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Q: How to get a decent listing on google? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: How to get a decent listing on google?
Category: Business and Money > eCommerce
Asked by: npearson-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 09 Feb 2004 10:06 PST
Expires: 10 Mar 2004 10:06 PST
Question ID: 305019
Our web site, is for some reason never able to
get top listing with google and we are very confused about why.

Please conduct a keyword search for "nesting dolls"

You'll find that many web sites appear before us even when their
information and product range does not at all compare to ours.

Is there anything specific that can be done to help us get a better position?

Subject: Re: How to get a decent listing on google?
Answered By: serenata-ga on 09 Feb 2004 16:06 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Npearson ~

As you can imagine, every website owner would like their site's pages
to appear at the top or in the first two or three pages for any search
query. Obviously, they all can't occupy that space.

Your statement, "You'll find that many web sites appear before us even
when their information and product range does not at all compare to
ours," is only partially accurate. The Russian Store may have more
products for sale, but the sites on the first page of results actually
contain more *relevant content* about nesting dolls than I can find on
your site.

Be careful not to assume that every searcher using the query "nesting
dolls" is looking to purchase them. Google and the other important
search engines know that it isn't necessarily so. As a searcher's
queries become more sophisticated, so too, are the search engines'
returns for the query.

Using your search term, "nesting dolls", a searcher using that query
could be looking for:

     1. Information ABOUT nesting dolls with no intention
        to purchase them;

     2. Information about nesting dolls WITH a selection to
        purchase; or

     3. Nesting dolls for sale.

Google recognizes different purposes for search queries and has
redesigned its search engine results page accordingly. Once again
using your choice of search terms, "nesting dolls", here are the
   - ://

There are about 56,000 + results for this query. Google lays out the
results like this:

     1. A couple of clearly marked "sponsored links" at the
        top, with some other sponsored links down the right

     2. Category: Shopping > Crafts > Dolls > Wood (this is
        a link to Google's directory listing).

     3. Product search alone with a link to Froogle (Google's
        search for products with comparisons that can be set
        by the searcher).

     4. Google's free listing of *relevant* web pages.

Actually, from the searcher's point of view, these are really great returns.

If the searcher is looking for information, he can go directly to the
web pages returned in number 4 above.

If he's looking to buy and doesn't want to wade through a bunch of
content, but just get to product, he can use No. 3.

If he's not really comfortable using a search engine or wishes a
directory, instead, he can choose No. 2.

And finally, a lot of searchers don't bother wading through the
results, but go directly to the sponsored links and look to see what's
there. Google's AdWords are obviously working, or there wouldn't be as
many merchants clamoring to sign up and be included.

Google's Responsibilities
to the Searcher

It helps to understand that Google, and all the important search
engines, consider their responsibility to the searcher, not to the
website owner.

As a site owner, it is your responsibility to design your site in such
a way that it is user-friendly. As a rule, following those rules, you
also make the site search engine (or "crawler") friendly as well.
Google takes this to heart and has published its mission or 'pledge'
to searchers in "Corporate Information - Google Today",
   - ://

It may seem a bit "hokey" to some people, but I highly suggest you
read and understand what it is Google, and the other search engines
trying to become as popular and good as Google, is trying to

     "The perfect search engine," says Google co-founder Larry
      Page, "would understand exactly what you mean and give
      back exactly what you want."
   - ://

There is also a very timely article in the Red Herring about search
engine results and how search engines are working to deliver exactly
what the searcher is looking for. While the emphasis of this article
is on Yahoo's current endeavors, there is still the inevitable
comparison to Google. You can read the article here,

Gogle's results for "nesting dolls" do a pretty good job of achieving that goal.

Having just "content" isn't enough, though. To rank well for a search
engine query, there are other considerations which are weighted into
the algorithms used to produce the ideal results. These include links
TO a site, good html design, and as mentioned - *relevant content*.

Google removes the mystery, too, by offering specific recommendations,
suggestions and prohibitions in its information for webmasters ...
links to that information will be listed below at the end of this

Site Specifics

The Russian Store is currently the 311th listing for the term "nesting
dolls". Using the criteria mentioned above, I'll compare The Russian
Store with the number one listing for the search term.

1. Content

The Russian Store -
You offer many products, but little "content" regarding either the
specific products or "nesting dolls" in general.

Russian Crafts -
A great deal of relevant content about nesting dolls, including their
history, the type of dolls, etc., plus links to the 'store' to
purchase their products.

2. Links to the site

The importance of links TO your site, especially *relevant* links, is
discussed in Google's "Page Rank Explained",
   - ://

and in Google's Page Rank Information,
   - PageRank Information

Using Google's Link:Tool (that is, entering in
the search bar, returns the following information for the two sites:

The Russian Store - 4 links
   - ://

Russian Crafts - about 128 links
   - ://

3. Design

The two sites are about equal in design, although Russian Crafts
relies more on basic rendered HTML than Cold Fusion.

Russian Crafts -

I can't say I care for the yellow background they use, but that's a
personal preference and doesn's alter it's friendliness.

The text is easy to read, the pages load fast considering the number
of graphics used, and everything is easy for Google and the users to

The Russian Store -

I love the clean look of the site, but you are using that grey text,
which is the current rage among those who can't figure out how
DIFFICULT it is for most people to read - and the text itself is so
small as to be totally unreadable for the average user who is
blissfully unaware he can change the size of his type - provided he's
using Internet Explorer or Mozilla.

While that small grey type doesn't hurt you as far as search engine
friendliness, I can guarantee you that it's not helping you with
visitors. It may be the current fad using content management software,
but it isn't making points with users. And in some monitors which
aren't calibrated "just right", it doesn't really show up.

Using Google's suggestion to "view" your sites in Lynx (a text-only
browser which tends to emulate search engine crawlers), your site
doesn't hold up as well as Russian Crafts' site does.

Important Google Links For Your Reference

As I mentioned above, 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

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:

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.


To rank well in search results placement, a site must provide a good
combination of relevant content, links to the site and user-friendly,
crawler-friendly design.

Search engines are constantly improving their search results and will
continue to do so. It is also incumbant upon the website owner to
understand the intention of a search, search terms used (and how
they're used) and ensure he provides the content relative to those
search terms. If he doesn't do so, there are plenty of other sites
willing to step up and to be listed.

Since "nesting dolls" can be a search for more than one type of result
(that is, for information, or information plus purchase), you need to
understand both the what the searcher is looking for, and how search
engines interpret such a generic search. If you want to rank well, you
need to provide that content.

Since your own site is related more toward purchasing nesting dolls
than toward providing information, you will either need to:

   1. Either reconsider the search terms by analyzing the
      actual search terms used for purchasing your products;

   2. Provide relevant content to accompany your purchasing

   3. Register your site and content with Froogle where buyers
      are starting to search for the purchase of products (an
      excellent idea in any case);

or any combination of the above.

Search terms used

Besides the specific searches mentioned above, I provided current
information available and which I reference on a regular basis.

I hope this helps you better understand both the responsibility of
search engines as well as what the website owner needs to do in order
to rank well.

Best of luck,

Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by npearson-ga on 09 Feb 2004 17:59 PST
Hi Serenata,

Thank you for the thoughtful and informative response.  I do however
have a few follow-up questions.

In your main comparison, you were viewing  Clearly
this site along with the particular page that's ranked in the #1
position is structured solidly from a content perspective.

However, I was mainly referring to other websites that really don't
have relevant content nor relevant product offerings that are on par
with ours.  In example, see the #5 position with the title: Evil Clown
Nesting Dolls.

The web address is:

They are an e-commerce company like us, but they only sell one type of
nesting doll.  Additionally, they don't offer any relevant content
about nesting dolls, unlike us (see:

Also, if you keep on reviewing the next set of sites, you'll find that
none of them really offer anything in the way of extensive or valuable
content.  The majority of them are basically selling nesting dolls --
and none of them have the selection that we carry.

Still and all, our site rank is in the 300+ range.  That just doesn't add up.

True that our content could improve and we could certainly work on
reciprocal linking, but that still doesn't explain why we're so far
down the list.  Especially compared to the sites in between us and say
the top 5 ranked sites.

Which by the way, for starters, just being in the top 10 or even 20
position for that matter is the goal for now.

Can you please give some more insight into this phenomena?


Clarification of Answer by serenata-ga on 09 Feb 2004 19:07 PST
Hi again Npearson ~

You're right, their site doesn't look as good as either of yours.

On the other hand, using Google's link:tool, they have over 1100 links
TO their site.

Remember, all THREE elements are important, but the site (and
subsequently the pages within which inherit PageRank), has an
extensive list of links TO it, which I would say weighs pretty heavily
in their favor.

I refer you again to Google's explanation of PageRank and it's "most
important" status:

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

Thanks for asking for the clarification,

npearson-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Very informative.  Thank you.

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