Google sandbox is a name given for a place to hold sites “on probation”. When your site is “sandboxed” by Google, your site can only be found for very uncompetitive keyword search strings. Even with backlinks and an SEO optimized site, while in the sandbox, Google will keep you from having higher rank with the more competitive keywords you really deserve.
Sandbox Effect controversy:
The “Sandbox effect” as it’s called, is a controversial theory. Some don’t believe it exists, while others swear by it. I tend to believe in it myself, based on my own experience. Whether it really exists or not as some kind of actual storage “place”, there is some good advice below on how to avoid being “punished” by Google.
Why do sites get sandboxed?
It all comes down to precaution against spam sites and pagerank abuse. It is a precautionary measure to make sure sites can’t get a bunch of paid links (or spam them) in order to get a high Pagerank very quickly. When a site is sandboxed, it is basically put on probation. While it is a pain when your sandboxed, in the long run it is a good thing for webmasters who play by the rules.
The most common time a site gets sandboxed is when it’s new.
Getting sandboxed is not that big of a deal if it’s a new site. Every new site gets sandboxed in the beginning. Eventually given enough time, Google should eventually bump you back up to “normal” rankings, provided you get some backlinks in the meantime and don’t do anything shady.
How long is the sandbox effect?
It varies depending on the competitiveness of the keywords. If you have a very uncompetitive site, you may not even notice a sandbox effect at all. If you are in a competitive area it may take many months to get out of it.
How do I know if my site is sandboxed?
If you have a moderately high PR, good content, and can only find your site by long keyword phrases or other non-competitive keyword searches. It is thought that spam sites generally target the main keywords and therefore the sandbox is applied to them.
How can I get out of the sandbox quicker?
You can’t. If there was a way to get out of it quicker then people would abuse it, making the point of having it, totally useless.
Can older sites get sandboxed?
Yes. Anything that gives Google a huge red flag may send your site a one way ticket to back to Google’s sandbox again. One way is getting a ton of backlinks suddenly. This may put you into the Sandbox for a very long time. It is thought that with Google, slow and steady link building is the best. Unnatural link building is seen by Google as possible source of spamming, or buying paid links.
Unaturally large amounts of new pages/content suddenly, is another big red flag. Google will think you are spamming your content into the search engine for SEO purposes. Don’t put all your content all up in a few days and then forget about it for 6 months. Slow and steady content building is best for rankings.
Google’s duplicate content algorithm is a very common reason why sites get sandboxed. If a lot of your content is very similiar to other pages on your website, most of those pages will get put in the supplemental index(where your pages won’t show under normal searches). If you are stealing other people’s content from other sites, then probably all your pages will be put in the supplemental index.
There is many other reasons an older site might get sandboxed. Keyword spamming your site, obtaining links from link farms or other questionable sites, spamming other sites, are some other examples that could put you back into the sandbox. The best thing to do is try not to do anything shady and you won’t shoot yourself in the foot.
Don’t confuse the sandbox with getting banned from Google. Getting banned from Google takes a special written complaint from Google for violating something serious. Your url won’t even be found in the index when your banned from Google.
Can I join Adwords and buy my way out of the sandbox?
No. Adwords has no effect on your rankings in Google’s search engine.