Hello mrporky-ga ~
Sometimes trying to figure out how best to design a site and rank well
in search engine results pages (SERPs) can be frustrating. This is
more apparent recently than ever before.
Luckily, there are ways that you can design a site that is
user-friendly and search engine friendly, and if you do it right, you
have a good chance of placing well in SERPs.
The good news is that you haven't been dropped and you are still in
Google's index. If Google had missed your site at the time it was
unavailable, it would have been dropped from the index until the next
crawl. While your site is still in the index, it does not come up in
the first 1000 results for some terms, such as "Tenerife holiday
Searching for your site itself, site using the query,
www.tropicalretreats.co.uk, produces the following results:
"Holiday Apartments To Rent In Tenerife Self Catering
Welcome to Tropical Retreats. Thinking of self catering
holidays in the Canary Islands? Planning Tenerife
holidays in self catering apartments? ...
Google can show you the following information for this URL:
* Show Google's cache of www.tropicalretreats.co.uk
* Find web pages that are similar to www.tropicalretreats.co.uk
* Find web pages that link to www.tropicalretreats.co.uk
* Find web pages that contain the term
[Search link is below]
=== Links to your site ======
Clicking on "Find web pages that link to www.tropicalretreats.co.uk
returns 2 results.
Clicking on "Find web pages that contain the term
www.tropicalretreats.co.uk returns about 69 results.
As a rule, Google includes pages that either have a PageRank of 4 or
pages that would stand alone in its "link to" results. The "contain
the term" results are other pages that contain a link to your site,
but either have a lesser PageRank or wouldn't stand alone or be
suitable search results.
Many of those links included in the "contain the term" are nothing
more than a page of links, or search results posted on a page or other
directories or lists which would not be the type of search results
Google's users (the searchers) would consider relevant or informative.
In fact, some of them would probably be considered a linking scheme,
something Google specifically warns against. Some of them are:
* Toxic Lemon
* Cheap Accommodations (nothing but a list of links)
* Cheap Holidays (again nothing but a list of links)
While Google (and other search engines, too) realize that you cannot
always control links TO your site, these type of links are not as
"important" as links from sites which have rich, relevant content and
have a better PageRank.
Clearly, establishing links to your site from relevant sources would
be to your advantage.
Google's PageRank is based on the number of pages which link to your site.
"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."
(SEE Google's " How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
- 2. Submitting Your site")
There are many practical ways of establishing beneficial links in your
endeavor to obtain a respectable position placement on search engines.
While these methods may take time, they do 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.
A WORD OF WARNING:
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, the number one search
engine, is good rule to follow for other search engines.
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.
Establishing links isn't the only problem keeping your site from
ranking well in SERPs, though.
Google provides guidelines for webmasters which, if followed, render a
site which is both user-friendly from a practical standpoint. That is,
it gives the visitors the material they seek, presented in a familiar
way that is easy to navigate and works well in any browser the user
may be using.
In its "Design and Content Guidelines", Google recommends the following:
"* 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
* Check for broken links and correct HTML.
* If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL con-
tains a '?' character), be aware that not every search
engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static
pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the
number of them small."
In its "Quality Guidelines - Specific recommendations", Google
specifically mentions things you should avoid at the risk of being
penalized or even removed from Google's index, among them is avoiding
hidden text or hidden links:
"* Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
to the Searcher
You should keep in mind that Google has about 3.5 Billion pages in its
index, and it is pretty hard to find a search query that doesn't
return some pages relevant to that subject.
Indeed, Google's single mission is to provide the "most relevant"
pages for any searcher's query. If you want your site and the pages
within it to be presented, it is your responsibility:
* to ensure your page contains *relevant* content to be
returned for a search query
* design the page so that it can be crawled and indexed
* have links TO your site, because that is one of the factors
considered in Google's SERPs.
It really is very simple, your pages should contain relevant content,
be designed in a user-friendly, crawler friendly way, and there should
be links from other relevant sites. Without a good combination of the
three, you are basically relegated to the back burner.
Other websites DO contain the information, and those sites will rank
well in the SERPs for a query.
--- 1. Hidden Text ----------
The first thing I noticed when your page loaded is the presence of
hidden text. Whether or not this is intentional, if I can see it, and
see it in the markup on your page, the search engines do, too.
There really is no way around this: It is considered spamming, and it
can get you permanently banned from Google's index.
"Quality Guidelines - Basic principles:
* Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't
deceive your users, or present different content to
search engines than you display to users."
and from Google's "Why my site isn't listed" ...
"If your page does not appear at all, here are some
other possible explanations.
... certain actions such as cloaking, writing text that
can be seen by search engines but not by users, or
setting up pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling
search engines may result in permanent removal from our
The specific text to which I am referring is hidden under the vignette
graphics along the top,
"Tenerife self catering holiday. Tenerife holiday
apartments. Holiday accommodation rental in Tenerife.
Apartment holidays in Los Cristianos. Tenerife holiday
apartments for rent. Cheap holiday rentals. Canary
Islands. Discount Tenerife holidays at the Royal Palm.
Self catering holidays in Tenerife." (from your index.html
While only Google knows whether or not your are being penalized, and
they may not tell you, stating:
"We will not comment on the individual reasons a page was
removed and we do not offer an exhaustive list of practices
that can cause removal."
I would guess, given your statement that you rated well until late
last month, that you no longer show up for any of your search terms
because your site is seen to be 'spamming' or 'gaming' the system.
At this time, your site is still in Google's index, even though you're
not showing up for search terms. I have seen sites removed completely
from the index for these practices. Why risk being banned altogether?
You either need to do is dump that paragraph or, because it doesn't
even look like anything but "spam", rewrite them and include them in
your page's content - the part of the page your visitors actually see.
Lynx (a text browser) to test your site's design and use of scripts:
* Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site,
because most search engine spiders see your site much
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."
[From Google's Technical Guidelines]
I gave it a try, and I can guarantee this is NOT what you want your
visitors to see. I suspect some search engines choke on your site and
it appears that not all your pages are indexed.
--- 3. Navigation / Getting Around ---
You haven't used the ALT attributes on your graphic (button)
navigation scheme. Not only are the search engines choking on this
vast amount of script (before it even gets to content) - but how is a
--- 4. Metatags -------------
Your TITLE metatag is the most important metatag on your page, and for
the most part the rest, including key words, are ignored by search
engine crawlers. There are times that the description metatag may be
used by lesser search engines or directories, so that description
should be a description of what that particular page is about (NOTE:
NOT THE ENTIRE SITE), and should read like you'd want that snippet of
description search engines use in their results.
That is not to say you shouldn't have key word metatags, because they
can help you keep your focus about what that particular page is about.
As I said, your TITLE metatag is the most important tag on your page.
This is NOT the place to spam every word, term, phrase or thought
about the site. Each page's title should contain a FEW short words
that are really a title to the page.
Your index page's title is "Holiday Apartments To Rent In Tenerife
Self Catering Rental Accommodation At The Royal Palm Los Cristianos
Discount Apartment Rentals For Cheap Tenerife Holidays"
That's not a TITLE tag, that's spamming the TITLE tag and it can cost
you, instead of helping you, when written like that.
Chose the search term that is appropriate for the CONTENT of each page.
Each page should have its own unique TITLE tag, description metatag,
and the key words for that page - which while ignored, can count
against you if you're spamming.
--- 5. Design ---------------
I have already mentioned the graphical navigation system without any
ALT attributes to identify the links associated with those buttons.
The reasons for including them are many, including the aforementioned
browser at all, and finally, search engine crawler friendliness.
If you want your whole site to be indexed, it is your responsibility
to make it easy to do so.
--- 6. DOCType Declaration --
I noticed a lot of your pages have two DOCType Declarations. Since how
a page is presented and viewed is decided by the DOCType, you should
make your choice of which to use.
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 indicated that you had recoded the pages, but the way they exist
is making it difficult for your visitors and search engine crawlers to
index your page.
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 - http://www.webmasterworld.com/ - 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 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.
At present, your site is still included in Google's index, although it
doesn't show in the first several hundred results for your key search
You have some serious design problems which should be addressed,
especially the matter of hidden text (and the coding shows that it's
layered behind the photos along the top), which can only be regarding
Since it is Google's mission to deliver the most *relevant* web pages
in response to a searcher's query, it CAN be determined that Google
does not consider your pages among the first thousand or so relevant
Whether this is due to the spamming or the problems with design
features, only Google knows. In any case, it doesn't really matter,
except that you design your site according to Google's Guidelines and
avoid those practices which can penalize you.
If you clean up the HTML, make your site user-friendly according to
Google's Guidelines, add relevant content without spamming or trying
to gain an advantage through trickery, and add relevant links, you
should see a vast improvement in your ranking in the SERPs.
If you don't address those issues, you can expect more of the same
situation you are currently experiencing.
Except for the searches specifically mentioned above, I relied on
bookmarked material and resources considered to be among the best
information in answer to questions regarding ranking.
Best of luck,
Google Answers Researcher