Google Sandbox definition - What is the Google Sandbox?

Google Sandbox Definition – What is the Google Sandbox?

By Sadie on April 14, 2010

google sandbox

What is Google Sandbox?

As a Manchester SEO company, it is important to know what Google can penalise you for and factors that will prevent a site from getting ranked. A common inhibitor of getting ranked is the Google sandbox, but what is it?

At Falkon Digital, we avoid any SEO practices that will cause a site to be penalised by Google or any other Search Engine, but we often inherit a website that has already been penalised or is in Google’s sandbox.

Many SEO’s argue that the Google sandbox does not exist, but for the sake of argument, in this article, we will assume that it does. Even if it does not officially exist, the symptoms of a sandbox are very common, the site gets cached but not indexed for months and months, then all of a sudden, for seemingly no reason it appears again.

The Google sandbox phenomena is most common in brand new sites, but can also happen to older sites -which I will explain later-it is different to a Google penalty.

There are 2 common understandings of the Google sandbox:

1. Google Sandbox can be the period of time a new site takes before earning trust in Google’s eyes, during this period Google does not index the site in it’s SERP’s.
A new website that has just been launched will be hard to find straight away, although if the site is built to be accessible with clean code it will be indexed in a few weeks, sometimes a few days. Unless the site is in a niche area it is unlikely that it will be ranked at the top of the SERP’s for some time as will need to gain trust.

2. Google Sandbox can also when a site suddenly drops from the SERPs.
If a site suddenly sees a drop in its ranking, especially a relatively new site, it could be that the site was too aggressively promoted at the beginning, or in a short period of time. Aggressive promotion can include the sporadic addition of content, a lot of link building in a short amount of time, especially from irrelevant or spammy sites. If this happens, it can take a while before your website will be indexed again – perhaps several months.


Has my site been penalised or is it in a Google sandbox?

As I mentioned earlier there is a difference between your site being in a Google sandbox and being penalised, most penalties occur when the site owner did something wrong but unintentionally.

The first and most obvious clue that you’re being penalised is the website not showing up in a search for your main keywords. This can sometimes be highlighted in older sites with a big drop from high positions, to seemingly nowhere. This can be observed through a drop in traffic as well, however, it is hard for new sites to measure as some traffic can be seasonal so less traffic may be normal. You should closely monitor your rankings and traffic, but remember the weight watchers rule – the first rule of weight watchers is don’t weigh yourself every day, do it weekly or monthly to see more accurate results, the same should be applied to your SEO campaign.

If your website doesn’t show up for the domain name you have definitely been penalised, also check your site in Yahoo and Bing, if it is still showing in these search engines, the chances are Google has penalised the website. To check if your site has been sandboxed, you may need to install Google webmaster tools and see how many pages are being indexed.