The Google Sandbox Effect describes a phenomenon where new sites rank very poorly until suddenly, one day the level of visitors who arrive via organic search increases dramatically, almost overnight, for no apparent reason.

It has been written about since 2004, is the topic of much debate, and it may be that it once existed, but no longer does.

For what it’s worth, the Google Universal Analytics graph below was from an old website of mine, where it certainly seems to be real. And I personally observed this phenomenon on literally dozens of websites, so I will always believe that at least at some point in the past, it was real.

What can you do to get out of the Google Sandbox?

This post is part of a series and here is the link to the main glossary page.

Is it real?

As you can see from this Reddit thread, there is much debate about whether the Google Sandbox effect is even real.

Is the Google sandbox real? If so, how long does it last?

Strategies for dealing with it

Whether it is or is not real, it has zero effect on what you do relative to publishing to your website.

If you need to publish “through” an initial google sandbox effect period, then you do that. If the sandbox effect is not real and your website will rank when it deserves to do so, then you publish quality content until that occurs.

So while the strategy for dealing with the Google sandbox effect is not literally to forget about it. It is to not worry about it.


You need to focus on publishing instead.

It’s all about hitting Publish

  1. Publish frequently and consistently.
  2. Create strong content and earn quality links to your site.
  3. Do white hat SEO, or more accurately avoid black hat tactics to artificially inflate your site’s ranking.
  4. Make your website easily scannable to a human visitor.
  5. Do not put pop-up banners for users on mobile devices.

As you keep building links to your website, do it naturally, over time, in ways that look organic because they are organic.

Use quality content, guest posts and outreach campaigns that people want to link to and share.

Promote your content to your target audience via various means (social media for example).

In closing

Worrying about the sandbox effect and strategizing on how to overcome it is time and effort in which you could be working on the publishing of quality content, which is what matter whether the Google sandbox effect is or is not real.

Need to boost your topical authority?

Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney

Kevin "fell into" SEO by accident, like many others. The SaaS platform to help writers boost their topical authority came years later after various SEOs said it was something they would like to see.

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