Tell Them It’s Google Probation

There always come the time you’re asked about the “sandbox” by your clients – the “time delay”, whatever you may call it, whatever they may think it is. While it’s possible to defeat this “filter” you need to be cautious and not promise success. Instead, I resort to a little metaphor I call “probation” and it usually gets the nodding heads we are looking for, and then on to business. Here’s the “probation” talk I have.

They’ll ask “Why on Probation?”

When Google first discovers your site, it really doesn’t know anything about it at all. The only thing it has to go on is the content. Sadly, thanks to unethical SEO firms and spammers, content is no longer enough for Google to make a judgment, a ranking decision. The site may look good to the search engine, but is it valuable to users? Think about it, how would it know?

The Answer is TIME

After Google finds your site, it watches. Are there 100 off-topic or irrelevant links pointing to it shortly after the domain is registered? That’s what spammers do, right? Inbound links are important, but they do need to be relevant, and appear to build naturally. Only in this way, with sites of good rapport and reputation linking to you, can Google actually determine your site to be of value to visitors. So, you must wait. You must build a relationship with Google. Think of it as dating. Time must be invested before you are trusted. While waiting we should examine your situation.

Google knows the details of your domain. Who registered it, when, where it’s hosted, what other sites are hosted on that IP block, and so on. So, did you register your domain for 1 or 5 years? Spammers typically register domains for one year, watch to see if it can generate traffic then drop it if it doesn’t perform. Legitimate business usually intend to keep their domain for longer time. They have printed material with that address on it, and the investment alone would keep honest companies from employing search engine spamming techniques. Speaking of legitimate businesses, get your company address, the physical address on your site. Spammers never leave this on their work, and Google knows this.

So, yes, there is a sandbox effect, a probation period for your site. But, with honest techniques and patience, a business need not worry why their site is performing well in all search engines except Google. The worst thing you can do is panic, make drastic or desperate changes to your site in order to make Google love you.

Remember, we are building a relationship with Google, as in any relationship, drastic or desperate acts only breed suspicion.

Plan Ahead. The sooner Google knows about your domain the better. Don’t wait to get a site up because it isn’t perfect. A couple of pages is better than none at all. As soon as you have the domain, get a temporary page up with SOME content, and link to it from another site in Google’s index just to get the clock started. Plan Smart. If you use a web marketing firm, SEO firm, web development company, anyone….. pick one that understands the implications of not doing it right. Talk to their past clients, check rankings of their clients. Are they more concerned with their own ranking or that of their customers? Page Rank can be funneled to their clients, or horded for their own search engine power. Rest assured, with the right strategies Google will eventually give your site the respect it deserves.

Ok, there it is

Yes, it may be a little redundant, but remember you are talking to people that don’t do what we do. They need it worded in a way that gains trust in you, a way they can understand. Now, go code away and defeat the “sandbox” lol; and land the next contract.