Google sandbox guide

Have you ever wondered why my new website is not ranking well in Google’s SERPs despite very good content compared to top pages and a decent backlink profile? Let’s drive into the Google sandbox guide.

The answer to this question is the sandbox concept that many SEOs believe still exists in 2021. So, in this article, I will share with you a detailed case study on Google sandBox, what is it, and how it works? 

I will also share some ways on how do you prevent Google from “sandboxing” your site?

So, let’s get started.

What is The Google Sandbox?

Google sandbox is a figurative term that refers to an algorithmic filter that prevents new websites from ranking well in SERPs. This is basically a probation period where it doesn’t matter how well you write a blog post or optimize for a search engine, your website won’t rank well until it comes to an end. 

Google doesn’t trust new websites and rank them differently and test them in search results. So, you will see some positions jump for a little time and then push back. 

Some SEOs called it the “honeymoon period.” Google gives a rank boost to new websites to test incoming visitor’s behavior and if it satisfies the user intent then it might stay for a little longer period in SERPs. 

However, Google doesn’t officially declare the sandbox updates but many SEOs and webmasters believe that it still exists in 2021. Before moving further let’s understand what is the history behind it and why it comes to existence. 

History of Google Sandbox

Back in 2004, SEO experts noticed that new websites aren’t ranking well in Google despite several efforts of good content quality and proper SEO whereas the same websites are ranking very well in other search engines like Bing, yahoo. 

Some of them say this is because Google doesn’t trust brand new websites and keep these websites on its observation list. Google wants to show relevant and trustworthy websites in the search result. 

Some others believe that Google is pushing new websites to spend money on PPC. [pay per click]

How Long Will My website Stay in the Google Sandbox?

The “sandbox” effect may last from a few weeks to several months. It varies from site to site and may depend on the types of keywords that you are competing in the SERPs. 

What does Google say about Google Sandbox?

Google doesn’t accept the existence of Google Sandbox. They say they have similar algorithms but do not use a sandbox. 

Here are some replies of employees from Google search relation team. 

“With regards to the sandbox, we don’t really have this traditional sandbox that a lot of SEOs used to be talking about in the years past. We have a number of algorithms that might look similar, but these are essentially just algorithms trying to understand how the website fits in with the rest of the websites trying to rank for those queries. […] It’s always kind of tricky in the beginning when we have a new website and we don’t quite know where we should put it.”

– John Mueller

A former head of webspam at Google Matt Cutts gives a little hint but doesn’t accept the concept. [Listen to this]

“My answer is not to worry that much. The difference between a domain that’s six months old versus a one-year-old is really not that big at all. So as long as you’ve been around for a least a couple months, a few months, you should be able to make sure that you’re able to show up in the search results.”

– Matt Cutts

They also say new websites don’t have the trustworthiness and expertise in that field and don’t have sufficient data for search engines like backlinks and social signals. 

How do you prevent Google from “sandboxing” your site?

There are no proven ways to prevent your website from sandbox rather than wait for it to complete. But you can shorten this sandbox period of your website if you rectify some common mistakes that new bloggers and webmasters make.

There is a ranking factor called E-A-T which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness and you have to work on it. 

I completely agree that new websites don’t’ have that brand following and quality backlinks to catch up with other competitors in SERPs. But you can achieve this by doing consistent efforts and patience.

Here’s how you prevent your new website from sandboxing

#1: Create High quality content

Content is King and this is still valid and stays forever. So, focus on creating in-depth articles covering all aspects of that topic with proper explanation. 

Try to post content with at least 1000+ words for short topics and 2500+ words for broder and competitive topics. But, don’t do keyword stuff and repeat the same point again and again. 

#2: Work on Branding

Treat your website as a brand and focus on your own unique style in every aspect whether it is in writing or designing of websites. It helps your website build trust with your readers. 

#3: Focus on user signals

User signals like CTR [click through rate], bounce rate, dwell time is very important ranking factors that you can’t ignore. So, providing a great user experience is very important for new websites.

So, a good designed website with fast loading speed and in depth content help you acquire good user signals for search engines.

#4: Work on quality Backlink

Backlink is the most important ranking factor to rank in competitive keywords. You can attract quality backlinks by providing evidence and statistics data, infographics, in-depth case studies, and more.

Guest Blogging is an effective way to attract quality and relevant backlinks to your website.

#5: Social signals

Social signal has also little significance in SEO but it is a good source of traffic if you build a community and provide value to them regularly. 

At Least try to focus on two platforms like Twitter & Pinterest. These two platforms are good for lead generation and sales. 

#6: Work on long tail keywords

If you are just starting a website and want to prevent your website from sandboxing then you should try for long tail keywords. These are easy to rank and the probability of getting organic traffic is high. 

For this, you need to work on a solid keyword research strategy that brings real results. You can also get long-tail keywords by analyzing your competitor’s website using tools like SEMrush, ahrefs, and Ubersuggest. 

You can also check the top 10 free keyword research tools here. 

#7: Focus on quality than quantity.

Don’t focus on creating a lot of articles rather than work on the quality of the article. Take your time to do proper keyword research, writing content, creating unique graphics and optimizing articles for SEO. 

Don’t focus on building a lot of low-quality links rather than try for a handful of quality backlinks. Too much backlink without much content on your website may create a negative impression on your site and sometimes it may be considered spam. 

So, build your website slow and steady and after reaching a certain stage you can accelerate your progress. 

Final thoughts

I have shared my experience about Google sandbox and how to get rid of it. My final suggestion for you to focus on quality content and be consistent in your work. After all, SEO is all out of patience and consistent efforts and experiment. 

Your main focus should be on fulfilling the searcher’s intent and providing a better user experience on your website. This is exactly what Google and other search engines want. 

What is your thought about Google sandbox, share your experience in the comment section. Also, do share this article on Twitter and help others. Thank you. 

📖 Read Also: How To Find Low Competition Keywords With High Traffic.

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  1. Hi Abhishek and Rohit,

    Super guide here. I feel new bloggers fall frustrated because of being in the Sandbox. But sitting there is paying your online tuition. Google demands bloggers show a proven track record, you need to earn the right to rank on page 1 with dazzling, helpful, thorough content published over months.


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