What is Google Sandbox in SEO?

Google Sandbox is an unproven mechanism to filter out new websites from ranking in the search results to maintain the quality of the SERP. Allegedly, Google pauses the “sandboxed” site’s pages from appearing in the search results, even though the pages are indexed.

Google Sandbox is a metaphorical term.

In other words, Google Sandbox is the time period between Google discovering a new website and starting to rank in the search results.

What is Google Sandbox

However, there is no actual way to confirm if Google Sandbox actually exists because Google has never officially or unofficially confirmed this so-called filtering system.

If you’re starting a brand new website, there are chances that it may get “sandboxed” but there isn’t a way to be sure about it. There are no guidelines.

According to Search Engine Journal, the Google Sandbox filter was believed to be added sometime around March 2004.

Which type of sites are affected by Google Sandbox?

Almost all the new websites with newly registered domains get sent into Google Sandbox. Even though Google discovers the web pages, they don’t appear in the SERP.

Sometimes, homepages of the sites appear but other pages don’t.

According to Ahrefs:

Holding back brand new websites from ranking could give Google more time to evaluate the website quality and fight spam.

However, Google officials have debunked this theory multiple times in the past by simply saying that there’s nothing like this. For example, see the below tweet:

There's no Google Sandbox - Twitter
Source: Twitter
There's no Google Sandbox - John Mu on Twitter
Source: Twitter

How long does Google Sandbox last?

Again, there’s no definite answer to that — it could be anywhere from 1 week to several months.

In 2005, Rand Fishkin of Moz wrote a blog post announcing that the website is now sandbox free — it lasted for 9 months in their case.

For some SEOs, sandbox lasted just a few weeks and for some months.

Possible reasons for Google Sandbox

Mainly, there are 2 reasons why a site may get sandboxed:

  • Less content or low-quality content on the website
  • No or low number of backlinks

For more information about Google Sandbox, you can refer to this detailed article by Ahrefs.

Final words

Google Sandbox is an unclear term, you can’t be sure if Google Sandbox or something like this actually exists.

But it’s for sure that new websites take time before start ranking, maybe that’s Google Sandbox.


How to get out of Google Sandbox?

Google Sandbox is caused by Google’s lack of trust in the newer sites, so to get out, it’s best to keep creating better content and keep acquiring backlinks from ethical ways.

Do all new sites get affected by Google Sandbox?

Yes, most new sites are believed to be pass-through Google Sandbox, some websites come out quickly while it takes time for some.

Do older sites also get affected by Google Sandbox?

No, older sites do not get affected by Google Sandbox, generally.

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