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Q: My website ranking ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: My website ranking
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: aj10-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 04 Feb 2004 17:21 PST
Expires: 05 Mar 2004 17:21 PST
Question ID: 303696
After months of hard work at getting a good ranking, trying to follow
all the guidelines, I finally got a top 10 ranking for two of my
keywords "learn drums" and "learn to play drums" and a top 20 for my
best keyword "drum lessons". I was in those spots for over 4 months
and all of a sudden, overnight, I'm set back to number 495 on Googles
pages. I'm happy to be listed once but over and over again I see
similar sites duplicated four and five times in sequence. Why am I set
back like this overnight and why are so many companies allowed to be
listed dozens of times. Wouldn't it be fair for more companies to have
a single listing than for a few companies to dominate the best pages.
How can I get my site,, back where it was? Thanks
for your help.
Subject: Re: My website ranking
Answered By: serenata-ga on 06 Feb 2004 06:21 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi Roger ~

Before I address this question and to refresh your memory, I'll refer
you to the answers to questions you have asked previously. I've
included links to them below:

August 13, 2003 -

November 8, 2003 -

November 9, 2003 -

That information on how to design your site (and that means each page
within your site), plus Google's recommendations, suggestions and
warnings on what *not* to do, are becoming increasingly important.

What you are presently seeing in Google's search results may not
necessarily be the greatest or most relevant results for your specific
search terms, "learn drums", "learn to play drums", and "drum
lessons"; but the average searcher looking for that information is
probably unaware of a deterioration of Google's results.

If you want to be included for those results, you have to design your
site with "good", user-friendly and search engine-friendly html, rich
content and have relevant links to your site. There really is no
substitute for that combination.

And when you get to the top, you have to add content and improve your
site's content, or your competitors will overtake you with better
content, better user-friendly design, and better relevant links.

Coincidently with your question, Jill Whalen's current newsletter,
"High Rankings", included a discussion about the latest "shakeup" in
Google's SERPs. As Jill astutely points out:

1. The average searcher isn't really noticing any lesser quality
   in search engine results.

2. Google has hired some of the most intelligent brains in the
   industry; and if the results we're seeing is a mistake, it
   will be fixed. If it's not a mistake, then it's one step
   closer to improving and delivering the most relevant results
   for a search query.

3. If you rank well in the other search engines, you don't need
   to worry too much about making major changes. If you don't -
   this is the best time to pull out the Guidelines and make
   sure your pages measure up to the recommendations and sugges-

you can read Jill's answer to the question, "++It's All About Keyword
Focus++" in today's High Rankings newsletter here:

Pay particular attention to this advice she gave David:

     "If you were in need of a redesign or whatever anyway,
      then go for it.  Just don't do it because your site
      is missing from the rankings this week..."

She also pointed out that if you do have troubles with your site, now
is "definitely the time to fix them".

And finally,

     "If your site is ranking well in all of the other
      search engines, then you've probably got a good,
      relevant site and I wouldn't recommend changing it
      at this time."


I mentioned all of the above as a preface, because it is relevant to
your current question.

The answers to your previous questions are as good at this moment as
they were then. I am glad you were moving up in the rankings, but I
also notice that you still have duplicate content on another site, for


If this is showing up in search engine results and I can find it, so
can the search engine crawlers. Eventually this will come back to
haunt you, especially in light of Google's admonition against
duplicate content. (Google's "Quality Guidelines - Specific
   - ://


You are still using links like the one below for "Products for
Keyboard & Piano", which are choking search engine crawlers.

There are better ways to link to the material, but this way is
definitely NOT to your benefit. This is also covered in this week's
High Rankings newsletter in Mike Banks Valentine's article, "Don't
Play Hide-and-Seek with Search Engines."

The article also has two excellent links to how to link better,



Taking Jill Whalen's advice, I searched the following search engines
for the phrases you asked about. The results are listed below.

                             drum          learn      learn to
 Search Engine              lessons        drums     play drums
====================       =========     =========   ==========

Open Directory Project               Not listed 

All The Web           3d page       1st pg        1st pg

Alta Vista          4th page       2nd pg        2nd pg

HotBot            70th place      5th place    11th place

Yahoo!                     not in                       not in             first 100      46th place    first 100

MSN              65th place      5th place    10th place

As you can see, you're ranking in most of the search engines, although
you're not listed in

It is a fact of life that there are sites ranking higher than yours.
If that concerns you, consider what they're doing that you're not.
Combine that with understanding what visitors are actually seeking -
and then provide it, and you should have no problems.


In answer to your question, "Wouldn't it be fair for more companies to
have a single listing than for a few companies to dominate the best

In a perfect world, this might be the case. On the other hand, you
must remember that search engines deliver web PAGES in response to
search queries, and it is not unusual to see a page from within a site
ranking higher than the site's "home page".

Since you can't cover everything in depth on the home page, this is
not unusual. If there is more than one listing for a particular web
site, it is usually because those PAGES (plural) contain relevant
information, which is determined by the various search engines'

Rest assured it isn't personal ... when you're indexing over 3.5
billion pages, there's nothing personal about it at all - it is merely
a complicated, weighted set of criteria that measures which pages get
presented. And those criteria for all search engines include the
combination of user-friendly and search engine-friendly design,
relevant content and relevant links to those sites.


Taking a look at one site, DrumBum - they rank so well and so
consistently for many reasons. Among those are the simple html design
... there is no javascript and complicated links to choke search
engine crawlers; there are 192 high ranking links to the site and over
6,000 other links which aren't included under Google's "link" tool,
and there is a lot of content, even if a lot is about links to other

The above, plus what I am sure is an aggressive campaign, is what
ranks them highly. This didn't happen overnight, but it is actually a
good example of what can be accomplished with a determined campaign.


I noticed that overnight you have a new site design. You might want to
change your all caps text to upper and lower case, it's easier to read
and less irritating to your visitors. It helps, too, to add a blank
line between paragraphs. Remember the advice from Google and every
reputable SEO expert, make your pages user friendly.


Lastly, to reiterate, if you're satisfied with your listings in the
other search engines, I'd not worry too much about the results of this
last Google algorithm change. I doubt it is permanent, and my own
opinion is that it is a part of the continuing process of perfecting
their algorithms to bring the most relevant returns for a search

Search terms used:

Besides the specific searches listed above, I relied on material used
in the regular course of business.

Roger, I can see you're working to increase your ranking, and you've
done pretty well since last year. I suspect this particular shakeup is
merely a temporary "glitch" or perhaps a part of the continuing
process of presenting relevant pages in answer to search queries. As
Jill said, if it is a mistake, it will be fixed.

If there is some other reason, I am sure it is ephimeral. Google has
too much at stake to leave results that are less than ideal. Annoying
as it is, the best I can offer is to "hang in there".


Google Answers Researcher
aj10-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thank you very much, but when I search Yahoo DRUM LESSONS I rank 27 &
30, LEARN TO PLAY DRUMS I rank 11, and LEARN DRUMS I rank 2. Your
search didn't show these results, I wonder why. It's just frustrating
because I hear over and over again about duplicate listings hurting
your rankings but the sites listed highest are doing just that. Thanks
for your encouragement, Roger

Subject: Re: My website ranking
From: serenata-ga on 08 Feb 2004 02:00 PST
Hi Roger ~

Thank you for the tip.

I would imagine that Yahoo, like Google and MSN, continuously updates
its search engine, too. Yahoo's search is no different from others.

As you can see, keeping a good ranking is a continuous process, and
not a static situation.

Best of luck,

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