How to Get Out of Google Sandbox Faster
Google has trust issues. New websites go through a probation period, where Google keeps them in a fixed position and just watches how they behave. It doesn’t matter how hard they work, Google just won’t let them rank.
However, instead of waiting for Google to come around and show some love, you can do a few things to gain its trust and release your website from the dreaded Google Sandbox.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the Google Sandbox, including what it is, how it started, how it works, and most importantly, how you can break out of it.
Some people believe the Google Sandbox is a myth, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. But the truth is, it’s very real and can be incredibly frustrating for new websites trying to gain a footing in the competitive online world.
What’s Google Sandbox?
Google Sandbox is a precautionary measure taken by Google to prevent newly registered websites from ranking high in its search results. It’s like a probation period where Google scrutinises new websites to ensure they aren’t trying to manipulate their way up the rankings.
Although search engine representatives have denied its existence in the past, there’s enough evidence to prove that Google Sandbox is a real thing. New websites struggle to rank for their desired keywords, no matter how much time and sweat they pour into their SEO strategy.
So, Why Does Google Have Trust Issues?
It’s easy to see why Google would be sceptical of new websites. In the past, many websites used manipulative tactics to rank quickly and easily. These included buying backlinks, keyword stuffing, and other black hat SEO techniques.
As a result, Google started to penalise these websites by pushing them down in the rankings or even removing them altogether. To avoid this, Google resorted to only ranking the websites they fully understand and trust.
And since it takes time for search engines to gather enough data to understand a website and rank it accordingly, the Sandbox was born.
How Google Sandbox Came to Be
The term “Google Sandbox” can be traced back to 2004 when website owners and SEOs started noticing a trend among new websites struggling to rank. They observed that new websites weren’t making it to the first pages of Google’s search results even with solid SEO strategies and quality content.
Many theories were thrown around, including a penalty for using expired domains or duplicate content. But eventually, it became clear that this was Google’s way of filtering out potential spam websites and giving them time to prove themselves.
Some websites would take months and even a year to break out of the Sandbox and start ranking. During this time, website owners could do nothing but wait and continue building their website’s credibility.
Note that this was an isolated case with Google. Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo ranked new websites almost instantly if their content and SEO were up to par.
So, after a series of testing and experimenting, webmasters reached a general consensus that Google did, in fact, ‘sandbox’ new websites and the term became a widely accepted concept within the SEO community.
How Long Does the Sandbox Period Last?
The duration of the Google Sandbox period is still a subject of debate. Some SEO experts believe it lasts six months, while others argue it could last up to a year.
There’s no exact timeframe for when a website will break out of the Sandbox and start ranking well in Google’s search results.
For all we know, the sandbox effect can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year or beyond. It all depends on various factors, such as the website’s niche, content quality, and backlink profile.
Does the Sandbox Exist Today?
The short answer is yes, the Sandbox still exists.
However, its effect has diminished over the years as Google’s algorithm evolves and becomes more sophisticated.
In fact, many SEO experts argue that the sandbox period now only applies to highly competitive niches or industries where it can take longer for a website to gain credibility and trust.
Why Did Google Create the Sandbox?
The exact reason Google implemented the sandbox effect is still unknown.
However, many theories suggest that it was intended to prevent spammy or low-quality websites from ranking high in their search results.
Remember, Google only wants to rank high-authority and trustworthy websites to provide the best possible experience to its users.
Building up a website’s authority and trust takes time, so the sandbox period may have been Google’s way of ensuring that only high-quality websites get to the top of their search results.
So, if you’re in the process of building a new website and are worried about the sandbox period, don’t be too concerned.
Focus on creating high-quality content and building natural backlinks, and eventually, your site will break out of the Sandbox and start ranking well in Google’s search results.
How to Tell if Your Website is in Sandbox
There is no Sandbox checker tool. Nor will you receive an email from Google notifying you that your website is in the Sandbox.
However, you can use Analytics to monitor your website traffic and determine whether or not your website is in the Sandbox.
If your website is new and you notice a sudden drop in traffic after a few weeks of launching, you’re likely placed in the Sandbox.
5 Pro Tips to Speed up the Probation Period and Get Out of the Sandbox Faster
Now that you know what the sandbox effect is and why it exists, here are some practical tips to help accelerate your website’s journey out of the Sandbox:
Pro Tip 1: Get Your Site Indexed By Google
The first step to breaking free from the Sandbox is ensuring Google knows you exist.
You can do this by submitting your site to Google’s index using the Search Console or by adding a sitemap to your website.
Google spiders are intelligent but still need help finding new websites and adding them to their index.
Here’s what you should do:
Find Your XML Sitemap:
An XML sitemap is exactly what it sounds like – a map of your website’s structure in XML format.
It helps Google understand the organisation of your site and its content, making it easier for their spiders to crawl and index your pages.
If you’re using a popular CMS like WordPress, you can use plugins like Yoast SEO or Rank Math to generate and submit your sitemap automatically.
For other websites, you can use an XML generator tool like XML-Sitemaps.com to create your sitemap and manually submit it to Google.
Submit Your Sitemap To Google:
Once you have a sitemap, log in to your Search Console and navigate to the Sitemaps section.
Enter the URL of your sitemap and click on “Submit”.
Google will then crawl your sitemap and add all the pages included in it to their index.
Once your sitemap is ready, submit it to Google using the Search Console.
This will alert Google to your website’s existence and help them discover and crawl your pages more efficiently.
Pro Tip 2: Optimise Your Website for Google’s Crawlers
Your business is live, and you’ve submitted your sitemap to Google for indexing. Now what? Next, it’s time to optimise your website for Google’s crawlers. That means ensuring your website is easily crawlable, has relevant and high-quality content, and follows the best search engine optimisation (SEO) practices.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Conduct a Website Audit: Conduct a thorough website audit to identify any technical issues that may prevent Google from crawling or indexing your site. That includes checking for broken links, duplicate content, missing meta tags, etc.
- Create Quality Content: Your website’s content should be relevant, informative, and engaging. That not only attracts visitors but also encourages them to stay on your site longer, increasing their chances of converting them into customers.
- Implement On-page SEO: Make sure your website’s pages have optimised titles, meta descriptions, and keywords. The idea is to help Google understand what your page is about and improve its chances of ranking higher in search results.
The three elements mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to optimising your website for Google’s crawlers. There are many other factors to consider, such as mobile-friendliness, site speed, and user experience.
In-depth website audits can be time-consuming and complex, but they are necessary for identifying and fixing any issues that may hinder your website’s performance in the SERPs.
Here’s a breakdown of the steps to follow:
- i) Listen to Your Audience: See what your customers are saying about your website and use their feedback to improve it.
- ii) Manually Check Your Website: Go through your website page by page and make note of any errors or problems you encounter.
iii) Use Tools: There are many online tools available to help you identify technical issues on your website, such as Google Search Console, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Website Auditor, etc.
- iv) Use an SEO Audit Tool: These tools provide a comprehensive analysis of your website’s SEO, including on-page optimisation, backlinks, and technical issues.
- v) Develop a Plan of Attract: You can begin by writing down a list of all the issues identified during the audit and prioritising them based on their impact. Then, create a plan to address and fix these issues accordingly.
- vi) Monitor and Adapt: Website audits are not a one-time thing; they should be done regularly to ensure your website is always in top shape.
vii) Seek Professional Help: If you find the audit process overwhelming or don’t have the technical knowledge to fix specific issues, it’s always best to seek professional help. There are many SEO agencies and experts who can assist you with improving your website’s performance.
On-page SEO is the practice of optimising individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.
They’re like little signals telling search engines what your website is about and how relevant it is to specific keywords. They help search engines understand the content on your site and determine its relevance to users’ search queries.
Some essential on-page SEO factors include:
- Internal linking
- Keyword usage and placement in titles, headings, and content
- Meta descriptions and title tags
- Image optimisation with relevant alt text
- Fast loading speed
- Mobile responsiveness
- Quality and relevant content
Create Amazing Content
Content is king, and it’s also a crucial aspect of SEO. Creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging content can help drive more traffic to your website.
To create amazing content, you should:
- Understand your target audience and their search intent
- Conduct keyword research and plan your content topics around relevant keywords
- Write compelling and informative titles and headings
- Use visual aids such as images, videos, or infographics to make your content more engaging
- Include internal and external links to provide more context and credibility to your content
- Optimise your content for featured snippets and answer boxes to improve visibility in search engine results
Remember, the more valuable and informative your content is, the more likely it is to be shared and linked to by other websites, which can help boost your website’s authority and ranking in search engine results.
Don’t Forget About Off-Page SEO
While on-page SEO tactics are essential, off-page SEO should not be overlooked. Off-page SEO refers to the actions taken outside your website to improve its search engine ranking.
Some off-page SEO strategies include:
- Building backlinks from reputable and relevant websites
- Guest blogging on other websites in your industry
- Utilising social media to promote your content and website
- Creating partnerships and collaborations with other businesses or influencers
By Social media signals, we’re talking about things like:
So, what do social media signals have to do with SEO?
Search engines like Google consider these signals when determining your content’s relevance and authority. The more engagement your content receives on social media, the higher it is likely to rank in search results.
They’re like citations or references for your website, showing that others find your content valuable and worth sharing.
So, what can you do to get more social signals?
- Post regularly and consistently across your social media channels, using relevant keywords and hashtags in your posts.
- Engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages and asking for their opinions or feedback on your content.
- Use images and videos in your posts, as visual content performs better and attracts more engagement.
- Collaborate with other businesses or influencers in your industry by cross-promoting each other’s content on social media.
- Add social sharing buttons to your website.
- Create a profile on any relevant social media platforms for your business and regularly post content on them to keep your audience engaged.
Remember, the more quality social signals you have pointing towards your website, the better it can perform in search engine rankings. So don’t neglect this important aspect of off-page SEO.
Google doesn’t directly consider domain authority in its ranking algorithm, but it is closely related to off-page SEO factors that impact search rankings.
The idea is to get other high-authority websites to link to your website, showing that your content is trustworthy and relevant.
Why does this matter?
Well, think about it this way — if a well-respected and popular website like Forbes or The New York Times links back to your content, it adds credibility and authority to your website. It’s like getting a stamp of approval from a reputable source.
Google doesn’t directly consider domain authority in its ranking algorithm, but it is closely related to off-page SEO factors that impact search rankings.
The idea is to get other high-authority websites to link back to your website, showing that your content is trustworthy and relevant.
Why does this matter? Well, think about it this way – if a well-respected and popular website like Forbes or The New York Times links back to your content, it adds credibility and authority to your website. It’s like getting a stamp of approval from a reputable source.
How’s Domain Authority Calculated?
Domain authority is calculated on a scale of 1-100. It considers various factors such as the linking root domain, total number of backlinks, trust of the link profile, and quality of the backlinks.
So, how do you improve your domain authority? Here are a few strategies to try:
- Focus on creating high-quality, authoritative content that people naturally want to link to.
- Reach out to other websites and offer to write guest posts or collaborate. That can lead to valuable backlinks from reputable sources.
- Regularly audit your existing backlinks and disavow any low-quality or spammy ones.
- Utilise social media to promote your content and build a solid online presence.
- Be patient – improving domain authority takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Protip 5: Buy an Expired Domain
If you’re serious about boosting your domain authority, consider investing in an expired domain with a high DA. That will give you a head start and help save the time and effort to build up your website’s authority from scratch.
However, be cautious when buying expired domains — ensure they have good backlinks and a clean history, as using a domain with a negative reputation will harm your website’s SEO.
Additionally, always redirect the old domain’s traffic to your new website to capitalise on its existing authority.
Another way to improve your domain authority is by regularly updating and refreshing your content. That shows search engines that your website is active and relevant, which can positively impact your ranking and overall authority.
3x Reasons Your Website Is Still in the Google Sandbox
- Lack of High-Quality Content: As mentioned before, creating high-quality content is crucial for building domain authority. If your website lacks valuable and informative content, it may struggle to gain traction in search engine results.
- Poor Backlink Profile: Low-quality or spammy backlinks can significantly harm your website’s domain authority. It’s important to regularly audit and disavow any harmful backlinks to maintain a strong backlink profile.
- Not Enough Content Updates: If your website hasn’t been updated in a long time, search engines may view it as outdated and less relevant. That can negatively impact your domain authority and overall SEO efforts. Consistently updating and refreshing your content can help keep your website in good standing with search engines.
- Not Enough Content in Your Core Pages: Your core page includes:
These three pages should have at least 500 words of unique and valuable content. That will give Google and other search engines a better understanding of your website and drive more relevant traffic.
- Subpar User Experience: If your website is difficult to navigate or has slow loading times, it can result in a high bounce rate and lower domain authority. Ensure your website is user-friendly and optimised for speed to improve your overall user experience and boost your domain authority.
Good Backlinks vs. Bad Backlinks:
- Good Backlinks
- High DA
- The site has high traffic and authority
- Relevant to your website’s niche or industry
- Contextual (within the body of a text)
- Anchor anchor text
- Low DA
- The site has low traffic and authority
- Irrelevant or spammy content
- Paid backlinks
- Sitewide links
It’s a Wrap
The Google sandbox effect affects new domain names.
You do everything right but still don’t see your website rank appropriately on Google search results. It makes you feel like search engines are just playing a game, and you can never win. But the truth is, it’s not a game — search engines are just being cautious not to give too much credibility and authority to new websites that may potentially engage in black hat SEO tactics.