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Q: My Website Ranking ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: My Website Ranking
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: aj10-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 08 Nov 2003 11:14 PST
Expires: 08 Dec 2003 11:14 PST
Question ID: 273866
My website has been losing rankings ever since I
changed my homepage. I thought I was doing all the right things. I
added more keywords to my readable text and more links and I dropped
from 29 to 50 in the rankings. I thought I would move up some more.
Something else that bothers me is that one of my competitors website
has been disabled for months but still enjoys a #6 ranking on Yahoo.
What is that all about! Thank you in advance for your help.
Subject: Re: My Website Ranking
Answered By: serenata-ga on 08 Nov 2003 17:13 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi again AJ10 ~

I'll refer you again to the information in a previous answer to you
about submitting to search engines - with some information on
optimization tips thrown in - information which is still sound and
still works. It hasn't changed since August.

Top Search Engine Placement

Trying to design your site for search engine results placement (SERPs)
is like shooting at a moving target. Every time you master one
'trick', the search engines change their algorithms and you have to
start all over again trying to weight your page with the current
configurations to stay on top.

Funnily enough, sites with keyword rich *RELEVANT* content seem to be
able to maintain high placement without having to do a lot of changes.
The key is relevant content, good HTML and links TO their sites.

How Good Search Engines Work

It helps to understand that the search engines responsibility is to
deliver the most RELEVANT results for a search query. The
responsibility is to the searcher, not the website owner.

Take a look right now as Yahoo! seems to be trying to catch up with
Google's advances in search engine technology. Microsoft, too, is
rumored to be looking to initiate its own search engine. It becomes a
"contest" or "war" to see who can deliver the best results, and
subsequently, the most customers (users) of its services.

This competition can only be good for those searching - as search
engines strive to deliver sites containing relevant information and
delete sites with garbage from their indexes. Ideally, sites which
really DO have content will be delivered. While the search algorithms
aren't perfected yet, changes are introduced daily to get better.

The best way to measure relevance would be to personally check every
page to see if there is really content there at all. Unfortunately,
with 3.5 billion pages in an index, that's highly impractical.
Therefore, search engines work on impartial mathematical algorithms.
Certain factors are weighted more than others to deliver the results.

Sometimes the weighted factors are obvious, even to the casual
observer. Therein lies the problem; if you and I can see what's
happening, it is pretty safe to bet everyone else can, too.
Unfortunately, there are always some who will exploit obvious
'weights', whether or not anything relevant is on their websites.

The good news is that if we see it, so do the engineers working on the
algorithms. Eventually changes are made to render obvious exploits

Basically, that's what happened with meta tags and other factors which
at one time "worked" to increase SERPs and are virtually worthless

Google's PageRank works, even though it's not totally perfected, on
the simple premise that if you have good, relevant content, other
sites with good relevant content will be more willing to link TO your

It is to no one's advantage to link to garbage sites - unless it's a
'garbage site' itself.

This is why sites with keyword rich content tend to stay high in SERPs
while others bounce all over every time a change is made to a search
engine's algorithms.

So What About

I can see a difference in from when I last looked at it.
It's a good start! You are to be congratulated for adding content, but
there is still room for improvement, and you still need to work on the
HTML and other recommendations made.

I also noticed an identical site on HTML Manager which will get you
penalized in a hurry for duplicate content -


and other pages with identical content.

Google specifically warns against duplicate content and/or doorway
pages in its Content Guidelines - Specific Recommendations:

     "* Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains
        with substantially duplicate content.
      * Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines,
        or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate
        programs with little or no original content."
   - ://

If I could find it, Google's bots and other search engine crawlers
will find it, too, and it could very well get you banned.

If you wish to keep the page and link to other pages on powerjamms,
make sure you have it as a separate site with separate - not DUPLICATE
- content.

Search Results

I used your number one term in both your keywords and description
metatags, "drum lessons"

Searching for the term "drum lessons" with the quotation marks
resulted in about 37,300 results, and showed up for
the first time on the 7th page of results (or in 67th position).
   - ://

And the HTML Manager sites showed up before your site
did, because HTML Manager has a better PageRank than

Searching for the term drum lessons without the quotation marks
resulted in about 324,000 results, and showed up
for the first time on the 7th page of results (or in 61st position).
   - ://

To the casual observer, all those listings ahead of yours had:

   1. The term drum or drum lesson in the URL; and/or
   2. A greater PageRank than either or the HTML
      Manager site.

You may have increased some outgoing links; but the links TO your
site, from other relevant sites, have not increased.
has a PageRank of 4/10, and only four links TO the site listed.
   - ://

There are only 62 pages that "contain the term", too.

The simple fact is that the sites above yours have factors which are
weighted better than, which places them ahead in

What Is Page Rank & How Do You Get Listed? 
Google explains the best way to get listed in its "Webmaster Information":
     "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." 
   - :// 
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 recommendations":
     "Avoid hidden text or hidden links" 
   - :// 

Basic HTML

I had previously mentioned watching the basics of HTML, including:

* DOCTYPE Declaration -

I think you might be very unpleasantly surprised to see how some other
browsers render your pages with a proper DOCTYPE Declaration. It makes
you wonder what search engine crawlers are seeing when they crawl the

White Background, White Type -

Even though you are using a blue background image, you are also using
an off white background color and white type. Since search engine
crawlers cannot "see" or interpret images, your page may appear to be
'hidden text' by the Google crawlers. It might be wise to set your
background color to a blue color to prevent that interpretation.

HTML What Google Recommends -

What Else You Can Do To Improve Placement 
Here's what Google suggests 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... 
   - :// 

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.


You have made some changes with relevant content, which is good, but
it's only a start. Paying attention to Google's recommendations,
increasing the amount of sites which link TO yours is also important,
and good HTML rounds out the formula for good placement in Google's
search engine.

Two sites with identical content is very likely to get one or both of
the sites banned from Google and other search engines. It is never a
good idea to have identical sites, period - and if I found it, so can
your competitors, who might turn you in for 'spamming'.

It's also a sure bet that eventually Google will find them, too, and
there are dozens of anecdotal reports on Webmaster World of sites
which were banned because of duplicate sites.

As for Yahoo! Their search engine is different from Google's, but
there are enough similarities that if you can meet Google's standards,
you should be able to meet other search engines' standards. It would
be safe to assume that Yahoo! will be working as hard as Google to
ensure search results deliver relevant material.

Work toward improving the site and providing relevant content. Pay
attention to those who are in the know so far as search engines (such
as Webmaster World, etc.), and clean up the HTML to make it easier for
crawlers to get to your content and see what you intend for the public
to see.

Hope this helps,

aj10-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thank you so much, this is helpful, I will get rid of my duplicate
pages right away and follow your other suggestions.

Subject: Re: My Website Ranking
From: serenata-ga on 09 Nov 2003 21:39 PST
Hi Roger ~

Thank you for the rating and the tip. That was generous and I want you
to know I appreciate it.

Thanks again, and good luck to you.

Subject: Re: My Website Ranking
From: elcon-ga on 10 Nov 2003 19:31 PST
That is so true. I just came back from a very informative meeting in
New York on the latest and greatest search engine marketing (SEM)
techniques. They basically said the same thing.


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