If you have spent any time talking to people in the search engine optimization industry then you have most likely heard people make reference to something known as the Google ‘Sandbox’.
Although Google has never confirmed or denied that the sandbox exists, it has been proven to exist time and time again by website designers, web masters and search engine optimisation specialists. According to those in the know, the Google sandbox is basically an ageing delay that is placed on every new website indexed by Google in the natural (non-paid) search results.
Like all things with Google, it is suspected that they implemented the sandbox to improve the quality of their search results. By implementing an ageing delay of 6-12 months for all new websites it has significantly reduced the amount of low quality spam websites that were being setup overnight purely to obtain high rankings and drive traffic.
Immediately after a new website is indexed by Google it will appear in the first few pages of natural search results for some of the targeted key phrases and most likely the company name. After 1-3 weeks the site will suddenly disappear from even slightly competitive searches in the natural search results, seemingly into oblivion. When this takes place, you will know that the website has been placed in the sandbox and will take anywhere from approximately 6-12 months before any substantial natural rankings can be achieved. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to remove your website from the Google sandbox during this time.
Although you cannot obtain high natural rankings while in the sandbox, it is still highly important to continue optimising your website. By doing so, when your site does suddenly drop from the sandbox your rankings will be in the best place possible.
While waiting for your site to be removed from the sandbox, you can also use Google paid advertising (PPC) to obtain high rankings in the paid search area of results and drive quality traffic to your website.