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
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:
"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 ostrovcoaching.com
There are two ways to check for links TO your site:
1.) Use Google's link: tool (by typing link:www.ostrovcoaching.com
in Google's search bar; or
2.) Type your URL - www.ostrovcoaching.com - in the search bar, and
click on "Find web pages that link to www.ostrovcoaching.com"
Unfortunately, there are no returns for pages linked TO your site.
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
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 (DMOZ.org), 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 http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/.
You can submit your site to Netscape's Open Directory
Project (DMOZ) by visiting www.dmoz.org. 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
* All the Web
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
* 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
* Check for broken links and correct HTML...
Using the above as serious guidelines - and you should -
www.ostrovcoaching.com 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
* 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 www.ostrovcoaching.com, 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,
look nice in your browser, but have you taken a look at what it looks
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
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.
As a coach, I am sure you do not wish to appear insensitive to
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
-http://www.wordtracker.com - 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 DMOZ.org, 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 MSN.com, 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 - http://www.webmasterworld.com/ - 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)
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