[One of my sites was “sunk” or sandboxed last week. It started doing a serious google dance after I added a few more affiliate links to my home page. It danced around for a few days then settled. The next day, I edited the affiliate links again. Added one here, removed another one there. Within a few hours, it was completely sandboxed. I’m curious, do you think this could have played a role in getting my site sandboxed? It makes me want to be very cautious with affiliate links but I’m not sure if that really was the culprit or not. Anyone have any experience?]
What you call the “sandbox effect”, I call outranked by competition.
Now show me a keyword you optimized for and are not ranking, in the absence of competition, and perhaps I will cede the existence of the fabled “Sandbox”.
There is no sandbox, it’s just a myth.
You are probably suffering from one or two of the following issues.
- Trust – You keep changing your page contents which reset your trust level to that of a brand new page.
- QDF – The freshness factor has worn off and you have competitors outranking you.
- Links to Bad Neighborhoods – One or more of those affiliate links are to an untrusted/bad website.
You should check to see if your website is still indexed using the site: operator. If you are still indexed then it will simply be an issue of your competitors outranking your web pages.