If you have ever done or researched SEO, you might have came across a term called “Google Sandbox”. So, what exactly is this Google Sandbox and why does it make it almost impossible for new websites to rank on google?
The Google SandBox Effect a.k.a. ” The Waiting period”
To put it simply, Google Sandbox is a temporary filter imposed on newer websites by google. Many new websites are created everyday and many of them employ shady techniques and tricks to manipulate search results. Google doesn’t want to rank these spammy websites in their search results and thus the “sandbox effect” is applied on newer websites until google determines the intent and content of the website.
While in Google Sandbox, your site will still be indexed and crawled, but not ranked. Until your site makes it out of the Sandbox, it won’t show up in Google’s search results.
Does the Google Sandbox Effect actually Exist?
As with many other things, google doesn’t like to talk about the technicalities of their search algorithms to prevent abuse. However, there are many examples that the sandbox effect is a real thing and it actually exists. Beyond the indications, though, it’s logical for it to exist.
In fact, I personally experienced this effect with my first blog(more on that below).
How Long does the Effect Last?
It is difficult to accurately predict how long the filter will last for a particular website. The length of this depends on some key factors:
- Content of your website- Do you have high quality original content?
- Your website’s niche- How competitive is your niche?
- The competitiveness of the keywords you’re targeting- Are you targeting highly competitive keywords?
- Age of your domain- How old is your domain?
- Backlinks from high domain authority sites- How many backlinks do you have from high domain authority sites?
Unless you are targeting some extremely competitive keywords, most websites stay in sandbox for less than eight months. If you’re going after low-competition keywords, you may be out of the sandbox even sooner.
How to Minimize the Effect of Google SandBox?
As you can tell, the sandbox is something beyond your control and you cannot completely avoid it, but still there are some steps you can undertake to minimize the damage of this effect.
- Actively create new content and gather high quality backlinks– There is a reason why backlinks are considered the backbone of any SEO strategy. Gathering backlinks from authoritative sites instills trust in your website for search engines. Don’t build links for a month and then stop like many people do, this is a big no no, remember your goal should be to build good quality links slowly and steadily.
- Target less competitive Keywords– It has been observed that websites targeting less lucrative keywords get out of the sandbox effect much quicker than the websites that target highly competitive keywords.
- Avoid Black Hat SEO– This shoud be an obvious one. In short don’t do things to artificially boost your traffic. This includes practices such as keyword stuffing,link buying, sneaky redirects and copied content.
- Give it Time – I know this is something that many people would not like to hear, but the best thing you can do is wait. As time passes, google will figure out the intent and content of your website and you will start seeing results.
Here is a small informative video from google’s Matt Cutts about SEO:
My personal Experience
As some of you might know, this is my second blog. I started my first blog in 2011 as a fun side project. After being active for four months on that blog, i stopped posting because i wasn’t getting any views outside of my friends and family. Don’t get me wrong i learned a lot about SEO and blogging during those four months.
Few months ago i got curious and decided to take a look at the analytics of my old blog. When i looked at the analytics i was surprised, some weeks after i had stopped blogging my blog saw a sudden surge in organic traffic. It wasn’t slow gradual growth but rather like a switch which took my organic traffic from zero to almost 100 views in a matter of a day.
As you can see the inflection point when google presumably removed my blog from the sandbox and decided to rank my posts in their searches.
Google sandbox is a real thing and ultimately a reminder to do the best you can to conform to SEO best practices. Give google time to familiarize itself with the content of your website and ultimately your site will be released from the sandbox.
Share your experiences about getting trapped in the sandbox in the comments section down below. How did it affect your traffic when you got released?