It can seem unfair for a brand new website to get on top of the SERPs as soon as it lands. Some old websites have worked tirelessly to follow Google’s everchanging algorithms to earn a good ranking. To balance the effort that content creators put into their SEO and ranking, Google has created Sandbox.
Google Sandbox is the period that a new site has to go over before it can rank in the top position on the SERPs. This waiting time is not a penalty. Thus, even if you have perfected your web design and SEO you will be unable to rank higher than a certain limit. Even though Google has never confirmed the idea of Sandbox, many users believe it does exist.
Since as early as 2004, speculation began about new websites being unable to rank higher. This was mainly because despite the efforts the sites made in their SEO, they would still not benefit from them for months. Moreover, webmasters grew confident in the idea of Sandbox after they noticed that these websites ranked much higher on other search engines. Even though these websites would be duly indexed by Google and would not be ranked even for the low competition keywords. The results of this ‘Sandbox’ period lasted from several weeks to months. Yet, it made some sense as users would not be able to trust new sites instantly.
There is a lot at stake when ranking new websites on top. This is because to analyze a website and take all factors into account, Google requires time. This Sandbox period helps evaluate these websites thoroughly to ensure it’s a safe site for all users. Another major aspect of SEO is backlinks. It’s almost impossible for these new websites to build a strong network of backlinks. As a result, they will not be able to rank higher than the websites that do. It also does not seem fair for these websites to get a top-ranking shot with a clean slate rather than ones who have worked hard to amend their web page alongside Google’s SEO factors.
In addition, there are multiple other factors for SEO. These include the click-through rate (CTR), conversion rates, dwell time, pogo-sticking and many others. Most of these factors depend on time and clicks, which a new page will not have the leverage of. Therefore other pages will be ahead of them regardless of how spotless their SEO is. This further instigated a new concept for online creators known as the ‘honeymoon’ period. The honeymoon period allowed these new webpages to rank higher on the SERPs for a short time. This gave the page recognition and time for Google to observe its performance.
To check if you’re a victim to such a waiting period for a deserved ranking, you can use Google’s Search Console. Since this is not an official problem, you will not be notified of your site being in Sandbox. Before you start wondering how long it takes for you to rank on google, TRY TO GET OUT OF SANDBOX! After you have opened the Search console, click on ‘search traffic,’ click on the search analytics and go through the Pages. If you have a focus keyword and a well-optimized site, and yet your site ranks better for other keywords than your focus keyword, your site may be in Sandbox. However, if you don’t want to go through the analyses yourself, you can use a tool to identify if your site is in Sandbox. Some of the popular tools include Search Engine Genie and Fruition.
It is most certainly possible to avoid this waiting period using a few techniques. A new website has more of an advantage for PR and link building. These will create a snowball effect for likes, shares and a lot more clicks for brand new websites on their launch day. To further increase your chances for a better ranking, you can publish articles on related blogs. You can even use a related famous influencer interview as your first post. This will generate more traffic for the site and improve the CTR. To sum it up, do all the ‘white hat’ tricks to promote your site.
Types of things to refrain from to get your site out of Sandbox
Never optimize your work to the extent of compromising the quality of your content. A good ratio to keep in mind before stuffing your content with focus keywords is five keywords for every 1000 words. Try to make your text sound natural.
Whether it’s an Algorithm penalty or a Manual penalty, be sure to fix the problem at hand. You can go through your Search Traffic and click on Manual action to see if you have an algorithm penalty. Whereas, if you have a manual penalty, Google will email you a list of things you can do to fix it. So, simply go through your mail to check if Google has sent you such an email.
Google can identify unnatural backlinks. So, you need to track and disavow any spam backlinks.