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Google Sandbox

The one factor you have little control over. You only really have control over time in the sense that the sooner you get started, the older your search-engine project becomes. Age is critical because the older the site, the more credibility the search engines give it.

There’s something known as the Google Sandbox or aging delay. (Some people will tell you that these are actually two different types of time-related effects.) The idea is that when Google first finds your site, it puts it into a sandbox; it may index it, but it won’t necessarily rank it well to begin with. It may take months before the site comes out of the sandbox. (People talk about the Google sandbox, but it seems likely that other search engines have something similar.)

There’s a lot of debate about the effect of age; some say it’s critical, and that for about eight months your site hasn’t a chance of ranking well (I’m not in that camp), and others say that while the search engines may take into account age to some degree, it’s by no means an overwhelming factor.

It comes down to this: The longer your domain has been registered, the better, and the longer your site has been up, the better. So you have control over this essential factor in just one way; the sooner you get started, the better. Register your domain name as soon as possible. Get a site, even a few pages, posted as soon as possible, and get links pointing from other sites to your site as soon as you can. Get new content posted as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll start ranking well.

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