Zero Parallel

Is Google’s Sandbox Real?

In 2004, SEO professionals began noticing a weird effect plaguing their newly optimized websites. They realized that after taking their time to do everything right (setting up backlinks, writing high quality content regularly), their rankings still looked as poor as ever. There was nothing they could do about it and it’s almost as if they had been facing a brick wall. This phenomenon became known as the Google Sandbox.

The term itself, getting “sandboxed” by Google, may feel like an undesirable hazing period for SEO practitioners. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, once explained, “It can take a bit of time for search engines to catch up with your content, and to learn to treat it appropriately. It’s one thing to have a fantastic website, but search engines generally need a bit more to be able to confirm that, and to rank your site – your content – appropriately.” John Mueller’s consolation is one of the only assurances we ever got from Google that such an aging delay does not exist; however, Google has never explicitly denied not having such an algorithm.

In addition, many people have also raised concerns for sandboxing throughout the years as they watched their rankings literally disappear overnight. This, along with numerous other concerned voices in the industry, tell us that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If sandboxing is truly a phenomenon, we think there are solutions to avoid getting hit, or at least to get out of it as quickly as possible.

  • Be Consistent: The last thing you’d want to do with your new website is submit it to a dozen different automatic backlink generators. These sites are mostly spam and Google will penalize your rankings if it detects too many low quality backlinks at a time. It’s imperative to be consistent with your efforts in finding quality, related sites that link to you. This is the safest way to ensure that your site will still gain some quality traffic while you’re in the process of getting out of the alleged sandbox.
  • Get Organic Mentions: There’s an effective way to sustain incoming traffic without relying on Google, and that’s by getting mentions from authoritative websites. You can do this by tracking down related dead links and reporting them to the new host site, while pitching your own website as a possible resource to add to their new content. This is similar to pitching an article, except you’ve added value to their time by helping them get rid of dead links and introducing them to more related resources.
  • Keep Creating: If you’re in a “dry” season of traffic, don’t give up or resort to automated blogs. It’s important to keep at it, by creating fresh, unique content. You’ll see that sooner or later, your sandbox period will be lifted and you’ll have plenty of great material for users to enjoy!

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