Your August 2018 Search Engine Bytes Digest
Does Google Sandbox newly revamped websites?
Recently I read an article about Google Sandbox where a new site is temporarily handicapped in the rankings until it proves itself trustworthy. So, I'm wondering what happens if a website is revamped, does it also goes to the Sandbox?
I have a client who just revamped their site to become more search engine friendly. However, their rankings and traffic dropped when the site went live.
Is it possible that a revamped site must undergo a "proving period" before everything goes back to normal again? If so, how long it does it take to recover?
Sandbox is a term we haven't heard in a while. But regardless of the terminology, it depends on what you change. For example if you just change the theme but leave everything else the same, especially the content and URL structure, you wouldn't likely experience any loss of rankings.
However if you change the URL structure, you should expect a major shakeup in rankings — even if the new URL's are more search engine friendly.
You are basically starting over in regards to many of the ranking signals for your individual pages. Assuming that you'll use the proper 301 redirects from the old URL structure to the new one, you can expect it will take about 90 days for your rankings to start creeping back up.
If you've also changed the site content, there's no guarantee but assuming you've done a good job SEO-wise, your rankings will likely, eventually, return to where they were and perhaps beyond as a long term result of the improvements you made.
By the way, we always recommend to sites that depend on rankings and traffic that, whatever changes need be made to a site, do them incrementally. By changing one thing at a time, and waiting to see the result on rankings, you have a better idea of what the problem might be if you do experience a ranking loss. And, if need be, you might also have the option of rolling it back if the change causes any major issues.