Link Building Has Sandbox Effect / Transition Rankings

by rishil on December 13, 2012

I haven’t really paid much attention to SEO blogs in the last three months. Part of that reason is that I am insanely busy working on new projects that have little to do with SEO. However that doesn’t mean I don’t check or test stuff.

This post is more of an observation and a working theory, but I may be either:

  1. Completely off the mark
  2. Be observing that others may have reported.

Background

In the past I have created many, many sites for testing purposes. And tried various link building tactics to these. More recently, I am laying around with niche or micro niche sites, and unlike before, the strategy is to first build it, add decent content, wait for a few long tail organic rankings and then pursue link building.

In the past, I have seen fresh sites jump in rankings, especially Exact Match Domains. Over time their rankings fluctuate, but not massively. I have seen sites that took longer to index and rank as well. But the latest movement has me a bit puzzled.

The situation

The site ranks for keywords, for about a month. Add links to it, it ranks for a week or two, fairly high, site wide (long tails etc all) jump and ranks fairly high for your target Kw that the link is built for, then it disappears from the top 100. Wait 2-3 weeks and it comes back up on a stable position, sometimes higher than the initial jump, sometimes slightly lower. Long tails improve, but not to the rate of the initial jump.

I have encountered this phenomenon on four separate sites, in different niches .

Link Building Sandbox?

Such shifts and movements are common in new sites, new links etc.

BUT: One of these sites had been an EXISTING site. Over two years old. Was on page two of google for the KW target, and I just bought it and started adding content.

I then caught a break and got a link off a high property site (not bought / requested – natural w00t!).

And the site displayed the EXACT same behaviour as my other micro niche sites.

See the details below (click for better resolution).

Odd Sandbox effect

What have I missed in the latest algo updates that could point this out? I am just calling it the “New Link Sandbox”.

UPDATE

The suspects are the Transition Ranking Patent

See here:

Summary

If your site tanks after you apply new links, DON’T PANIC.

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Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile

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