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  Top Rankings for New Sites - What to Do About the Sandbox?
New sites on new domains face a hard, uphill struggle to get included in Google. While a few seem to circumvent the infamous sandbox, most have to sit there building sand castles for a year or two while their competitors' older sites get all the rankings.

As frustrating as this may be, it is the reality that most owners of new websites face. Sure, you can get listed on MSN and Yahoo but that doesn't account for even a fourth of the traffic that the Google-God can bring if it's in a good mood and you've been a good little boy.

So what can you do? First of all, you're going to have to adopt the long term strategy approach and think two years ahead to when you finally get to leave the sandbox and enter the world of organic search listings.

In order to make sure your site is ready for that go back to good, old fashioned SEO. Make sure your site is designed in a search engine friendly manner, that there is plenty of keyword rich content and that you allocate the necessary resources to link building.

Over the months continually add to your site in the form of FAQ's, Buyer's Guides, Product info pages, How-To's, Tips and other unique content. If you send out newsletters archive them on the site. If you write articles for publication off line add a section for them on the site. By the time Google lets you out of the sandbox you'll have a content rich power house of a site that should do well in the rankings.

But what about the 6-24 months while you're covered in sand? This is where paid listings come in. If you have any budget at all spend it on a carefully monitored, intelligently orchestrated pay per click campaign. You may have to do PPC for awhile so don't squander your cash.

If you're outsourcing, stay in close contact with the agency and make sure you're getting the expected ROI. If you're having it done in-house, take it slow, learning as you go along, until you're confident that you've found the terms, ads, bids and landing pages that work.

One way to speed up the process is to soft launch a scaled down version of your website while the full site is still in development. Some websites are in development for 6 months or longer. If this is likely to be the case with yours don't waste that time.

Write 30 pages of content about your products/services or even information on your industry. Put them on a simply designed, 100% search engine friendly "baby" website as a placeholder. The date this goes live is the date your sandbox incarceration begins which may mean that you're out of it by the time the full site is ready for launch. Just be careful to keep the original url's live when the full site goes up. You don't want to lose those rankings.

Does everyone get stuck in the sandbox? No, a few sites make it through. And there are rumours of ways around it. Check out the forums, do some research and test a few things. You may get lucky.



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