Google Sandbox Explained


The Sandbox is part of Google's ranking filters, the most important element of which appears to be time online and the age of your website. The age of your web site influences your rankings as well as the age of the web sites that link to your web site. In addition, Google checks when other web sites link to your site and how your inbound links grow over time.

Google's sandbox filter seems to affect nearly all new websites placing them on an initial "probation" status. The effect of this is that new websites may get into Google's SERP's relatively quickly and may even perform well for a couple of weeks. When the filter is applied to the new website it is referred to as being put in the "sandbox". The new website will still show in the result pages, but it will not rank well regardless of how much original, well optimized content and regardless of how many quality inbound links the site may have. The filter restrains new websites from having immediate success in the search engine result pages.

The sandbox filter seems to affect almost all new websites, with very few exceptions. It is important to note that the filter is not a punishment for anything the webmaster did with their new website. The filter is merely an initiation period for new websites.

How long are sites sandboxed?

The reported sandbox period is extremely variable; ranging from 3 months to indefinite, the typical range though seems around 6-9 months, and one Google engineer has reportedly stated the actual range is 6-12 months. Many have observed that the period appears to correlate with industry competitiveness/popularity, with the most popular and commercial industries having the longest "probation" period.

Steps to minimize Sandbox Effect

While Google sandbox is not something you can control, there are certain steps you can take in order to make the sandbox effect less destructive for your new site. As with many aspects of SEO, there are ethical and unethical tips and tricks and unethical tricks can get you additional penalties or a complete ban from Google, so think twice before resorting to them. The unethical approaches will not be discussed in this article because they don comply with our policy.

Before we delve into more detail about particular techniques to minimize sandbox damage, it is necessary to clarify the general rule: you cannot fight the sandbox. The only thing you can do is to adapt to it and patiently wait for time to pass. Any attempts to fool Google starting from writing melodramatic letters to Google, to using "sandbox tools" to bypass the filter can only make your situation worse. There are many initiatives you can take, while in the sandbox, for as example:

  • Buy old or recently expired domains
    If you have a new website, there is a good chance that you will be placed in the sandbox. To mininize the sandbox effect buy old domains or the domains which are recently Expired.
  • Create valuable content and quality links
    Along with the passage of time, nothing can help you reach the tops of the major search engines better than quality website content and good links from reputable sources. Make sure your website copy is original and informative, and that each page of your site contains different content. In addition, a slow and steady buildup of good links will bring you the best results. Links from .edu, .gov, and .mil domains might be beneficial, as those domains are usually exempt from the sandbox filter.
  • Concentrate on less popular keywords
    You might avoid being sent to the sandbox by peppering your website with keywords that are less popular in your industry or category. Since the popular keywords are the ones most people strive for, the wait for rankings with these words is generally much longer than it would be if you focused on the less popular keywords. You can simultaneously get your site listed for less popular keywords while waiting to get to the top for the most profitable keywords.
  • Host your website on a well established host
    Host your new site on a subdomain of a well-established host . The sandbox effect is not so severe for new subdomains . You can also host the main site on a subdomain and on a separate domain host just some contents, linked with the main site. You can also use redirects from the subdomained site to the new one, although the effect of this practice is also questionable because it can also be viewed as an attempt to fool Google.

Conclusion

Google has been going to great lengths to cut out on search engine spam. Some have faulted them on the lengths that they are going to claiming that it is effecting legitimate sites as well as the spam websites. While this is probably the case, as an owner of a website you need to place yourself in the position of Google and ask yourself what they are really looking for in a website. Google is looking for websites that offer quality content. Google still relies on the natural voting system that was first used to establish pagerank. They may change the way that they qualify content or inbound links, but the basic elements of a quality website will always remain the same.

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