Given that you already have a good PageRank of 5 for your home page,
attaining a good position in search engine results might not be too
difficult. However, this includes some decisions that could be tough
to make, as well as lots of patience.
I'll address each improvement you can make, concentrating on the
keyword phrase "magic the gathering". It is very difficult to optimize
a web page for mutliple keywords or keyphrases - the solution is to
also optimize other pages that are not your front page. These should
be rich in text content, and preferably a page that other sites might
link directly to. Pages like:
If you expanded the "Frequently Asked Questions About Cards" section
and placed in on its own page, it would be ideal for optimizing.
Google does take notice of META tags, but assigns very little weight
to their content, due to the tendency of webmasters to cram them full
of inappropriate keywords. Have a look at this Google search result:
www.TrollAndToad.com - Cards, Toys, Games & Supplies
Troll And Toad keeps 95% of all magic the gathering cards in stock and
full lines of miniatures, roleplaying games, card supplies and other
Description: Magic The Gathering cards, Mage Knight, and RPGs.
Category: Shopping > Toys and Games > Trading Cards
www.trollandtoad.com/ - 88k - 20 Sep 2003 - Cached - Similar pages
The text snippet is from you META tag, and the Desciption is from Open
Directory. Ordinarily the text snippet is from text on the web page.
The front page of your site does not contain the phrase "magic the
gathering" except in links.
So, although it is worth creating accurate keyword and description
META tags, they are of minor importance to Google. Leave them as they
are - they are fine.
The title is very important, as it is best visible clue to the content
of the pages. Look at these search results for "magic the gathering":
More than half of the results have "magic the gathering" in their
title. Usually it is more pronounced - in this case it is skewed by
the big sites of Wizards, Atari and Infogrames - so big that they
don't need the extra SEO help of having the phrase in the title.
Here is your first dilemna - the best way to optimize the title of
your front page is to have it read:
"Magic the Gathering"
The next best is anything else that includes the phrase, like
"Magic the Gathering Cards"
"Magic the Gathering - Cards, Toys, Games & Supplies"
"Troll & Toad - Magic the Gathering Suppliers"
It is a dilemna because optimizing the title can negatively affect its
other uses, such as when someone bookmarks your site, how it reads to
the visitor, and how it reads in search engine results.
Your site will always rank well for "troll and toad", whether you have
it in the title or not.
These are HTML tags like <H1> ...</H1>, <H6> ...</H6>.
Google places more importance on words contained within heading tags,
provided they are used relatively sparsely - no more than one per
paragraph of regular text.
A tag like this near the top of your page, like where it says "Welcome
to Troll And Toad.com" in large letters, will be beneficial:
<H1>Magic the Gathering</H1>
<H1>Magic the Gathering Cards</H1>
<H1>Troll and Toad - Magic the Gathering experts</H1>
Many web designers avoid them, because different browsers interpret
them differently. That is, unless you redefine the tags using
Cascading Style Sheets. By redefining the tag, you have total control
of how it looks. Here's how to do it using DreamWeaver:
Here's another dilemna for you. Google loves regular text - if your
page has many paragraphs on a topic, it will do better overall. But
you have an e-commerce site, with a similar design to Amazon, a design
we know is very good for creating revenue. Filling the front page with
lots of text might boost search ranking, but cost you sales.
What you must do to get a good ranking for "magic the gathering" is to
actually have that phrase appear on your home page, in plain text.
My suggestion is to place two short paragraphs exactly where Featured
Categories is, and move the rest down the column a bit. Two paragraghs
about Magic the Gathering. Something like this:
Troll and Toad specializes in selling collectible gaming cards, with a
strong focus on Magic the Gathering. especially out of print single
cards. Troll and Toad (also known as T&T) is the largest retailer in
the world of individual Magic the Gathering cards.
Our company's philosophy is to have every card in stock all the time.
On an average day we manage to keep 96% of all cards in stock. When
you use our live inventory system on this Web site, you will see the
enormous quantity of cards we keep in stock - from Moxes and Black
Lotuses to simple Basic Land and Armageddons.
Elsewhere in your site I saw you refer to MTG as just "Magic". For
search engine purposes it would be better to always call it MTG or
"Magic the Gathering" - terms that will be searched for.
Anytime your write copy for your site, whether it is a product
description, news item or press release, visit Overture and see the
most searched for keywords:
Getting links from other quality sites to yours will improve your
PageRank, and in turn your search result ranking. It is very difficult
to get other sites to link to yours, without involving a "reciprocal
link scheme", a Google no-no. Make sure you read the Google Webmaster
Because your service it the best in its field, getting links is a
little bit easier than for others. It is hard work, but asking for a
link from all the best MTG sites out there could payoff. When asking
for links, if they include your keywords in or next to the link,
Google will notice. Ask them to call the link something like:
T&T - Magic the Gathering Card Store
An excellent place to have a link from is Yahoo. This seems to be the
It costs $299 per year, but Google is very impressed by Yahoo
listings, and it should easily pay for itself.
It is fine as it is. When submitting to Google, submit the site map
and it will find all the other pages easily.
After making the changes you need to wait. Google appears to be
visiting your site every couple of days, but sometimes changes are not
reflected in search results until a month or two later. Clicking on
the link to the cached copy of your page will let you see what version
of it is in the index.
If any part of my answer is unclear, or you have further questions on
this topic, just ask for a clarification and I'll get back to you.
Request for Answer Clarification by
21 Sep 2003 22:07 PDT
Thanks for the answer. A few questions for clarification, if you
don't mind. Actually, I think the google answerers usually like
clarification questions, as long as they show the questioner actually
read the answer <grin>.
The advice about creating a separate "Card FAQ" page is interesting.
I hadn't actually thought of that, and will add it to our future
I'll plan to change the title of the front page to "Magic The
Gathering, HeroClix, RPGs, CCGs & more for sale". That incorporates a
few other keywords, while still making it sensible for a bookmark.
What is I put, in italics, the words "Magic The Gathering, CCG and
HeroClix Sales Experts" centered, on the same line as the "Need Help?
(606) 523-9878" - and make that the Heading Tag. It would be small
font, about the same size font as the "Need Help" - so would it still
be that beneficial, or would a larger font Heading Tag, perhaps such
below the "Welcome to Troll And Toad.com" saying the same "Magic The
Gathering, CCG ..." phrase. Which is better? The toughness here is
to make it work and still be customer friendly of course.
On your Regular Text suggestion. I've been thinking about putting a
couple paragraphs there for first time users. Once someone has
visited the website, putting a cookie on his computer, so anytime
thereafter he visits (& the cookie is still alive!), it moves the
featured category area all the way up. Would this be ok?
<sigh> Your like the 3rd person to tell me to pay for that Yahoo
listing. I must do it then.
Last concern, the reason I brought up the site map. I've read
previously on an SEO message thread, that the search engines typically
look at just the first 50 links on a page. Our current site map page
has 100s of links on it. So I thought perhaps I just break it up.
Secondly, an SEO company did a proposal to optimize our site (their
proposal seemed very legit - very kosher). One thing it mentioned was
that they would redo our website to take more advantage of static
links, that our links were too dependent on PHP. Third, I have, a few
times, run the search engine saturation test program on
www.marketleap.com . I ran our website, plus a couple competitors
(www.cardhaus.com, www.starcitygames.com). Apparently, according to
this tool, google has indexed only a couple thousand of our pages, but
over 50,000 of cardhaus's pages, and over 33,000 pages of starcity
Clarification of Answer by
21 Sep 2003 23:07 PDT
Ulimately any page with useful content that others may choose to link
to is worthwhile, as long as it fits the general topic or theme of
your site. No-one outside of the GooglePlex knows exactly how the
algorithm works, but I suspect having mulitple pages in your site that
others link to would indicate you have a good site. So any type of
informational or FAQ page is very good to have.
"Magic The Gathering, HeroClix, RPGs, CCGs & more for sale" is a good
title, as it reads well but has keywords.
The only downside is that less is more - the more precisely your title
fits search terms, the better it ranks. See how your title goes, but
if you don't make it onto the first page in the search results for any
of the keywords, consider reducing the length and targeting just one
keyword. It is better to get one first page result than 4 third page
Placing the heading at the very top is worth trying. I have not found
any evidence to support it, but it might be that the further away the
heading is from regular text (in this case, quite a few table cells),
the less benefit it has. My preference would be where the large text
The only problem with Google and cookies is that the GoogleBot doesn't
accept them. How the page looks with cookies turned off is how Google
sees it, so make sure that you check how it is with cookies turned
Until recently, like most SEOers, I told people to avoid having 100+
links on a page. This has turned out to be a myth, originating from
this singular mention at Google:
"Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than
In these comments GoogleGuy has let us know that 100+ links on a page
GoogleGuy works for Google, and his comments are accpeted as
Google prefers static pages. Some dynamic sites get fully indexed,
some partially, some not at all. The less variables the better, and
try not to have any variable with the letters "id" in them. Google
makes a guess as to whether the variable is a session ID or not. The
more variables, the more mentions of "id", the more likely a variable
is a User ID, and therefore the pages are more likely to be more
dynamic, and the indexed page less likely to reflect what the next
visitor might see.
Yes, static pages are preferable from a SEO viewpoint, but the reason
sites use dynamic page generation is because they are much easier to