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Is this a filter, penalty or sandbox effect for a new site?

 3:39 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

OK, is it just me or is there such thing as a keyword or homepage penalty/filter?

I took on the SEO management of a website 5 months ago. Website had brand spanking new domain that I registered for the client, amazing content and one of the best tools for a local market that no other site has. This site has amazing original content, no joke.

Now we did some link building but it was not aggressive at all. 2 - 3 links a week. All from different sites. In content, blogroll, a few relative link exchanges, some local friendly sites that we know gave us a link, a few homepage links on related sites. The correct mix on how linking should be. We even have got about 5 natural links from sites that loved our content and linked to our homepage and articles.

Now the sites HOMEPAGE starting appearing in page 2 (after 4 months) for all competitive keywords we are ranking for. The sites ARTICLES and content is ranking great (page 1).

Everything was going smoothly. All of a sudden last week around the 21st of March. The homepage vanished from page 2 for the competitive keywords and started appearing on page 4, page 6, some keywords on page 9. Now there is no penlaty because the sites articles are still ranking great (even the sites brand names appears in position 1), but it seems the homepage got thrown into a sandbox type holing center.

Is this still normal for new sites (6 month old site) to bouce around like that? Maybe get thrown back into a sandbox for a few weeks, months? Or do you beleive there is a filter or penlaty that was applied to the homepage?

Any thoughts on this would help? Thanks guys?



 4:35 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

The site is 6 months old. You build 2-3 links a week. At most that would be 78 links (3 links x 26 weeks). I'm curious why you think 78 links would be enough to rank your site in Google.

Generally you need many more than 78 links to rank for a keyword and those links should be coming from trustworthy sources not just local friends websites. What is the average number of backlinks for the sites that are currently ranking for your keywords?


 7:06 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

The market that I am in is not very competitive at all and most of my competition has less links than I do but they have huge age factor and have been around since 1999 - 2000.

I am building links slowly, not in a huge rush. The links are coming from trustworthy sources. As I mentioned we are getting a variety of different links, very dynamic.


 7:20 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

What is the average number of backlinks for the sites that are currently ranking at the top for your keywords?


 7:40 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Top competitors have anywhere from 100 to 200. We are at about 90


 8:48 am on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well i have the same issue, whatever i throw at my home page it wont rank, my inner pages respond really well and have a few page 1 spots for my articles and other inner pages, so there is something out there thats doing this but i cannot find out what.

But i think what your describing is something a little different, many new websites tend to get a nice boost until i suppose Google finds the right place for them, I would just keep what your doing and im sure your bounce back in time if your content is as unique and of the quality you say 6 months is not a long time


 1:15 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I do not see reason to think this is a filter or penalty. You are working on a new site that has less links then the current ranking sites. This sounds like they currently have more ranking power.

I would build out more pages of content that are properly interlinked and seek out many more links from relevant external websites.

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