A lot of people don’t know what the google sandbox is or when they’ve been sandboxed. Well a psychologist would say the sandbox is a soul crushing creation by google meant to discourage spam sites and having the side effect of making a lot of web entrepreneurs go bald.
The google sandbox is really a penalty a site gets when it’s doing TOO well (getting too much search traffic), and it is a new site. This is a major reason why Vic @ blogger unleashed heavily recommends buying pre-owned domains. Many people have reported what almost seems like deindexing (ie. getting like 2 or 3 search finds a day) but what I’ve generally experienced is that your site will hit around 200 search visits a day then get dinged down to 40-50.
The sandbox MAY only affect competitive niches. The sandbox MAY only affect sites that build up links “strangely” quickly. The truth is no one knows for sure but these are a couple of theories. I had a site about the upcoming election that was getting well in excess of 1000 search visits a day and it never got sandboxed, it had a TON of crappy links. I had an an investing site (the one in the graph below) that exploded out of the gate beofre being put in the google sandbox, it had a lot of fair quality links, but as you can see it was in a competitive niche.
Anyway the real point of this post was to SHOW people what it looks like to be relegated to the google sandbox. A picture says 1000 words so here it is:
If that graphic of the google sandbox looks a little discouraging, then it should, SEO isn’t a game you can expect to win in a couple of days or even a year. It’s been 9 months and this site still isn’t back but it’s been steadily gaining. I’ve also been hitting the main target keyword in position 1 for an hour (or even a few minutes) at a time over the past couple of weeks. I keep hoping to see an explosion, so hopefully soon I can report back that I’ve escaped from one of the longer google sandbox visits I’ve ever heard of.
Google has never really confirmed or denied the truth behind the existence of a google sandbox but most web savvy people believe in it, or at least that the effect happens. Google doesn’t trust new sites as much as it does old established sites. Google doesn’t like sites that try to game the algorithm. So perhaps the age gives google a lower tolerance for a site, then the google skepticism filter kicks in. Who knows?
The sandbox is a couple things for sure 1) it’s painful 2) it’s effect real. Other than that not a lot is known for sure.