beforehand.  Since they never heard of my blog, they had no reason to check it out when it showed up in their search results.

Moral of the Story:  Don’t Be Afraid of Google

People are too obsessive about finding the perfect SEO strategy.  They are so paranoid that if they do something wrong, all their hard work will be undone.  The truth is that we have no idea how Google ranks sites in its index.  We need to put aside any gossip we hear and simply work hard at coming up with a great site that people are going to want to visit.  Don’t let the Google Sandbox intimidate you, especially since it probably doesn’t exist the way you think it does.

A blogger and avid writer, Kalen enjoys sharing information about SEO and building successful online businesses. Part of his knoweledge comes from his weight loss blog Weight Loss Triumph. He markets popular weight loss programs such as Bistro MD (see more here) and Diet to Go (learn more here). Bistro MD is a diet delivery program that offers restaurant quality food. Similarly, Diet to Go is a dietitian-designed food delivery company that provides healthy, nutritionally balanced meals.

Category: blogging

42 Comments on "Don’t Be Bullied by the Google Sandbox"

  1. Roy @ Work from Home says:

    Thanks for the great tips. Is Google still the biggest driver of traffic on the internet? What about Facebook?

    • Kalen says:

      I’m honestly not sure, but I think Google is still bigger. People just spend more time on Facebook and it is really meant as a way for people to communicate, not for marketing (although it is still good at that, it wasn’t created expressly for that purpose at least not to the extent that Google was).

      • Ha, ha. That was a funny yet intriguing post — that’s why it made me wanna let some comments

        2-cents blogging

        OK. I like to consider Google the… Googlenosaurus 🙂

        In a positive way. They have MASSIVE daily traffic why not take a tiny portion of that and re-direct it to our blogs and landing pages?

        Why not tap into their growth , why not

        You already pointed that most of the so-called banns and back-liking Google news/concepts are really myths because aspiring bloggers make them sound like that, and rarely understand what they’re reading.

        If people would hear about recent Google updates straight from their blog, they would not believe the myths, or not get worried for nothing.

        Kalen, keep up the great work! And if you have something to say to my 2-cents, start right away…

    • Liberty Reserve says:

      Google is always laser targeted traffic, because face book is just social networking.

  2. Dominic says:

    Good point. I think I was to cautious myself. Maybe we really should act more bravely..

  3. Hi Kalen,

    I agreed with you since google announced about changing its algorithm for ranking lot of people become nervous and feeling uncomfortable. Many of them even don’t know what are these changes. Google will penalize those sites which will use black Hat SEO strategies and rest will remain safe.

    • Exactly, I think only people who are new and don’t read these updates carefully are really the biggest worried; spammers and black “haters” are not. It seems like they also find a way to trick Google and out-rank us.

      Google is with the good guys who publish unique original personal content.

  4. Kalen – couldn’t agree with you more man. There’s no point in writing to the search engines if the quality of what you are writing is diluted with overuse of “keywords” and simply not worth reading to the reader.

    Like you siad, people resonate more with a blog or site that is authentic in it’s message. Keywords are important but there is no point in over using them and trying to create a strategy around them if people will not find what you have to deliver, worth sticking around and reading.

    Most people can usually tell when an article or blog post is written for the search engines and when it’s written because you had the intention of brining valuable information to someone. It’s hard to make up for bad first impressions and chances are that if you write to the sear ch engines often people will not be coming back to your blog.

    Great read!

    • Kalen says:

      Thanks Hector! I’ve read so many bogus blogs like you’ve mentioned that I just turn away the second I see them. Glad someone else feels my pain.

    • Hector, as a friend of mine once said: build the type of blog that you’d want to read, link to and share with others.

      If people would care more about others and less about their pockets or ego, the Internet would turn into a much better place

  5. Steve says:

    I guess I am going to have to play around with Google sandbox and see what it’s all about.

  6. Manuel says:

    Great post Kalen, Googletitus?… Interesting

    • Kalen says:

      Thanks Manual! I figured I had to make up my own word for it.

  7. silpada says:

    It is right that Google check the way we going for link building and either the link is natural or not.

  8. Jon says:

    It’s wild how you can really cut through the noise and clutter (and side-step the scaremongering) by just focusing on quality. Build relationships. Be helpful. Add value to other people’s communities and your ranking will go up. Your site will gain authority.

    Marketers would be better served if they toned down the worries over the latest trends and just got back to basics. Putting others and their needs first!

    Keep spreading your message of focusing on value, Kalen. Great work!


  9. sharp toners expert says:

    There is a big reason why there are people who are very afraid of Google. One is their dependence on Google traffic to generate revenue or profit. In our printer toner business, organic traffic from Google gives us a substantial revenue to keep our business going.

    • Liberty Reserve says:

      You are absolutely right.

  10. Thanks a lot for writing such an informative post.

  11. Alec says:

    Few tips to overcome Google Sandbox are to create original content, quality back links, focusing on less popular keywords….

  12. Usman@FirstHosting says:

    I’ve seen some nice blogs sandboxed (HBB) and I guess the reason is more links on pages, I am still confused, and need suggestion?

  13. Bojan says:

    Perhaps I am not coming from that crowd, but I don’t know anyone who’s afraid of putting out too many links on other websites…

    Didn’t really get the point of the article.

    • Kalen says:

      I have actually spoken with a number of people in forums and other communities who say they limit themselves like that. They actually say they won’t build more than 4 links in a day to avoid being sandboxed. You just come from the right crowd in my opinion.

  14. Kalen, I must commend you for this brilliant explanation of Google Sandbox. I’ve gained.

  15. Good article. There are always new approaches, and this was useful.

  16. Alex says:

    Hello Kalen,

    I think even google specifies that you should really worry about the results they deliver but you should only worry about your content and how you can interact with other, how you can help your readers.

    Actually, is a proven fact that if you manage to drive traffic without google, sooner or later your ranks will increase.

    So, don’t be scared by google, don’t do things just to please them, be yourself and take care of your readers;)

  17. Nick says:

    I’ll admit that this “sandbox” theory did bother me initially when I heard about it, but I’ve continued doing my thing just writing good posts and building links as I go without worrying.

    I definitely agree that some people need to stop being afraid of Google so much. Nice post, Kalen!

  18. semmy @ Make Money Online says:

    Hi Kalen you have a great post!!! I agree with you and one more thing, I think we shouldn’t put eggs on one basket only.

  19. TsarShu says:

    Although I still think that there’s no smoke without fire, I share your idea on Google sandbox. I mean I have never thought seriously about it and have never been scared of it. Maybe because I have never had any problems with my new sites.

    • hmm… they say: if you don’t have problems, you don’t have growth.

      is everything working fine for you when it comes SEO and Google? 🙂

  20. Skribent says:


    Here in Denmark, Google stands for around 95% of the search machine market and (especially) young entrepreneurs are literally obsessed with SEO and Google optimization – instead of producing good and valuable content on their websites. I think that someday people will realize that content really is king – and that a #1 spot in Google is worthless, if their websites aren´t also optimized for customers.

    • Onibalusi says:

      I couldn’t agree more 🙂

  21. Make Money Blogging says:

    I guess the key and good thing about creating a lot of backlinks is brand name recognition. You said that if someone has seen your website somewhere else that they will be more likely to click your link on google… I never really thought of it this way. I too was one of those people with the fear of building too many backlinks. Google is just too smart sometimes. As long as you aren’t creating spam, I guess you’re good building as many backlinks as you want. It’s the guys that use programs to spam the same message to 1000’s of blogs that have problems.

  22. DiNaRa says:

    People! Pay more attention to real visitors and readers! Forget about seo and promotion, start writing really good articles worth reading and everything will be fine!
    And then …. start thinking about seo 🙂

  23. Liberty Reserve says:

    Good Point Indeed. I was once affected by google sandbox.

  24. true, very true. I doubt the sandbox theory exist. ultimately, it’s us against google, and we’ll win.

  25. There may not be a sandbox where an entire website is put out of daylight. But there’s a Google penalty for sure. Now, this penalty may only happen to certain pages on the website, not all. The penalized pages may be down-ranked or, in severe cases, completely taken out of the index.

    If that happened, take the bad pages out of the website altogether and create others in their place and start promotion again, with cleaner seo techniques this time 🙂

  26. Susan says:

    People who worry about sandboxes and things like that do their work for seo purposes exclusively – I would prefer doing everything fairly and for the sake of readers and visitors.

  27. ipad skins says:

    Sandbox is not true. This is just belief of some people who think that they loose their rankings. mostly people loose their rank of excessive backlinks.

  28. I have Google sketch Up 6 and I can’t find the sandbox tools . I know they can be activated in the extensions tab of the preferences window but it doesn’t have it ! it only has ‘utility tools’ and another thing. Please help ! P.S : I previously had sandbox tools on but they aren’t now and I can’t find them !!Help !thanks

  29. sokun says:

    Very interesting. I didn’t know no one knows how google really ranks the sites.

  30. backlink building service says:

    Hy. nice post. Yes it boring to be in sandbox…


Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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