What Is An “Aged Website” And What Is The “Google Sandbox” In Internet Marketing?

Google search page with suggestions.
Courtesy of Google.


What Is Google Sandbox?

Google Sandbox is a theorized phenomenon where young or newly-created websites don’t rank well in Google search results.

Ahrefs defines Sandbox as follows:

The Google Sandbox refers to an alleged filter that prevents new websites from ranking in Google’s top results. Think of it like a probation period—even if you do everything right, your site won’t get decent rankings until it comes to an end.

Google Sandbox was discovered by webmasters and SEO specialists in 2004 when they noticed that their recently launched websites didn’t perform well despite SEO efforts.

Google has never officially confirmed the existence of Sandbox, but many SEO experts are confident that it does exist.

In 2012, a website owner complained on Google Community that they had experienced a traffic drop, suspecting an SEO attack from a competitor. Google’s JohnMu responded:

From what I can tell, your site is still fairly new – with most of the content just a few months old, is that correct? In cases like that, it can take a bit of time for search engines to catch up with your content, and to learn to treat it appropriately. It’s one thing to have a fantastic website, but search engines generally need a bit more to be able to confirm that, and to rank your site – your content – appropriately.

The period of “catching up” may explain the Sandbox effect.


What Is An “Aged Website”? Do Aged Websites Rank Better?

An “aged website” or “aged domain” is one that is old enough to have escaped from Google Sandbox. There is no consensus as to how old a website needs to be in order to start ranking well – estimates range from 4-6 weeks to 13 months.

Age does appear to correlate with rankings – older websites tend to perform better on Google.

Average age of websites versus ranking.
Courtesy of Ahrefs.


According to a study by Ahrefs, nearly 60% of websites in Google Top 10 results are aged 3 years old or more. About 22% are aged 1 year old, while just under 20% are 2 years old.

Age distribution among websites ranking top 10 on Google.
Courtesy of Ahrefs.


For some online entrepreneurs looking to purchase a website, the age of the prospective website may be a huge positive (although net profits matter much more for website value, as well as things like organic traffic and email lists). However, in isolation, many argue that old domains are not more valuable than young ones – what matters more than age is traffic and backlinks, among other factors.

To learn more about search-engine optimization (SEO) check out our articles on Neil Patel and Pat Flynn.

To see real life examples of websites for sale and how the age of those websites is factored into their worth, you can check out the website marketplace Flippa (or read our overview of Flippa here).




Related Posts:

Overview Of The Flippa Website Marketplace

What Is Bounce Rate In Digital Marketing?

What Is Mobile Optimization In Website Building?