NOTE: Many SEO experts will state that Google’s sandbox doesn’t even exist, but whether one believes it or not, Google still uses a ‘probation’ period for relatively new domains.
You’ve recently created a website and spent some time optimizing your site for SEO. You’ve utilized Google’s Keyword Tool to integrate strategic keywords and you’ve practiced every other component of SEO. However, your site still isn’t ranking. Assuming your site hasn’t been flagged for using black hat SEO tactics, your site is mostly stuck in Google’s sandbox.
When starting a new business, you have to establish credibility. When starting out, you can have a product that will change the world, but if no one has heard about you or doesn’t see you as a reputable source, your business will lose out. The same concept works for creating a new website.
Google places new websites in a sandbox because it needs to test the credibility of your website. With the growing number of spam websites on the internet, as well as those practicing black hat SEO, Google is trying to make sure your site isn’t one of them. As a result, Google’s probation period will index your website’s pages, but your site won’t rank high (if it ranks at all) for specific terms.
How to tell if your site has been sandboxed
It's relatively easy to determine whether or not your website has been sandboxed by Google. These are just a few ways to determine:
- Your website is young (less than a year old).
- Your website doesn't rank on Google, but ranks pretty well on other search engines.
- Your website doesn't rank on Google even after typing in the exact same title tag into the search.
The good news! And the bad news…
The good news is, your site won’t always be in the sandbox! As long as you consistently produce effective content and continue to acquire healthy backlinks to your site, your site will gradually step out of probation, and eventually rank for your keywords.
The bad news? Your new site will go through this probation period a little longer than you think. In fact, the average time new websites spend in the sandbox is 6 months. There is no definitive answer to the question “how do I get out of Google’s sandbox?” other than to just have patience and continue attracting quality backlinks to your website.
Don’t trust someone who says they can get you out of the sandbox period in a week. He/she will most likely use black hat SEO tactics and if Google flags your website for doing this, the consequences are extremely severe. Getting out of the sandbox takes time!