Although Google never admitted directly that Google Sandbox Effect exists, Matt Cutts admitted it indirectly in one of his videos that Sandbox exists for new sites. In this video, he suggested new website owners to put on a coming soon page on their new site, and once they finish developing their site, months later they should be able to rank.
What is Google Sandbox? Google imposes the sandbox effect on new sites to prevent the blackhat SEOs from directing tons of links overnight to a new site and try to manipulate the Google rankings. You can say that the Google sandbox effect is basically like a probation period, during which Google scrutinizes the quality of your site and on-page user interaction patterns. With this probation period in place, Google will be able to prevent most of the impatient blackhat SEOs trying to quickly climb up the SERPs.
Although there are some Google Sandbox checkers, there's no necessary of a tool at all. If your new site is ranking abnormally low for your target keywords, then you're inside the Google's sandbox.
The sandbox period of around 4-6 months is common for new sites trying to rank top on Google. But in some niches, you probably have heard of people ranking and banking within 2-3 months or so. In some niches? Wait. What? Yes. The sandbox period varies across different niches.
If you take examples of some of the highly manipulated niches like payday loans, forex trading, the Google sandbox period will be more (say 8 months or even a year). Because these are the most profitable and exploited niches when it comes to SEO.
If you consider Amazon niche sites, you target money keywords. In those cases, the Google Sandbox period will still be quite long (say 4-6 months).
In the case of AdSense sites where you mostly target low competitive informational keywords (not buyer intent), the sandbox effect will be low (3-4 months depending upon the niche).
With this, you can say that "Google tends to probe the new sites closer that are targeting buyer intent keywords longer. Of course, it's for good."
If you are in this sandbox period, you can follow some of the strategies that I personally follow to reduce the Google sandbox period. Excited. Huh?
Let's get started.
#1. Target Low Volume Keywords
The basic SEO teaches us : "Target high volume keywords with less keyword competition". However, this doesn't work today for new sites. No matter what the keyword competition is, Google will not take the risk of ranking your new site for high volume keywords.
Whatever the competition maybe, for the sake of new sites forget about high volume keywords.
Your goal for kicking out of the Google Sandbox Effect is to research the keywords that have low search volume and also are of low competition. The search intent should be narrow enough to create insightful content around it.
On my new Amazon niche sites, I often target keywords that have as low as 30-90 searches monthly and low keyword competition. The fact is that you can easily find low volume keywords that have low competition, as most of the people won't be targeting them. You can make use of tools like Ubersuggest and the new free tool Toolfeast to research the keywords with low search volume and competition.
The low volume keywords are where the shortage of the content is. Google will obviously rank your content for keywords with low search volume as it'll be a little risk for them and also is a great chance for them to test your site's performance by rankings.
Once you start gaining organic traffic from these low volume keywords, Google determines the quality of content of your site quickly, and it starts reducing the sandbox time for your site and you'll start getting traffic from related high volume keywords.
I bet this is one of the best tips, that any blogger can give you about reducing the sandbox time.
#2. Follow Silo Structure
Silo Structure is one of the most overlooked strategies by bloggers. In fact, I guess only 20% of the pro bloggers are using it on their niche sites.
It basically involves topically modeling or structuring the content on your site.
It basically involves creating in-depth money pages called silos on your blog, and then creating some more pillow blog posts that help primary blog pages to rank under those silos and interlinking them inside the silo.
Now, in this case, you build 80% of the contextual links to the silo pages which you intend to rank. The rest 20% of the contextual links to the inner supportive blog posts. Make sure you interlink your relevant blog posts with each other, the silo structure is incomplete without internal links. You can be more liberal with anchor text while in the case of internal links.
The silo structure of content on your site, helps your site to be more topical or contextually rich. Google is known to favor sites that have insightful content around the common topical theme.
#3. Getting more comments
Let's face the bitter truth. Getting natural comments on a niche blog that you're uninterested in is damn hard. It simply won't work.
The naughty way though!
Head over to the spam section of your blog comments. Edit the comment make it insightful and keyword-rich, weed out of the link, and approve it. With this, you get comments from different IPs, keyword benefit, and comments that sound natural.
The spammers have done half job for you. For my new niche sites, I don't even have spam filters!
It will act as a social proof for the visitors of your site and also helps in increasing conversions.
It also has a huge SEO benefit.
You know it or not, the Google Crawlers have the ability to distinguish the difference between the main content and the comments. The trick here is that, instead of using keywords in the article repeatedly, you can be more liberal while using keywords in the comments. If you've been in the SEO field for around a year or a two, you already know that Google also checks for the presence of the keyword in the comments while ranking or showing up the site in SERPs.
Including keywords in the comments section is a way of telling Google that our commenters also agree that the content is relevant to the keyword targeted.
#4. Follow link velocity
Link velocity refers to the rate at which you build backlinks to your site. Once you put in some content on your site, don't go straight away and throw some links to your site. It won't work that way. In fact, it would increase your sandbox time.
The backlinks to your site should grow proportionally to the growth of content on your site. Don't fall victim to the impatience within you. Be natural.
Remember that, rushing hard to build backlinks from day one seems abnormal and Google tends to watch you closely and extend the sandbox period.
Just ask yourself, - "How on hell can anyone naturally link to your brand new site with little content?".
#4. Fake a buzz
One of the greatest ways by which you can decrease or even skip the Google sandbox is by faking some buzz. This can be made with the help of press release. There are some high-quality press release services, which can do the job to you.
Make sure the links in the press release are of nofollow. Because, as I said you earlier, a large amount of links that too dofollow links can harm your site. Added to that, there's a common misconception that nofollow links pass no ranking juice to your site. But the fact is that even nofollow links some times, do pass some SEO juice to your site.
Immediately after the press release, maybe after a day or so, pass some social signals to your niche blog. You can use free tools like JustRetweet, CoPromote, and KingdomLikes to accomplish the same. This is because, in order to justify the buzz for your site you need some social shares. It appears the buzz to be natural. Don't just blast tons of social signals just keep it handful.
Moreover, it also does add some SEO benefit to your blog.
Make sure to keep things natural, don't overdo anything.
#5. Enhance onpage user interaction
Google is stressing more and more on on-page user interaction. The metrics such as page dwell duration, bounce rate, etc. Google makes use of Google Analytics, Chrome Browser, and also detects Pogosticking. As you can see the above metrics give Google a clear picture of quality the of the content.
During the initial days of your blogging site, make sure you work more on reducing bounce rate and increasing the time that visitors spend on your site. This is crucial for a new site, because as the Google sandbox is the incubation period, Google will have a close eye on your site.
Make sure you dig the Google Analytics regularly and fix the pages on your site that have poor engagement rate. Maybe you can fix it by interlinking, adding a great introduction (it works wonders for increasing dwell time). You can also implement scroll depth tracking on your site to flush out the element that's preventing your readers to read your content fully.
You may underestimate this. But it works.
These are some of the best ways to kick out of the Google Sandbox and rank your site and quickly bank the cash. Hope you found the blog post helpful. Remember, that with these tips I can't assure you won't experience Sandbox at all, but the effect will be less depending upon the niche.
Do let me know what you think.