Google Sandbox in SEO: Does It Still Impact New Sites?



18 Mar, 2024



Finally, the time has come - after hard work for months, when you’re ready to launch your website and start receiving new customers exploring your website, and suddenly note that your website is still not ranking on Google. However, you’ve been adhering to the best search engine optimization techniques. What’s happening?     

If this strikes a chord with you, then perhaps you may be undergoing a phenomenon - “Google Sandbox.”

It's a hypothetical effect that makes it more difficult for new sites to rank higher on Google search result pages, although you know that you’ve followed all the best practices for SEO. You can learn everything about the role of SEO in marketing and why it's essential to succeed in today’s competitive world by clicking here.

So, what precisely is the Google Sandbox in SEO? And how to prevent Google from Sandboxing your website? Today’s article will help you learn everything about Google SEO Sandbox, its history, how long it lasts, does sandbox theory make sense, does google refuse the existence of sandbox, why is your new site not ranking in Google, and how can you avoid or minimize the sandbox period?

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What is Google Sandbox in SEO?

When a website domain is new, the possibility is that the site won’t get featured at the top of search engine result pages. The website is not ranking higher in spite of using the best SEO strategies, not because of a fault in the webpage or SEO campaign, but due to the Google seo sandbox. 

So, what Google SEO Sandbox is? In simple words, it's a kind of probation period for newly developed websites where few regulations are put on new web pages. A major cause behind it is what search engines like Google find relevant. Older web pages are considered more authentic depending on rankings by the search engines. Whilst Google seo sandbox isn’t genuinely accepted by search engines; this phenomenon does exist on the internet.  

First, Google refines new sites and algorithms, ranks old web pages on top of SERPs, and pushes the new ones down. Hence, it's advantageous to find out whether your webpage has been sandboxed by Google or not. If the web page is sandboxed, then the website will be featured on the search page when its actual domain name is entered. But when the same website is searched using keywords you’re targeting, Google won’t show that website amidst the top results. Even if you’ve used backlinks, then, also it won’t show your website. 

As a website owner, it might seem concerning, but the effect of Google sandbox SEO doesn’t last long. Everything depends on the keywords and search data used. The Google SEO sandbox period is predicted to last for 6-8months. Once this period goes by, the website will be able to rank for the targeted keywords.

The search Engine Optimization sector has developed various types of SEO to simplify tasks. Several SEO regulations come under the purview of each type and a good SEO consultant is always well aware of their updates. You can learn more about them here - 7 types of seo you must know to optimize your website.

A Brief History of Google Sandbox SEO

In 2004, SEO professionals and web admins found that new websites didn’t feature on Google’s top page. Despite the fact that these websites were indexed, their rankings were still below. But this wasn’t the case on other search engines where these new websites were featured at the top position. Several experts admit that the purpose of introducing seo sandbox concepts to Google is to rank high-quality content from authentic sites.

Was There a Google Sandbox Period in the Year 2018, and If Yes, How Long does it Last?

Even though some people brag about high rankings for month-old websites, several SEO experts admit that something prevents a new website from ranking in the top position. Many SEO experts even add it amid the Google search engine ranking factors. Let’s walk you through some of the opinions from SEO experts when asked -

Do they really experience the effect of Google Sandbox in SEO or something similar to it for their new websites? And how long does it take to come out of the sandbox?

Here’s what the SEO experts replied: The first response is from Greenlane's owner, Bill Sebald-

 SEO experts replied

Here’s the opinion of another SEO expert - Director of Marketing from World of Ether, Edward Sturm-

It's impossible to master your website SEO without the help of  SEO tools; check out the best SEO tools guide highly recommended by top industry SEO experts.

Does Sandbox Theory Make Sense?

Its answer is simple- refraining from fresh sites from ranking on SERPs might give Google more time to determine the website's quality and combat spam. Also, a weekend-old website suddenly ranks on the SERPs for a competitive keyword; defeating web pages that have been ranking there for years is doubtful, right?

Furthermore, all of us know that another most important ranking factor is- backlinks. Hence it's highly doubtful that the web pages of a new website will build up a solid backlink profile quickly. 

Moreover, several SEO experts firmly believe that Google's search engine considers user behavior in the ranking algorithms through click-through rates, length of stay, and other factors, which they collect and evaluate. Last mentioned came up with one more familiar SEO theory, the “Honeymoon Period.”

If you carefully notice, you will observe that Google can rank new web pages high on the SERPs for a short time to comprehend if it fulfills the users’ intent by observing the visitor’s behavior. For instance, 


Check out that first spike of traffic. It might have been the “honeymoon period.”

Does Google Refuse Existence of Sandbox?

Absolutely, They do! Let’s investigate further.

Here’s what John Mueller answered when questioned about the Sandbox phenomenon from Webmaster Hangout, broadcasted on 23rd Feb. 2018-


Here’s what Matt Cutts said about the importance of domain age for ranking, back in the year 2010.


Why Is Your New Site Not Ranking in Google?

Listing a website on the Google search engine doesn’t guarantee top ranking. The website should be authentic, have appropriate keywords, and have a good command of the respective topic. A quality backlink profile is also beneficial. Despite having a great SEO campaign, websites don’t rank at the top position. There could be specific reasons for it - 

1. Stiff Competition

Stiff competition could be one of the crucial factors for the drop in rankings. You ought to target low-competition keywords. Though your website has a maximum number of keywords, as a new entrant, your web page will be ranked lower. Google doesn’t take the risk of ranking a new website with high search volume keywords. Authoritative and old websites are ranked at the top position.

Its purpose is to drive organic traffic. Concentrate on identifying low-volume keywords having low competition. Your website could rank higher for the low search volume keywords because they have low competition. Once your website starts getting more organic traffic, Google’s algorithms find out that your website contains quality content and improve your site’s rankings by lowering the sandbox period. 

2. Absence of quality Content

Once you launch a web page, Google inspects its content which helps Google measure the significance and relevancy of the topic. If your content doesn’t include relevant content, then Google will sandbox your website. 

Spend more time on your web content and see to it that it's of high quality for Google to understand. Always prefer relevant topics, conduct appropriate keyword research, and devise your content strategy accordingly. These factors help Google know that you’re an expert in the respective field, thus increasing your chances of ranking your site. 

3. Lack of Quality Backlinks

Every website requires quality backlinks since they’re thought of as a key factor for ranking on Google. Therefore, build a solid backlink profile if you wish to rank your website higher. The lack of quality backlinks can lead to dropping in rankings. Keep in mind that your web content should match the backlink, and as your web content grows, hence your backlinks. Irregular spikes in backlinks without content are like a partial effort to rank at the top position. It's essential to drive organic growth because exponential growth will make Google question your website. 

4. Absence of User Signals

Website rankings are also determined depending on user traffic, which improves when customers start engaging with your website, and Google’s algorithm notices it. Google search engine analyzes user data, bounce rate, and click-through rate. Hence if user signals are absent to your webpage, Google will sandbox the page because the web page as it shows that no real traffic is being diverted to it.

User engagement is helpful in getting ranked higher; therefore, add reviews and comments sections along with targeted keywords, so Google can choose them at the time of searches. If the user engagement rate of your site is poor, then fix it using the best SEO strategy. 

How Can You Avoid or Minimize the Sandbox Period?

Websites take time to drive organic traffic, and this phase can last anywhere from 1 to 9 months, but this waiting time could be reduced using a few things -


1. Get Indexed

Find out whether your website has been indexed by Google or not by typing your domain name in Google search and it is not indexed, then it's the first step you need to take. Register your domain name on the Google search console and submit your sitemap. 

2. User Engagement

Helps in minimizing the Google sandbox period. Receiving organic traffic is the best way to come out of the Google sandbox faster.

3. Social Signals

Another best way to get out of Google sandbox is to carry out social media activities. Create social media accounts for your brand, run ad campaigns, and keep your audience engaged. Always link all the activities from your webpage to social media because it shows the legitimacy of your webpage to Google.

4. Site Authority

Once a new site is launched, Google doesn’t know how trustworthy the website or the web content is. Hence it's important to build site authority. Get authentic backlinks, internal links, and mentions from authoritative web pages for building page authority.

5. Purchase an Expired or Old Domain

Purchasing an expired or old domain name is a very easy way to prevent Google sandbox. They encounter fewer problems. Additionally, they already have PageRank, and the webpages are indexed, which saves time, and you can revamp it according to your needs. 

SEO Solution For Sandbox Effect

Do you think your site is in Google sandbox? According to the definition, SEO sandbox is a phenomenon where newly published websites with repeated ownership and name server alterations are added to a sandbox in Google indexes unless and until it's considered appropriate for start ranking.

However, there are still various opinions regarding the sandbox effect. Some think that the sandbox effect doesn’t exist, and others think it's a result of a mathematical algorithm and not a policy decision by Google.  While few think that Sandbox is an unavoidable process and each new website needs to go through it first. Hence even using good SEO strategies, it's found that the websites can take up to one or more years to come out of the sandbox.  

In order to come out of the sandbox, the best way is to register the domain name as soon as possible and constantly update unique content on a regular basis. Caution should be taken to prevent copying content as far as possible. 

Another SEO strategy is to slowly build links, i.e., the site’s incoming links, which will help to improve the website’s page rank, but it should be carried out on a regular and consistent basis. Getting paid backlinks from unauthoritative link farms could be quite risky and lead to a website being backlisted. 

JanBask Digital Design offers professional SEO services that help to increase leads, brand awareness, website traffic, ranking & ROI organically. As you know, the Google SEO sandbox effect applies to all new websites, but as discussed earlier, that doesn’t mean your website has to be there for an extended period. Their experts at SEO agency will help you escape the sandbox period shortly by getting your website indexed by Google, well-optimizing your site, improving social signals, and making your website stand out from the competition. You can also refer to an article on choosing the best local seo company in your city.


You might think Google sandbox is a some kind of bad thing, but it isn’t. This probationary period does a favor as you need to concentrate on factors that will help you get out of the sandbox quickly and assign a higher ranking. You must focus on building your domain and be patient; just hold on and continue working for your website ranking, and your site will indeed be indexed on search engines.


Q1. Does Google sandbox still exist?

Ans. Officially, Google denies the existence of a sandbox, but many SEO professionals and site owners still speculate that it exists today. Employing independent testing, it's strongly evident that a Google sandbox in the SEO period ranges from a few weeks to several months.

Q2. What is Google sandbox in SEO?

Ans. It's a dedicated period that every new website needs to go through before ranking higher on the search engines. The SEO sandbox period usually lasts for a few weeks to several months. It's impossible to avoid the Google sandbox period for new websites but it can come out of it shortly by making relevant changes to the website. 

Q3. What can SEO do for businesses?

Ans. In this world of technology, everything is digital. Hence every business needs to have a website of its own so as to reach out to its customers via the internet. But having said that, just having a website doesn’t require much effort, but making a solid online presence is quite a daunting task, so SEO is important. Search Engine Optimization is a crucial factor in making your business popular online. Using the best SEO techniques, your website can rank higher on SERP. Thus, your customers can easily access your products and services quickly on the web. An SEO agency that optimizes your website according to the search engine can help to build a strong online presence with a strong customer base.

Q4. Should I hire someone to do SEO for my website?

Ans. It's always beneficial when you hire someone who is technically skilled with SEO tactics and updated regarding the latest SEO updates can derive effective results. As a business owner, you must look after several errands to run your business. And due to a tight schedule, you’re always stressed about your business tasks, but SEO is necessary for building a strong online presence. Hiring a professional SEO service provider will help your brand attain a higher rank in SERP.

Q5. Are SEO services safe for new websites?

Ans. SEO is always necessary for every website that wants to increase online visibility. Even if the websites are old, because of the lack of SEO, those websites can’t create a solid online presence, but SEO can do. On the contrary, when a new website is launched, it's possible to optimize the website contents according to the crawler, which is safe and easy to optimize. Thus, SEO services are safe and effective for new websites.

Q6. Why are your SEO services better than other SEO companies?

Ans. Professional SEO services are essential for businesses that want to benefit by making a solid online presence. Several SEO companies in the market provide SEO services to optimize websites on the web. Our skilled SEO professionals are experienced and technically equipped. They’ll first perform an in-depth website analysis and then suggest the best-suited SEO service. Our SEO company offers all types of technical assistance to cater to the functional needs of businesses of all types and sizes. 

Q7. What could be the reason for the decrease in my website rankings on Google?

Ans. There are can be several reasons for the decrease in the ranking of your website on Google. 

    • Lost or broken links, 
    • Changes in search engine algorithms,
    • Because of competitors' websites,
    • Slow page speed, 
    • Quality of content
    • Changes in click-through rate,
    • General technical issues, 
    • Changes in the website or website redesigning,
    • Improper internal navigation,
    • Because of metadata.
    • Server overload,
    • Traffic sources can be the reason,
    • Duplicate content, etc.

The list could go on, but the best SEO professional services can help you sort the issue effectively.

Q8. Does good content equals to high ranking on Google?

Ans. Indeed! Good content is one of the most important factors for ranking higher on Google. The more relevant content on your website, the higher the ranking. Quality content helps to provide the best UX, and the best UX is Google’s priority. That’s why good content is more important. It adds value to the user’s search, hence always providing the user with relevant and useful content with important keywords. It should be comprehensive, easy to understand and unique. 

Q9. Can I hire an SEO company for my local business?

Ans. As said earlier, local businesses must improve their online visibility to remain competitive. But when SEO for your local business is done on your own, it might end up in disaster. So, in order to avoid such cases, hiring professional SEO service providers in the same field is a wise decision. The best local SEO Company will help in taking your local business to the next level also save you time and effort. The SEO consultants will help position your local business website at the top of the search engine result page. Hence, Hiring the best SEO company for your local business will be profitable.

Q10. Why is my website not on the first page of Google search?

Ans. There can be various reasons for your website not being present on the first page of Google Search.

  • Using highly competitive keywords – When you use highly competitive keywords, it might be possible that your competitors are also be using them, which prevents your website from being on the first page. Hence use low competitive keywords to be on the first page.
  • Using unpaid Advertising – Paid advertisements are displayed on the first page.
  • Less active on Social Media – If you’re less active on social media, it can also hamper your website's rankings.
  • Poor review – Poor reviews can drop your website’s rankings.
  • Irrelevant Content – Providing irrelevant and mismatching content won’t allow your website to be placed on the first page.
  • A website that’s not indexed – Website indexing takes time, hence until your website isn’t indexed, your website won’t be displayed on the first page.

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Bradley Thompso

Thanks for this information.


Bryan Garcia

I’ve read a-z of this content, really helpful with a clear picture.
Thank you


Simon Martinez

Thank you for this great knowledgeable information. Great work,?


Phoenix Robinson

Thank you for this really crisp SEO guide, It’s helpful for beginners.
Glad you found the post helpful.


Lane Clark

Do you know why Google is not using our description but makes one up themself?


Josue Rodriguez

Very detailed and informative article, got to learn a lot of new things about sandbox SEO.
Glad you found the post helpful! Follow us for more insights on this topic!


Colin Rodriguez

Many times it could be really off-putting and overwhelming to consider so many factors for a well optimized website. But if it were easy, every website would be successful on internet!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


Rafael Lewis

I am quiet sure if new website owners works on it then they can be at the top.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


Kyle Lee

I thought that SEO is quiet easy, but it’s quiet hard to rank for a lowest competition keyword nowadays, when you’ve a new domain; this information is really helpful for the newbies, Thank you ?
Thank for sharing your thoughts!

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