Saturday, October 15, 2011

Google Sandbox for New Websites

Webmasters or blog owners spend their precious hours, days or months to build their web pages. They prepare their content, try to set an eye-catching design, struggle with possible software and hosting problems and finally make their pages ready for the exciting launch night. However, they confront a nightmare right after they launch their brand new web pages.

The mighty Google does not help them for traffic.

The right question to ask before getting frustrated is; "Have you heard of the Google Sandbox concept?"

It is called sandbox because your website is put in an area where you are isolated from others. If you are sent to sandbox, you can't compete with old and established ones till your lovely website proves itself. You need to play with other children and you will need time; you will need to grow before playing with adults. If you grow up and gain Google's trust, then you can rank well on SERPs.

Why is Google doing that Aging Delay?

It was first observed after the update in 2004. (By the way "Google Sandbox" is not an official term agreed by Google, it is called like that by the web community) Before that change, spam websites were using Google as a ground for earning easy money overnight. There were lots of abuse, spam was everywhere. Spammers were preparing websites with copy/paste, getting good rankings for competitive words quickly on SERPs, taking huge amounts of traffic easily and search engines were helping them a lot. At that time it was getting hard for search engine users to find quality websites because of this "earn easy money online" strategies.

So starting from that update, Google changed its algorithm and started to apply some filters to prevent this kind of tricky business. New websites no longer rank well easily on SERPs.

I should also mention that older websites are also sent to sandbox if they are penalized. That is a different topic and there are lots of differences between being in sandbox as a young website or an old website. This article is only about new websites and I will write another article about older websites in future. So you may ask "Am I penalized and sent to sandbox or am I waiting in sandbox because I am a newcomer?"

How can you understand that your new website is in Google Sandbox?

These are some symptoms if you have a new website and waiting in sandbox:

  • Usually this sandbox filter affects new websites which are 0-12 months old.
  • Most of the time this aging delay is for new registered domains. However in some cases it is observed that using older domains are also not a solution for this delay if its content and web pages are newly created.
  • When you try "" in Google, your pages will be shown in the results. That means you are not banned totally, bots can visit and index your webpages. (Also give search engines some time for indexing your new pages; search their index after 1-2 weeks from website launch)
  • When you look at your analytics programs or server logs, you will see that you are getting visitors from Google only with your brand or company name as search keywords.
  • When you search for your targeted keywords in Google, your website won't be in SERPs or will be between 30th-50th pages.
  • Other search engines might send you traffic with your targeted keywords. (Though you can read differently elsewhere, I believe Yahoo and Bing also started to use some similar filters in their algorithms for new websites, they are also fighting with spam, right?)
  • Your website will not rank well for highly relevant keywords or even long tail less competitive keywords.

What can I do, how can I get out from sandbox?

You will not like my answers for this question. Essentially the solution is time. You need to wait, wait and wait. Most likely you will wait for 3 to 12 months after your website launch. This duration is changing with the competition on your targeted keywords. If you are planning to rank well in a competitive market, you will have to wait longer.

People say this kind of filter does not exist. But in my opinion every website passes through this kind of filter. Some stays very long in sandbox since they are aiming highly competitive markets. Some does not wait, even feel a sense of waiting since their targeted keywords are not so popular and challenging for ranking mechanism.

I know it is hard to wait but be patient. Use this time for your advantage. Don't ever use black hat SEO techniques. Just try to improve your content, do your white hat SEO work, increase your brand value with marketing, use social media to promote your pages. Avoiding this filter is impossible so don't believe in some tricky articles or videos.

My ultimate advice, always try climbing the hard path, it will be worth it.

Don't forget, it is just a probationary period to prevent spam. If you are planning some good business with your website or blog, you will be glad about this sort of filter in future. Because when you pass this "frustrating" time, when you start playing with adults, this filter also will protect you from spammy competitors.

Aykut Pehlivanoglu lives in Ankara, Turkey. He is Co-Founder and CEO of PB Bilisim since 2007. His company owns a website network which includes well-known ones like Gametator, Worth Of Web and Suggest Me Movie.

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