If you have knowledge of SEO, you have probably heard of the term ‘Google sandbox’. Google’s sandbox is a place where no one wants their site to be because it is a place that can be difficult to return from. However, sometimes site owners aren’t aware of the things that can get them in the sandbox in the first place. This article can help clear up some of the confusion about this topic.
When a site is placed in Google’s sandbox it might mean that the site has been pushed off of the front pages of Google onto pages which are further back. You know how a Google search for most terms will pull up thousands or millions of results? How would you like to be on page 1,000? That can happen when you get on Google’s bad side. Another thing that could happen when you are placed in Google’s sandbox is your site is completely de-indexed by Google. That means that your site is nowhere on Google’s search engine results. Either of these is a bad thing for your site.
To avoid getting on Google’s bad side, there are a few things you can do. With a little forethought, it is not difficult to figure out the type of things that Google does not like when it comes to a site.
One thing Google does not like is for a site to be a clone of another site. There is a cliché that says imitation is the best form of flattery. Well, Google doesn’t agree with that. If your site copies content from another site, it will likely draw the ire of Google. So to avoid this fate, use content that is unique. One can hire a person to write unique content for their site if it is absolutely necessary.
Another way to keep your site out of Google’s sandbox is to use backlinking responsibly. Backlinking is a part of off-site SEO that a person can sometimes overdo. It can be tempting to think that more is better, but this is not the case. Over-zealous backlinking can result in an unnatural looking amount of links to a site. Google expects sites to have some backlinks that are gained naturally. But to go from having little to no backlinks to having thousands in a short time span does not look good. Instead, use a strategy that allows for modest building of links in the initial stages of starting a site. If you think about links that are done naturally, (i.e. someone sees your site and likes it and adds a link from their site to yours), it takes time for these to happen. Even if your site is the best in the world, it will take some time to be discovered so it would take time for backlinks to be given from one site to another.
Another thing you can look at when trying to keep your site out of the sandbox is to work on a low bounce rate. A bounce rate that is high would cause Google to examine a site more closely. This would likely lead to the site losing ground with Google as a high bounce rate indicates that users are not seeing what they want when they go through to the site.
These are just a few things to consider when you are trying to keep your site on Google’s good side. Work on practicing SEO that is not overly aggressive as this is a big red flag to Google.