7 Things To Do While Your Website Is In Google Sandbox

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7 Things To Do While Your Website Is In Google Sandbox

Even if you’ve built strong natural backlinks to your new website, it’s still likely that it won’t rank quickly in the SERPs if your website is relatively new. New websites in this context are websites with a domain that is less than a year old.

Investing in content and employing every SEO tactic as fast as you can do not guarantee that your new website (on a fresh domain) will show up in the top 10 of Google SERPs in a matter of months.

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If your new website (less than a year) has very little trickles of traffic despite front-loading content and optimizing your on-page SEO, then you shouldn’t worry so much if traffic does not pick up the way you had envisaged. Your new website may still be in Google Sandbox.

Google Sandbox is a probation period where filters are applied on new websites so that they don’t outrank more established websites. The essence of the sandbox is to sanitize the online ecosystem and keep the hierarchy of all websites in proper perspective.

Key Highlights

🎯 The Sandbox effect is to keep the sanity of the online ecosystem.

🎯 Once you continue with White-hat SEO methods, you should see remarkable growth in traffic while leaving the sandbox.

🎯 If you engage in SEO keyword stuffing (to break out of the Google sandbox), you could be penalized.

🎯 Employing traffic through social media builds trust while reducing wait time.

🎯 Even though the effects of Google sandbox are evident in many cases, Google hasn’t publicly acknowledged its existence.

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🎯 Sandbox was so named by SEO analysts and webmasters who observed it in action.

SEE ALSO: Ultimate Guide to Harnessing Free Traffic From Quora to Your Blog

SEE ALSO: A Practical Guide to Creating Pins that Work (Pinterest Traffic Guide -2022)

SEE ALSO: How to Rank Your Article with Featured Snippets Fast

What Exactly Does Google Sandbox Mean?

Similar to how parents use sandboxes to confine children while playing, Google uses the sandbox as a precautionary measure to restrain newly built websites from appearing at the top spots (position 1- 10) in SERPs.  Even if Google officially denies that it dislikes ranking new websites, the sandbox does exist.

Many new blogs get minimal traffic in the first 3 months. If the content that was uploaded on the site is of good quality and offers value to visitors, then the webmaster will begin to see traction on those contents in no distant time. The evidence of growing traffic will be visible when the new website begins to exit the sandbox phase.

With lots of quality content on a new website, you may witness a “hockey stick” surge in organic keywords and ultimately traffic, when your website exits the sandbox.

SEMRUSH -  Your Website Is In Google Sandbox

How Old is the Google Sandbox Effect?

The Google sandbox became noticeable in 2004 after several reviews carried out by webmasters and SEO analysts.

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At that time, webmasters noticed the difficulty of ranking new websites, even after deploying low competition keywords with medium to high search volume.

For example, the website below was launched in December 2021 which about 90 posts on it.  Not until June 2022 i.e 6 months did the website begin to rank for some low competition keywords.

Your Website Is In Google Sandbox

The hockey stick plot was visible starting from June 2022 when it began to leave the sandbox.

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So, it is recommended to continue to invest in top-quality content and adopt Whitehat SEO methods in ranking your website.

While deliberating on the existence of the sandbox, more attention-grabbing is the fact that it was only evident with Google Search, while new websites ranked highly right away on Bing and Yahoo.

And ever since, new websites have always had their share–being placed in Google’s Sandbox and kept there for a while.

Contrary to claims, Google doesn’t explicitly acknowledge the existence of this policy. However, webmasters observed this policy in action and came up with the name sandbox because “sandbox” alludes to parents placing their children in sandboxes.

Things to do when your website is in the Google Sandbox

1.   Submit Your Sitemap to Google to Get Indexed

One of the most important ranking approaches is having Google index your website. And you can achieve this by submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console.

To get your sitemap, you can simply install an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO or RankMath. These plugins automatically generate your sitemap.

I use the RankMath plugin, the free version is just fine and can help you get the basic SEO optimizations that you need.

RankMath - Sitemap

Once you set it up, the next thing to do is to copy the sitemap like e.g https://yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml, and submit it to Google Search Console for validation and indexing.

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Google Search Console

After doing this, give it some time, from a few minutes to 24 hours and Google will begin to discover the URLs on your website.

Once the status turns green (success), this means that Google has acknowledged your pages and is ready for indexing.

Pages with errors will be thrown up for review, what you need to do is to review the page for like errors which will be stated in your email from Google.

Your Website Is In Google Sandbox

After rectifying the issues, you go back to your console to validate the URL. Once Google fixes the issue, you should get an email confirmation.

Your Website Is In Google Sandbox

Your site may be live, but it doesn’t start aging in Google’s eyes until it is indexed.

You also can check if your website is indexed by simply doing a Google search for “site:yourdomain.com”. If it is not indexed, you will probably want to index your website as soon as possible.

To speed up this process, quickly register your domain with Google Search Console and request for Google to fetch and render your pages.

2. Continue uploading quality and relevant content

Have you ever wondered why some websites get out of Google Sandbox in 5 – 8 months while others stay there for much longer?

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One of the reasons lies in the kind of content that is uploaded, the better the quality of content that meets users’ needs, the better the opportunity Google gives that webpage.

When Google notices that user engagement or time on a webpage is well over an average of 1:00 min, the page authority begins to increase.  

It’s a known fact that the more content you produce, the higher the chances that your website will generate considerable amounts of traffic when it exits the Google Sandbox.

Front-loading content needs to be done with caution however, the downside of it is that Google may think your content was written by an AI writing software and treat them as junk content.

NOTE: Don’t chase the quantity. Instead, focus on quality, and relevance. This strategy should pay off in the long run.

3. Improving On-page SEO

Keyword research is the bedrock for producing content that would rank in the SERPs. Below are a few tips for creating SEO-optimized content.

i). Identifying low competition keywords

First, you need to figure out your seed keywords before expanding the list with additional ideas.

You can aid your search with the use of free SEO tools, this will help you identify keyword gaps based on researched data.  

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Going the easy route, you may decide to use terms from Google’s autosuggestions and the related question sections on the SERPs.

Google Autosuggestion

To get more and better research keyword opportunities, you can use the Keyword Finder tool.  With this tool,  you can explore hundreds of keyword variations.

You can also check this post for more SEO tools.

ii) Avoiding keyword stuffing/unnecessary word padding

There was a time when you could write crappy articles and stuff them with tons of keywords to manipulate the ranking algorithms…not anymore.

Doing that now could earn you a penalty and face the dangers of SEO keyword stuffing if you indulge in it.

Choose to write naturally and embed your keywords sparingly.  Make your copy look natural. Write meaningful content, be a reputable resource, and search engines will love your website and increase its Domain Authority.

4. Focus on low competition & longtail keywords.

Regardless of writing new content, or that your website is still in the sandbox, Google may still let you rank for some low-competition keywords.

If you’re unsure about the competition, you can always look at its difficulty score using a program like SEMrush.

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5. Deploy traffic through social media  

Social signals with translate to short-term traffic is a measure you can use to your advantage, especially in the brand new website’s early days.

Social media is key to any new site gaining trust with Google because it allows Google to see that your website is gaining traction on other platforms and it sends its crawling bots to investigate the webpage.

One method you can use to get social signals and traffic to your website is sharing your content on social media groups (with users of similar interest).

Secondly, if you have some money to spend, you could increase your reach by running Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest ads.

You can check this guide on how to create Pinterest Pins that work.

You can publish an article on your blog and run a Facebook or Pinterest ad to a relevant audience.

Besides adding, you can post in forums and Facebook groups as mentioned earlier. It would be more effective to offer more value by linking to one of your blog posts instead of just linking directly to your website’s homepage.

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Furthermore, Posting videos with attention-grabbing content on YouTube with regards to relevance would undoubtedly boost your website traffic because YouTube has no sandbox so you can rank quickly there and direct traffic to your website.

6. Limit Your Aggression

As a new website owner, you must understand that Google trusts old and well-established websites and would not hesitate to penalize new and yet-to-be-established websites that become spammy or adds black hat SEO methods.

While dealing with the Google sandbox effect may be a pain in the neck, trying to outsmart the Google algorithm to escape the sandbox effect by doing excessive off-page SEO work may backfire if done in a spammy way.

Therefore, allowing a new gradually but steady beginning can make it gain more trust from Google later on

7. Competitor Analysis

SEMrush is a smart tool used to analyze your competition, SEMrush works best when you want to know the keywords your competition is ranking for.

To achieve this, enter the URL of your rival in the tool dashboard, and a list of some of the terms they are ranking for will appear.

SEMRush Keyword Gap

Tools for Checking Google Sandbox Effect

There are no specific tools online to check if your website is spending some time in the Google Sandbox. Notwithstanding, some advanced analytics could help you.

For instance, a sudden boost in your website’s traffic after some period of low activity could be an indication that your website was in the Google sandbox.

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Also, the honeymoon period could be another indicator. This phenomenon is when a new website gets a splash of traffic from Google because the search engine checks how users interact with it.

After that, the site loses its rankings for some time again, and then traffic and rankings start to rise naturally.

Final Thoughts

Although being in the sandbox may be frustrating, know that it is just for a while. All you need to do is to follow the best practice and continue to upload quality content that adds value to readers.

Please share any experiences you may have had with these strategies in the comments section below. You are free to suggest any other methods.




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