Google Sandbox: When? Why? And How to Dump it!
I got a question from Anthony Grace in the comments of my previous post Three Rules That ASP.NET Developers Should Know About SEO about Google Sandbox and thought of writing this short post to illustrate what is it and how to avoid it.
Google Sandbox is, in essence, the process of keeping your website outside Google search results for competitive keywords because your website has just been registered or changed owner.
When Google Sandbox
The sandbox usually starts when you register a new website and lasts from 6 months up to a year depending on factors that are only known to Google.
Google is also monitoring the domain registration information so this will also happen when the registered owner of the website changes i.e. you’ve bought a second hand domain.
Put simply, you are sandboxed when your website has valuable content and is SEO optimised and you are no where near the search engine top result pages.
Why Google Sandbox
Even though Google doesn’t admit the concept of Google Sandbox, however, it is crystal clear that it exists.
The reason behind this is obvious, Google is mimicking real life situation when you just start a business and don’t expect people to come running at you for your services. Also, if old sites and newly registered sites are treated the same, then this is unfair.
Another reason is to prevent spammers of starting a spammy website to market some products and do some black hat SEO methods to get visitors to their site.
How to Dump It
Now the bad news, you cannot avoid it! But you could follow some practices in reducing its effect:
- Register your domain name as soon as you think of a business and even before start implementing the website.
- Some people claim that going with AdSense or AdWords programs could take you out faster, but I didn’t validate this myself.
- Get external links to your website, aka backlinks, from a high profile websites such as governmental sites, reputable charities, etc…
- If you are buying a second hand domain name, try to seek ways to not changing the registered owner so that your domain age is not reset. There is not generic way to do it, every case has its own solution.
- Buy a domain that has recently expired and still appears in Google results, you might be lucky…
- Temporarily, use a subdomain of a non-sandboxed site. When your subdomain site is fully indexed then do 301 redirections to your sandboxed site. The rank for every page that has already been indexed shall be preserved.
- Following the movies popular phrase: “If I go down, I will take you all with me!”. There are some black hat SEO methods, that I won’t even mention as they are unethical, to take your competitors down since you cannot climb up…
I have experimented the effect myself on this site www.adamtibi.net and on other sites as well. I have met some friends and businesses who were frustrated by this effect thinking that their website is not attracting visitors.
If you have encountered this effect, then drop me a comment line and let me know how you escaped it.
Best sandbox-free wishes.