Avoiding the Google Sandbox Effect

A Storeowners Guide to Beating the Google Sandbox Effect
Don’t put the ecart before the horse.

Launching a new online store takes a lot of work. Merchants spend hours sourcing products, taking pictures, finding a shopping cart solution, signing up with a merchant account and then populating their webstore with products and content. The next stop is marketing the new store. Online marketing begins with gaining high rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs). This is done by having loads of unique content and quality links to your store. Sadly, for new store owners this isn’t enough. New stores will find their ranking in Google stymied by the Sandbox Effect.

What is the Google Sandbox Effect? Google has technology in place that limits the ranking ability of new sites in its SERPS. They place new sites in this sandbox for( reportedly) three months from when the inbound links pointing to the site were indexed by Google’s bots. For the store owner, three months is a long time to wait to start getting an influx of sales. Google’s strength in the search engine market only makes this bitter pill even harder to swallow. How can a storeowner avoid being placed in Google’s sandbox? One word: planning.

Before the store owner starts taking pictures and before signing up with a shopping cart solution, the store owner should building content related to their store and product selection. This is invaluable marketing fodder and will prove handy in beating Google’s Sandbox effect. Here’s what to do next:

1. Assemble the content and categorize it into a directory structure.
2. Buy your domain name.
3. Sign up for a cheap web hosting account.
4. Create a content only website. Fill this website with as much unique content as possible.
5. Create a xml sitemap and submit to all the major search engine, including Google.
6. Work in gaining quality one-way links to your site. Avoid paid links. Stick to related sites. Links should point to the root of your site (www.yoursite.com) not www.yoursite.com/product. Reason? These links could change. Read on….

Now that this is done, start working on building the e-commerce portion of your store. Find a shopping cart solution, take pictures and build your online catalog. This entire process can take easily 1-3 months, and all the while, your domain is being indexed by Google. With each passing day, your site is one step closer to getting out of the sandbox.

Once the store is ready to go live, incorporate all that unique content into your store and switch your DNS setting to point to the completed store. You’ll now have a head start on achieving good ranking in the SERPs.

The moral of this story to reevaluate the linear process for opening and marketing an online store. Marketing should come before actually building the store. Marketing is the horse that will pull your store and the marketing process should begin as soon as your product line has been identified. So in other words, don’t put the ecart before the horse!