November 17, 2023
How to Get Out of Google Sandbox Fast
The Google sandbox is a term used by SEO professionals to describe an initial period where a new website might not rank as well as older, more established sites. It's like a probation period for new websites to prove their worth and reliability.
Some SEO experts believe that the Google sandbox effect is a myth. Google even denies its existence. But based on our professional experience, we found that it's extremely hard to make a new website appear in Google Search. Even targeting low-competition keywords doesn't always do the trick – new websites just wouldn't climb the ranks that easily.
What is super interesting is that this was a Google-only mystery. DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Yahoo are cool with new sites and give them top spots right out of the gate.
And if you're reading this, chances are you've found yourself in the same boat. Skip the guesswork and try out the methods that we personally use to get out of the Google sandbox period.
Tips to shorten the sandbox period:
- Publish amazing content
- Build your reputation
- Get backlinks no matter what
- Force Google to visit your website
- Make it easy for Googlebot to index your page
- Be mobile-friendly
How to shorten the sandbox period
Just because the Google sandbox is a thing doesn't mean you're doomed to be stuck in it. Here are six savvy tips to help you cut down your stay in ranking purgatory.
Publish amazing content
Some sites are free from Google sandbox in a month, while others seem stuck there forever. The difference is in the content they produce.
Google loves genuinely informative content that is aimed at benefiting users rather than just gaming the search engine rankings. They said so themselves in their guidelines so it makes sense to play by their rules.
Google's core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience. Site owners seeking to be successful with our systems should not focus on only one or two aspects of page experience. Instead, check if you're providing an overall great page experience across many aspects.
So how do you get started? First up, write about what you know or have experienced. For instance, don't review a stick vacuum unless you've actually tried it out. Buy and test it yourself, or get a writer who's familiar with the product.
Then, figure out your content's goal. Is it to educate your audience or persuade them to buy something? This decision will guide the tone and style of your writing which is vital in creating high-quality content.
Going back to the vacuum cleaner example. The internet's flooded with similar reviews, so think about what makes yours different. How? Add your take on the subject and provide fresh information.
In your review, you could demonstrate the vacuum's suction power on challenging items like pebbles or cat litter, smell the exhaust if it filters odors, or test its battery life with a continuous run. The goal is to one-up what others have written and aim to provide something more insightful.
And don't forget about keyword research. Identify the terms people use to search for topics like yours. Use these relevant keywords strategically throughout your content. Remember, keywords are like spices. You don't want to overuse them.
Build your reputation
Sure, your content may be based on real-life experience and packed with expert advice but does the author seem credible?
Google's algorithm is based on trust that rewards reputable websites with good positions in search results. The algorithm figures that out not just by looking at the content, but also the source material, the person who wrote it, and the website that published the content.
One of the best ways to earn Google's trust is to provide references that can be used to fact-check the existing content. You can do it by quoting information or adding links to their source.
Another method is to display an author bio at the end of your content to give people and search engines the impression that the content was written by a subject matter expert.
You should also show off any industry memberships, awards, or other recognitions to bolster your site's credibility.
Get backlinks no matter what
I'm sure you heard this before but backlinks from authoritative websites are super crucial for ranking. When your website receives a backlink from another website, Google thinks that the latter is "vouching" for the former. Earn enough backlinks and you'll signal to Google that your site is a trusted information source and popular among peers and human users.
You can measure your website's credibility using Domain Authority (DA). It's a metric created by Moz that gauges how likely your website is to start ranking based on the number of backlinks. Simply put; build links to get higher DA, higher trust, and better site ranking.
When building backlinks, take it slow and steady. It's a red flag to Google if a brand-new site suddenly gets a flood of backlinks right after launching. This could make Google wary, possibly leading to penalties and an extended stay in the sandbox.
As your content archive grows, so should your backlinks, but in a proportional and natural manner. Be strategic about your link-building speed and steer clear of private blog networks or buying heaps of cheap links from sketchy websites.
Force Google to visit your website
It's impossible to avoid the Google sandbox effect if your website isn't indexed at all.
But don't worry, the solution is super easy. You can nudge Google to visit your new website using Google Search Console. Simply copy the page URL, paste it into the URL inspection tool, and click the "Request Indexing button". Click "Request Again" if the page has been recently updated.
Another way is to submit the URL of your XML sitemap to make it a breeze for Googlebot to find all your pages.
Remember that a website "age" in Google's eyes only starts once it's indexed. So, it's a smart move to force site indexing ASAP. The sooner Google indexes it, the quicker you'll enter and subsequently exit the sandbox.
Make it easy for Googlebot to index your page
Broken pages, poor website structure, and other issues can hinder and even prevent Googlebot from indexing your website. What's the point of having great content if people and Google can't even access them?
Maintaining a healthy website is needed to shorten the Google sandbox period. That's why you need to conduct regular technical SEO audits and fix any errors so that Googlebot can read your content without any obstacles.
If you really want to make your website 100% healthy, steal our SEO audit checklist and inspect every nook and cranny of your website.
More people are accessing the internet via mobile devices. That is why Google favors websites that are very accessible on mobile devices to ensure a good browsing experience for a large segment of internet users. This actually coincides with their preference for people-first content.
You want to earn Google's trust as quickly as possible and you can do so by showing them that your website was built for the people.
Depending on the website's complexity, mobile optimization can be time-extensive and hard to do. For more information about mobile-first SEO, check out our mobile-optimization guide.
If done correctly, making your website mobile-friendly will propel itself out of Google sandbox quickly and into the first page of search results.
How to avoid Google sandbox
The best way to get out of a sticky situation is to avoid getting stuck there in the first place. There are two ways to avoid Google sandbox altogether.
Buy an existing website
Consider buying a website that's already up and running if you're not keen on waiting for Google to gradually rank a new site. While this won't spring you out of the Google Sandbox, this move will bypass the whole waiting game.
But a word of caution when shopping for websites: make sure to do your homework. Always check if the site you're eyeing has any penalties. You can do so by googling the website's domain name. If the website is not ranking for its name, you can bet the farm that it's penalized.
You may also use the Website Penalty Indicator to compare the website traffic against the recent Google algorithm updates.
If possible, ask the website owner to give you temporary access to Google Search Console so you can check if there are manual penalties and issues the site may have.
There's no point in picking up a site that's still on probation so ensure that the site is over 2 years old and actively publishing content.
Revive a good expired domain
Expired domains are websites that someone registered once upon a time but didn't keep up with the renewal. So, when they don't renew, these domains expire and pop back up on the market for anyone else to grab.
Just like an active website, a solid expired domain already has some serious perks like:
- Strong domain authority
- A well-established link profile
What does this mean for you? Well, such a domain may already have earned its stripes with Google, so there's a good chance it won't land in the sandbox when you revive it.
It's like getting a major head start. Often, just launching a content-rich site on a top-notch expired domain is enough to catapult you onto Google's first page.
Now, if you're wondering how to find these gems, there are loads of tools out there. But we're big fans of DomCop. They list some high-quality expired domains that not only have great authority but often previously had web traffic too.
Before purchasing an expired domain, analyze its backlink profile using Moz or Ahrefs. You should avoid domains that have links from spammy and shady websites.
Need help to escape the Google sandbox?
If you have recently launched a new domain, you're bound to wait some time to get out of the probation period. You can either wait it out or you can do something about it by following our suggestions.
To shorten the sandbox period even further, partner with Serphead and we'll take some of the load off. Our highly experienced specialists will take care of mobile optimization and the technical SEO aspects like diagnosing issues and coming up with solutions.
Frequently asked questions
What are the signs that a website is in Google sandbox?
New websites with little to no organic traffic despite having quality content and following SEO best practices could be experiencing a sandbox effect.
Another sign is good website rankings on search engines like Bing or Yahoo, but not on Google suggests that Google is temporarily restricting your visibility.
We also noticed that some new websites may initially rank well in search results for a few weeks and then experience a sudden drop in rankings, which doesn't recover quickly.
How long is the Google sandbox period?
We can't say exactly when the sandbox period ends but we noticed it takes at least 3 months for new websites to rank.
This is understandable because Google is all about directing its users to sites that are both authoritative and reliable. They're cautious about promoting sites until they've proven themselves. Gaining Google's trust and establishing authority isn't an overnight job. Think about it - you wouldn't vouch for a business you're unfamiliar with, would you?
Are there any specific industries more affected by Google sandbox?
Some niches, particularly those considered YMYL (Your Money or Your Life), stay longer in Google sandbox than other niches. These are:
Websites offering medical advice, information about health conditions, or selling health-related products might face more scrutiny. Google prioritizes accurate, trustworthy information in these areas due to the potential impact on users' well-being.
We also found that sites that deal with money matters are likely to be closely evaluated since misinformation or poor advice can have serious financial consequences for users.
Domains providing legal information or services might also be subject to more stringent checks and are more prone to a longer Google sandbox period.
For websites focused on news, especially those covering sensitive or critical topics, Google might take extra time to assess credibility and authority and restrict them in Google search results.