Friday, December 02, 2005


Google Sandbox Effect: What the hell is it ?

A site is sandboxed when it is new and does not rank for keyword phrases that are not incredibly competitive (such as a unique company name) in Google after making the page "search engine friendly" and after being indexed. This phenomenon, the techies describe as Google Sandbox Effect

A sandboxed site doesn't means a site that has not been indexed by Google. That is wrong. Sandboxed sites are very much so indexed by Google, but have a hard time ranking for keyword phrases, no matter how competitive they are.

Origin of the name:

Guys from Search Engine Roundtable found existence of some form of issue with Google and new sites. The first post was named New Sites = Poor Results in Google, that was before it had a name. In a WebmasterWorld thread linked to from the "New Sites = Poor Results in Google" entry, the term "sandbox" came about. Later on, guest author SEO Guy posted an entry here using that title The Sandbox Effect, which helped make its name

Does the sandbox really exist?

Google engineer Matt Cutts has essentially acknowledged that a sandbox effect exists and that it's a product of their algorithm, and at least one other anonymous Google engineer is reported to referred to a "probation" period for new sites. Despite some differences in terminology, the sandbox as an abstraction for a specific sum of parts in Google's larger algorithm is almost certainly existent.

How long are sites sandboxed?

The reported sandbox period is extremely variable; ranging from 3 months to indefinite, the typical range though seems around 6-9 months, and one Google engineer has reportedly stated the actual range is 6-12 months. Many have observed that the period appears to correlate with industry competitiveness/popularity, with the most popular and commercial industries having the longest "probation" period.

10 methods to bypass or escape the sandbox

Note: I've avoided listing methods aimed at only minimizing your time in the sandbox—as opposed to methods of actually escaping it—as those are basically paramount to good SEO practises, which is obviously way beyond the scope of this article.

Definition and origin borrowed from
10 effective methods borrowed from

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