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NSJ Update #5 – Steady Improvements

It has been about 10 days since the last Niche Site Journey update so I thought I would write a quick article to update you all on what I have been doing. If you recall from last update we started to some initial rankings for the site which was a good sign that we would be able to rank in this niche. I also had contacted my writer from Elance and he was busy working on three articles for me.

Another thing I talked last update was Google’s new 30-day sandbox, I have learned a little more about this since last time and I wanted to share with you my findings. So this article will be a quick one but I just wanted to make sure that I kept you all up to date on the progress of the site.

The Sandbox

Last time I talked about the sandbox I said that I thought it to be a 30 day delay on your site before you would be able to rank on the first page. I thought it was 30 days from when the site was created until the sandbox went away. I have found out that there is no real hard evidence that it is actually 30 days. It could be 20 days or 49 days, there is no real evidence the amount of time it takes to get out of this sandbox.

Another thing I learned is that the sandbox starts when you start building links to the site. So my first PBN link was built on June 26th but probably wasnt even picked up by Google until the beginning of July. At this point I would say that I am about 20 days into this so called “Google Sandbox” and we will see how long it keeps me from ranking on the first page.

Bought Pillow Links

I bought some pillow links on July 14th and they have slowly been built towards my site. I paid $175 and I will be getting around 80 generic pillow links. So these links will have anchor text like “click here, visit my site, more info” and other generic words like those. I also like to use the brand name of my site and the URl as anchor text as well.

For $175 I got those 80 links but I also got press release that is submitted to 15 places and a bunch of different social bookmarks and social syndication. I get a good mix of links and social that is perfect for diluting the anchor text and diversifying the link profile for the site.

These links were pointed at the first three pages that I am trying to rank on the site. If you remember I will be trying to rank six different pages at some point. I like to start off in batches of three because it makes it easier to just focus fully on three pages and rank those quickly, instead of ranking all six pages slowly. So at some point I will have to buy more pillow links for the other three pages but I am not worrying about those right now.

Setup Facebook Fan Page

On all of my niche sites I like to create a facebook fan page to make it seem more like an authority site in Google’s eyes. It also builds trust for the visitors on my site which could in turn make them buy more from the site.

What I do is setup a fan page on Facebook, then I got to and get anywhere from 500 – 2000 likes for this new fan page. I add the link to my website on the Facebook page and that is it. I normally don’t even touch it again. Then I add a facebook widget to my sidebar which shows all of the likes and I call it a day for Facebook! This just builds trust for Google and it seems to help.

Added New Content

A couple days ago I received all three of my articles from my writer and I posted them on the site. Once I get the articles I like to add images to the article and edit anything I need to. I like to edit it to make sure that I keep my keyword density down so I don’t trigger an over optimization penalty. After I do those things I let it sit for about a week and then add my affiliate links. The reason I do this is because I like to have Google index the articles first without any affiliate links. I don’t know if this even matter but I like to do it and I think that it makes the site seem less spammy.

Bought Three More Articles

I said earlier that I like to focus on ranking three pages at a time but I still went ahead and ordered three more articles from the same writer for $100. I thought it would be a good idea to have them written and posted on the site even if I don’t build any links to them. The way I see it is, even if I don’t rank at all for any of those pages I will still have visitors that I could visit those pages and buy items.

I will not be trying to rank these three new articles yet and my focus is still on the first three. I just wanted to get these articles on the site and indexed.


This is the part that most of you probably want to see the most. I know that when I followed along to other people’s niche site projects that I always loved to see the progress of the rankings. Before I show the new rankings, take a look at the rankings in the last update below. These rankings were from July 13th.

Rankings from Last Update



Now I want to show the rankings from today, July 22nd. I have also color coded the keywords to show you which keywords are related to each other. The keywords that have the same color are the keywords that I am trying to rank on the same page. For example all of the keywords hidden by the blue will be one page, hidden by red will be one page, etc.

New Rankings

rankings update


This is some great progress so far and as you can tell from the color coded blocks, each page has a good amount of monthly searches. The page with the green colored boxes has over 38,000 monthly searches! That is enough searches for a whole site but it is just one page on this site. So you can probably see the huge potential for this site. Another thing to notice is that all of my keywords are ranking this time and they have all improved. I even have some keywords already ranking in the 20’s. Most of the KW’s are ranking below 50 which is a great sign. I am really happy with the rankings so far and they are only going to keep improving with the new pillow links and more PBN links.

Just so you all have an idea of how many PBN links it is taking to get these rankings I will show you the amount of links and the date they were built.

date built


As you can see I have only added two links since the last update. In total I have built 10 links but I would say only 9 have been picked up by Google. With 9 links I have been able to achieve pretty good rankings and we will see how the pillow links affect the rankings. We will also see how the Google sandbox affects the rankings. I will continue to build new PBN links every 3 – 5 days until we get on the first page.

First Trickle of Traffic

I have started to see some growth in traffic the last couple days. It was pretty steady at 5 – 10 visitors a day but then a couple days ago I hit 21 visitors and then today, at 1 PM the site already has 10 visitors. The traffic is steadily growing as you can tell from the image below.



I also like to keep track of the amount of queries, clicks and impressions that the site gets from Google Webmaster Tools. I think it is a good representation of site growth. The more queries that you rank for, the more clicks you get from Google and the more impressions that you get from the search engine the better. *Note that these stats are current only up to July 19th because it takes a couple days to update.


Affiliate Links Being Added

I got accepted into the affiliate program yesterday and after I get done writing this article I will start to add affiliate links to the three pages that are ranking. Since I am starting to see some decent traffic I might as well add some affiliate links to see if I can make any early sales. I probably won’t go crazy on the amount of affiliate links to start. Maybe 3 – 4 per article to start off with. When I start to see some first page rankings I will add a few more throughout the article.


Domain – $95

Hosting – $45

Three 1500 word articles – $100

Pillow Links  – $175

Three More Articles  – $100

Facebook Likes – $5

Total Spending – $520

That is probably all of the spending I will need to do for a good while. The only other thing I will need is more pillow links for the other three articles but that won’t be for a couple months.


This site is looking really good so far and everyday it is making forward progress. The rankings are coming along really nicely and I am starting to see my traffic pick up. Now that I have been accepted into the affiliate program I can add affiliate links and start earning money! I have spent $520 so far on the site but I am content with that amount. Like I said earlier I won’t need to spend much more and now all I have to do is wait and and rake in the money!… at least I hope haha 🙂

Overall I am really happy with the site and the progress it is making. I will be back with another update when my rankings improve or when I start to earn some money. Either way I am sure I will be back with another update in the near future.

Read the 6th update of this journey here

Need Your Help

I am having a blast writing about my niche sites but I want to also help you all out as much as possible. So I need some help deciding what else I should write about on this site. Let me know in the comments below what you would like me to write and teach about ion this site. I will gladly write about anything that will help you guys out, so let me know below! Thank you for reading another update and stay tuned for more.




Hi mate,

That’s a great right up you have up, very in-depth!

Your rankings have really shot up, it’s a bold move getting the ‘pillow links’ diversifying your links. Seeing your costs, I see that your writers seems to be pretty expensive, but then again the premium you pay the better the quality.

Maybe for your next posts write about how you create your own private blog network? Showing how you set-up the hosting and the other things that you must take into consideration, it would be great to learn how to build one rather than paying for PBN links that are shared with other users.

Also would be good to see how you choose you own expired domain when you set-up a new website, what filters you have in place when checking back-link history and more

Other than that it’s great to see updates on your journey 🙂


Hi Ram,

Good to hear from you again my friend! Great suggestions for some articles and I will be working on these. Thanks for reading!




What exactly are pillow links? I too would like to see how you built your own PBN.



Hi Blake,

Pillow links are used to dilute the anchor text on you backlink profile. Pillow links would have generic terms for the anchor text such as click here, more info, etc. We do this so we can use our keywords that we are trying to rank for as our anchor text from our PBN’s. Pillow links also keep our site from getting any sort of over optimization penalty from anchor text. And thanks for letting me know what you want to see!



Nice progress on your niche site….sounds like we are at a similar stage. The facebook idea is great, I will implement that this week. Also, I had never heard of pillowlinks, I used Hoth for my generic anchor web 2.0 links.

Josh you seem to be paying a premium for your writers…is this a real technical area?


Hi Scott,

Thanks for your comment and I am glad that you like the facebook idea. I will be writing an article that will talk about pillow links here in the very near future so be on the lookout for that! I am paying premium for my content because my writer is a true expert in this niche and he knows exactly what he is talking about. The niche isn’t really really technical but a knowledgeable writer is definitely needed.

See ya around!



Hi Josh,

Looks like some good movement.

I’d like to see a post on how to arrange and design your affiliate product pages for a good conversion rate.

I’ve got a page getting about 30-50 hits a day but not really getting many clicks or sales from amazon so just wondering what I can do to improve it.

Also, if you are building PBN links every 3-5 days, how many PBN sites do you have in your network to keep this going?



Hi Joe,

Thanks for some suggestion for future articles, really appreciate the feedback! My PBN has grown to about 40 sites now and I always try to add more sites when I can.



Thanks for the info Josh.

How many PBN links do you think you will build to this site in the end?


I will build as many links as I need to get top 3 rankings for as many keywords as possible. I do not have an exact number and I will just have to wait and see how it goes


Hey Josh…

Great writing. But a latest update on this is long due…:) Would love to see how it all progress after this. Also A detail article on creating OWN PBN network would be very beneficial to me …Hope to hear from you soon. BTW… Great going on your FBA journey also…All the best.




I agree. I might do a new update here soon. I have been busy with a lot other projects but I have seen some good progress on this site within the last couple of months.

Thanks for commenting!


tammy teneyck

Hi josh, I would like to tell you that you are great and something that would really be helpful is a definition page. I have been doing a ton of studying an hope to one day have my own business with amazon (by the way amzon FBA was a blessing) I want to do it mainly as a passive income. I do not have any knowledge about computers so when you mention things like backlink I have to stop an look it up it would be so much easier if you added a definition page. Keep up the good work

tammy teneyck

P.S. when I looked up the word backlink I did not understand half the words in the definition an haf to look them up also lol


Haha, a backlink is when another website links to another website. That is the most basic explanation. Backlinks are what Google uses to rank websites within their search engine


Miguel Angelo

Good morning Josh direct from Portugal.
Phenomenal have read the 4 previous lessons will read the rest, everything followed.
The stories thus to seem easy. But however the good of all this is to never lose hope and try, try, try … are my watchwords ever.
It is very good and will increasingly stories.



Hi Miguel,

Thanks for the comment and yup, you are 100% correct! You have to keep trying and find the thing that works for you.



Hey Josh

I’m curious ,do you find the pillow links help your ranking themselves or are they mainly just used to dilute the anchor text? Also, would these pillow links be considered black,grey, or white hat? As in, will they eventually receive a penalty from google or will they stand the test of time

Thanks keep up the great content


Hi Nathan,

Pillow links will have a very small effect on the rankings by themselves but they are useful when used with other link building techniques. Also, these pillow links are mainly just comments on related sites so they are completely white hat.



Interesting take on the sandbox timer starts when the first link is built.

I though I’d be out of the sandbox when my site turned 6 months old of google indexing it but nothing major yet.

If it is from when the first link is done then I’ll have to wait it out another month.

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