Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Google Sandbox

CAUTION: This is an outdated post from 2005. It is believed that the Google Sandbox has not existed for several years now.

Thanks to Jill Whalen of for this clear discussion.

Purgatory for Brand New Sites

For those who aren’t familiar with the aging delay and the sandbox, you’ll want to note that there is a lot of disagreement over what causes a site to be thrown in the sandbox. However, based on my own observations and the experiences of some trusted SEO friends, it’s my belief that the sandbox is basically a purgatory database where Google places certain URLs based on a variety of predetermined criteria. (Much of this is spelled out in the first part of the patent application.)

Basically, if you have a brand new domain/website, it will automatically land in the sandbox regardless of anything that you do with it. Your new website will be stuck there for an unspecified period of time (averaging around 9 months these days) and it will not rank highly in Google for any keyword phrases that might bring it any decent traffic. Yes, it can sometimes rank highly for the company name, or the names of the people who run the company. It may also show up in Google for a few additional phrases that other sites are not focusing on within their content. But new domains will not show up in Google’s natural results for even slightly competitive keyword phrases until they are removed from the sandbox.

The full discussion of this topic can be found in Jill’s really informative newsletter, a copy of which can be found in her archives at

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