In Google’s ever-present battle against those that would game the system, it has resorted to scare tactics against webmasters using private blog networks. It introduced a self-reporting system called the disavow file that crowdsourced poor quality links and used it against webmasters themselves. And of course, Google periodically rejigs their system to send dismayed site owners back toward its advertising platform.
But perhaps one of the most effective measures that Google took against search engine optimization specialists, was the introduction of the sandbox.
So what is it and what’s the big deal?
What is the Sandbox?
Despite top Google employee Gary Illyes assertion that there is no such thing, there is enough evidence to safely assume the existence of some sort of filter that effects new domains. This sandbox keeps new sites from ranking on the first few pages of the SERPs for several months.
This has had the effect of deterring search experts from seeking to shortcut their way to results and rewarding the slow and steady approach to established businesses and brands.
The Sandbox Patent
a fairly new site that appears amongst a set of results that are, on the average fairly old, may find it being negatively influenced by that difference in age.
Quite honestly the patent sat there mostly ignored for a long time. But then in 2014, there was an update and webmasters and SEOs began to take notice as new domains were taking longer to see results and no amount of links seemed to make a difference.
How Long Does It Affect a New Site
The accepted range of being in this state of limbo is between one and six months. Is this long enough to deter SEOs from going for the quick bucks? Probably not. But when you begin to look into the average domain age of a site on page one, it can make any entrepreneur begin to wonder.
According to Ahrefs, it can take up to 2 years for a page to reach page 1. And domain age has become a major factor in the local, national and international SERPs, with my own investigations showing the average domain age of local searches is a whopping 6 years.
Does this mean that a new site can’t make progress in 2018? Of course not, new sites can reduce the time in the sandbox and make inroads for longer tail searches.
How to Reduce Your Time Affected
I should probably mention that all of the methods discussed below are imitations of processes that happen in real life. And it makes sense that Google would tailor its algorithms to reward sites that follow a normal procedure and penalize those that do things in an aberrant way.
If you implement any of these, bear in mind the normal procedure and timing that a business would go through and try to do things similarly.
The first way around the Google sandbox is to get very strong links from large trusted sites. Can this be mimicked? Of course, there are numerous vendors out there offering ‘media buy links’ from aged and respected domains and it does work but it’s going to cost you.
These links usually start at around $350 and go all the way up to $1000. Not only do you get the link but these sites also send a good amount of traffic your way too.
Mimic a Site Launch
Another way to shorten a new domain’s stay in Google’s purgatory was first proposed by Matt Diggity. By mimicking the process of a normal site being launched, he found that time in this filtered state could be reduced to weeks instead of months.
His process is pretty simple.
- Social Fortress
These are the usual social properties that all new businesses should build out including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Press Release
A press release is fairly standard for many new businesses and builds branded links from trusted news sites.
- Social Signals
The social signals are used to imitate the idea of a social buzz around a new site.
- PBN Links
Then strong PBN links are added weekly.
I’ve found that press release can be skipped for local SEO or replaced with other types of links with similar results to Matt.
Redirected Aged Domain
The last and perhaps most difficult way to circumvent the sandbox is via a 301 redirect. By purchasing an aged expired domain in your niche, it’s possible to redirect it to your new domain and pass the age and authority too. The aged domain must have a very similar topic to your new site and it mustn’t have dropped.
You should be careful to do the 301 at the page level and also to redirect via Google Webmaster Tools.
So there you have it, if you have any comments, be sure to leave them below and I or PJ will get back to you.
About the Author:
Murrough Foley is a local SEO consultant at www.danangdigital.ie and enjoys the technical side of things. When he is not trawling through backlink profiles and SERPs, he enjoys spending time with family and sailing.