What’s the SEO Sandbox?

When a search engine suspects that a website is not all that genuine, the search engine can temporarily sandbox the website. This means that the website will be “parked” in a virtual testing area, called a sandbox. The website’s pages will only show sporadically in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

As such, a sandbox is a testing ground where the website can prove it’s credibility and consistency.

A website can be put in a sandbox when:

  • The website is hosted on a new domain.
  • As the website has often been unavailable
  • As the website contains, or has contained, a lot of 404 (not found) pages

As a rule of thumb, search engines like to offer relevant and available web pages to their users. If your website has no or a poor track record, your website can be sandboxed. This can take up to 6 months, depending on the amount of traffic your website receives, as well as it’s track record.

Get out of the SEO sandbox!

Want to get out of the sandbox? Then heed the the following advice:

  • Check if your pages are not blocked in the robots.txt file. Check for this and related errors in Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Make sure your website is up and running - avoid 400 and 500 errors.
  • Redirect all invalid hyperlinks (both on the website and incoming links) using 301-redirects
  • Make sure you don’t use any black hat SEO technicques (stuffing, cloaking, etc.)
  • Work on your authority, using linkbuilding and other SEO techniques
  • Search engines also have specialized crawlers that visit sites that use search engine advertising. Make sure they can find the landing pages in your PPC campaigns.Then, start with Search Engine Advertising - and get the traffic going!
  • Create new content on your website on (at least) a weekly basis- and make sure the spiders can find it!

This should get you out of the sandbox asap. It will also help you to boost your rankings and generate more traffic to boot!

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