What is The Google Sandbox Effect?

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In the age of fair competition you may find it hard to believe that a search engine may hinder the appearance of a new website.

This is what is currently believed to be happening on more web servers today. Some programmers have viewed Google as uncomfortable to rank newer websites until they have proven their viability to exist for more than a period of “x” months. Thus the term “Sandbox Effect” applies to the idea that all new websites have their ratings placed in a holding tank until such time is deemed appropriate before a ranking can commence.

However the website is not hindered as much as the links that are reciprocated from other users. Newer links that are created are put on a “probationary” status until again they pickup in rank from other matured sites or placed directly by an ad campaign. The idea behind the hindrance is to prevent a fast ranking to occur on a new website. The usual holding period seems to be between 90 and 120 days before a site would start obtaining rank from reciprocal or back linking.

Some advice has been given to have companies you are going to reciprocate back add your link first to the website. This may help grandfather your site in, thus reducing the waiting time associated with “new” websites. People have noticed a 0 page rank when first signing up and receiving a bolstering 7 page ranking after 4 months. Why the delay? The fact is, that if people realized how easy it would be to get a high ranking, would that take away the credibility of the engine. It depends on whom you ask, but it does seem to be happening frequently to newer subscribers. Do not discontinue back linking, your rank will eventually appear.

Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.sitetube.com. Visit his website for the latest on planning, building, promoting and maintaining websites.

What is The Google Sandbox Effect?
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  • geeurbie

    I’ve written here and on other blogs that I do not believe in the Google Sandbox. I manage three websites for my businesses. I have effectively used page titles and other Meta tags and never experienced the sandbox. My new website http://www.tucsonseosolutions.com gets first page results with Google. It is in a competitive field of SEO.

    What I emphasize here is a localized approach to SEO. Everything that I do mentions Tucson. That includes my page titles. I have also gained first page for my house cleaning tips blog located at www.yourfreshstart.us/wp. and it’s home web site ranks well also…
    It usually is ranked in the # 1 position with Google.

    So having three websites not experience the sandbox by using Keyword phrases in my page titles seems to be working. I would suggest that you might want to give it a try.

    • David dSouza


      You manage an SEO website, yet you do not seem to understand the Sandbox.

      What keywords do you show up in Google for? ‘Tucson SEO’ and ‘Tucson House Cleaning tips’ the reason you are not sandboxed for these terms is because no one searches for them and there is no competition, see:

      Try starting a new website and getting ranked well for a keyword that people actually search for. Even if you are sandboxed you will still show up in Google for your company name and other obscure keywords that no other websites would even compete for.

      It amazes me that you manage websites and try to sell SEO services and yet do not seem to know this.

      • http://games.2donext.com Michael

        I think that the sandbox is very true. My site about rating video games (http://games.2donext.com) did not start getting organic traffic for about 3-4 months for items people actually search for.

        Now if I could just get them to stay.

        • http://www.alwatanyh.com/download/index.html semi

          i think it is true and i agree with u , you can see this: http://www.alwatanyh.com/download/index.html

      • http://www.3rbonline.com/vb/ hany

        i want to thanks the owner and iam agree with all of u http://www.3rbonline.com/vb/

      • http://www.morecoredesign.com Michael Dickie

        The best thing to do to get out of the google sandbox is to request a link exchange from other ranked sites. To find other sites that offer link exchanges, simply search for “add a link” or something similar and start submitting your site. Of course the sites with higher page ranks are preferred.

    • http://www.3rbonline.com/vb/ hany

      i want to thanks th owner of this site

    • http://www.think.eu Rami

      You haven’t a clue mate.

  • http://www.walidov.com Waleed

    I agree with the writer, the sandbox is true.
    My site (http://www.walidov.com) is not well archived even that I have more than 500 back links in websites that have PR= 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.
    Also my page rank is still “0”!!
    So all these fact leads to the trueness of this post.
    Thank you so much for elaborating such important issue.

    • http://www.3arabsoft.com Mahmoud Hashim


      Yes you are right Jakob Jelling , I believe that Google Sandbox effects any new website.
      thanks for your great article.

  • hornet

    This has happened to me at the start
    Thank you very much

    • http://www.desertshots.com Khalid

      i want to thanks th owner of this site

  • http://www.dll3.com majdi

    Thank you very wonderful theme


  • http://www.onmyist.com Noah D.

    One nice thing that can happen is that day when you finally do get pagerank. Usually it is accompanied by a nice bump in traffic. At least that’s been my experience with previous websites. Waiting for the same at www.onmylist.com

    • http://www.we-yana.com sound blaster


      Thank you very wonderful theme


      • http://www.18AffordableWebHositng.com proson

        well, I rarely develop a web site on my own but recently, i’ve got involved in internet marketing and starting to do internet business. One of the topic I am involved is SEO. well, I have heard the penalties about Google but not sure about it until i read this post. There were lots of discussion about the sandbox effect, while I’m new to this topic, I can’t comment too much about it. However, by reading the post, it certainly helps me to think carefully about building link to my website and avoid the penalty.

        thank you guys I have learned some new things today!

        • http://www.avongraphics.co.uk banksie

          Up until christmas i was getting great traffic also until we to got stuck in the sandbox! some of my pages that where coming up as page one in searches totally dissapeared…we moved from an iis to linux server, changed the structure of our site and have spent months implimenting seo, and they say spam email is bad!!! still here’s hoping www.avongraphics.co.uk

  • http://www.computertutorforseniors.com Jennifer

    Thank you for writing this article. I found it very helpful as I too am stuck in the google sandbox effect. www.computertutorforseniors.com

  • SSY

    What if you develop a new website when google updates their page rank and backlinks does it automatically get a ranking. My website www.myhiphopclothing.com hasn’t received a ranking other than 0 yet for about 2 in a half months now I thought it was because google didnt update yet.

    • SPB

      This sandbox thing is mystifying for me. How can you check to see if you are in it? Can you be put in it when already established? My site www.wiiuser.co.uk was gradually working it’s way up the search ranks when suddenly it has completely disappeared from google. It is still visible in yahoo!

  • http://games.freeimagehost.ro Jocuri Barbie

    I dont understant. I have site which has about 7 month. In the last 4 day, google is senig me only 10 – 20 visitors. Till then google was sending me at least 300 visitors. What is wrong? I have over 5000 pages indexed by google. Ai have links that point ti my site. What is wrong? My site is http://www.wallpaperszone.eu

  • http://www.seo-proz.com SEO Expert

    Hello, thank you for posting this information that would be helpful for others, and i just want to confirm that the Google Sandbox is truly exist and it’s a delaying filter applied to newly indexed websites which are targeting commercial or competitive keywords, all what you can in the time your website is sand boxed is to keep your search engine optimization as always and give it more time till it’s recovered by Google which i find totally fair.

    Search Engine Optimization

  • http://www.healthynails4u.com Fred

    Thank you for giving me an understanding of the sandbox effect! www.healthynails4u.com

  • http://3allam.com/vb ali ali

    Hii , Haw are ?

    this is nice site http://www.3allam.com\vb
    plies log in site http://www.3allam.com\vb

    Good bay

    • http://smttz.wordpress.com Box


  • http://www.pinoynursingreview.com pinoynursingreviewer

    I have been observing google for quite some time (as it is my favorite search engine). This has happened to one of my sites lately http://www.pinoynursingreview.com/ and I am still waiting for it to surface on google till now even with some backlinks already.

    Any tips?

  • http://www.barmajh.com ahmed

    i think if you didn’t copy another website content you’ll be out of the box

  • http://www.westcovinacriminaldefenselawyer.com West Covina Criminal Attorney

    There obviously is some kind of filter which many refer to as the sand box effect for newly built sites. However, some say this no longer exist.
    Thanks for this very informative article. It is very helpful. Our site http://www.westcovinacriminaldefenselawyer.com seems be doing ok but I think it what you exactly say, its a non competetive keyword.

  • http://www.comprarviagrawww.com Cialis

    There is sandbox for the page hosted at any servers?

  • http://www.mybangkokhotels.com Ruklisa

    yes, i think my site is in the sandbox period, coz my site just go live since mid dec last year.

  • http://dogsuppliessite.com Jill


    How long does this sandbox effect last? Can you have a PR1 and still be in the sandbox? I seem to be stuck, and not quite sure what to do next.



  • http://www.practical-home-security-guide.com Home Security Guide

    Yeah, I agree. I have new sites that vanished and then begin to rank after 2-3 months. I guess every new sites will have to experience this.

  • http://www.provectin-guide.info Provectin

    It’s going to be hard asking companies to put a link to your site first before you put a link to theirs as yours is still new and has 0 PR. It’s only possible if you already have some PR.

  • http://www.sextoysmegamall.com Sex Toys

    This definitely has to be true.   I have recently (in the past 2 years) started a few different websites, and all of them had difficulty gaining page rank in the beginning, even though I had many high quality pages linking to me. 

  • http://sextoysmegamall.com Guest

    We are definately sandboxed:


  • http://www.greenwebdesign.com Jessica

    This is just an interesting observation I’ve made, but it seems that if I buy a domain name and put a site up, it usually gets sandboxed.  BUT:

    I had over 60 domains that I bought about 4 years ago.  I finally finished websites for them last year. I uploaded them to the new server, then updated the DNS at the registrar, and forgot about them for a week.

    Within a week, most of the new sites were indexed and cached in Google, although I had not created a single link to any of them yet, or submitted any of them to any other search engines.

    I have duplicated this on a smaller scale, with one or two sites here and there.  It’s kind of freaking me out actually, as I usually test my websites before rolling them out, and a few times, Google has cached my latin filler. :)

    • Guest

      The reason you are able to be ranked on the 60 sites that you have without any reciprocal linking is because your sites, while just developed are not considered new in the eyes of google.  You have sites that are in essence 4 years old and google sees your sites as relevant which will give you a higher initial page ranking.

      The moment you created your sites and they went live, you know have content that can be indexed.  Additionally, you have the years of existence with your domain names so you are not a new site and will not have the label of a spam site.

      Good luck with your projects!

  • http://www.vintagecarsguide.com Vintage Cars

    This sandbox things just doesn’t make sense. This would definately make it very hard for someone to start a new site and see no result for at least 2 months. All your promotion ain’t going to show and you just have to sit it out.

  • J C

    I finally got out of the sandbox after 3 months. It sure is nice to have access to others thoughts on this and the promotion of our websites. Thanks for all the input.


  • http://casinobonusforliving.blogspot.com/ David

    I have started a casino blog at Google’s blogger, but it seems to be in the sandbox: http://casinobonusforliving.blogspot.com/

    How long could it take to show up in the search results?

  • http://www.reportql.co.uk Choppers

    I bought my domain all of four months ago, and still nothing on google.  I’ve read elsewhere on a SEO website that it can take at least six months to get through the ‘sandbox’ now, even up to 12 months. My product name is fairly unique, ReportQL, with only eight results listed.

    I’ve got keywords, titles and everything I should have, i’ve even submitted a site map to google.


  • http://www.lovesexyhampers.com Mel

    Its reassuring to hear that other people are having the same experiences as me!  I’m new to all this and couldn’t understand why I seemed to have dropped off the google radar even though I’ve spent the last month doing nothing but getting links to my site.

    I’ve submitted my sitemap to google and it never seems to index any more of my pages.  Yahoo seems to update itself a lot quicker, but I guess most people will use google instead.

    It’s all very frustrating when you’re trying to set up a new business and actually make an income instead of watching your stock get dusty!



  • http://www.bajatefondos.com Manu

    Thank you, now I understand my PR 0, since mid-December, if it was already preocupandome toward something wrong.

  • http://www.xwheeler.co.uk Andrew

    i’m running a used cars portal for the UK, i’m also stuck with PR1 for a year, have got fed up of trying to market the site through the engines, working with online advertisement campaigns instead.


  • http://www.index-online-casino.com ioc

    I believe Google sandbox is real. For my instance, I got my site http://www.index-online-casino.com ranked well on Google at first two months. However, in the third months, all SERPs disappearred. It only been found in position 850-950 with very targeted phrases. I will be patient to wait for the release out of Google sandbox. Anyway, I don’t live for Google. If there is not Google in the plant, I still have a heat-hart to develop my sites. Sandbox means nothing to me.

  • Guest

    Thanks everybody for a great thread.  My site, <a href=http://www.lockpickguide.com target=_new>lockpickguide.com</a> is getting over 100 uniques a day from google, however I still have a PR0.  It’s been up since mid-December 2007, and traffic since early January has stayed pretty steady.  Not ranked high for competitive keywords, but have top 10 on some less competitive ones.  I suggest if you are still in the sandbox, optimize your site for as many non-competitive keywords as possible, then when you get ranked replace them with the competitive ones, that’s what I will do.

  • http://www.selfcertremortgages.co.uk Scotty

    My website Best Secured Loan is sand boxed since 20 Jan 08 , google are just protecting the quality of Serps, finance is one of the hardest areas!! It took over over 6 months of link building to get my other site Self Cert Remortgages to the first page!! Takes time!

    • http://www.gamblingsiteguide.com/32-vegas.html gsg

      Did it take six months for your site to get out of sand box? When did your sites start sandbox from your sitebuilding date?

  • http://www.englishrosekitchen.co.uk/ English Rose Kitchen

    I wonder if it’s related to whether it’s obviously a commercial site or not.

    Mine isn’t and despite only launching it 1 1/2 weeks ago, it ranks at 12 on google.com and around 4 on google.co.uk for the phrase "English Rose Kitchen", which is the main term people interested will be searching for.

    Or maybe it’s just such a rare thing to search for!

  • http://www.gamblingcityonline.com gco

    My site is stilll in google sandbox. It has been six months since it was pur into sandbox. I saw a poll investigation on the net. It will take about 3-9 months for competitive keyword to walk out google sandbox effection. no any visitor from google to my site. homepage is in 950 position penalty.

  • http://www.creativebox.ltd.uk SEO

    So it’s taken me three years but I’ve finally cracked the sandbox. From the first time that the Google spiders visit your website it’s exactly 75 days later that the site goes into the sandbox.

    Therefore, it’s easy to dodge. Firstly, set up your site with no competitive keypwords in it at all. Wait for Google to cache your irrelevant site then, on day 76 you can put the real site up. This really does work folks !!

  • http://www.bulgariasfinest.com Jim Lawlor

    The sandbox seems to be back in force today

  • Nick

    If you look at the following:


    …you can see a graph of visitor numbers getting to a site from Google search from the inception of a site, through indexing of the first pages, through the google sandbox, and out the other side. 

    No black hat SEO was used, and the sandbox effect lasted about 1 month.

    I hope you find this useful


  • http://www.npostfranking.co.uk Neopost Ink Cartridges

    The sand box effect really comes down to how competitive the search volume is so that they can ensure the right results. A new site with a low search volume will be listed pretty quick- takes months to get a high volume search term. Slowly, slowly catch a monkey as they say!!



    • http://casino777.0fees.net/ ca777

      It will take up to one year to catch competitive keyword on high volumn search term with google. sandbox is a kind of filter that delay to claimb up on search engine.

      Any other idea? Thanks

  • http://www.pokerearners.com Albert

    I think it is not 90 to 120 days calculation, it depends up on the competence of the area we are choosing.

  • http://www.business-sale.com Chris

    I think the sandbox works for 3 to 6 months

  • http://www.the-little-things-in-life.co.uk Peter

    Whatever it is it seems to be having less of an effect these days

  • http://www.someextrapennies.com Archie Pennies

    The sandbox effect is horrible some times especially considering that hosting needs to be renewed every year so first time web masters may even experience losses that first year if things are not done properly. To get some return on income fyou have to build a few so you get profits in the remaining months of the year its better to have a few sites already up and running for the remaining 6 months after they get out of the sandbox of course this applies more to new people trying to make money on the net, already established webmasters have profits to cover the lag for their newer sites.  I found that sources such as stumble upon are great at driving traffic when sandboxed so you get some action, putting effort on a site and watching it having only one or two visitors a day is frustrating it reminds me when I was just starting out. I am a true believer that the mythical sandbox exists as opposed to what other people belive of course I respect their opinion on the subject. By the way great post on the Google sandbox!!

    • http://www.1dir.co.cc no 1 directory

      Sandbox will affect a site up to one year. You will not rank well a directory on google or Yahoo. until you pass on sandbox, you will know what sandbox affection.

  • http://mkredyty.net Kredyty

    Sandbox may last for less then a one month :D I’m sure of that :D:D:D

  • http://www.angieberg.com Angie Berg

    I have never really worried too much about the Google Sandbox Effect.  There are too many variables involved.

    When I learned to build sites, I was advised to concentrate on building quality content based on good keyword research.  In short, "Keep It Real."

    It seems like you can spend a lot of time and effort trying to manipulate Google or other search engines, when in reality, they are not likely to be manipulated.

    For the long term, it’s just best to contribute quality to the web environment and you will be rewarded for it through free target traffic from the search engines.

    Some of my sites pick up traffic and rankings more quickly than others.  I’ve found that a lot has to do with the amount of competition for both content and advertising.

    I’ve chosen to just steadily plod along and my sites seem to progress  and improve as time marches on.

  • http://www.m4s73r.com/ Internet Marketing Indonesia

    thanks for your article. Very help me. I will more like visit to webpronews site. :) Fantastic

  • Guest

    The sandbox effect is a shame.

  • http://www.dailyblogtips.com/ways-to-make-money-online-with-website/#comment-673280 Finance

    Sandbox effect is very difficult to control, it really depends on your luck.

  • http://www.allpersonalfinances.com Alex

    Don`t submit brand new website to thousands of directories. Most of all won`t give you backs. Submit it carefully by hands. This is the best way to avoid sandbox.

  • http://www.car-scrapyards.co.uk Olly

    My site is currently in the sandbox, I am doing everything to get it out, thanks for the article

  • Guest

    I seem to be in the sandbox for my site http://cashcuddler.com which is a freebies site even though I’m updating several times daily and submitting all over for backlinks. I don’t see the pages getting indexed at all, so I improved navigation within the site which I hope it will help. Perhaps the popular keyword will make it harder for me to rank on the upper pages.

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