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Old 03-10-2009   #1
CaseyC
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Sandbox?

We launched an e-commerce site last year (May 08) and to this day the site still is not ranking for any of our optimized keywords in Google. Of course we are top 5 for these keywords in MSN and have been steadily building links since the site has been up. We have a Page Rank of 4, so I know our links are being counted. It just seems like we have been in the sandbox a very long time. We have another site that targets some of the same keywords and it is doing quite well and we have gotten links for this new site from some of the same locations. Now the other site is older so I understand why it would be doing better, but any suggestions on what to do or look at with this newer site?
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Old 03-10-2009   #2
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Re: Sandbox?

I'm not sure there is a sandbox these days, but there is a filter that seems to be based on link building - how fast, how good, from where etc. That's where I would be looking for answers.
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Old 03-11-2009   #3
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Re: Sandbox?

Your question about the link building is my concern also. Within a month after we launched the site the owner of our company (against my recommendation) had us hire a link building company to submit the site to all sorts of directories. I forget how many, but hundreds or more. We told him that this sort of link building on a brand new site might be a bad idea, but he made us go through with it. Now we also did the same package for the other established site and it had no negative effect, but that site is older and already had numerous quality links. So, do you think that initial heavy link building could be why the site is still struggling? Is there anything that could be done or is it just a wating game stil? Like I said it has been something like 9 months since the site went up and maybe 5-6 since all of that heavy initial linkbuilding was completed.
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Old 03-11-2009   #4
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Re: Sandbox?

sounds like you understand the problem. To use an outdated term, you have been "sandboxed". Start building quality links (only) and wait it out. It could be a while.
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Old 03-13-2009   #5
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Re: Sandbox?

Would it be worth contacting the company that did that link building to sdee if they could get us removed from those directories? How long of a time frame do you think we are looking at here?
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Old 03-13-2009   #6
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Re: Sandbox?

Question: what is the make up of anchor text in these links and will your site rank for terms that were not used in the anchors, like quoted text?

>if they could get us removed from those directories?

It's a conundrum. If I knew for sure that my otherwise healthy site was hit because of the links, then yes I might try to get rid of them - followed by a groveling WMT reconsideration request. It's hard to un-ring the bell. I also might consider starting a new site. Maybe your boss should listen better.
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Old 03-13-2009   #7
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Re: Sandbox?

We target a list of about 4-5 keywords with one being significantly more important than the others and these were the keywords that were used as the titles and anchors in whatever text links we have obtained, yet we have yet to see any rankings for these words excpet for on MSN. When I look at our traffic logs, Google is our top searh engine, yet when i look at our list of most popular keywords, I dont find us in the SERPs for any of them, so I dont know how that is happening. I know we currently do rank for some really longtail stuff which is encouraging, but we want to be ranking for the stuff we have optimized for.
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Old 03-15-2009   #8
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Re: Sandbox?

Not to encourage using term "sandbox" but it sounds like that has happened to you for the anchors you targeted. You have to decide to repair and grovel to G, or wait for who-knows how long to have filter expire, or get a new domain name and start over.
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Old 03-15-2009   #9
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Re: Sandbox?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyC View Post
...but we want to be ranking for the stuff we have optimized for.
That wording just sounded a little funny given that you state you are not ranking for those terms and thereby is not, technically, optimized.

But on a strategic level, is the SEO critical to your ecommerce website's business? It sounds like you are doing OK with business since it was launched in May 2008.

Aside from JohnW's discourse on the sandbox (which was good), you could probably build a very comprehensive SEO campaign - for the time being - with the "longtail" keywords (I hate that term - so overused by the most imbecilic "SEOs").

And as JohnW said, it looks like either way, it will be a time issue before you can get this resolved for your top tier KWs.
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Old 03-16-2009   #10
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Re: Sandbox?

Good point on the "optimized" wording....i sure have said targeted keywords. Actually the SEO is critical for this site as we do not plan on doing much in the way of advertising for it. I guess we are doing OK, but the bulk of the traffic we would get will come from those handful of KW we are targeting that just are not paying off yet. I guess we will just switch gears a little and work on some longer tail stuff and allow some time to pass and maybe diversify our text links a little more and see what happens.
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Old 03-16-2009   #11
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Re: Sandbox?

If your link-building is not diversified, then yeah, it could be an additional hindrance. JohnW covered all of that with you already.

For the time being, I would look at whatever lemonade you can make right now.

Drill deeper into the KWs and find out what other "longtail" KWs you can optimize for. But find a lot and optimize for those a lot. You have to spread more horizontally than vertically to make this tactic work. You can make it work, however, and it will help with the bottomline. But again, at this point, it's a waiting game for the bigger KW rankings.
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Old 03-17-2009   #12
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Re: Sandbox?

I have taken the advice and begun digging out longer tail keywords and will follow that route for the forseeable future and see what happens

thanks
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Old 03-17-2009   #13
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Re: Sandbox?

regale us with your success!
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Old 03-19-2009   #14
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Re: Sandbox?

What about the quality of the content? Google seems to like useful, informative stuff over product catalog copy. Have you tried adding in-depth articles on your site that would provide site visitors with useful information about your industry or products?
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Old 03-19-2009   #15
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Re: Sandbox?

Content alone is not the fix to get CaseyC out of this situation, Angela.

Part of the problem is the anchor text of the link building and the rapidity of the link bulding, as CaseyC has already suspected. Adding content is not the solution to that; waiting it out and improving the link building is.

CaseyC may get benefit from in-bound links with unique, link-baiting type content, but that would still fall under a revamped link-building strategy.

As a business concern, CaseyC can expand into other keywords. Remember keywords are basically individual markets with 10 competitors. That's what ranking is. So if the top, most desired KWs are tough to get into because of competition, "sandbox", and/or other filters, the solution is to expand into "fresh" markets. This is done via "longtail" keywords, among other tactics.

To an extent, more content - targeting the longtail words - is the solution. But content alone is not the solution.
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Old 03-24-2009   #16
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Re: Sandbox?

Because the industry this site is in is strictly e-commerce and most of us are selling similar products, I dont think the catalog copy is an issue since we all pretty much say the same thing about the products themselves, however I do think unique, fresh copy that is centered around the long tail/ less competitve keywords may be a good approach for us right now.

Thanks for the advice all
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