Search (SEO) Technical SEO

Google Sandbox: How To Reduce The Sandbox Effect On New Domains

Google Sandbox
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The SEO game doesn’t seem fair when you’re a start-up company or individual that has recently purchased a new domain, you may feel as if Google considers you as a newbie compared to the other established, well-known websites currently on the web. To some extent, it may even feel as if it’s impossible to compete. You’re right, I feel your pain, in fact, so does every other SEO.

There have been lots of theories and speculations in the SEO industry over the years in regards to a Google Sandbox, if you’re unaware of what the Google Sandbox is, it’s a filter that has been believed to have been put in place by Google to temporarily cripple new domains in the search results, therefore, limiting their possibilities of achieving a high search ranking. Is this true? Google says it doesn’t exist, however, if you’ve attempted to rank a website before and you’ve been in the SEO game for a while, you’ll know that there is some sort of filter in place, whether it’s called the Google Sandbox or not, something exists.

Example Of The Google Sandbox

Why would Google do something like this?

Good question, it’s a mixture of two things, I personally believe:

  • Trying to eliminate some aspects of black-hat SEO and the churn and burn method, therefore, when a black-hat SEO registers a new domain, they aren’t able to manipulate the search results and obtain a high ranking in a short space of time, instead, it will take time. This will reduce the number of SEO’s registering new domains, spamming a tonne of links to power its link profile and then earning a quick buck from their efforts.
  • Google needs to cover their back, too. They don’t want to rank any old’ site at the top of their search results, if something is ranking top that shouldn’t be or is deemed spammy, this will make them look bad. Therefore their algorithms rely on the trust metric, websites that have been around a long time without receiving any penalties and have pumped a lot of content into their site is deemed trustworthy by Google.

If you have recently purchased a new domain and it’s under 3-4 months old, maybe even 6, there is a good chance that your site is behind some sort of sandbox filter that’s limiting how far it can go in the SERP’s. It’s like a probational period to see how you perform and what content you produce. Don’t get me wrong, your website can still rank, it’s just that a lot of SEO’s believe that if your not behind this Google Sandbox filter, it’s easier to do so.

How To Get Out Of The Google Sandbox

Again, good question and I am sure at this stage you’re quite eager to get going and to learn how you can almost bypass this sandbox filter or reduce the effect that it has on your domain. It’s the dream for anyone that has recently purchased a new domain, getting out of it is a pain in the backside.

1) You can’t get out of it.

Please be advised that this is just speculation and theory on my side, none of this has been proven, but I personally believe there you can’t actually get out of the Google Sandbox unless your website has been around for a certain amount of time. However, I do believe that you can reduce the effect that it has on your domain, so don’t believe that you’re “sandbox free” after implementing these tactics, as the chances are you will be in sandbox for a certain period of time, especially if you just registered your domain.

If your domain has been around for a couple of months now, you may start to see the results of coming out of this filter that every SEO complains about. I personally started to see an increase in the number of clicks on this website after the 3-month mark in webmaster tools – it’s different for every website.

2) Create content, a lot of it.

This is a no-brainer and you don’t need to be a magician to realise that Google loves content, the more content that you can create on your website, the better. This will only demonstrate to Google that you’re serious about progressing your website and that you have a lot of information to offer their users/search results. If you want to become a serious contender, you need to start writing valuable content.

Let’s not forget that Googlebot loves internal linking, this will help improve Google’s understanding of your content and it’s intent. Link to other articles on your website when you can.

3) Add a terms of service & privacy policy page

Like I said, Google needs to cover their tracks too. I could imagine that they feel more comfortable if you have a terms of service & privacy policy page, it makes them feel as if you’re trustworthy. They don’t need to be custom written, you can generate one online for free using a terms of service/privacy policy generator.

It’s worthwhile linking to these pages in the footer of your site, therefore, they are linked to from every page.

4) Implement that https, now.

I can’t urge you enough to prioritise the deployment of https to your site, as search evolves, Google’s starting to rely on https as an important trust metric, hence why they are giving a slight ranking boost for those that successfully deploy it.

As time moves along I believe that Google will increase the weight associated with having a secure website and those that aren’t secure won’t rank as highly as those that do. Implementing https demonstrates to Google that you’re showing an interest in protecting your user’s information whilst using and navigating around their website’s architecture.

5) Create social signals, as many as you can

Get on the social media waggon as soon as you can, start posting as much as you can and start linking to your website as much as you can. This will demonstrate to Google that you’re trying to promote your website and that users are actively talking about your site on social.

You can use a social application like Buffer to consistently post to your social media channels via their scheduling feature. I personally find that posting 10-15 times a day to your website from Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus helps in the long-term, especially when you surpass the 3-4 domain age mark. I’d recommend posting to Google Plus too, as this is Google’s product.

That’s it, folks, if you’ve recently purchased a new domain and you’re serious about increasing your search engine ranking, please, be patient, post lots of content, be active on social, implement https and incorporate the necessary pages to signal to Google that you’re trustworthy. This will help reduce the effect of the Google Sandbox, or even possibly get out of it.

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About the author



Brett is currently working as a full-time SEO Analyst for a leading, international eCommerce company that recently won a Queens Award For Enterprise. In addition, he's also worked client side for 3 years at a digital agency, managing just over 20 local SEO projects. He's very knowledgeable when it comes to technical SEO and he's well known for his consultancy during https site-wide deployments.

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