Growing up we we’re always taught to play fair, but there were always those kids who didn’t play by the rules, you know the ones; the bullies, the ‘too cool for school’ types, the Yahoo’s! and Googles.
Google is like the big kid in the playground who just makes his own rules, and the kids who learn how to play by these ever changing rules are the ones who end up surviving.
And not much has changed either.
Now the only things that are different are the surroundings. The swing set has been replaced with algorithms, the see-saw is now what I like to call the ‘Feedburner rollercoaster’ (have you not seen feed counts go up and down like bedsprings on a honeymoon!?) and the sandbox has been replaced with – oh wait, it’s still there.
But the rules have not changed a bit, so learning how to play by the big kid’s rules is critical if you want to enjoy your time on the swings and roundabouts.
Otherwise chances are you’ll do something you shouldn’t and he’ll push you in the sandbox or something.
So what is this ‘Sandbox’ I keep hearing about?
First off, the idea that the sandbox is some kind of ‘go to the corner and think about what you have done’ penalty is such a fallacy.
I guess the analogy is an attempt to say ‘hey, break the rules and I will send you to the sandbox. You can still do what you want – but you can’t interact with all the other kids’ and this is so not true.
To stick with the analogy it is more like ‘hey break the rules and you go the sandbox. You can still play with all the other kids, but only when they come to you – or you shout over to them’ because although you are definitely restricted you are still visible, and you can still shout (use social media) to your heart’s content. Best way to look at it is like this:
Sandbox = Indexed, not Ranked
Check out this screenshot showing the Visitor analytics of a site being indexed, sandboxed, and then out the other side. You can see it still got visits, and it lasted in this case 2 months.
- http://www.webmaster-diary.griddler.co.uk/Apr2008.aspx (Ana’s note: I decided against posting the image on my blog, since you really need to see it full size.)
So how do I stay out of it then?
If I am launching a new niche site, then I want to rank it as quickly as possible, but I need to make sure that the types of links I start throwing at it early are applicable and relevant – because I need a solid foundation to start with, especially since I plan on throwing a lot of instability at it in the near future.
Building a solid link foundation
The best type of links to start throwing at a brand new site are relevant ones.
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but of all the criteria that your links must meet, when you first start – relevancy is the most important factor, and there is no easier way to build relevant links than by blog commenting and Article Marketing.
Blog Commenting is the easiest way to build incoming relevant links, provided of course the blog you are commenting on is a Do-Follow blog (again there are variations to this rule too – read more on the subject here:
There is no hard and fast rule to blog commenting, but because the only real way to make sure a comment stays put is to do it manually, the process means it’s almost impossible to build the links too quickly.
Article Marketing is another great way of building relevant backlinks to a fledgling site because you control the content as well as the link.
The other bonus here is that most Article Directories are well established, both in authority and Pagerank, so the incoming links represent added value.
Ana’s note: here are some great articles on link building:
- Want Quality Backlinks? Follow Me!
- Link Building Mixology Guide
- One Way Link Building Guide to Die For
You have to play on everything though
Ironically, if you want to stay out of the sandbox, you have to make a concerted effort to play on everything else, and the same goes for your link building foundation.
Pointing hundreds of relevant links of the same type at the site is fine so long as you keep things at pace, but if you start throwing other types of links at it too, you can get away with a slightly faster campaign.
Bring on Web 2.0 and Social Bookmarking!
I personally outsource, but how you choose to do it is up to you and I’m not even going into any details here anyway. By now your new site should be around a month old and should have been indexed by Google a while ago.
Staying consistent and varying the types of links you throw at it is key from this point on, but I personally believe that once the site is over 3 months old, provided you have consistently built relevant links from a variety of sources you can pretty much throw a million links at it and not get sandboxed.
Alex Whalley is the owner and founder of Build | Rank | Profit: The Niche Site Marketing Blog and the Principle Consultant at BuRP! Consulting, a Sydney based Search Engine Marketing Firm. Connect with Alex at the official Build Rank Profit Blog and learn EXACTLY how to Build, Rank, and Profit from Niche Sites today!