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jpweber

The Google "Sandbox" explained, and what to do.

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The Problem:

I hear many OSC people ask why they're not listed in Google yet, and I wanted to offer a posting that clears the confusion of why this is happening. There is no doubt anymore about the existence of The Google Sandbox, which came into existence in March of 2004 in an effort to clamp down on SPAM websites, among other things.

 

The Symptoms:

Basically, if your website is relatively new, and you're ranking in Yahoo, MSN, and others, but not Google, you're caught in the "Google Sandbox", which is referred to in other terms such as "Google Time Delay", or "Google Age Delay". Most refer to it as the "Google Sandbox", however.

 

What is the "Google Sandbox"?

This is a probationary period where your website is checked out. The Googlebot will index your website, but will not list you immediately. Do not panic! Things will be okay, although there is really nothing you can do to get out of the Sandbox or avoid it. Some people will suggest putting your site on a subdomain of an old trusted domain, and then setting up a 301 redirect to your new website after google has indexed the subdomain.

 

False Promises:

You will also see "SEO Companies" that promise you a listing in 50,000 search engines in 2 hours. Well, I only know of a few search engines that really count, and now you realize that nobody can promise you Google SERPS (search engine ranking position), because of the existence of the Sandbox. Nobody can guarantee you search engine rankings! Save your money and use your common sense. Use the strategies discussed in this posting, as well as others you can find on the web.

 

What can I do to get out (or avoid) the Google Sandbox?

I just say wait it out, but don't stand idle. The Sandbox will generally last for a period of 3-6 months. You will then start to see yourself get listed, assuming you've employed solid SEO techniques and have good content in your website. During your 3-6 month "probationary period", continue to add solid, relevant content to your website. Continue to list in pertinent, respected directories, and if you choose, engage in link exchanges with relevant, respected websites. Quality inbound links -- and quality outbound links -- will help your SERPS once you're out of the Google Sandbox. You can list with DMOZ, who are well-respected partners with Google and a free directory, but understand that with their lack of editors and strict rules and regulations, it can literally take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years to get listed in DMOZ. Search for other directories to list with, and other partners to exchange listings with.

 

Conclusion -- Keep Working!

So don't sit around and wonder "Why?". Continue to focus on your website. Ensure good SEO techniques. Ensure your page titles conform with the content on that page. Installing Jack's recent version (2.5.9 -- recent at the time of this posting) of the Header Tags Controller is a positive step. Or you may prefer to use Dynamic Product Meta Tags.

 

Either way, work on good, solid SEO techniques such as the suggestions I listed. Work on your content. Work on your (relevant and quality) backlinks. Be patient (with Google), and after your "probationary period" is overwith, watch your site climb up the rankings, and visits to your website increase, as a result.


Jason

 

Simple 1-2-3 Intructions on how to get, install and configure SSL

 

The Google Sandbox explained

 

Simple to follow instructions on how to change the look of your OSC

 

How To Make A Horrible OSC Website

 

my toolbox: All things WordPress-related - All things Adobe-related - PHP Designer 2007 - Codecanyon Junkie - Crimson Editor - Winmerge - phpMyAdmin - WS_FTP

 

my installed contributions: Category Banners, File Upload feature-.77, Header Tags, Sort_Product_Attributes_1, XSellv2.3, Price Break 1.11.2, wishlist 3.5, rollover_category_images_v1.2, Short_Description_v2.1, UPSXML_v1_2_3, quickbooks qbi_v2_10, allprods v4.4, Mouseover-effect for image-buttons 1.0, Ultimate_SEO, AAP 1.41, Auto Select State Value, Fast Easy Checkout, Dynamic SiteMap v2.0, Image Magic, Links Manager 1.14, Featured Products, Customer Testimonials, Article Manager, FAQ System, and I'm sure more ...

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Well thanks a lot Jason, for being the bearer of bad news. :(

I guess I can stop checking for a google ranking twice a day now.

 

We've had the domain since 12/04 and up until this past June a functioning oscommerce store with no products since about 2/05. I never submitted to any search engines though until about this past Sept. and finally got the googlesitemaps working properly just a week ago tuesday.

 

My main focus this week has been contacting our vendors about linking to us and finding other search engines to list with. We have lots of vendors (manufacturers) that we have yet to contact and many more who we plan on listing products from. My goal is at least 100 incoming links - there's probably more than several thousand available though.

So I guess I'm following your advice anyhow.

 

On the brighter side...GoBlue!

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Well, first of all, yes, you should have a sitemap.xml in your root directory, and you should submit this to google. Submit to yahoo, as well, at https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit -- and follow the instructions as to how to submit (RSS, urllist.txt, etc.). If you need help with that, you can message me.

 

Incoming links are good, yes; backlinking is very important. Continue to add content.

 

Nobody will be able to answer this for sure, but you might avoid the sandbox, just 'cause your site has been around for a couple years already. We'll see what happens. Regardless, it takes at least a month to get listed in Google, even if you avoid the sandbox. Even then so, Google is the slowest of all search engines (to get listed). Yahoo, if you do it correctly, will be much quicker.

 

When I go to your site, it works okay in Internet Explorer, but in Firefox, the categories overlap the text, making it impossible to read. More and more people are using Firefox (go to www.firefox.com and download the browser yourself), so I would be cautious. Perhaps you're using Microsoft Frontpage Extensions, which is a no-no. I can fix this for you, if need be, so just let me know. Download Firefox and see for yourself.

 

And yes, go Blue! I'm actually in the western suburbs, on the way to Ann Arbor (kinda, from Detroit). Have any questions, just let me know.


Jason

 

Simple 1-2-3 Intructions on how to get, install and configure SSL

 

The Google Sandbox explained

 

Simple to follow instructions on how to change the look of your OSC

 

How To Make A Horrible OSC Website

 

my toolbox: All things WordPress-related - All things Adobe-related - PHP Designer 2007 - Codecanyon Junkie - Crimson Editor - Winmerge - phpMyAdmin - WS_FTP

 

my installed contributions: Category Banners, File Upload feature-.77, Header Tags, Sort_Product_Attributes_1, XSellv2.3, Price Break 1.11.2, wishlist 3.5, rollover_category_images_v1.2, Short_Description_v2.1, UPSXML_v1_2_3, quickbooks qbi_v2_10, allprods v4.4, Mouseover-effect for image-buttons 1.0, Ultimate_SEO, AAP 1.41, Auto Select State Value, Fast Easy Checkout, Dynamic SiteMap v2.0, Image Magic, Links Manager 1.14, Featured Products, Customer Testimonials, Article Manager, FAQ System, and I'm sure more ...

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Well I tried it in Firefox and you're right, it does overlap. I thought I was doing good by checking it in netscape before I added coolmenu.

I changed the application _top box width from 175 to 220 and that makes it look fine in firefox, but it makes it look like I'm wasting space in IE6 - not a lot, but I'd like to find a better solution.

I also tried monkeying with includes/coolmenu.php but have yet to see a fix that brings the two browsers and my left hand column closer in line.

Doing a little research I found theres work-arounds for almost every browser in the file menu_animation.js

...it's just a tough one to work on in fits & starts.

Thanks for pointing it out.

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Well I tried it in Firefox and you're right, it does overlap. I thought I was doing good by checking it in netscape before I added coolmenu.

I changed the application _top box width from 175 to 220 and that makes it look fine in firefox, but it makes it look like I'm wasting space in IE6 - not a lot, but I'd like to find a better solution.

I also tried monkeying with includes/coolmenu.php but have yet to see a fix that brings the two browsers and my left hand column closer in line.

Doing a little research I found theres work-arounds for almost every browser in the file menu_animation.js

...it's just a tough one to work on in fits & starts.

Thanks for pointing it out.

 

How would I check my site in Firefox? I don't have that browser in my 'puter. My site is http://adorablebasket.com if someone can check it and let me know how it looks there. Thanks!

 

Kathy

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Site is fine in FF, Kathy, but you really should download it here: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ and use Firefox on a regular basis.


Jason

 

Simple 1-2-3 Intructions on how to get, install and configure SSL

 

The Google Sandbox explained

 

Simple to follow instructions on how to change the look of your OSC

 

How To Make A Horrible OSC Website

 

my toolbox: All things WordPress-related - All things Adobe-related - PHP Designer 2007 - Codecanyon Junkie - Crimson Editor - Winmerge - phpMyAdmin - WS_FTP

 

my installed contributions: Category Banners, File Upload feature-.77, Header Tags, Sort_Product_Attributes_1, XSellv2.3, Price Break 1.11.2, wishlist 3.5, rollover_category_images_v1.2, Short_Description_v2.1, UPSXML_v1_2_3, quickbooks qbi_v2_10, allprods v4.4, Mouseover-effect for image-buttons 1.0, Ultimate_SEO, AAP 1.41, Auto Select State Value, Fast Easy Checkout, Dynamic SiteMap v2.0, Image Magic, Links Manager 1.14, Featured Products, Customer Testimonials, Article Manager, FAQ System, and I'm sure more ...

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How would I check my site in Firefox? I don't have that browser in my 'puter. My site is http://adorablebasket.com if someone can check it and let me know how it looks there. Thanks!

 

Kathy

 

If you ask google is so mixed up it's down to pure luck if your site dosn't get strangled and ignored. We would like to think google is a smooth running machine populated by some of the best SEO brains in the world, but somehow I think thats a false impression. Well that's my opinion based on meeting similer leaders in their field, most success is down to pure luck and being in the right place at the right time.

 

I don't have a clue what they are doing with my site. The domain has been up for six years but because it's in the uk I have both co.uk & .com versions. For some reason this meant it got ranked in google.co.uk and ranked really well for co.uk. But I wanted to use .com to attract worldwide interest so the site was set up on that basis. Now I've done a new design and decide that I would use co.uk as the main site and use .com as a feeder.

 

Because it's round ball football I also have to have soccer as a domain too so I have 4 domains. I also had some parked domains set up as feeders. Now the feeder sites are all ranked in google but my main domain isn't. it's all crazy. The main site have all the content, the feeders have one page and a link to my main domain. The main site has 3,000 pages and about 1,000 links to related sites. It also has more then 250 good valid links into the site. So now a site that was as high as rank 8 18 months ago isn't even ranked now. The ranking just went over night and that was the basis of my redesigning the site.

 

You can call it a sand pit but google won't reveal much about what they do and my option about that is because they don't really know themselves.

 

Thanks for the info weber lad.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

OSC user for years and no coder, so I've earned my stripes.

 

Feel free to private message me.

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Hello Jason,

You mentioned you could help me fix the trouble with coolmenu/firefox (BTW I really do like it and as soon as I get this fixed I plan on using it alot more).

I've been searching all over but haven't found anyone who describes a problem exactly like ours:

"Coolmenu functions and displays okay in all browsers but firefox/mozilla where it overruns the column width only."

Closest solution I've found was here

http://forums.oscommerce.com/index.php?sho...5036&st=664

probably need to alter the code somewhat but I haven't been able to try it.

 

Is this something you've already done? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Any help would be very welcome.

Thanks

Joe

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Happy to report I found my problem. It really had nothing to do with the coolmenu contrib. Instead it was something about my column width's and the fact that IE & firefox didn't interpete them the same.

 

I tried several other things before I confirmed that the two browsers display pics exactly the same. So I installed a 1 pixel tall gif set to the same width and color as the column and placed it (invisibly) in the search box.

 

Thanks again for pointing it out.

Joe

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Happy to report I found my problem. It really had nothing to do with the coolmenu contrib. Instead it was something about my column width's and the fact that IE & firefox didn't interpete them the same.

 

I tried several other things before I confirmed that the two browsers display pics exactly the same. So I installed a 1 pixel tall gif set to the same width and color as the column and placed it (invisibly) in the search box.

 

Thanks again for pointing it out.

Joe

 

crawl-66-249-66-212.googlebot.com has been on my site now for nearly 3 hours.

 

I've had hair style faster then that :D


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

OSC user for years and no coder, so I've earned my stripes.

 

Feel free to private message me.

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Capital my friend. Absolutely capital advise.

 

Since you turned me on to it I've been using Firefox along with Fireftp and Web Developer. An awesome line up of tools along with WinMerge and CuteHTML.

FireFox has been such a pleasure compared to IE.

 

The good news is Google has been bringing us some results.

No one can say osc isn't worth the effort, and convince me now.

We're very encouraged, and thanks for all yours, and everyones help.

 

I become more and more a believer in open source more & more ~ its scary.

Where in the hell is the future going to take us?

More and more I know your all going to be there...

~that's why I know it'll be fun.

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If you ask google is so mixed up it's down to pure luck if your site dosn't get strangled and ignored. We would like to think google is a smooth running machine populated by some of the best SEO brains in the world, but somehow I think thats a false impression. Well that's my opinion based on meeting similer leaders in their field, most success is down to pure luck and being in the right place at the right time.

 

I don't have a clue what they are doing with my site. The domain has been up for six years but because it's in the uk I have both co.uk & .com versions. For some reason this meant it got ranked in google.co.uk and ranked really well for co.uk. But I wanted to use .com to attract worldwide interest so the site was set up on that basis. Now I've done a new design and decide that I would use co.uk as the main site and use .com as a feeder.

 

Because it's round ball football I also have to have soccer as a domain too so I have 4 domains. I also had some parked domains set up as feeders. Now the feeder sites are all ranked in google but my main domain isn't. it's all crazy. The main site have all the content, the feeders have one page and a link to my main domain. The main site has 3,000 pages and about 1,000 links to related sites. It also has more then 250 good valid links into the site. So now a site that was as high as rank 8 18 months ago isn't even ranked now. The ranking just went over night and that was the basis of my redesigning the site.

 

You can call it a sand pit but google won't reveal much about what they do and my option about that is because they don't really know themselves.

 

Thanks for the info weber lad.

 

Those parked feeder sites are a no-no. Their existence, all by themselves, is enough to totally de-list you ... not just reduce your rank -- de-list.

 

Look on the Google pages for webmasters and either conform to their expectations or reduce your own.


Wooden stuff.

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I think I posted this on another forum, but I figure I will post again.

 

One way to avoid an extended sandbox visit (if it's a new domain) is to buy it for at least 10 years. If you buy a new domain name for a year or two, that makes Google trust you less. That's what the spammy sites will do.

 

 

I bought my domain ( http://www.lakeland-printing.com ) in October and sent the spiders to my site as I was building it. Google came and ranked me fast. If you check my google index, you'll see most are supplemental. That's as irrelevant as Mat Cutts says it is because I am number one on most of my "keyword phrases".

 

MSN indexed me not as quick, and Yahoo??? I think they have a more aggressive sandbox then Google. It's killing me!

 

PS: Google loves OSCOMMERCE

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Hi,

 

I am in the Google sandbox, and I am just wondering if I need to install Google XML sitemap?

I installed it and don't see anything different. They do have some good features in the Google Webmaster Tools. I highly recommend enlisting.

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I don't really understand you fellas :) What the heck are you talking about? Google listed me for about 2-3 days! Ofcourse use the Webmaster Tools in Google. Absolutely new domain, but after a month my site was on the first page for keyword like "sex" (searching in my language) :-" Good Luck :)

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Here yah go fella's this may help you out a bit. This is what Google itself suggests.

 

Webmaster Help

 

Eric


Eric

 

Keep up on osCommerce changes and updates at

Github | Understand osCommerce a little further at OsCommerce Documentation | Copy and paste your error message in Google add "in osCommerce" at the end to get relevant answers to most issues.

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Here yah go fella's this may help you out a bit. This is what Google itself suggests.

 

Webmaster Help

 

Eric

 

 

Thanks for the link, a highly recommended article!


Based on OsCommerce 2.2 MS2 - Mods Including: Customer Approval, STS Template System, OS-CMS, Sage Line 50 Sync, Locate a Stockist, Auto Thumbnailer, Easy Populator, Visitors Stats, Extra Images, Header Tags Controller, Unsold Cart, Products w/o Description/Prices/Images Reports, Backup Customers Table, Login to See Prices. Full customised products_info.php page. OSC Links Manager. Minimum Order Amount. Visitor Web Stats. Google Sitemap. All products page (user sitemap).

 

The OsCommerce Site is hosted on 1 domain with 20 feeder domains extracting data from OS-CMS & the shop catalogue.

 

If you would like to view my website in relation to any of my posts you can google my forum username to find my URL or add a (dot)co(dot)uk to the end of it.

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The Problem:

I hear many OSC people ask why they're not listed in Google yet, and I wanted to offer a posting that clears the confusion of why this is happening. There is no doubt anymore about the existence of The Google Sandbox, which came into existence in March of 2004 in an effort to clamp down on SPAM websites, among other things.

 

The Symptoms:

Basically, if your website is relatively new, and you're ranking in Yahoo, MSN, and others, but not Google, you're caught in the "Google Sandbox", which is referred to in other terms such as "Google Time Delay", or "Google Age Delay". Most refer to it as the "Google Sandbox", however.

 

What is the "Google Sandbox"?

This is a probationary period where your website is checked out. The Googlebot will index your website, but will not list you immediately. Do not panic! Things will be okay, although there is really nothing you can do to get out of the Sandbox or avoid it. Some people will suggest putting your site on a subdomain of an old trusted domain, and then setting up a 301 redirect to your new website after google has indexed the subdomain.

 

False Promises:

You will also see "SEO Companies" that promise you a listing in 50,000 search engines in 2 hours. Well, I only know of a few search engines that really count, and now you realize that nobody can promise you Google SERPS (search engine ranking position), because of the existence of the Sandbox. Nobody can guarantee you search engine rankings! Save your money and use your common sense. Use the strategies discussed in this posting, as well as others you can find on the web.

 

What can I do to get out (or avoid) the Google Sandbox?

I just say wait it out, but don't stand idle. The Sandbox will generally last for a period of 3-6 months. You will then start to see yourself get listed, assuming you've employed solid SEO techniques and have good content in your website. During your 3-6 month "probationary period", continue to add solid, relevant content to your website. Continue to list in pertinent, respected directories, and if you choose, engage in link exchanges with relevant, respected websites. Quality inbound links -- and quality outbound links -- will help your SERPS once you're out of the Google Sandbox. You can list with DMOZ, who are well-respected partners with Google and a free directory, but understand that with their lack of editors and strict rules and regulations, it can literally take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years to get listed in DMOZ. Search for other directories to list with, and other partners to exchange listings with.

 

Conclusion -- Keep Working!

So don't sit around and wonder "Why?". Continue to focus on your website. Ensure good SEO techniques. Ensure your page titles conform with the content on that page. Installing Jack's recent version (2.5.9 -- recent at the time of this posting) of the Header Tags Controller is a positive step. Or you may prefer to use Dynamic Product Meta Tags.

 

Either way, work on good, solid SEO techniques such as the suggestions I listed. Work on your content. Work on your (relevant and quality) backlinks. Be patient (with Google), and after your "probationary period" is overwith, watch your site climb up the rankings, and visits to your website increase, as a result.

 

Sounds like good advice - how are your sites doing? are you ranking well for your keywords in google?

 

Would love to know if all this is really worth it.

 

Many Thanks

D4

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In my last post I mentioned that submitting my sitemap to Google made no difference. Well, it did! Most of my pages are out of the supplemental results. Also, many of my keyword phrases rank number 1 & 2. I'm psyched to see what my pagerank will be during the upcoming update.

I started this website in December 06 and during the January update I went to a PR 1, which actually surprised me. I'd like to see 3 or 4, and thankfully I have friends with high PR sites that linked to me.

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Here is my marketleap report since I started monitoring it:

seochartpaws.jpg

This will be a good tool to look at if your website is new. You can see it took about a month for listings. Ever since I started submitting sitemaps to Google & Yahoo, it's been getting better.

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In my last post I mentioned that submitting my sitemap to Google made no difference. Well, it did! Most of my pages are out of the supplemental results. Also, many of my keyword phrases rank number 1 & 2. I'm psyched to see what my pagerank will be during the upcoming update.

I started this website in December 06 and during the January update I went to a PR 1, which actually surprised me. I'd like to see 3 or 4, and thankfully I have friends with high PR sites that linked to me.

 

Well, submitting a sitemap will get your site "spidered" by search engine robots. It usually takes a month to get "listed" in yahoo and msn, and (as this thread is about) 3-6 months to get listed in Google. I believe the next PR update is in late September / early October, so just make sure your site is optimized and you're backlinking well.


Jason

 

Simple 1-2-3 Intructions on how to get, install and configure SSL

 

The Google Sandbox explained

 

Simple to follow instructions on how to change the look of your OSC

 

How To Make A Horrible OSC Website

 

my toolbox: All things WordPress-related - All things Adobe-related - PHP Designer 2007 - Codecanyon Junkie - Crimson Editor - Winmerge - phpMyAdmin - WS_FTP

 

my installed contributions: Category Banners, File Upload feature-.77, Header Tags, Sort_Product_Attributes_1, XSellv2.3, Price Break 1.11.2, wishlist 3.5, rollover_category_images_v1.2, Short_Description_v2.1, UPSXML_v1_2_3, quickbooks qbi_v2_10, allprods v4.4, Mouseover-effect for image-buttons 1.0, Ultimate_SEO, AAP 1.41, Auto Select State Value, Fast Easy Checkout, Dynamic SiteMap v2.0, Image Magic, Links Manager 1.14, Featured Products, Customer Testimonials, Article Manager, FAQ System, and I'm sure more ...

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