Hi Jim Pooler ~
It would seem normal to find your site under the search term "why we
shop", after all, that's the name of your domain and the name of your
Except the domain name is nothing more than a series of letters by
which your site can be found by routers on the Internet. That is, that
domain name, www.whyweshop.com, gets translated into a series of
numbers by which the site can be found. So that alone wouldn't make
It is incumbent on you to create a "useful, information-rich site and
write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content." (See
Google's "Webmaster Guidelines - Design and Content Guidelines"
As the most popular search engine, Google's mission is, and always has
been , to provide the *most relevant* results in answer to a search
query. Toward that end, it has indexed almost 3.5 billion web pages,
and uses a well-guarded algorithm to deliver those pages.
Google clearly states its responsibility to the searcher in "Google
Today", a part of its Corporate Information. This is really the
definitive mission of any of the top search engines, but it is stated
well there, and I always suggest to my customers that they read it to
understand the best way to design a site - and why. You can read it
While nobody but Google knows exactly how specific parts of a web page
are weighted, it is no secret that ranking well for any search term
includes good HTML, information-rich content which should naturally
include the search term, and relevant links TO your site.
From Google's emphasis on designing a user-friendly site and the use of good HTML,
"Make pages for users, not for search engines ..."
(from Quality Guidelines - Basic principles)
"Check for broken links and correct HTML"
(from Design and Content Guidelines)
The use of information-rich content (mentioned above), and its
information on the importance of links to your site and PageRank,
"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 it further explains 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."
Because the three elements: good design, relevant content and links
are the building blocks to being found (that is, good HTML which is
not browser-specific), and links to your site are important to search
engine results pages (SERPs), you need to look to your own pages and
ensure they meet that criteria.
A big part of the reason your site isn't showing for the term "why we
shop" is the site's design, the arrangement of the content, and the
lack of links TO your site.
Your site is designed using a combination of Microsoft's Word 10 and
Microsoft FrontPage 5.0. Unfortunately, this isn't always the best
choice for web design, as it is proprietary, doesn't deprecate well
for all browsers, and literally adds a huge amount of proprietary code
to your web pages.
In fact, there are about 238 lines of mostly proprietary code after
your Header tag and before encountering any content. This is such that
it no doubt allows your site to be seen as you designed it in the
latest version of Internet Explorer, but it doesn't render the same
way in other browsers, including older versions of Internet Explorer.
Google suggests downloading the text browser, Lynx, to view your page,
as it closely resembles what search engine crawlers encounter,
"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 "Technical Guidelines)
Give it a try, and I am quite sure this is not what you want you
expect your visitors to see.
You might also want to download a different browser, such as Mozilla
or Opera to see how the site renders in those browsers as well, and
then consider a more "standards-driven" editor for your site.
Running your index.html page through an HTML Validator also delivers
many errors and problems with the site's coding/design. You can try it
Shari Thurow, one of the leading authorities in web design and search
engine optimization (and author of the book "Search Engine
Visibility"), recently made the following observation with regard to
"Clean HTML is absolutely imperative for search engine
indexing. Browsers are extremely forgiving when it comes
to displaying pages with "unclean" HTML (unclosed tags,
no quotation marks, etc.). Search engine spiders are
not so forgiving. Even something as simple as a missing
quotation mark on the <.a href="page.html"> can cause a
spider to not index text or a link." (See: Link Exchange
Digest, July 3, 2003, "Clean HTML")
She explained how errors in HTML can affect your ability to be
indexed, and ultimately, ranked.
2. Structure, User Friendliness
Strictly from a user's point of view, there is no clear indication of
what this site is about. At first glance, it appears to be about
Mind-Sell Consulting, even though there is reference to Why We Shop.
If you want to be found under the term "why we shop", you need to
arrange the information to focus first on why we shop, not Mind-Sell.
Is the intention of this site to sell the book, "Why We Shop"? If so,
that should be immediately apparent and it's not.
Or is the site about consulting or seminars or ... exactly what IS the
purpose of the site?
You do offer some examples of why we shop in the right-hand column
such as "Today people shop for reasons that are psychological,
personal and emotional. They shop for self-esteem, self-reward and
self-confidence. The rules have changed."
However this still doesn't give the site's visitor any idea about what
this site's purpose. Even if this is only informational, you need to
work on presenting your information so that the most important content
and the purpose are in the first paragraph or two. Otherwise, your
visitor will go elsewhere for information.
3. Links to Your Site
Even the most well-designed site with the ultimate information for a
search term will have trouble showing up without links TO your site.
Searching Google for your domain, www.whyweshop.com returns the following results:
"www.why we shop.com
MIND-SELL Consulting. ...
Google can show you the following information for
* Show Google's cache of www.whyweshop.com
* Find web pages that are similar to www.whyweshop.com
* Find web pages that link to www.whyweshop.com
* Find web pages that contain the term "www.whyweshop.com"
Clicking on the link "Find web pages that link to" and "Find web pages
that contain the term" return 0 results for either one. This means
that Google has no pages in its index that link to your site.
Clearly, you need to establish links TO your site from other relevant sites.
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.
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, 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.
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
One of the foremost sources on site usability and user-friendly design
is Jakob Nielsen. Whether or not you agree with everything he says,
his basics on design and usability are bookmarked and put to use by
professional designers. Spending time reading the information on this
site can save hundreds of hours trying to 'fix' a badly-designed site.
You can find his information here,
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.
The reasons your site *should* show up for the search query "why we
shop" are obvious to you and me - but because search engines use
algorithms to index sites, they aren't seeing what you want them to
The bottom line is simply you have to be ranked to be found under the
terms you want, and without the aforementioned combination of
user-friendly design (which includes good basic layout for user
friendliness), information rich text that uses your search terms in a
natural manner, and links to your site, Google or any of the major
search engines won't return your site's pages in answer to that query.
Presently there are over 15 million returns to that query, and your
site doesn't appear in the first 800 returns. In order to do so, you
need to rethink the layout, clean up the HTML in order to make it easy
to crawl your site, and establish relevant links TO your site.
There are no shortcuts, your ranking cannot be bought in Google or any
of the major search engines, and the process rarely happens overnight.
I would suggest you consult with a good web designer who understands
the basics of user friendly design, and give careful consideration to
how the information is written and presented.
Search terms used -
With the exception of the site-specific searches mentioned above,
bookmarked resources regularly used in the course of business and
Google's information for webmasters was used in answering this
Google Answers Researcher