Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Web positioning ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Web positioning
Category: Sports and Recreation > Travel
Asked by: hilston-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2003 04:22 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2003 04:22 PST
Question ID: 273123
Our web site & .com, was doing really
well in the google rankings and we were very busy, mainly 1st,2nd and
3rd place on the 1st page

Two companies have come out of the blue, one called
& and we are now down the rankings and business
has slowed down dramatically. It appears that they may have lots of
links from other
sites but we can't see any links within their site.
How can we get ourselves back up and how do we deal with these links.

Subject: Re: Web positioning
Answered By: serenata-ga on 06 Nov 2003 16:49 PST
Hello Hilston ~

We often get questions about search engine results placement (SERPs)
and PageRank, and luckily there are answers out there, and most of
them are supplied by Google itself.

Google's Technology -
Page Rank Explained

Google explains 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 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."
   - ://

     "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 from "Getting Listed":

     "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."
   - ://

It is not clear when you state in your question,

     "It appears that they may have lots of links from other
      sites but we can't see any links within their site.",

whether or not you understand that PageRank? is determined by the
links TO your site that are "both important and relevant to your

Comparison of PageRank?

I'll compare your site, with the two you
specifically mention, and

PageRank? (PR) for the three are:

   * For - PR 2/10

   * For - PR 4/10

   * For - PR 5/10

I used the Google toolbar to check the PageRank? - and you can
download and install the toolbar from

As a rule, Google will include sites with a PR4 or greater in search
results. I am sure that is the reason you have seen the other two
sites move up and your site has disappeared.

Comparison of Links

Searching for links to your sites, using Google's link: tool
(explained here: :// I find
the following links for the three sites:

   * For - No link results

   * For - About 20

   * For - About 53

And entering the domain names in the search box provides further
information, "Find web pages that contain the term" for each domain
with the following results:

   * For - About 352

   * For - About 21,600

   * For - About 1,390

The difference between "links to" a site or "contain the term" can be
a number of factors. "Link to" means a direct link TO a site, using
the full URL (ie.,

"Contains the term" can be direct links from a site without using the
full URL (for example, [without the
'www'), or from a site with a lesser PageRank, or to a lesser degree,
from a links page which has only links included as its content from a
related site, and other factors which aren't included in "links to".

As you can see from the comparisons, each of the other two sites have
a higher PageRank, and the links TO their sites vastly outnumber those
TO your site.

Establishing Links

As stated above, Google's PageRank? is based on the number of pages
which link to your site.

A very recent discussion of the importance of links, both TO and from
your site in Link Exchange Digest (LED) #1687, dated November 4, 2003.

From Peter Warnock:
     "When high PageRank sites link to you, they improve your
      PageRank by designating your site as an important
      resource ... In order for links to count towards PageRank,
      they have to be of a similar or related topic."

and in LED #1689, dated November 6, 2003, a post by Dave Roberts:

     "Google goes to some expense to make pagerank available to
      us so that we can make our own measurements, and they tell
      us that they use it, that it's relevant to your position
      in the lists of matches that they provide.  And we know
      well that being listed on that first page has a lot of
      impact on traffic ... it's silly to ignore the measure
      that Google has given us, that they tell us they use."

Help In Establishing 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.


Google specifically warns "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 links." (See Google's
Quality Guidelines - Basic principles)
   - ://

It stands to reason that what's good for Google, currently ranked as
the number one search engine will only increase your SERPs in other
search engines.

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.

What else You Can Do
To Increase Your Google SERPs

Establishing links to increase your PageRank may help your SERPs in
Google, but there are other things you can - and should - to help
increase your SERPs which will help drive traffic to your site.

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...  
   - ://  

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 crawler-friendly.

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, especially since the pages are generated using
Front Page 4.0, which only looks good in ** some ** versions of
Microsoft's Internet Explorer browsers.

I strongly suggest you download the Mozilla browser, built on the
Gecko search engine (which is the engine Netscape 7.x uses), and take
a look at your site with that - I don't think that's what you want
others to see. You can download Mozilla, or even Firebird, which is a
leaner and faster version, from, here:

2. Title and Alt Tags  
Put those title and alt tags to work for you! Use key word rich words in both.

What about those who browse with graphics turned off completely? What
are they NOT "seeing" - via the use of ALT tags - that they should be
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 
I am sure you do not wish to appear insensitive to or discriminate
against those with accessibility issues.
Standards are being established for those with disabilities which
include ALT and TITLE tags (as discussed above), and website design
which enables those with special needs to be able to access and
understand your web site.
An excellent way to assess what those with limited browsers or
accessibility issues is to run each page of your site through Bobby.
This gives you a full context report of any portions of your site
which do not meet the minimum standards. If you make the corrections
suggested, it greatly enhances any search engine's ability to crawl
your website as well.
The Bobby analysis page can be found here: 


You must consider your visitor - who is your potential customer - in
your web design.

Remember, he's there because he has found your page and wants
information, at the least, or to book a hotel, at the ultimate best.
He also wants to see it FAST, and he wants to find the information
easily, not have to wander all over looking for it.

1. Load time:

Your visitor/customer wants to see your page fast. Your load time,
even on a fast T1 tieline, takes over a minute, and sometimes as long
as a minute and a half to complete.

Granted, I am in the US, but nonetheless, not everyone has a high
speed internet connection. Part of the problem is wading through
hundreds of lines of code to even get to content. A lot of that code
is superfluous and proprietary to Front Page 4, and can't even be seen
right by other browser software. You need to design your page to
ensure it downloads fast.

2. Where to focus:

You have not one, but two! marquees racing across the page - and they
don't stop! Besides being distracting, it is annoying, and does
nothing to enhance why your visitor is there. While *you* may like it,
your visitors don't. How many people visit your site, land on your
home page and leave? I would imagine it is a great number, and you can
reduce that immediately by getting rid of the marquee.

In other browsers, such as Mozilla, Firebird, and older versions of
Opera, the bottom part of both marquees are often cut off (because of
the coding) and the words racing across the screen can't even be read.

3. Horizontal Scrolling:

There continues to be debate on the proper width of a page, but it
would be wise to remember that just over 50% of the monitors in use
are set for 800x600 resolution, which causes your site to render with
horizontal scrolling - the number one reason, according to Jupiter
Research, a visitor will leave a site.

Regardless of resolution, many people do not browser with their
browser window opened to full screen. You should consider that in your
design. Forcing them to scroll back and forth just irritates any
potential customer

4. Comfortable text width:

Regardless of page width, it is difficult to read lines of text on a
monitor. And when text lines run wider than about 440 pixels, it
forces your reader to involve head and neck muscles to keep track of
the message you are delivering. It also causes eye strain. What you
want to do is make it easy for your visitor to read the information
you provide.

Remember, Google recommends you "Make pages for users, not for search
engines." in its Quality Guidelines - Basic principles.
   - ://

I offered the above "mini critique" not to be unkind, but to point out
that your site can be improved to make visiting - and finding the
information your visitor is there to find - easily and fast.

Important Google Links For Your Reference

Here are some important links from Google's Webmaster Information and
Webmaster Guidelines. Webmasters who follow the guidelines and avoid
Google's "Thou shalt nots" usually have no problem getting listed and
showing up under the search terms they desire.

   * How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
     - ://

   * My Web Pages Are Not Currently Listed (a good 'primer'
     on how and why Google works so well)
     - ://

   * PageRank Information (covers both Google's PageRank and
     - ://

   * Webmaster Guidelines (contains both the dos and don'ts)
     - ://

   * Google Facts & Fiction (can  you buy your way to a
     high ranking in Google?)
     - ://

   * Search Engine Optimizers (some good advice on what to look
     for if you're going to hire a Search Engine Optimizer)
     - ://

   * Frequently Asked Questions (pretty much what it says, but
     definitely worth wading through)
     - ://

Other Sources of Information

There is also 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)

who all 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.


The best way to show up well is to design your site for your visitor
with keyword RICH text, establish RELEVANT links to your site, and to
design your site using basic HTML protocols that can be interpreted as
you intend by the greatest amount of browsers in use.

Sites which employ those methods and follow Google's guidelines rarely
have trouble being indexed and included in a searcher's query.

Search Technologies -

Besides the searches on specific sites listed above, I relied on
information available on Google's site about its search technology,
Information for Webmasters and Guidelines plus other bookmarked
information used in the regular course of business.

Thanks for asking about your site. If you follow the advice given, it
will help with your search engine placement.

Best regards,

Google Answers Researcher
There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy