The Google Sandbox is a term that is used to describe what most SEOs and webmasters have used to explain why certain websites rank poorly on Google search engine results pages. While some within the SEO community have questioned the existence of the Google Sandbox, there is no denying that Google is employing filtering techniques.
These filtering techniques have been gradually implemented through several updates and enhancements to their algorithm. These filtering techniques which have been described as the Google Sandbox have been implemented to limit new sites from achieving high search engine rankings in a relatively short period of time and evolved as an attempt by Google to combat sites buying links from other highly ranked sites or employing blackhat SEO techniques to manipulate ranking.
The Google Sandbox is wrongly described as a penalty, but it is an arbitrary period of probation period placed on new sites to limit their ranking on SERPs. It does not mean that these pages will not rank, but they will no rank well regardless of the SEO techniques employed to improve ranking. It is this trait that webmasters and SEOs refer to as being “sandboxed”.
While I see the necessity to limit the ranking of new sites, what bothers me is that the period of time this effect is in place appears to be arbitrary. It also appears that this filtering technique is in place for longer periods of time on highly competitive and highly profitable keywords and niches.
True, Google has every right to protect the integrity of its search index, but the inability of webmasters and SEOs to determine the length of this filter, and appeal the filter is seen by many as unacceptable. There is no doubt that the Google Sandbox effect has cost organizations tremendous amounts of time and energy as they attempt to improve their rankings.
Yes, the Google Sandbox does protect the interest of well established sites. It prevents unscrupulous webmasters from creating sites, using unethical or blackhat techniques to rank well, profit from these sites and toss them aside once they’ve been banned from the search indexes. Because their is a delay in detecting such methods, the Google Sandbox is seen as a mechanism to counter the effects prior to damage being done to established sites.
Established webmasters should appreciate the efforts of Google in establishing this probationary period for new sites. It means that Google is protecting the many hours of work that is requierd to build a well optimized site. Plus, SEO efforts are not meant to be quick wins, it is mean to be focused on ranking well over time, and should not change the proven methods used to rank sites.
Being placed in the Google Sandbox should be expected and this period of time should be used to develop strong content and to optimize a site. It is a time that can be used to develop and implement a strong linking strategy, and build partnerships in the occupied niche. Employing other traffic building techniques and targeted advertising campaigns during this period will counter the effects of the Google Sandbox.
It is also important to remember that Google is only one of the major search engines. It appears that other search engines have not yet implemented a filter similar to the Google Sandbox. Continuing to build sites with fresh and unique content with strong SEO techniques means this content will rank well in the other search engines.
From what I have read and experienced on many new sites (including this one), it is difficult to avoid the falling into the Google Sandbox. It appears that the only proven way to get out of the Google Sandbox is to wait it out. Time seems to heal the effects of this phenomenon.