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Q: Google search results ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Google search results
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: thetick-ga
List Price: $4.50
Posted: 30 Oct 2003 09:37 PST
Expires: 29 Nov 2003 09:37 PST
Question ID: 271160
How do I get to appear in Google search
results using key phrases such as: "personal coaching" "life coaching"
"executive coaching" "business coaching" "Tracy Ostrov" "Ostrov
Coaching" "Denver" "Colorado" "Golden"? I know the site is cataloged
by Google because it appears in the results when I enter the exact URL
"". However, if I enter any/all of the key phrases
on the site, it still doesn't appear. In some cases I've looked at 31
pages of results.
Subject: Re: Google search results
Answered By: serenata-ga on 30 Oct 2003 15:44 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Thetick ~

After going through all the trouble of putting a website up, you
obviously want people searching for your services to be able to find
you. As you noted, your site IS in Google's index, but it can't be
found among the search engine results placements (SERPs) for the terms
you want.

This is often the first introduction to site owners and webmasters
that a good-looking website isn't enough to bring those searching for
you to your virtual doorstep.

Since you are presently in the index, the next step is what you can do
to be included in SERPs.

So How *DO* You Get
Your Site In Google's SERPs?

Google explains the best way to get listed in its "Webmaster
     "The best way to ensure Google finds your site is for your 
      page to be linked from lots of pages on other sites. 
      Google's robots jump from page to page on the Web via 
      hyperlinks, so the more sites that link to you, the more 
      likely it is that we'll find you quickly." 
   - :// 
and explains how pages are ranked in search results in "The Basics"

     "The method by which we find pages and rank them as 
      search results is determined by the PageRank technology 
      developed by our founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin." 
   - :// 
Google's technology is explained in its technology in "Our Search:
Google Technology":
     "The heart of our software is PageRank™, a system for 
      ranking web pages developed by our founders Larry Page 
      and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. And while we 
      have dozens of engineers working to improve every aspect 
      of Google on a daily basis, PageRank continues to provide 
      the basis for all of our web search tools." 
and its PageRank in "PageRank Explained" 
     "PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the 
      web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of 
      an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets 
      a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for 
      page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume 
      of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the 
      page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are 
      themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make 
      other pages "important." 
      Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, 
      which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of 
      course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't 
      match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with 
      sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that 
      are both important and relevant to your search. Google 
      goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a 
      page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and 
      the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if 
      it's a good match for your query." 
   - :// 

Links to

There are two ways to check for links TO your site:

1.) Use Google's link: tool (by typing
    in Google's search bar; or

2.) Type your URL - - in the search bar, and
    click on "Find web pages that link to"

Unfortunately, there are no returns for pages linked TO your site.

Establishing Links
Obviously, one of the things you need to do to increase your chances
in being found under the search terms you want is to make sure there
are links TO your pages from relevant sources.

The key word is "relevant", and Google specifically warns about using
link schemes and link farms in its "Quality Guidelines - Basic
     "Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase 
      your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid 
      links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web 
      as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those 
and more strongly in its "Quality Guidelines - Specific
     "Avoid hidden text or hidden links" 
   - :// 
There are many practical ways of establishing links which are
beneficial to you in your endeavor to get respectable position
placement on search engines. These methods may take time, but they
also help in establishing credibility and help with your page rank.

Approach like-minded or complementary businesses about linking to your
site (with a reciprocal link from your own). This works without
harming search engine positioning or page rank.

Articles on Link Popularity

A couple of excellent articles on how to establish the right kind of
links are available in Traffick's "Ten Steps to Building Links to Your
Site", Craig Fifield - 5/3/2002

and "The Right Way to Improve Link Popularity", By Paul J. Bruemmer
-4/14/2002 -

Notice both articles offer suggestions which can be easily adapted for
use on any website without resorting to link farms. They both point
out the differences and offer easy ways to get started to the kind of
linking search engines prefer.

"Link Building Is Important", which discusses link building from A to
Z and also provides a good reference page with linking resources.

The information contained in the above articles offer suggestions
which can be easily adapted for use on any website without resorting
to link farms. The differences in "good links" and those which may be
harmful are discussed, and the articles offer simple ways to get
started to the kind of linking search engines prefer.

Other Important Link Sources

Google also recommends submitting your site to the Open Project
Directory (, and Yahoo!:

     "If you are having difficulty getting listed in the Google
      index, you may want to consider submitting your site to
      either or both of these directories. You can submit to
      Yahoo! by visiting
      You can submit your site to Netscape's Open Directory
      Project (DMOZ) by visiting Once your site
      is included in either of these directories, Google will
      often index your site within six to eight weeks."
   - ://

It may be true that you're in the index, but since you're not included
in the SERPs for your search terms, you really need to be included in
other directories and search engines.

A check shows you are not included in the following search engines and

   * DMOZ

   * All the Web

   * HotBot

   * Netscape

   * Teoma

   * Yahoo!

However, you ARE listed with Alta Vista - which is a good start!

I want to remind you, though, that being included in other directories
and search engines is often not enough to increase either your SERPs
or your PageRank (PR), although it certainly doesn't hurt. The best
way to include both is to have links from other RELEVANT sites.

What Else You Can Do

Google has other recommendations in its Design and Content Guidelines:
    "* Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. 
       Every page should be reachable from at least one static 
       text link. 
     * Offer a site map to your users with links that point to 
       the important parts of your site. If the site map is 
       larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the 
       site map into separate pages. 
     * Create a useful, information-rich site and write pages 
       that clearly and accurately describe your content. 
     * Think about the words users would type to find your pages, 
       and make sure that your site actually includes those 
       words within it. 
     * Try to use text instead of images to display important 
       names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't 
       recognize text contained in images. 
     * Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive 
       and accurate. 
     * Check for broken links and correct HTML... 
   - :// 
Using the above as serious guidelines - and you should - is missing the following:

* Text links ... there is NO way for text only browsers to find their
way around your site. This makes it very difficult for search engine
crawlers to find their way around, too.

* Alt Tags, especially for those graphics that are asking questions as
a header to your text, such as, "What is Coaching?", "What do people
work on in coaching?", and "More Information" on your
AboutCoaching.htm page.

* TITLE and ALT tags are also discussed below.

HTML - Back to Basics

Shari Thurow, one of the leading authorities in web design and search
engine optimization (and author of the book "Search Engine
Visibility"), recently made the following observation with regard to

     "Clean HTML is absolutely imperative for search engine
      indexing. Browsers are extremely forgiving when it comes
      to displaying pages with "unclean" HTML (unclosed tags,
      no quotation marks, etc.).  Search engine spiders are
      not so forgiving.  Even something as simple as a missing
      quotation mark on the <.a href="page.html"> can cause a
      spider to not index text or a link." (See: Link Exchange
      Digest, July 3, 2003, "Clean HTML")

She explained how errors in HTML can affect your ability to be
indexed, and ultimately, ranked.

Taking a look at, there are some important
items missing and some which should be added to make your site

1. DOCTYPE Declaration  
DOCTYPES are essential to the proper rendering and functioning of web
documents in compliant browsers. It is also essential for the search
engines to understand and follow the coding contained on your pages.
DOCTYPE is explained and discussed further in "A List Apart",  
and in Web Design Group's article, "Choosing a DOCtype",  
You do not have a DOCTYPE Declaration and you should add one to every
page on your site.
2. Title and Alt Tags 
Put those title and alt tags to work for you! Use key word rich words
in both. Instead of repeating "Tracy B. Ostrov - Personal Coaching,
Business Coaching" in every page's title, use a dozen or so
descriptive words (terms you would like to be found under) first in
your page titles.

You have no alt tags on the graphics at all - and that includes the
graphics you are using for site navigation. It is no surprise, then,
that the ONLY page Google has in its index is your 'home' page.

Your navigation, without any alt tags to put a name to those graphics,
are buried within Javascript to make pretty rollover buttons. This may
look nice in your browser, but have you taken a look at what it looks
like if you turn Javascript off?

And what about those who browse with graphics turned off completely?
What are they NOT seeing that they should be seeing?

Google recommends using a text only browser, which will give you a
very sobering look at your site (and what it looks like, to some
degree, to search engine crawlers):

     "Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site,
      because most search engine spiders see your site much as
      Lynx would. If fancy features such as Javascript, ...
      keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser,
      then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling
      your site." [From Google's Technical Guidelines]
   - ://

Adding descriptives to the alt tags will give the crawlers something
to 'index', since they cannot read graphics - it also makes your site
more 'user-friendly' and will help with accessibility issues.

3. Accessibility

As a coach, I am sure you do not wish to appear insensitive to
accessibility issues.

In addition to that, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, 29 U.S.C. 794 and 794d, set forth the minimum government
standards for accessibility.

Among these standards are such items as ALT and TITLE tags (as
discussed above), and website design which will enable those with
special needs to be able to access and understand your web site.

You might want to run each page of your site through Bobby, which will
give you a full context report of any portions of your site which do
not meet the minimum standards. If you make all the corrections
suggested, it will greatly enhance any search engine's ability to
crawl your website as well.

The Bobby analysis page can be found here:

About those search terms

You mentioned search terms under which you wanted to be found,
"personal coaching" "life coaching" "executive coaching" "business
coaching" "Tracy Ostrov" "Ostrov Coaching" "Denver" "Colorado"
"Golden". I found the following returns for these terms:

   * personal coaching - about 1,530,000 results
   * life coaching - about 1,690,000 results
   * executive coaching - about 799,000 results
   * business coaching - about 2,170,000 results
   * "Tracy Ostrov" - using the quotation marks
       1 return (minutes from City Council meeting)
   * "Ostrov Coaching" - 0 results
   * Denver - about 17,100,000 results
   * Colorado - about 33,500,000 results
   * golden - about 22,300,000 results

No matter how you look at it, that is a powerful lot of competition
for the terms under which you want your site to be found! I suspect
you aren't even sure what the terms your potential customers are
looking for - most people don't, unless they spend a great deal of
time researching that subject.

Think about it ... do you really think you can be found among such
search terms as "denver", "colorado", "golden" - even if you ARE
indexed there. And would people be using those search terms to find a

What about your name? Would most of them know your name? Is your name
what they would really use as a search term to find your service? Not
likely, unless they already know about you. See what I mean? What are
the search terms you *should* be using, and that visitors really do

I heartily suggest spending some time at Wordtracker
- - to seek out all the related phrases you
can, then write copy based around the best, most relevant terms.
Include those words in your Title tags and especially within the
CONTENT of your website accordingly. That will certainly help in
SERPs, because Google and most of the major search engines ignore the
key word metatags.

If nothing else, by visiting Word Tracker, you'll get an idea of what
search terms they are *really* using when it comes to coaching.

Submitting to Search Engines

After you have established some links from relevant sites, and worked
on the HTML to make the site more search-engine friendly, and
determined the search terms you need to include and use within the
content of your site, you may want to submit to the important search
engines and directories.

For, you will want to dig down deep enough to get where you
more appropriately should be.

Some search engines gather their own listings for the main results
they display. For example, Google crawls the web itself for the main
results it shows.

Other search engines use third-party search providers for their
results. For instance, the main search results at AOL come from
Google's crawler-based listings, rather than from work inside AOL.

Below are the top search engines as determined by Nielsen Net Ratings:

* Google -
   - ://

* DMOZ -

 * All The Web -

 * Hotbot & Lycos InSite (requires registration)

 * Yahoo! -

 * Teoma -

MSN's search submit is located here:

which takes you to LookSmart, a "for-pay" listing, and can be found

If you are listed on other important engines, it is pretty certain you
will also be listed on, or you can use the LookSmart

Sources of Information

There is good information from many of the top search engine
optimization experts, such as

   * Detlev Johnson, Search Engine Guide

   * Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch

   * Jill Whalen, High Rankings

   * Shari Thurow, Web Pro News (and quoted all over the Internet)

have columns or newsletters to which you can subscribe and keep
abreast of the best way to use good content for better positioning in
search engine results.

In addition, Webmaster World - - has
discussion boards on most of the search engines. While some of the
discussions are anecdotal and/or questions for information, there is
usually enough discussion to keep abreast of what seems to be

There is an entire section devoted to Google at:

It never hurts to keep track among these discussions, but remember,
trying to optimize for search engines only is like trying to hit a
moving target. You'll notice among the more experienced contributors
to the discussions - plus the SEO experts listed above - that there
really is no substitute for content, relevant links and good HTML.


This is just a reminder that Google Answers Researchers are
independent contractors and not employees of Google. We have no inside
track on Google's closely-guarded algorithms. The closest you may come
to an 'official' word from Google is when GoogleGuy posts to the
discussions at Webmaster World. The information listed here is
generally acknowledged to be the best practices for good SERPs and

Google Search Terms

   * personal coaching
   * life coaching
   * executive coaching
   * business coaching
   * "Tracy Ostrov" (with the quotation marks)
   * "Ostrov Coaching" (with the quotation marks)
   * Denver
   * Colorado
   * golden

In addition to the searches listed above, I relied on bookmarks and
other resources used on a daily basis.

Following the advice above, especially Google's will help with your
SERPs - it's been working for others, and it should work for you, too!

Good luck for better SERPs,

Google Answers Researcher
thetick-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Thank you!!! This answer is very thorough. I definatly got my money's
worth and more! I wish I could afford to give you a huge tip. I hope
this small token will suffice.

The only constructive critcism I would have is that you got a tad
condescending when you said "do you really think you can be found
among such
search terms as 'denver', 'colorado', 'golden'". I understand that it
would be rediculous to enter these terms by themselves. However, in
combination, they can help narrow the search. Or am I wrong about
that? If so, enlighten me.

Thank you also for your encouragement. It's helps a lot!

The Tick

Subject: Re: Google search results
From: serenata-ga on 03 Nov 2003 12:30 PST
Hi again, The Tick ...

I certainly didn't mean to seem condescending and apologize if you
took it that way!

You might be surprised at the number of people who are amazed when
they can't be found under such broad terms and I only meant it to be
more an awakening to consider what terms your potential customers ARE
using in search. Some people are surprised to find that terms they
would use aren't even close to what others use.

Again, sorry, I was not being condescending, and apologize for
appearing so to you.


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