Understanding the Google SandBox

google-sandboxOne of the hottest topics in the world of SEO remains the Google Sandbox. The Google Sandbox has taken on a very mysterious and dreaded form in the eyes of many webmasters. It’s therefore extremely important to understand everything you can about the it, why your site could end up there and how you can then work on digging yourself out.

What Triggers the Google Sandbox?

In most cases, the Google Sandbox is used for brand new blogs or websites. A new site that is launched and then very quickly puts out a lot of content and many different pages or posts, for example, could then end up in the Sandbox. This is because it’s actually a SPAM prevention mechanism or filter. A new site with an immediate load of information could be viewed as SPAM.

Therefore you are placed to the side of the index in a way until it’s proven that your site is worthwhile and is not SPAM. Not all new sites get placed into this category however. Much is still unknown about the specific triggers, and much of it may have to do with what else is going on around the web at the time your site was released.

For example, if you have a sports betting site and recently lots of SPAM sports betting sites have popped up, you will likely have a steeper climb than sites in other categories or a site like your own that was released at a different time.

It’s also important to realize that while it’s usually reserved for new sites, even some older sites can get placed in there from time to time. Usually the trigger is once again the same thing, an overdose of new content after a period of no updates, or even an overdose of new links all at one time.

What Happens if I Get “Sandboxed”?

So if your website gets placed into the Google Sandbox, what exactly is going to happen? Essentially your website gets placed off to the side of the main index. Your website is recognized and it is technically indexed. In other words you can tell that your page has been crawled, that your site has pages in the index and so on. However, even with this you won’t get found for any searches.

How Can I Get Out of Google’s Sandbox?

The good news is that the effects of the google sandbox are certainly not permanent. If getting de-indexed by Google is “hell”, then the Sandbox itself is “purgatory”. It’s certainly not where you want to be, but if you make the appropriate changes you can improve your position and eventually make your way back to the regular index.

The Sandbox is essentially a proving ground for your website. You have to show the search engines that you aren’t SPAM. One way of doing this is by gaining high quality incoming links to your site. These links will serve to add to your credibility and show Google that your site has worthwhile content. Consistent article marketing backed by a strong syndication funnel – set in place with a reliable article submission software – will boost your site’s presence on the web, thus keeping it on the SE’s spotlight.

Another way to work your way out of the Google Sandbox is by actually producing that worthwhile content. First of all, never copy content from another source and never reuse anything that has been posted elsewhere. Ensure that all of your content is completely original.

Then, create content for your website that is fresh, informative and useful. Don’t overstuff your content with keywords for example. Instead, use them naturally and work hard so that actual site visitors will gain something of value when they visit your webpage. This will also help you to increase your incoming links, because the more valuable your content is, the more times that people will link to it.

Therefore the best strategy for getting out of the Google Sandbox is regularly updating your website or blog with unique and valuable content that will show that you’re not SPAM and lead to more incoming links. If you follow this strategy, your stay in the purgatory of Google can be very short lived. However, if you don’t take any action your site can end up floundering there for months at a time, or even a year or longer.

Now that you know what the Google Sandbox is, why it happens and how you can combat it, you’re that much closer to steering clear of it altogether and fixing it as soon as it does.

Did you experienced the Sandbox? What do you recall from this episode? :) Anything to keep in mind?

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15 Comments For This Post

  1. free acne care info Says:

    Now I know why my website is not indexed by Google. It’s most likely lying in the Google’s sandbox area. That’s horrible news to me. Is there any way to check if it’s ban?

    I’ve just joined link exchange services to reciprocate links with other websites. Do you think this will help? Also will buying one-way links from higher PR websites help?

    Just wondering what’s the best thing to do now. It’s no point spending time promoting my website if at the end of the day it’s not index by the Google. But my website is indexed by Bing and Yahoo. Doesn’t these count?

  2. Cristian Says:

    Google takes drastic measures like banning websites on rare occasions and on well founded grounds. I’m certain that is not the case with you because you wouldn’t been searching for information on the topic. A wise thing to do right now (if you didn’t already) is open a webmaster tools account with Google and check out your website’s details there and submit a sitemap of your website.

    1. Link Exchanges – I wouldn’t spend money with these type of services. Reciprocal links are getting devalued by Google’s algorithm plus they produce an artificial medium of building link popularity not so trusted by Google. I would focus more on getting one way links with article submission, directory submission, relevant blog comments and forum discussions.
    2. What to do now? Build one way links. Lots of them. Other SEs count but they didn’t provide potential exposure like Google does.

  3. free acne care info Says:

    Hi Cristian,

    Thank you for your response and advice. In fact I’ve already opened a webmaster tools account with Google. Submitted my sitemap to them. Every week I check my webmaster’s tools account but sadly it’s not indexed. From my AWStats I can see Googlebot crawling my website. It’s really frustrating you know.

    As for the link exchanges, it’s on the experimental stage. Concerning posting to relevant blog/forum comments….only to blog/forum relating to my niche? Is it okay for those not connected to my niche?

  4. Cristian Says:

    Only to those related to your niche. Note that is not mandatory for Google to index every webpage of your site.
    If you’re not a SEO savvy, consider to move your website on a wordpress platform. WordPress offers all the tools (called plugins) to make your website more Google Friendly. You can still make your static webpages presenting your product reviews and offers PLUS the ability to easily post targeted content that attracts the google spider (permanently hungry for new quality content).

  5. Marketing Steve Says:

    In my site testing with clients, one thing I have discovered to be a major sandbox contributor is the domain name. New and unproven domain names are routinely sandboxed by Google. One thing I always recommend to clients is that they try to use a domain with some longevity.

  6. Cristian Says:

    Thanks for contributing with additional info, Steve! Feel free to refer your info.

  7. Adam Goldman Says:

    Interesting stuff!
    Never heard of this sandbox before,
    Got me A little scared there man!



  8. eff Says:

    wanna ask sumthin’,,, i think my blog got sandboxes yesterday, my traffic decrease sharp. what can i do now?


  9. Cristian Says:

    All you can do is keep building links and add content. But be careful when you make a diagnose because being sandboxed means your rankings have for all the keywords you used to be competitive and rank well.

  10. Carlyn Beccia Says:

    Thanks for the great info. I am just trying to figure out why I got the time out from google.

    I am wondering if you can be “sandboxed” in google blog search but not a google web search? That is what happened to me. None of my posts are showing up in google blog search.

    And I think you really hit on the reason why with your tip about not copying content. very important! I copied a book description word for word to help another author promote thier book. After that post….no more indexing.

    oh I also use a lot of small text and I read that Google doesn’t like that either. true?

    thanks again.

  11. Edward Culligan Says:

    Great to know this informstion. Now I just need to improve my website to get out of the sandbox

  12. sem Says:

    Just build leglitamite links if you have been sandboxed and check the content of your site to see if you have breached any Google regs.

  13. erevos Says:

    I don’t think that Google has a sandbox these days. I have a lot of new sites(3 – 6 months) that rank in the top 10 results for high competition keywords. I make hundreds of links every day for all of my domains and i have no problems at all because the links are not indexed the same day.
    (New Sites = Poor Results) that became known as the Sandbox effect and had controversial definitions, does not exist anymore (in my opinion). Matt Cutts confirmed the sandbox existed, somewhat, in his Coffee Talk with Brett Tabke 7 years ago. But since then, they did not discuss it much.

  14. Cristian Says:

    Thanks for your feedback, erevos!
    As long as you maintain a steady tempo in building backlinks – regardless of whether or not if they’re indexed immediately – there won’t be any issues with the site being sandboxed. But it does exist. Just blast a new site with hundreds of links one day and then stop for a month or so; the site plunges well below first 1000 search results. This is based evidenced with massive blog commenting where the backlinks are indexed naturally by Google fairly rapidly – in a weeks time or so.

  15. Κυτταριτιδα Says:

    I have tried pushing a website to its maximum. About 2k links/week. Brand new website. Nothing happened. The Google Sandbox is a Myth.Why this ? because the backlink indexing rate will always be bellow 10% so it is a kind of natural linking. Now, if you are about to build 10k each day, then, you will get sandboxed.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Google Sandbox | Did Your Marketing Website Lose Grip on Its Rankings? | SEO Anonymous Says:

    [...] that you know how to dig yourself out of Google Sandbox, learn how to avoid and survive another of Google’s deathtraps called supplemental index. [...]

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