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The Google sandbox affects every website owner at some point.
When you buy a new domain and launch your website, you will enter the Google sandbox period. There’s no way around it.
But how long you are there is completely up to you. It’s very possible to get out of the Google sandbox period within a few weeks. You just need to:
- Make the right changes to your website
- Send the right signals to Google
In this blog, I will share 5x strategies you can use to get out of the Google sandbox as quickly as possible.
The last strategy can even help you avoid it altogether!
What Will I Learn?
What Is The Google Sandbox?
Google sandbox is Google’s filter to stop new websites ranking in the top search results.
Think of the Google sandbox like a “probation period“.
Google is testing your website to make sure it offers quality and trustworthy content that will benefit its users.
The Google sandbox has never actually been confirmed.
Most SEOs believe that it exists because, after lots of testing, there is a consistent effect that stops new sites from ranking.
If you start a new website, you will be placed in the Google sandbox.
The Origins Of Google Sandbox
In 2004, site owners and SEOs started to notice a new trend with new sites.
No matter what they did, there was a period that the site wouldn’t rank in Google.
It would take at least a few months and sometimes longer before newly launched websites would see any top organic search engine rankings.
This period was only isolated to the Google search engine. New sites could obtain almost instant rankings with search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
So, after loads of testing from SEOs worldwide, a general consensus was reached… Google did in fact “sandbox” newly launched websites.
For how long?
The “sandbox effect” can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Some website owners even claimed their sandbox period lasted up to 9 months!
It makes sense: Google only wants to show high-authority and trustworthy websites to their users. Building that authority and trust with Google takes time.
You wouldn’t actively promote a business you know nothing about, right?
Google feels the same way about your new site.
5x Pro Tips To Reduce Your Google Sandbox Period
But just because a sandbox period exists doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.
Follow these 5 tips to reduce your time in the Google sandbox.
1. Get Indexed By Google
The best thing to do is ensure Google knows you exist.
The fastest way to get indexed by Google is through search engine submission.
You need to submit your website URLs to Google so that they can crawl your entire site. The goal here is to make your website as accessible as possible.
Google spiders are smart, but they aren’t perfect. You must do everything you can to ensure that Google will find every page on your website.
Here’s how to do it:
First you need to find your XML sitemap. The XML sitemap is just what the name says – a complete map of every page on your site.
Every website provider hosts sitemaps on different URLs. The easiest way to find your XML sitemap is by trying a bunch of URLs.
Type your domain into a browser and add the following endings:
Most likely it will be one of these.
If you don’t find your XML sitemap, you may need to create one. Use a tool like RankMath to do it for you.
Now that you have your XML sitemap it’s time to let Google know.
Log into Google Search Console and click on sitemaps.
Paste your XML sitemap URL into the box and click submit.
That’s it! You should see “success” in green under status.
The Google spiders will now use your sitemap as a reference to crawling each page of your website.
2. Optimise Your Website For Google
Your website is live and you have submitted it for indexing to Google. Now it’s time to dive into your website and start optimising it.
You want to build as much TRUST as possible with Google as quickly as possible.
To do this you need to:
- Do a website audit
- Implement on-page SEO
- Create amazing content
These 3 elements will tickle Google’s heart and make it super easy to understand what your website is about.
When Google understands your website, it’s easier to categorise your site in the index and work out where to rank you in the SERPs.
In-depth website audits take a lot of time and are hard to do.
So I’m going to simplify it for you. Follow these 5 steps in order:
- Listen to your audience – see what your audience wants to learn about.
- Manually observe site problems – take a quick stroll through your website and look for areas you can improve.
- Perform technical spot checks – ensure your website loads fast and you have an optimised mobile version.
- Scan your site with an SEO audit tool – Use Ahrefs, Semrush or Website Auditor.
- Create a plan of attack – Write down all of the things you can do to improve your site and number them from most important to least important.
With a plan in place, work down the list until everything is checked off. This will:
- Make Google very happy with your site
- Start to build trust with them
For more information on each step in the audit, check out my 5 step SEO audit guide.
On-page SEO is critical to getting out of the Google sandbox quickly.
Think of on-page SEO factors like little signals. They help Google understand what your website is about so they can categorise it correctly.
Google is pretty good at understanding your website on its own, but your goal is to make it as easy as possible, right?
That’s where on-page SEO comes in.
There are over 200 On-page SEO factors. But don’t let that scare you! Not all on-page SEO factors are created equal.
There are 5 really important ones that you need to focus on-
- Mobile responsive: Ensure your site is optimised for mobile devices.
- Website speed: Your website needs to load fast for users.
- Keyword at the start of your title tag: Put your primary keyword at the beginning of your title.
- Internal linking: Link relevant pages of your website together.
- Length of content: Make sure your website content is in-depth and comprehensive.
Focus on each of these and your on-page SEO should be in the right place.
Do you really want to smash your on-page SEO out of the park? Complete each step in my on-page SEO checklist.
Create Amazing Content
You’ve done the SEO audit and your on-page SEO is good.
The last step is to create awesome content your readers will love.
You should already have a good idea of what content your readers want from the SEO audit you did earlier.
Now you need to:
- Plan your content topics
- Do keyword research for each topic
- Create a content plan
- Start writing
Creating great content is all about consistency.
Build a content plan that you can stick to and be consistent. This is the secret to building more trust with Google and breaking out of the sandbox quickly.
There’s no reason you can’t do the same!
3. Get Social Media Signals
Social signals are the sum of all your-
- Social media visibility
Why are social signals important for SEO?
Google looks at each of these metrics to see what people think of you on social media. The more you have, the more Google will trust you.
Think of social signals as a form of citation – similar to backlinks.
There are a few things you can do to get more social signals:
- Post regularly on different social media channels
- Use images and videos in your content to get more shares
- Respond to your social media comments
- Create a profile/page on every social media site
- Add social sharing buttons to your website
Social signals are relatively easy to increase and they are a great way to build trust and authority with Google.As an added bonus, you should end up driving some social media traffic to your website as well.
4. Increase Your Site Authority
By following the first 3 tips, you should be giving Google all of the trust signals they need.
But you also need to build your website’s authority as quickly as possible. One of the best ways to measure your website’s authority is with the Domain Authority metric.
Domain Authority was created by Moz and measures how likely your website is to rank in the search results.
Here’s why it works:
Google thinks of external links from other peoples websites to yours as “mini endorsements“.
When you receive these endorsements (links) from bigger websites, your domain authority increases and Google is more likely to promote your website in the SERPs.
That’s why link building is one of the most effective ways to get out of the Google sandbox quickly. Don’t know how to build links?
Use any of these 15x link building strategies to build high authority backlinks to your site.
Word of warning – Link building is hard work. It takes lots of time and effort to acquire quality links that will increase your domain authority.
Looking for an easier option?
We have the best quality control process of any link building agency online. That means we only build links that will improve your website’s domain authority.
5. Buy An Expired Domain
Want to skip the Google sandbox altogether?
Buying expired domains and building your website on them is the best strategy to stop your new website from ever being put into the sandbox.
Let me explain why:
Expired domains are domain names that have been registered in the past but weren’t renewed beyond the initial registration period.
Because they didn’t get renewed, their registration expires and they become available for re-registration by anyone that wants it.
A good expired domain already has:
- High domain authority
- An established link profile
This means it already has built trust with Google and may not be sandboxed when you launch your new website.
It gives you a huge head start! Quite often creating a content-rich website on a powerful expired domain is more than enough to reach the first page of Google.
There are two ways I find high quality expired domains:
- Trusted domain marketplace
- Expired domain tools
My favourite domain marketplace is ODYS Global.
They list premium expired domains with high authority and often already come with website traffic.
They’ll also give you a report on the history and usage of the domain before you buy it. This makes it super easy to pick up a high authority domain that can help you skip the sandbox period.
Domains on ODYS are premium. This means you’ll need a decent budget to purchase a quality domain from them.
Want to get your hands dirty and find an expired domain bargain?
There are two tools that I highly recommend:
These powerful tools will identify quality domains that are just about to expire. When they do, you can snap them for a great price!
Watch the video below to see how I find powerful expired domains:
If you haven’t bought a domain for your website yet, consider buying an expired domain instead of a new one!
This will save you tons of time and can help you avoid the Google sandbox altogether!
3x Reasons Why Your Still In The Google Sandbox
If you are currently in the Google sandbox period, I want to shed some light on why you might be stuck there.
These are the three main reasons most websites get stuck in the Google sandbox stage.
1. You Don’t Publish Enough Content
“Content is king.“
And that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Quality content is the lifeblood of your website. It’s how you rank for different high-value keywords and get your ideal prospects clicking through to your website.
Lots of people who get stuck in the Google sandbox for an extended period just aren’t publishing enough content.
Why does Google need to see content?
Google uses content to understand the topical relevance of your website.
Without it, they just won’t know what to do with your new site and could leave you in the sandbox period for longer.
At a bare minimum, publish 1-2 new pieces of new content every week for a couple of months. Ensure that your core pages:
… Have at least 500 words on them.
This will give Google a solid idea of what your website is about and help you escape the sandbox faster.
2. You Don’t Have High-Quality Links
If content is king, then quality links are definitely queen.
Backlinks are considered a top 3 Google ranking factors. Without them, you are going to be stuck for a while.
Think about it from Google’s perspective:
If your site’s content pages don’t have many backlinks and your domain isn’t strong enough to pass “link juice” onto your content pages, why would Google promote your website over an established website?
They know what the established website is about and they have tons of backlinks (endorsements) from other site owners.
Why would they risk your website over one they already know and trust?
For the first 3 months, build links to your home page. Then alternate your link building from your home page to your content pages after that.
3. User Experience Signals
As you now know, Google is all about user experience.
And if your website is sending the wrong user experience signals it’s not likely to be ranked anytime soon.
Google has never officially confirmed that they track user experience signals as part of their algorithm. But many SEOs are convinced that they keep a close on signals such as:
- Click-thru-rate (CTR)
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on page
And multiple other factors.
Until Google is confident it has enough behavioural data to understand the quality of your website and compare it to other similar sites, they might not rank you for your target keywords.
Your website should be completely user-focused.
Ensure that it-
- Loads fast
- Has good content
- Provides value
- Is easy to navigate
This will get people flowing around your website nicely and send the right user experience signals to Google.
GROWTH ALERT: Sign up for my free link building training.
Wrapping It Up
The Google sandbox effect applies to all new domains. But that doesn’t mean you have to be in there for long.
Escape the Sandbox period quickly by:
- Getting indexed by Google
- Optimising your website
- Increasing social signals
- Building the authority of your site
The best way to avoid Google sandbox altogether is by buying an expired domain – not a new one. If you haven’t chosen a domain yet, this is where you should start!
This is the fastest way to get your new website crushing the SERPs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Google Sandbox still exist?
Google officially denies that Google sandbox still exists. But many SEOs and website owners still believe it exists today. Through independent testing, there is strong evidence to support a Google sandbox period that ranges from a few weeks to several months.
What is Google sandbox in SEO?
Google Sandbox in SEO is the dedicated period of time that all new websites have to go through before ranking in the top positions on Google. The period typically lasts from a few weeks to several months. There is no way to avoid the Google sandbox period for a new domain, but you can get out of it quickly by making the right changes to your website.