The Google Sandbox – what it is and how to avoid it

11 comments, 04/06/2011, by , in SEO

The Google sandbox is a term which has been used over recent years to describe particular websites which Google has supposedly restricted in some way to prevent them rising highly in the search engine rankings.
There is substantial debate about the effect and if it really exists. Some website owners have reported a number of effects which might be referred to as the Sandbox effect. These include:

• Sites which Google considers to have thin content which means that they have relatively few pages, duplicate content or have apparently been constructed simply to sell affiliate products. Google wants users of its search engine to have a good user experience and to find useful and relevant content so such thin sites quickly lose any ranking they have gained.
• Sites which initially rank well in the rankings but then do not have any new content added for significant periods of time may also suffer from being dropped in the rankings. No new content means returning visitors don’t get anything new from the site and their experience suffers as a result.
• Sites which have large numbers of back links which suddenly appear are often ignored by Google since it considers such activity rightly as an attempt to artificially inflate the importance of a site.
• Brand new sites often bounce around the rankings in a seemingly random pattern. This is often referred to as the Google “dance” and they normally settle into a given position after several weeks.

The real truth about search engine rankings and the best way to move up the rankings is very simple; create original, relevant and quality content which interests the users and encourages other sites to link to your site. Very easy to say but quite difficult to do but Google’s main aim is to provide a useful and valuable browser experience. In this way it can retain its position as the worlds number one search engine.

If you already find that you have been penalized by Google resulting in your site dropping substantially in the rankings or even disappearing altogether then you should know that the escape from the effects could take some time. Typically new domains may take up to six months before they start to rise again in the rankings. Don’t say that you have been warned!


  1. June 5th, 2011 5:42

    google sandbox is so creepy…


  2. June 5th, 2011 20:12

    This is very real, while i was still in th early days of learning about internet marketing i hammered one of my first sites with links. Thousands of them, at first i thought, great within two weeks my nice new small site was sitting at the bottom of page1, I though this SEO Business is easy….. I’m going to be a millionaire soon haha ! week later still no sales and my site had disappeared never to be seen again….


  3. JDC
    June 6th, 2011 22:24

    Nice read Pingler. Thank you.


  4. June 7th, 2011 13:08

    How do I know that I am Sandboxed?
    Check the position of the website using the parameter “allinanchor:” + your keyword – this parameter indicates which side should be on which position in terms of link popularity. If the page with this parameter + your keyword is on for example fifth position (and has correct content)and without the “allinanchor” parameter it is not in the results, or has much lower position – this means the site is being sandboxed.


  5. June 7th, 2011 18:39

    The whole Google sandboxing scenario is a nightmare. Google have too much control over website owners and their success!


  6. June 8th, 2011 0:47

    that you HAVEN’T been warned..


  7. June 11th, 2011 14:09

    This topic has been around for sometime, Google says that sandboxing does not exist, however Googles algorithm keeps changing. We are told we have to keep updating our websites if we wan’t to rank highly.
    I have several websites, the best ones that rank in the top three of most of the main search engine for the targeted keywords, but rank terrible when using SEO website checkers!!!!!!. I have noticed a sandbox effect on some of my new sites when whatever I do to alter the site It has little to no effect on ranking.
    I can only put this down to the age of the website, and that Google will only look at websites properly after six months when most website owners have given up modifying there site and leave it. Google would see these sites as less important and rank them lower. Whilst if you keep updating your site after six months it will have the most effect on rankings.
    TIP OF THE DAY :- Add one new backlink a day to each of your websites.


  8. June 15th, 2011 14:26

    Perhaps there’s another way to look at “sand boxing”. Rather than see a lack of ranking as some kind of negative behavior on the part of Google, we could instead see Google’s ranking as a form of reward/recognition for interesting and useful web content. Google is not actively “punishing” anyone. I’m an internet marketer, so I appreciate and feel the same frustration that comes with working for that top spot above the fold. The Google bar is held fairly high so their ranking system will actually mean something (and in doing so, continue to garner advertising $$). If my pages don’t rank highly, there is no one to blame but myself. If you don’t make it to the top of the 1st page, just accept the fact that you need to put more work (value) into your content and be patient. No one said this was going to be easy. Oh, wait, that’s not true … a lot of patronizing IM gurus did say that didn’t they? Stop whining. Get to work!


  9. June 24th, 2011 14:26

    Google sandbox? really a nightmare when this happens to me!


  10. June 30th, 2011 14:09

    I like this article very helpful…


  11. Bob
    September 25th, 2011 17:50

    The sandbox is a myth, it’s just a delayed importance recognizer.


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