What Is Google Sandbox in SEO? Myth Or Truth?
Last Updated on 27th November 2022 by Ajmer Singh
What is Google Sandbox?
Google Sandbox is a topic of controversy. Most of the SEOs believe in it while others deny its existence.
The fact that Google itself doesn’t confirm its existence makes it more mysterious.
You’re on your way up, you’ve got the algorithm chops, and you know all about Penguin and Panda.
You’ve made it to page 1 for “Pay Pal Sucks” (not that it does) and now your eyes are set on page 1 for “Credit Cards”.
But something is holding you back…
It’s called the Google Sandbox.
You keep trying to rank higher but even though your site may have all of the right pieces, the sales just aren’t coming in. What’s going on?
Answer: The Sandbox.
Google places a website in a sandbox generally between 90-120 days upon its initial indexing so that they can analyze whether or not it will be a quality source for search engine users.
If the website is not deemed a quality source it will be penalized by being moved to pages 2, 3, or even lower.
If the website is determined to be of high quality, Google will remove it from the Sandbox and rank it according to its true value.
The good news: there are ways to speed up your removal from the Google Sandbox!
Get more links directly to your site.
Adding new backlinks on a daily basis can help you get out of the sandbox faster than waiting for Google’s bots to index them one at a time.
Don’t have enough time in your day?
There are paid services that claim they can quickly add hundreds of quality backlinks for you, allowing you to rank higher and faster.
Google Penalties are different from Google Sandbox.
If you get penalized, this means your site is no longer allowed to rank for certain keywords or it may be completely de-indexed (kicked out of the index).
The only instance in which a website that gets penalized can come back is if it cleans up its act and addresses whatever issues were deemed unacceptable by Google.
So if you’re getting penalized, there’s no real way around it like there can be with the sandbox.
You need to clean up your act if you want to compete again.
If your website does not meet Google’s quality guidelines upon initial review,
they will place you in one of two places: the sandbox or completely removed from their index.
If you’re placed in the sandbox, there are certain indicators that will tell you where you stand:
1. You can’t rank for anything (regardless of anchor text)
2. Your backlinks don’t seem to be indexed at all
3. Your backlinks aren’t passing any juice, i.e., “link juice” or “PageRank”.
Link juice is what Google uses to determine which pages should rank highest and passes from one page to another,
via links between them as a way to measure how important a web page is compared to other web pages based on incoming links from other sites/pages/authority domains.
The higher authority a page has, the more link juice it gets which means the higher it will rank in search results.
4. Your backlinks are crawling very slowly or not at all.
When this happens, Google may actually de-index the site, giving it less authority overall and allowing for another page with similar content/offering a slightly different relevancy score to outrank it.
The best option is to stay on top of your link count every day so that you know where you stand and don’t have to worry about being kicked out of the index altogether if you have enough links pointing to your site.
In short, Google Sandbox is a real thing and if you want to be on the safe side of things keep adding backlinks every day and try to find ways to add more than just one or two at a time.
This will help your website get found by more people while it’s in the sandbox and once it gets out of the sandbox, it will stay that way because you’ve already laid down enough new groundwork for future traffic.
Google Sandbox is actually a filter used by Google.
This filter prevents new websites from appearing in Google’s search results.
If you develop a new website and use all the techniques to make it appear in Google’s top search results, it still won’t appear in the results.
It is because all the new websites have to stay in the Sandbox for a period of time.
You will only be able to see the website by typing the URL and not by using the keywords or searching for similar topics.
It is like a probation period for your website.
Only after the probation period is over, your website will come out of the Sandbox.
Google Sandbox is like a metaphor. This metaphor is used to show why new websites have poor rankings.
It works more like a filter to sort out new sites from top search results.
The filter is kind of useful for Google to provide quality results as new websites lack good content, and most of them might be fake as well.
While in the probation period, Google actually checks the authenticity of these websites.
Although Google never confirms the existence of this filter, there have been many instances that show that it does exist.
Many SEOs face problems while ranking new websites.
As the site naturally enters the Sandbox because of its new domain name, SEO techniques hardly work in the probation period.
Google Sandbox History:
It all started in the dreadful year, 2004. This year many SEOs faced this problem.
When they tried to rank a new website on Google’s search results, it made no difference.
The ranking of the site remained low for the first few months despite their best efforts.
Before 2004, they were quickly able to rank new websites as there was no existence of Sandbox.
On the other side, they tried ranking the same sites on other platforms like Yahoo and Bing, which worked perfectly for them.
One thing we can learn from the Sandbox filter is that it is unavoidable.
There is no bias in placing the websites in the Sandbox. If your site is new, it will automatically land in the Sandbox.
The effect of this filter differs from one website to another. Some websites remain in the sandbox for a week while others stay for months.
If you don’t make any efforts to get your site out of the Sandbox, you can say goodbye to your visitors and revenue.
The reason behind using this filter is to provide quality content to the audience.
Google Speaks About Sandbox:
SEOs have been dying to get the truth out of Google for years, but Google is adamant about its claim.
Google straight away denies Sandbox and its existence.
Moreover, Google employees take this concern to Twitter to burst the Sandbox myth.
Google claims that there is no Sandbox, but instead, they use different algorithms to place websites in search results.
In the beginning, it is challenging to decide where to place the new websites, so it takes time to get them on the search results page.
Reasons Why New Websites Rank Low on Google:
Google is the top search engine and maintains this position using strict policies. Out of every ten people, 9 uses Google to search for things.
To provide high-quality content to the users, Google has to make sure the sites they show are superior.
It needs enough quality data to rank the website.
A new website needs to have quality content to win Google’s trust. They should have a backlink profile along with genuine data.
To check all these parameters and determine the trustworthiness of the websites, Google needs time.
Because of this, most of the new websites have a low ranking in the first few months.
Then as the website proves itself, Google naturally increases its ranking after a few months.
There are some websites that remain in the Sandbox forever. There are many reasons why their ranking remains low.
1. Low Content:
The biggest reason why websites have low ranking is because of a lack of content.
Google constantly goes through website pages to check if it is relevant.
When there is less content on your website, Google fails to understand where it should belong.
You need to post more relevant content on your website with appropriate keywords for Google to understand the relevancy of your topic.
As we all know, a backlink is a ranking factor. Google uses this factor to rank your website.
Most websites with weak backlink profiles don’t rank high in search results.
You need internal links and quality backlinks to impress Google.
If there are many backlinks, but they lack quality, they will be useless.
You might face penalties if you create rapid low-quality backlinks.
Another reason for low ranking is competition.
There are many websites that use advanced SEO strategies to improve their ranking.
If your site is not better than them, your site ranking will be below.
Also, it will take some time for your website to reach the same level as other tenured websites.
4. Fewer User Signals:
Google also checks the behaviour of the visitors to your site.
It checks parameters like bounce rate, dwell time, and click-through rate.
On the basis of these parameters, Google decides if your website is worth the ranking.
Because of this reason, Google postpones ranking your website even if you use quality keywords.
Tips to Get Higher Ranking in a Few Months:
Search results ranking is very important for new websites.
You need to follow some tips if you want to increase your website’s rank in a short span of time.
1. Indexing Your Website:
The first thing you need to do is get your website indexed.
You might develop and launch your website, but it will be useless unless Google index it.
You can easily check it by searching your website on Google.
Type the URL and click on search.
You can check how many pages are visible. If you cannot see it, that means it is not indexed.
To get it done, you need to register your domain on the google search console. You also need to submit your XML Sitemap.
2. Get Traffic:
The second most important thing you need to do is get traffic to your website.
As soon as you launch your website, you need to work towards generating more traffic on it.
To get more traffic, you need to regularly post quality content.
You can also use techniques like guest posting and getting backlinks.
You can use the social media platform to attract visitors.
By doing this, you will be able to get out of the Sandbox pretty quickly.
3. Social Signals:
Social Signals show that your website is popular on social media.
It is a great way to earn Google’s trust. To become popular on social media, you can go for Facebook Ads.
You can post content on your site and promote it using Facebook Ads.
4. Long-Tail Keywords:
When your website is in the Sandbox, Keywords don’t work so well.
But you can use long-tail keywords to get out of it quickly.
These keywords will help you to improve your ranking. All you need to do is research the keywords.
You can also check what keywords your competitors are using.
Moreover, you can then target these keywords and get the best out of them.
You can easily get the keywords by using certain tools like semrush or ahrefs.
5. Building Authority:
Google ranks sites that are authorities.
You need to build authority and show your potential to Google.
To do this, you can use various techniques. You can use links and mentions from reputed sites.
If your site has good user metrics and is genuine and user-friendly, Google will give your site a higher ranking.
6. Less Aggressive:
Most of the new website owners become desperate and aggressive to get high ranks.
But it may land you into trouble. You need to focus on the quality of your site.
You need to follow a proper plan to build quality backlinks—rapid link building results in spam.
But if you focus on getting only a few premium links, it will be enough. You also need to focus on social signals.
7. Purchasing Website:
If you want to avoid Google Sandbox, you can purchase a website. These websites are not new.
They have already been in the market and through the Sandbox phase.
8. Creating a professional Website
What is needed to create a professional website,
SEO optimized theme
Always get a theme that is easy to customize, SEO optimized, speedy, well coded and with a lot of templates.
Good web hosting (for better speed and performance)
Always choose a host that offers speed, uptime, performance, etc.
Looking for a cheap option, go for bluehost.
But I recommend Cloudways for best performance. This is what I am using on this website.
Google already confirms that website speed is one of the main ranking factors.
So consider getting cloud hosting than cheap shared hostings.
Google Sandbox: Myth or Truth?
It is true that all new websites get low ranking in the beginning despite the SEO efforts.
But it does not prove that Sandbox exists. As Google says, they use different algorithms that have a Sandbox like effect.
They do it to know where they should place the website and if it is worth the content and ranking.
If a website is genuine and uses a proper SEO strategy, the ranking will improve in just a few weeks.
There have been many new websites that went from 0 to top ranking in just a few months.
It proves that Sandbox is a myth, and you can easily tackle it with proper SEO strategy and some patience.
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