The Google Sandbox, as far as conventional SEO (search engine optimization) explanation goes, is an alleged filter placed on new websites. It is an alleged filter, because the full description and its existence is not disclosed by Google. So, this is the area of SEO research that uses reverse engineering and inductive reasoning that proceeds from the search results towards formulation of the underlying principle, or the cause.
The starting point is that a new site does not receive good search results for its most important keywords and keyword phrases. Even with relevant content, inbound links and strong Google PageRank, a new site is still adversely affected by the Sandbox filter. In effect, the Sandbox imposes a probation period for new sites that could stretch from one to six months. That tactic is believed instituted to eliminate spam sites from rising quickly, getting banned, and repeating the process again.
However, from the website owner's perspective, the effects of the website showing poorly in searches can be discouraging and baffling. In addition, this is a situation of working in the dark not knowing that the filter has been applied and for how long.
The concept of Sandbox comes from the software development industry, where a sandbox is a testing environment that isolates untested code changes and outright experimentation from the production environment or repositories and revision control. The advantages of a web software sandbox is isolation and control. If something goes wrong with a new code in the sandbox, the rest of the code outside of it is not affected. The existence and derivation of general principles from specific observations (Google Sandbox existence) may be described as probable, not a certainty.
The Google Sandbox is very similar to a new website being distrusted, placed on probation, and kept in lower score than expected in searches, prior to being given full value for its incoming links and content. The time factor being used in this context can be viewed as restrictive and not fully understood.
The time duration of the probationary Sandbox filter not fully known, is believed to be from 1 to 6 months, depending on the keywords used and the overall website's niche business profile. Most common advice given by SEO pros is 'be patient', because Google eventually, in their wisdom, will lift the restriction .
It is thought that the reason Google created the Sandbox new site filter was to stop spam related sites from adding numerous purchased links, and ranking highly for their keywords from the date of launch.
Since, it is postulated, Google may consider a high number of links pointing to a site from the beginning to be rather suspicious, the links are not accepted to be natural. Spam sites would use various tactics to rise to the top of the search results, and gain heavy sales prior to being banned for being in violation of Google’s Terms of Service; and then repeating the process continually. As a result, new sites are put arbitrarily into a form of probation, usually referred to as the Google Sandbox. However, there may be other explanations possible then fighting spam black-hat websites.
It can be added that for new legitimate websites that try to advance their sells goals prospects, generating leads and attracting new visitors, the Sandbox filter creates a frustrating obstacle to overcome. This is based on the conclusion of inductive argument that may be probable, in this case proceeding from the observation of search results.
Typically, the Sandbox effect is witnessed most often with new sites targeting competitive keywords and can only be overcome with time and when the site gains enough authority in organic searches. As a side effect, this situation may discourage some owners to abandon efforts of scoring their website better due to time and effort that is required to achieve a higher search position by a well developed SEO. At this time a belief may arise that their efforts are not good enough to compete with already well established niche websites, which already operate 'out of the Sandbox'.
Since approximately 37% users click the topmost website link in their search results, the results that are at the bottom, or even medium section will not suffice to direct website traffic to the targeted website. There's much effort and theory in SEO industry talking about various issues regarding website positioning. This is 60 billion dollars industry still evolving.
Another, far less, if at all, talked about interpretation is that during the time of the Sandbox fiter, new websites would be induced into using paid advertising and Google's AdWords in order to overcome poor search showing.
If AdWords is used, the effects of the Sandbox will not be visible and the new website can score well in search results regardless of it's content, or SEO. AdWords is a paid for service bringing 97% of revenues to Google totalling 72 billion dollars worth of PPC (pay per click) advertisement purchased in 2015. Therefore, new websites would get into a habit of using it from the get go due to the existence of the Box.
Website owners and search engine optimization professionals began to notice the Google Sandbox effect, real or imagined, starting in March, 2004. Websites launched after that date were noticed to not be ranking well for their first few months live on the Internet.
It is believed that all new sites may spend some time in the Sandbox, but those websites seeking rankings in highly competitive searches are probably in for a much longer duration. How long a website will stay in the Sandbox can vary from one to six months, with three to four months being the normal time frame. Less competitive keyword searches will be given the much shorter stay, while hyper-competitive keywords in retail, or product sell shops will often spend six months in the Box.
The time duration of the Google Sandbox filter is on for new websites can be used to solidify future search position. During this period the owner, or the website's builder, can create strong content and further enhance SEO. Therefore, in positive terms this time can be used to advance in the search position for the niche keywords. Once that is done, the position change should be noticable.
In case no significant search position is affected, that would clearly indicate that more work needs to be done on SEO and keywords. That includes creating more valuable content, inbound links, customers business reviews, etc.
An alternative explanation that the Sandbox filter is held due to AdWords revenue considerations by Google is not widely held, if at all mentioned. It seems, SEO professionals prefer more cautious but cagey approach by suggesting spam prevention measures as the motivation. Either way, both suggestions have equally probable logic and should not be held exclusively as the only possible.
Read our related article about Online Business Directories.
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