Google’s Sandbox is Real, But Here’s How to Get Out of it.

Everyone who begins a new website with SEO aim HAS to go through the Google Sandbox, but it’s temporary and if you do things right, you’ll get out of it.

how to get out of the google sandbox

My goal today is to help you understand the following things:

  • What the Google Sandbox is and if it’s a myth or real (it’s unofficially real).
  • Why despite it slowing down initial SEO success, it’s actually a GREAT thing to have.
  • I will list exactly what you need to do to get out of it as quickly as possible. It’s not a big deal, but it requires you grow content, be patient and stick through this “waiting period”.

So what is the Google Sandbox?

It’s an unofficial theory that basically says that for the first several months of a site coming into existence and trying to rank on Google, that it’ll undergo this “sandbox” period where it WON’T rank high, no matter…

  • How much content it has.
  • No matter how many backlinks it gets.
  • No matter how many social shares there are.
  • And basically no matter how many positive SEO things it does, that until that period passes, it’ll be stuck in the lower end rankings.

Now that period, like I said can be several months and in the sites I’ve personally made, that period has been around 6 or so months in general

There are cases too where that period is even longer and generally that applies to sites who do a bit too much affiliate linking or attempt to get ranked for really competitive keywords that already have a ton of websites ranking for them.

When I first experienced this, I was obviously frustrated, having to wait this long, but overtime, as I saw the same sandbox effect play out on the websites I’ve made throughout the years, I’ve become far more wise as to it’s importance…

Now I did mention that this is a theory which is unofficial…

It’s a theory because just about everyone who knows SEO terms and other processes to it, experiences it, including me and it’s unofficial because Google hasn’t officially talked about it from what I know. 

But they do a lot of things to evolve and update their search engine, without publicly announcing it and it is a fact that there have many unannounced algorithm changes. 

But if you’ve ever made a site and tried to rank it, you know it takes longer than expected (at first), even if you do everything right. Clearly, there is at least “some” truth to this theory and in fact, I happen to think it’s real because ever single website I have created with SEO intent always had a long period of months before it started to rank (as did anyone I know who also started in SEO) and that is proof enough of the sandbox existing.

But whatever is done by Google openly or in secret, we as webmasters see the results though (our rankings change) and all the stories say that it’s real. 

Don’t let the sandbox monster stop you…

While many SEO folks freak out, especially when they first encounter this “monster”, it’s really not a big deal.

Because as I’ve said how I’ve personally seen this particular thing play out again and again on all my sites and other on other people’s sites, I know how to proceed to get out of it so what I want to say is…don’t let the sandbox monster scare you.

Do the things I’ll be talking about shortly, and before you know it, your site will be out of it.

Next, I want you to understand why I’m not worried. It isn’t just because of experience and knowing that this thing eventually ends, it’s also because this system makes total sense if you gone through it as many times as I have…

There is no monster, and here’s why:

Google sandbox is in my opinion just another word for “website maturity”, where you simply don’t get that favor from them until your site “matures” or “grows” to the point where it can be taken seriously. And there’s many people who don’t know about this maturity period who get into SEO, don’t see fast rankings, and think they failed, or that this stuff is dead.

What makes that maturity grow? Content and time.

And frankly, there is nothing else that is as important. Think about the progression of a human being and their experiences. As they grow, so do their experiences and with that, their “authority” in the eyes of others grows too.

In my opinion, it is very wise on Google’s part to have this whole set up. A website that DESERVES to get more respect from the #1 search engine has to earn it and it has to earn that with what I said makes it mature: Content and time.

So let me show you how to get out of this thing:

There’s no escaping that maturity period, you HAVE to go through it, so accept that right now. However, despite that being a given, during this maturity, waiting period, you have to do the following 5 things as often as possible, so when your site does overcome that maturity period, it’ll EXPLODE with success:

how to get out of google sandbox

For the first few months that you are doing this, you ARE going to get frustrated waiting for this maturity thing to end, and you WILL see your rankings go crazy, but hardly every hit page 1, as you’ll be seeing a Google dance…

But no matter how chaotic or frustrating it gets, you HAVE to stick to those 5 tips, especially the tips about blogging frequently as well as interlinking those blog posts, that is huge.

That waiting period WILL end and when it does, the more of those things you did, the better your maturity will look in Google’s eyes. As such, you will see many more rankings hit their mark at top spots.

If you take 2 websites which TRY to utilize these tips and…

1 of them writes 20 blog posts in 6 months, while the other writes 150, by the time both sites are ready to cross that maturity point, Google will love the second site way more and reward it better, for obvious reasons, so that stuff I said about seeds plays a MAJOR role in understanding why during this waiting period, you can’t just wait, you need to work on the site and do those 5 things as much as you can.

Following the sandbox period…

While most people who don’t understand this thing will quit before the waiting period ends, you won’t because you know how it works now. 

Once you pass that waiting period and truly see what I have seen again and again happen to websites that don’t let that waiting period stop them from growing, every future piece of content will now be classified under a much higher tier of ranking in the future.

Now that tier is actually something I talked about when I was explaining the Google dance here. Basically, sandbox sites go through the 2nd and 3rd tiers, while those who pass it following the guidelines I set, are in tier 1. 

So stop worrying about this waiting period for your site. It’s there, it’ll be there and it’ll pass if you do what I told you to.

Here is how 3 sites of mine performed after they passed the sandbox period:

Site 1: For the first 6 months (pre maturity point), it was getting about 20 organic visitors. Post 6 months, it jumped to over 100 daily.

Site 2: Pre maturity point, it was at 10 visits daily, then it jumped to 200 post maturity point.

Site 3: During the pre maturity period, it was at 5 visits a day as well, then it jumped to 50+ visits daily post. And here’s one example of this:

what is google sandbox

And currently, this is what is going on with my HelpingHandSEO.com. I started it in late August of 2018. This article has been published towards the end of November 2018, which would make my site a little over 3 months old. 

Given that I explained that the sandbox effect lasts for about 6 months, I’m still obviously in it, but I have 0 worries whatsoever because once again, I have gone through this many times, and it always turns out well when you follow those 5 rules I gave you.

Can a website go back to the Google Sandbox?

Here’s some context for this question:

Suppose a website left the Google Sandbox, is experiencing great rankings and traffic. Could such a site ever return back to that sandbox?

The answer is yes and here are the circumstances under which such a thing could happen:

1) You stop creating new content for the website for a VERY long period of time.

Let me give you an example…

I had a page that I only wrote 12 articles on and it was getting some rankings after a few months and showing good potential. I stopped posting on the same page for nearly a year because I didn’t have time for it, and only recently did I go back to the same page and started posting again, and very frequently. 

What I noticed is that this page went back to the sandbox, because despite the new, great content I was putting up, I was barely getting any rankings for it. This is a sign that the page went back to this grading period. But I am following the same guidelines I talked about to get it back out again (and it will). So the solution to this scenario is to literally do what I had been throughout this article.

2) A penalty occurred. 

Google penalizes websites generally for these reasons and if your page was hit with such a penalty (like Google Medic), then it first needs to correct the issue to remove the penalty, and then it must undergo the same grace period (Google’s Sandbox) to get great rankings again.

One option in this case is to start a new website, but that would also mean that this same new website would still have to go through the same sandbox, so you would need to decide if the said page which was penalized is worth saving or if it’s better to just start fresh. If a penalty hits a site that isn’t really big, I’d just recommend you start with a new one.

18 thoughts on “Google’s Sandbox is Real, But Here’s How to Get Out of it.”

  1. Hi Vitaliy,

    Thanks to you, I kept pushing forward and reaping the rewards now! Like most people, I was in my 4 months and still didn’t see any significant traffic (20 per months at most). Yes, I wrote about 50 articles and each had at least 2k words.

    I was under the impression that a lot of high-quality content should be bringing in content quickly. I honestly was ready to give up until I went on YouTube to search what could be wrong and saw your video. That explains the traffic issues.

    I went back to the site and followed all your tips and my site is 7 months old now. Guess what? Month 5 brought in 120 visits. Month 6 brought in 10,233 total visits! As for this month, I got 7,200 visits already as of today, with 20 more days left for the month!

    So for anyone about to give up, follow the tips in this article!!! And from experience, Google Sandbox is real!

    • Sam, I am VERY happy to hear you stuck it through the Google sandbox and LOVE how your traffic has exploded in HUGE numbers! Well done on sticking this out, finding my video.

      Just make sure now that you are seeing results, to NOT stop content production. Use this new authority you have from Google to create NEW content that chases other keywords and get that other traffic to your site. Now is not the time to slow down the content production, but to grow it. Keep me posted!

  2. Thanks so much for putting it into perspective! I like the way you explain this, makes sense to me. I started my first website last fall, and have over 60 blogs on it. My second site is less than 6 months old.  

    I target low competition keywords as much as possible but still not seeing much improvement in the number of visitors to my first site. In reading your article I’m hopeful that my site is about to turn a corner and things will improve quickly.

    • Hi Annette, you mentioned your first site has 60 blog posts, but how old is that site and are you following the principals I mentioned here on ranking well? 

      As for your second site, because it is not yet 6 months old, I suspect that this is why it’s still not seeing the rankings, but that doesn’t change anything, you should still build it up.

  3. I love this article. I understand a lot more about SEO now and how it works. I just started an affiliate website and recently found out that I was ranked on Google. Of course, I was thrilled but had no idea how to get higher rankings. I knew that I had to produce more content but I did not have the vision of how it worked.

    Your post gave me an informed and complete view of how to receive good rankings. I initially thought like most newbies that once I’m indexed on Google I would immediately start getting clicks and customers. 

    I soon found out how unrealistic that was. I had no idea how to fix the problem…until now. I will definitely keep reading your blogs. This is a textbook on how to write successful blogs. I’ve learned so much already. 

    Your information on interlinking and the sandbox is phenomenal. I had no knowledge of interlinking or many of the other links that you mentioned. You gave me new insights on how to manage and build a successful website. 

    I now feel that it would not take forever for me to accomplish my goals.

  4. Hi Vitaliy,

    This is another great article! I feel that I’m learning so much from your website.

    My site is only about 6 weeks old, just a baby, so it’s definitely playing in the Google sandbox. Like most people, I’m impatient for it to climb out and start getting lots of traffic, but your article really helps me to be more patient and keep working hard.

    I really like the way you spell out the 5 things to do, and I’m going to take your advice and focus on those so that when my site gets out of the Google sandbox it will hopefully explode with traffic! I didn’t realize internally linking between articles was so important. And what a brilliant idea to do internal linking in the comments as well.

    Thanks for sharing all this great info! It’s not only helpful in a practical sense so we know exactly what to do to improve our Google rankings and traffic, but it gives people the encouragement they need to stay the course. Well done!

    Kind Regards,

    Joanie

    • Hi Joanie I know that impatience people who are new to SEO have with their sites and believe me, once you see it play out with your first site, you will feel much better when you start your second and wait for that one to get out of it too. 

  5. Never heard of the Google Sandbox so I appreciate the info in this article. It’s interesting that it takes about six months before you can get out of the sandbox and start to rank.

    Since it is unofficial and Google hasn’t mentioned it, that’s probably why I have not heard of it. It makes sense that a website needs to mature before getting noticed to any great extent in the rankings.  

    This is nothing that I would worry about because my main goal is to provide value to people with good quality content and look to rank on low competition keywords. I know over time my posts will get recognized.

    Thanks for these great insights into the SEO world.  Much appreciated.

  6. I’ve been frustrated by my inability to rank on Google, given that I post good content frequently, get good comments on my posts, and typically am on page 1 of Bing within a few hours of submitting my latest post’s URL to Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console.

    My reaction is “Bing can do it, so why can’t you, Google?”. Now I’ve heard rumors of the Google sandbox for years, but your article, backed up by real live experience, has clarified it for me.

    Not just clarified, but encouraged. One of my sites is around 3 months old. As I said above, its posts get ranked in Bing quickly but are nowhere to be seen in Google. Now I feel I know why.

    I’ll keep doing the 5 things you recommend and wait out the next 3 months as patiently as I can.

    A great article Vitaliy. 

    Thanks.

    • Hi Phil, the fact that you’re getting rankings in Bing is also a great prelude to what you may be seeing when Google take your site out of the sandbox and it’s great news. Keep blogging frequently and doing the same things you have been, this is bound to reward you in the later months.

      Once you see this for yourself, you will never have to worry about the sandbox ever again, even if you start a new site (you’ll expect it this time and know how it works out).

  7. This was an interesting post because some months back I was on my phone pressing the Google search bar and saw some news articles about the Google Sandbox. My first site is now a good year and some change old but I was procrastinating more then I should have so this site got neglected. I did write articles but they were a few here and there. 

    I agree it was in the sandbox now since it has been around a year and change. My site isn’t getting a lot of traffic since I procrastinated a lot with it but now been way more active. I got a kick in the face when I realized if I don’t do this I will be waking up at 3 am everyday with a two hour commute 5 days a week. 

    Now onto my second site which I actually started right around when you started this site in August of this year. I would work on it through my time going to work and home, a few posts are ranking high then there are others that aren’t. Most of my posts are at least 2k words.

    I do totally agree with experiencing the Google Sandbox and I have no problems with it. Bing does favor me more though and I have liked Bing more than google. 

    Thanks for the share, this will help others not be as discouraged with rankings when they find out what the Google Sandbox is. 

    Matt

    • Hi Matt, Bing usually ranks sites in a similar order as Google, but you can also use THEIR webmaster tools bar to index sites on that search engine and I’ll likely do a tutorial since that also counts as SEO, even though it’s on Bing.

  8. Whelp, I’m right there in the sandbox as you’ve mentioned. I started working on my site consistently about 2 months ago. Google’s starting to recognize it a little here and there, but your post hit the nail on the head with what’s going on. Some posts rank and then they disappear. I get a few organic searches here and there but nothing consistent yet. 

    So thank you for this post! I know I can’t start to worry for another several months. I just have to keep writing and forge ahead! Is there anytime that you’ve seen where this hasn’t happened? Is anyone able to get out of the sandbox earlier? 

    • Every site has to undergo the sandbox effect Christina, the only exceptions where they get out of it faster is when they follow the same tips I put, but in a fast manner. The more people engage in growing their site, the faster Google begins to take it more seriously.

  9. Thanks for creating this resource. I’ve seen a lot of varying opinions in the world of SEO regarding the ‘sandbox’ principle. I think the actual answer is along the same lines as what you’re saying here.

    The sandbox isn’t an intentional feature of Google, but a side effect of the ranking factors. It’s only natural that the fact Google requires high ranking sites to be trusted by them, means that new sites are pushed down in the rankings. Google isn’t deliberately giving new sites low rankings, but it is rewarding authoritative sites; and this leads to the whole ‘sandbox’ myth. Do you agree? 

    • Hi Danny, yes I agree with that, it’s another way to look at the sandbox and it being a natural SEO occurrence, rather than an actual algorithmic issue. 

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