Link Velocity and the Google Sandbox

February 23, 2012 - by Andy · Filed Under SEO Leave a Comment 
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    Link Velocity is a fancy way for describing the speed in which you build links. For the most part I don’t worry about it, but I have some thoughts on the subject and some link building best practices related to it.

    First some general observations:

    –       I have seen websites start from scratch and get thousands of low quality links on a daily basis and then dominate the search results relatively quickly. For the most part, these links were a constant stream from a variety of sources. Each day the site would gather thousands more new links.

    –       I have personally had a site sandboxed straight away after getting a decent amount of blogroll links quickly.  The sandbox lasted 4 months but I basically abandoned the site over that time. Had I built links during the sandbox I am sure it would not have lasted as long.

    –       I have personally started a site and built links aggressively from the get go. However, I did it in an intelligent way. I built both low and high quality links at the same time, in a large volume and on a daily basis. I saw no sandbox and got rankings quickly.

    These points lead me to believe the following about the Google sandbox and link velocity.

    –       If you start out building links consistently each day from a variety of sources, you should avoid the sandbox.

    –       If you do something stupid like get a “one off blast” of Xrumer links or get many of the exact same type of link, you increase your odds of getting sandboxed.

    –       If you maintain or increase your link velocity you should be fine.

    –       I don’t think domain age is as big of a factor when it comes to the Google sandbox as people think. If you have a 10 year old domain but it’s just been sitting around doing nothing for 10 years you’re still going to get sandboxed as quickly as a brand new domain.

    –       The quality of the links pays a big role in the sandbox. For example, if you have a brand new site and it just happens to get linked from CNN, the BBC, the NY Times and 500 other popular news sites, this is not going to sandbox you and is going to be super valuable.

    Obviously this is a fictional example, you’re not going to get linked from CNN J Anyway, compare that to getting 10 thousand profile links and 10 thousand comment spam links straight away. The site with the CNN link is going to be laughing to the bank whereas the site with the profile links is likely going to be sandboxed. Sure, it’s possible to build low quality links from the start and avoid the sandbox, but I know many people who have been sandboxed and I don’t want to endorse this practice, especially to people who are knew to building websites.

    –       If you build ONLY one type of the following types of links your likely to get sandboxed… Automated profile links, automated blog comments, blogroll links, footer links, automated social bookmarking links. If you do all of the above and add in guest blog posting, article distribution and many of the other link building methods at the same time, you reduce your risk substantially.

    –       When building links it’s important to change up your anchor text to avoid filters.

    All in all, I think the main message here is that, if you’re going to engage in aggressive link practices, be consistent about it. Don’t do a couple of days of all out link building and stop; you need to be consistent in your efforts and you need to get links from many different sources, both high and low quality.

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