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In a nutshell, Google Sandbox is a special effect in Google ranking that can occur with new and optimized websites. The effect refers to a sudden drop in a website’s search results on Google for no apparent reason. It is not a penalty by Google, but rather a review period.

Google Sandbox, Ranking Factors, and SEO

Google’s search engine now includes several thousand algorithms and has become such a complex system that even Google engineers are no longer able to tell why a particular search result is at the top of search results.

There are too many ranking factors, so much is based on SEO theories and practice-oriented testing. Also with the Google Sandbox effect, there is no official statement from Google, and it is based on observations and opinions of webmasters who work on search engine optimization.


The origins of Google Sandbox go back to 2004 when Google updated its algorithm. With the Sandbox filter, Google wants to avoid new websites being displayed in a short time and with high-competitive keywords at the top of search results. The goal is to exclude spam pages from search results in this way.

How Does Google Sandbox Work?

The functionality of the Google Sandbox is based on pure speculations and observations. It is assumed that almost every page goes through the Google Sandbox filter and there are only a few exceptions.

For example, some case studies tell us that websites are affected when they are subjected to a keyword optimization for highly competitive keywords right at the beginning and have created way many backlinks within a short period.

The link structure of a page seems to be one of the most important factors about the Google Sandbox. The more unnatural the link construction and structure is, the more likely websites will end up in the sandbox.

In short, the Google Sandbox comes into play mainly with the following factors:

  • Optimized site for highly competitive KWs
  • Link popularity (number of inbound links)
  • Fast creation of backlinks
  • Age and topic relevance of the backlinks
  • Domain age

How to Avoid Google Sandbox?

The most efficient way to avoid Google sandbox is to build a website on expired and already SEO-optimized domains. Such domains already contain aged, topic relevant and authority backlink profiles.

But, if a new website is affected by Google Sandbox, it does not necessarily have to stay in there. For example, it has been noticed that links to authority pages can lead to pages being released from the sandbox (or not even coming in at all) and then rank well again in the search results.

For this reason, the website should ideally have fewer external high-DA backlinks, especially in the initial phase. The type of anchor texts is also classified as an important factor so that they should be varied accordingly. Also, you should take care to not optimize the website too much for highly competitive keywords, but rather to adapt and build the content continually.

anchor text optimization and types

The effect and the duration of the sandbox are not precisely known. According to assumptions, it takes about three to a maximum of twelve months for a website to be re-released from the sandbox. In the long run, Google recognizes whether it is a spam site or a technically clean site with good content and releases it from the sandbox. It is also recommended to sit out the period and do nothing else. Patience is the key.

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