Will Mass Directory Submission Get Your Website Into Google Sandbox?

There is an SEO theory which suggests that mass directory submission will get your website into Google sandbox.

The basic idea is if your new website has too many links all of a sudden, usually due to mass submission in a short time, your website will be ‘jailed’ by Google.

Is it true? Let’s find out in this little test that I’ve done.

In my test, I built 3 40-page content websites and then did the following IMMEDIATELY:

– For 2 of the websites, I bookmarked them at Digg and Propeller (as what I usually do to promote new websites) and submit them to 1000 link directories (outsourced).

– For the third website, I only submit them to 1000 link directories. Forgot to submit to Digg and Propeller actually.

After 3 days……

All three websites got indexed in Google, one with 100% of the pages indexed and the other two with 50% indexed.

From my experience, it is unusual that new websites get 100% indexed. Usually, if your website has 40 pages, about 10-20 pages will be indexed initially. I believe this is because there isn’t enough link popularity for the new site.

But in this test, one website got 100% indexed. Is it a coincidence or it’s the effect of 1000 directory submission? Em…


How about the traffic?

There is a surge in traffic to all 3 website in the first few days. This is expected because link directories owners are evaluating the website for listing.

But after 7 days……

One website average about 20 visitors a day and the other two websites average about 40 visitors a day.

Frankly, I like what I’m seeing.

To give you an idea, my other websites with ‘slow’ link building process are getting 5 to 10 visitors a day initially. These 3 websites are really having a great start.

Are all the traffic from Google?

Not really. Two websites have most of the search engine traffic from Google. One has most of the search engine traffic from Microsoft Live. Besides search engine traffic, te websites also have traffic from Digg, Propeller and tons of link directories.

The websites are now 2 weeks old and the traffic has been pretty consistent.

From this little test, I’ve yet to see any sandbox effect on these 3 websites as a result of mass directory submission.

On the contrary, I’m seeing Search Engines giving my websites more priority as a result of more initial links.

Will Google ‘jail’ the websites after some time? Well, only time can tell. But I’ll surely keep you informed.

Have you got any similar experience before? Or you ever got your website thrown into Google sandbox as a result of mass link directory submission? Feel free to discuss below.

56 thoughts to “Will Mass Directory Submission Get Your Website Into Google Sandbox?”

  1. That’s very interesting information Kenneth. It runs contrary to just about everything I’ve ever heard or been told about building incoming links. I hope you will keep us informed of the sandbox situation. As always great information.

  2. Hi Ken
    Thanks for the info,I think any link back to your web site,
    will help with the search engines. The spiders pick every thing up even these few lines Thanks again Paul
    http//www.PerrysClickbox.com

  3. Hey Kenneth,
    The quality of this information can prove to be most useful to ANY internet marketer, from the experienced to the novice. Ive had similar results and use these same techniques in my own marketing in addition to my other promotional efforts. Anyone stumbling onto this post who is a novice will be in for a pleasant learning experience.

  4. Hi, Ken, this is Albert Culmer, the one they put in the sandbox. Go by my website and check it out, and maybe you can tell me what I did wrong to get put in the sandbox. It doesn’t feel like sand, it feels like quicksand. Help! The only one that they did not put in the sandbox was a new website that I just started. The website is: http://www.AlbertCulmer.com Now I am fairly new at this, trying to sell on the internet, plus I have dyslexia, which is not good in my favor, but I have a Natural Reader on my computer which does all of my reading for me, so anything you send me I can read, and I do have common sense! I did put everything on my website, that you will see, but then again, I must have made a mistake somewhere. I appreciate all the help I can get from anyone out there. That’s all for now. Thank you.

  5. Hey love your test and makes me feel a lot better about mass submissions. I normally do my submissions over 2 weeks rather than over a few days so hopefully that won’t give Google ammunition to play with.

    1. Yes, home page URL and all 1000 submissions use the same anchor text. It’s the worse SEO practice and any typical guru wouldn’t recommend. Just want to test and see what’s the worst case :)

  6. Well, you didn’t get “jailed” by Google – wildest guess being that “everyone” likes you, LOL…

    Surely Google didn’t want to touch you as an IMer, huh?

  7. Great information man, I’m new to your site and I already love your informative blog posts! Keep up the good work :)

    1. PR is one thing, but what is more important is whether the page is indexed. As long as you get links from pages that are indexed, that link will be counted, whether it has a PR or not.

  8. I recently built a life settlement website and followed this exact procedure and definitely got sand boxed after a few weeks. Initially we came out great getting some traffic and surprisingly good SERPS on several top key words. Then after about 4 weeks we dropped off the SERPS like a stone. We still are getting ranked on very low terms but the main terms we are off the radar. My traffic has staid flat for the last 9 weeks.

    Does anyone else find that the Google webmaster tools don’t reflect reality? When I look at those stats it says I rank pretty well on some keywords but I am no where to be found. I wonder if the webmaster tools pull from data that is Pre-sandbox filter. I can but hope that when we emerge we will rise quickly.

    1. Simon,

      Google likes to rank new websites with good links high and fast. It assumes that these pages are “current”, something like news. That’s why it wants to rank you high fast. But after a few weeks, it will re-evaluate your page and likely to take your ranking away. That’s normal. What you need to do is to continue building more links to your website and internal pages. You can do it through article marketing. There is no sandbox, as I’ve said. To prove it, you mentioned that you still have some ranking on low terms. If your website is sandboxed, it is jail and why should Google give a prisoner any traffic at all? Reason: there is no jail, no sandbox. It’s all about linking and content.

      1. Kenneth,

        That is good advice and exactly what we are doing, continuing to build our links especially deep links. I thought the point of the sand box was not to be Prison..it just keeps you away from the juicy terms. I think of it like being bumped back to the minors, if I work hard and improve my game I’ll get a shot back with the majors again.

        Thanks for the advice, I am focussed link building now.

  9. Whats the minimum as well as maximum time Google jail one in sandbox.I dont know weather my sitehas been jailed in sandbox or penalised by Google.One day before I got stuck by google,my ranking in search engine for desired keyword was pretty well.All of sudden it disappear.Its strange none of my keywords are listed in search engine & none of them are dropped from there ranking .They are totally disappear.Please reply with your comment about this matter.

  10. The minimum would be 0 days in the sandbox. The maximum would be for life such as sites that are known to be spam/scams/fraud by Google.

    I would keep adding content and links to your site. Wait a week or two and check your rankings again

    Good luck – :)

  11. Hi,

    I have learned so much today on your site. I am new to internet marketing and having a website. Keep up the good work and I will be visiting you often.

  12. Thankyou for as great article. I too am new to SEO on my own website and have definitely been sandboxed. I wonder can anyone tell me if, when you finally get out of it, google webmaster tools suddenly credits you with all the links you have been working upon? I am just keeping my head down and following an inbound only link campaign (same as before) using various terms in anchor text and some non-anchor text links…but webmaster tools has for 7 weeks now not seen a single new link, and is in fact dropping the number of links which it sees..Has anyone else experienced this please?

    Thankyou in advance for any reply.
    Roseanna

  13. Thanks for the info , I just submitted my site to a large amont of directories.So when i read the title i got a little scared that i may be in “jail” But seeing that thats not what happen to you with over 1000 listings i am glad i submitted as many as i did.

  14. I’m trying to learn about SEO right now but there’s just so much (conflicting) info out there. I think I’m suffering from information overload.

  15. I hate the sandbox. My site is 13 months, still in. Well optimized with 5% keyword density. Over 50,000 backlinks with some pr 8,9, etc. .Edu backlinks, the whole deal. My number 1 competitor has only 6,000 backlinks and 4% keyword density. My meta tags are good, everything indicates it should be number one. However, my competitor’s site is 10+ years old, mine 13 months. Sandbox is unfair, i hate it. I may change my mind when my site is 10+ years old, but for now I hate it. I agree directory submission will not affect sandbox effect.

    1. If you want to do it, the easiest way is to get someone to do it. There are many ‘experts’ providing such service at low cost. Go check out some IM forums.

  16. It was really a nice work though, really helped me out through my work thanks for the blog… Directory submission really do brings traffic to sites.. and it did…

  17. I did it last year and didn’t get into jail. it gave me 2 ranks after 3 weeks from 2 to 4 PR.
    but afraid to do this later.

    So what I did:
    1) I started with small mass submitters less than 250 submits
    2) with medium[200 … 500 Directorys] after 2 weeks
    3) after a month with real mass submitters(over 1000 sites)
    It worked even better

    now I started my own directoryدایرکتوری تکنوپلیس in Persian at دانش و فناوری اطلاعات

    and by the way:
    you can’t easily put a competitor in googooliz black list.
    such submissions only “may” work on first weeks after it’s submision on google. else it will help him greatly.

  18. Thank you very much for this post. I have just submitted my site to a auto-submission website and got roughly 477 backlinks, and as I was searching for other backlink sources, I came across “the sandbox” theory, and was so scared my site will get “jailed”. But having read this now, I feel at ease. But I will go slow on the mass directory submission anyhows! hehe

    Keep up the good work!

  19. Honestly It depends a lot from the new google algorithms but in general after the final version of google panda was launched I can say that most of the websites experienced serious difficulties. I am also planing to test what you already did and will share the result.

  20. See mass off page work is not good for any site. I can suggest you at a time eaveryone have to work on more then 5 to 10 landing pages and for home page have to do only branding work means like smo and bookmarking. Also for home page first go for meta title work in directory and bookmark. He did and really have great ranking.

  21. Yes, home page URL and all 1000 submissions use the same anchor text. It’s the worse SEO practice and any typical guru wouldn’t recommend. Just want to test and see what’s the worst case :)

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