“Google Sandbox” is the term used to describe the waiting period for a new domain to start ranking in Google’s search engine. The period can vary between thirty days and three months, and it’s often a cause of frustration in the SEO and webmaster community. The Google Sandbox can’t be bypassed, but there are ways you can take positive steps to prepare a website for its release.
The Google Sandbox is designed to deter people from creating spam sites. Google goes to great lengths to ensure high quality sites appear in its search results, so various protections are in place to prevent users of so called ‘blackhat’ SEO techniques. Google offers plenty of information and help for those who want to create good websites and rank them, so there’s no need to take shortcuts and break the rules.
The following strategies can help to minimize the effects of the Google Sandbox.
1) Buy an aged domain.
Buying a domain that’s been registered for a year or more is one way to avoid delays in getting your website to rank. If you plan to develop a generic site, such as one about digital cameras, there are probably suitable domains for sale. If you need a brand name site or something very specific, this strategy may not be an option. Check the backlink profile before buying an existing domain, and do some research to make sure you aren’t paying more than the domain is worth.
2) Prepare content for your site.
If you accept that your new website isn’t going to appear in search engine listings for a couple of months, you can use the time effectively and prepare content. In spite of new Internet marketing trends and techniques, providing good content is still the core of SEO. If you don’t have the writing skills or time to create your own content, consider outsourcing and using freelance writers. Search engines favor sites with a variety of content, so look for appropriate photographs and video clips as well as articles.
3) Design an SEO-friendly structure for your site.
Your website will rank more quickly if the structure supports general good SEO practice. It should include an About Me page, good internal linking and a sitemap. Google has recently commented on preferences for sites with SSL Certificates, so consider purchasing this protection for your site. The most recent update to the Google algorithm reflects the increased use of smartphones and tablets for carrying out searches on the Internet. Building a mobile-friendly website means it may be ranked higher than similar sites which don’t support mobile devices.
4) Avoid taking shortcuts.
Trying to cheat search engines will harm your website eventually, and it may be de-indexed completely. Joining link exchanges and paying for the services of so called “link farms” is one example of a way some webmasters try to accelerate a site’s ranking. Search engines are very sophisticated, and they look for unusual patterns in link building and penalize sites using blackhat methods. Using software to submit your site to search engines is another shortcut to avoid.
5) Build quality backlinks.
Quality beats quantity when it comes to backlinks. A few links from social media sites and authority blogs are better for SEO than thousands of links from spam sites. Use the time your website is in the Google Sandbox to build links from quality sites like Pinterest, Reddit and LinkedIn.
Be patient and take positive steps to build a quality website while you wait for its release from the Google Sandbox. Your site will soon start to rank well for the keywords you’re targeting if you play by the rules.