What is Google Sandbox and How to avoid it?

roggy

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Hi fellow members,
I want to know what is Google Sandbox and how to avoid it?
I have seen this terms more times on more forums and articles about SEO but I really didn't understand what it is?
 

Nytshade

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Sandbox no longer exists. But it was a place where Google used to put websites that violate their rules, so they would add them to a sandbox so that they don't show up in search results.

How do you avoid it? Don't do anything that violates Google's terms and conditions, anything that has to do with gaming the system.
 

elcidofaguy

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Hi Roggy,

Its an interesting subject as clearly there are divided opinions on this when you search online...

For me G's Sandbox or the observation of certain symptoms is related to brand new sites/domains which have no indexing history... In otherwords you could purchase a domain and keep it for years, but if you have not hosted it and created content for it then its the same as a brand new domain as it has no content/indexing history...

Many people believe that when websites first start off - G places a subtle restriction with preventing the websites from ranking too quickly... as part of efforts to clamp down on "fly-by-night" spammers... and over time that restriction eases as you add more content together with growth in authority metrics... i.e. G is begins to trust your site... So for new sites the theory is that such sites are under the radar with ranking restrictions in place... This is different to an algorithmic penalty such as penguin, panda etc..

That said - you can also explain these symptoms as follows... As its a new site then there is less content... So it stands for reason that you are not going to rank as well... Overtime with new/engaging content - G will begin to understand your website better and you'll be ranking for more keywords... My view is that its highly likely that there is some form of dampening filter applied to newly launched sites...

Here is an interesting quote from G's John Mueller:

From what I can tell, your site is still fairly new - with most of the content just a few months old, is that correct? In cases like that, it can take a bit of time for search engines to catch up with your content, and to learn to treat it appropriately. It's one thing to have a fantastic website, but search engines generally need a bit more to be able to confirm that, and to rank your site - your content - appropriately.

That said, if you're engaging in techniques like comment spam, forum profile link-dropping, dropping links in unrelated articles, or just placing it on random websites, then those would be things I'd strongly recommend stopping and cleaning up if you can.
Reference: [URLnf="https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/webmasters/dKxA1RSuZ8c/zhI9vZ6GXVgJ"]G's Web Master Central Help Forum[/URLnf]

Interesting quote.... and as such there is a small hint that the sandbox may well exist.... I'll leave that for everyone to make up their own minds ;-)

Regardless - the best way forward is to continue to develop your website with great content and to stay away from blackhat/spam ranking techniques etc....

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

Sid
 

Nytshade

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Sandbox is an old algorithm and John Mueller was not part of the Google team back then.

John Mueller didn't respond to a question about sandbox in a hangout and he said he'll have to check with the Google team. So John doesn't know anything about sandbox, people are taking the PayDay Loan algorithm and thinking it's sandbox.

I know a couple of people who had to claim their websites out of the sandbox slap back then and they were not new websites.
 

elcidofaguy

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Sandbox is an old algorithm and John Mueller was not part of the Google team back then.

John Mueller didn't respond to a question about sandbox in a hangout and he said he'll have to check with the Google team. So John doesn't know anything about sandbox, people are taking the PayDay Loan algorithm and thinking it's sandbox.

I know a couple of people who had to claim their websites out of the sandbox slap back then and they were not new websites.
Yo buddy! I think we're getting our wires crossed.... My interpretation of Google sandbox relates to brand new web sites/domains only.... and not algorithmic penalty such as penguin/panda etc... In addition I did point out that this is related to when a website has been indexed by G.. In otherwords if you have an old domain which has never had any content, history with G's index etc - then its treated in the same way... According to [URLnf="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_effect"]wiki[/URLnf]: "Active age of a domain should not be confused with the date of registration on a domain's WHOIS record, but instead refers to the time when Google first indexed pages on the domain.."

The theory is that new sites are deliberately handicapped until trust is built up... Even though John Mueller was not talking about "sandbox" directly - his comments leave a subtle hint as he talks about it being a relatively new website... G has never openly denied/admitted the existence of sandbox and as mentioned peoples opinion are split on this.... But its the closest I have found online as per statement from Googles own staff.... If you look up wikipedia on this topic the post provided is actually at reference under footer (5) [URLnf="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_effect"]here[/URLnf]...

This [URLnf="https://www.webduckdesigns.com/pages/website-resources/sandbox.php"]article[/URLnf] - clearly states "sandbox" relates to new sites as per my original post. Para 1:

The Google Sandbox Effect is a theory used to explain why newly-registered domains or domains with frequent ownership changes rank poorly in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). In other words new websites are put into a “sandbox” or a holding area and have their search ratings on hold until they can prove worthy of ranking.
So hopefully you can see my point... Sandbox is not about Google slap... Its nothing to do with a penalty arising from spamming etc... In fact I do not use the term "sandbox" to describe an algorithmic penalty at all and for me it is two separate things... Sandbox effect happens when you have a new website domain... Its an important difference... From your original post it looks like we are talking about two things... From your post:

Sandbox no longer exists. But it was a place where Google used to put websites that violate their rules, so they would add them to a sandbox so that they don't show up in search results.
It seems that you are talking about an algorithmic penalty as you reference "violation of rules" - but that's not the case wrt my understanding/definition of sandbox.... I'm talking about brand new sites and how they can appear to be handicapped until trust is built up by G....

That aside I did mention that its debatable as to whether it really exists as all new websites will naturally start at the bottom and build up over time... That said my personal view is that brand new websites have some form of dampening filter applied - which is removed once G places greater trust on that given site... But hey that's my personal opinion.... ;-)

I hope that clarifies my understanding/definition for "G's sandbox" for all concerned... For sure there are other interpretations ;-) ...

Cheers,

Sid
 
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