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Q: 'Question for Serenata-ga' ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: 'Question for Serenata-ga'
Category: Computers > Algorithms
Asked by: bluelake-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 31 Jan 2004 10:14 PST
Expires: 01 Mar 2004 10:14 PST
Question ID: 302154
HI Serenata-ga,

Robert Skelton suggested that I pass this question on to you: "Last
year I started optimizing a website for a Cardiff Understandably, my client wanted to be
found under "cardiff hotel". In November, they were in the top 20 but
after the "florida update", their site has virtually disappeared.

Robert has suggested that I optimize the home page -which I will do.
He also suggested changing all the incoming links that have taken many
years to develop. I do not relish this task at all, particularly as I
feel this site has been unfairly penalized, but on the other hand, I
must attempt to crawl back into the ratings. Can you give me YOUR
advice please on what I must do to retrieve my listing? BTW, would it
not be possible to teach Google how to only penalize spamming websites
instead of ones like Lincoln Hotel?

Many Thanks, Eamonn Mc Greevy
Subject: Re: 'Question for Serenata-ga'
Answered By: serenata-ga on 03 Feb 2004 16:08 PST
Hi Eamonn ~

Actually, it was my colleague Leader-ga who suggested you direct your
question to me.

I took a look at your previous question and the answer,


It might help to understand Google's position and how it approaches
indexing pages and delivering them in response to a search query.

Google's mission is to provide SEARCHERS with the most *relevant*
results in answer to a query. I strongly suggest you read Google's
"Google Today" included in Google's corporate information to
understand their mission.
   - ://

With that in mind - the responsibility is to deliver the most
*relevant* material to the searcher - if you want your site to be
included among the first pages of information, it is YOUR
responsibility to provide relevant content.

Google doesn't leave you wondering what it wants, either, it gives you
specific recommendations and suggestions on how to design your site so
you can not only be indexed, but be considered as having "relevant"
content and being included. It's not personal, it's formulaic - and
those who follow the guidelines rarely experience a lot of fluctuation
in their ranking on Google or any other search engine.

The Google Guidelines - and other important Google information - are
included below.


So what do you do?

Robert was right. From any search engine's standpoint, your index page
has no content to include in its database and present in answer to a
query. There is reference to "alt" tags, and now using "title"
attributes in your image tags to help. But from a search engine
crawler's point of view, your page has no content.

Google suggests downloading and using the Lynx browser to get a better
idea of what a search engine crawler encounters. I would imagine you
will be dismayed to see what ISN'T there. Sure, you have pretty
pictures, but for any visitor who has graphics turned off (not
everyone has access to high speed internet), or anyone working with an
alternative type of browser, you've got an empty page.

     "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,
      cookies, session ID's, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep
      you from seeing all of your site in a text browser,
      then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling
      your site."
   - ://

Your lovely photos are no substitute for content. This should be
obvious from the results that ARE showing for the search term "cardiff
hotels". Every one of those listings on the first page of the SERPs
has something you're index page is missing - relevant content. It's
that simple. Give the search engine crawlers some content, or you
won't rank high in search results.


With regard to the links to your page. There are some links that are
better than others. Using Google's Links:Tool, you can see which
Google considers "important". Type ""
(without the quotation marks) into Google's search box.

There are only two links listed there.

Type your URL into Google's toolbar, and you have the opportunity to
see other links to your site which Google acknowledges, but doesn't
consider to be important. Using that link, there are 76 other links

Many of those are directories or search results, such as:

   * Searchmole

   * Townlevel search results for Glamorgan

   * Red Hot Chili search results

and others like it.

In most cases, those don't help boost your Google search rankings; and
if some of them are obvious link farms, etc., they could hurt -
especially if they're seen as an attempt to spam search engines. In
this case, most of them appear to be relatively harmless, but they're
not a great help, either.

Establishing Links

Clearly, you need to understand the importance of relevant links to
your site, and then set out to add those.

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 is good rule to follow for other search

Articles on Link Popularity

Some 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 -

"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.


Eamonn, there is no substitute for relevant content, important links
to your site and good HTML to make your site visitor-friendly, which
subsequently makes your page crawler-friendly.

Except for the small type in the now-popular grey color, the St.
David's Hotel & Spa is a good example of the use of all three.

There is no reason you can't change your own landing page to include
content, instead of merely the lovely photos (which you should by all
means include on the page - remember to use the "alt" and "title"
attributes in your image tags).

This is important if you want to be included - because Google won't
return a page that doesn't have these basics.

Important Google Links For Your Reference

I am including important links from Google's site. This information
will help you understand Google's goals and responsibility to the web
searcher (and not the webmaster or site owner).

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.

   * Google Today (absolutely the best information you
     can read about the "how and why" of Google's results
     - ://

   * 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)
     - ://

   * Remove Content from Google's Index (just in case you feel
     a burning need to start all over again)
     - ://

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:

Just remember, though, that other so-called "methods" which may be
mentioned should be taken with a grain of salt. Unless it is
information offered by "GoogleGuy", a Google engineer who occasionally
posts to Webmaster World, it is only speculation.

So far, sticking with Google's recommendations is still the best way
to go. Google will announce when they need webmasters to make changes.

It never hurts to keep track of the 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.

Search Terms ~

Except for those specifically mentioned, I relied solely on material I
have bookmarked and refer to frequently to answer this question.

Best of luck to you, and thanks for asking for my input.


Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by bluelake-ga on 04 Feb 2004 13:37 PST
Many Thanks Serenta-ga, I will strongly recommend my client to follow
your advice. Just one query: Was the main reason for the Lincoln
Hotel's relegation due to lack of content on the Home Page or due to
all the links saying "Lincoln Hotel Cardiff"? If the vast majority of
the links are not that helpful, do you think I need to contact those
companies and ask them to change the text link as Leader suggested? I
mean, if I add lots of relevant content to the Home Page, is this site
still going to have a filter penalty due to those links?

Clarification of Answer by serenata-ga on 04 Feb 2004 14:43 PST
Hi Eamonn ~

I can't really tell you one way or another, for the simple reason that
I do not know **FOR SURE**. But it is highly unlikely.

That was one of those "theories" being bandied about on Webmaster
World, and some other "gurus" picked up on it, but I suspect it is
nothing more than one of those theories. Think about this ... The name
of the hotel is basically Lincoln Hotel Cardiff, or at least "Cardiff"
is practically ingrained as a part of the Lincoln Hotel, right?

If incoming links were going to be really harmful, your competitors
could all run out and link your site to every "bad" or "harmful" links
on the internet ... Google's not going to leave itself open for that
kind of gaming the system.

I have never seen any one of the search engine experts, people whose
names I respect and who are known for their ethical practices and
their reputations rely on their 'good name' have ever believed there
was any correlation between the name of the link to your site. And
Google has never said it, either, so I think that's some misguided
person's misinterpretation of his own situation.

I'd try to establish "better" links if you could, but I don't think
you have to go through and ask your present links to change the
wording for their links.

I base this on my own observations, with a website I designed and now
maintain. She has over 2500 incoming links, and they ALL have the same
wording - and she hasn't been hurt in the slightest by these new
algorithms. (Of course, it was always designed according to the

Pay attention to the Guidelines. When it's time to change something
you do from what is there now, Google will tell you.

I think you are lower because you don't have text on your landing page
with the search terms you need. As I said, it's pretty to look at, but
it doesn't do you any good so far as search engine crawlers go.

And ... when you get back to the top, you have to keep working to stay
there. If you stay still, others will pass you up.

There are no comments at this time.

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