What Is Google Sandbox?
Part of Google’s algorithm has always been the number of links to a site, and Google is aware that this system can be manipulated through link spam. Over the past few years Google has changed its algorithm to try and minimize such manipulations.
Link spam happens when a new website receives a lot of new inbound links from other sites including other sites that are owned by the same person.
If Google feels like a site has too much link spam it will not give the links the same amount of credit which in turn will not allow your website to rank. When you go from ranking to not ranking in a short period of time, it is possible that your site is in the Google Sandbox.
It has been found that there are two main factors that would cause this to happen: the active age of a domain, and how competitive the keyword used in the links is.
Active age of a domain refers to the amount of time that has passed since Google first indexed the website, not the date of registration of the website.
A more competitive keyword refers to how often a keyword is searched on Google, the higher the frequency of the search, the more likely that the sandbox filter will take effect.
It has been debated for years If the “Google Sandbox” actually exists or not. Google has not come out and said anything about it. However, as the sandbox effect refers to a specific set of filters that are used for anti-spam purposes, it is not likely that Google would provide too much information about it.
How can you tell if you are in Google’s Sandbox?
Now that you have an understanding of the Google sandbox, the question becomes how can you tell if your site is in the sandbox? To do this it is important to find out if the entire site has been dropped from Google or if the rankings have just dropped for particular keywords.
The easiest way to do this is to complete a search for your site in Google by typing in “site:www.yourdomain.com” (replace www.yourdomain.com with your website’s URL).
If your Google search comes back with your website in the results and your website has recently made a big drop in the rankings, you are still being indexed by Google, but have probably been placed in the sandbox. If it comes back with no search result it means that you have been dropped entirely by Google.
How do you Escape From The Google Sandbox
The best way to get out of the Google Sandbox is to start acquiring quality links from high PR websites to your website. If you sit and do nothing you will end up staying in the Google sandbox for a longer period of time, or you may never get out.
If you stick with a long term link building plan and keep adding quality inbound links the filter used will stop having such a large effect on your site and your rankings should return to normal within a few months.
Websites that are constantly being optimized during the time that they are in the sandbox were able to see a high ranking for their targeted keyword once the sandbox effect ended.
This Sandbox effect just happened to my friend’s site who is trying to sell HCG Drops. They began with an aggressive link-building strategy to a new site and moved to rank as high as 142, and then the next day there were not ranked.
The site is still being indexed by Google, but because of the competitive keyword, new site, and aggressive link-building activity, they were sandboxed.
Make sure that if you are hiring someone to do search engine optimization for you that they understand these factors to make sure that your website does not go into the Google Sandbox.