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Q: Google Search ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Google Search
Category: Computers
Asked by: ivrie-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 10 Feb 2004 12:03 PST
Expires: 11 Mar 2004 12:03 PST
Question ID: 305458
We are a travel agent and have been advertising with google for a
long time and over the past few months have learnt how google
picks sites and decides which sites come up first on the search
results. For many of our pages when searches were made we were more
than often in the top 5 sites brought up.
However in the last 2 weeks on a couple of hotels in particular things
seemed to have happened without our knowledge and knocked us off the
first page and deeper into the results. When you search for the hotel
Costa Adeje Gran or Costa Adeje Palace using those exact keywords we
were always in the top 4 however know we are on page 8 and slowly
dropping why has this happened? We havent made any drastic changes to
the site only changes to the prices. We have also noticed that hardly
anything on the first few pages is relevant to the search being made.
One company called Alpha Beds shows up a lot in the
first two pages but only one or two of them are applicable to the
actual search. Why are pages that are not showing specific information
to the search made being shown in such high postions? Alpha Beds is a
company that we were always in close contact with results wise, but
they havent been affected and we have can you help explain? We are
still showing very highly for some of our other hotels so it doesn't
explain why these two pages in particular have dropped so dramatically.

Our website is the two pages we are most
concerned about are
Subject: Re: Google Search
Answered By: serenata-ga on 11 Feb 2004 10:26 PST
Hi Ivrie ~

There are over 80,000 returns for the search term "Costa Adeje Gran"
and over 30,000 for the term "Costa Adeje Palace". As you can imagine,
every one of those website owners want their page to rank high in
those returns.

Google strives to return the most relevant results for every search it
conducts, and encourages website managers to provide straightforward
content that is easily understood by both users and search engines
alike. Google states this in its "Google Today", and emphasizes its
responsibility to the searcher (note: not the webmaster, the

You can read that statement here,
   - ://

Unfortunately, not all websites have done that, and in some
industries, it has become common place to try to game the system in
many ways to gain an unfair advantage to achieve a higher ranking.

Most of Google's tweaks and changes to its search engines are barely
noticeable; however, the last two, one in November (dubbed "Florida"
by Google watchers), and one late last month (dubbed "Austin" by some)
have remarkably affected some segments, and the travel industry is
among them.

Bear in mind that Google hasn't said much about it one way or the
other, but there are countless discussions on search engine discussion
boards and articles about it. All the evidence is anecdotal; however,
when that many people in one industry are complaining about losing
their high rankings, it can be assumed some major changes were put in

Here are some links which might be enlightening,

   * Webmaster World's Discussion, "Update Florida -
     Nov 2003 Google Update Part 3" (with links to the
     previous two FULL discussions)

   * Webmaster World Discussion, "Update Florida -
     Nov 2003 Google Update - Looks like an Old Fashioned
     Dance Baby!"

   * Google Florida Update Targets Spammers


I mention the above so you will understand what is happening in
relation to your site ...

Google's mission is to return the most relevant results for a search
query. If you provide information-rich, relevant content, use good
HTML to ensure user-friendliness (and subsequently
crawler-friendliness), and have relevant links to your site, you'll
find you have no problem ranking well in search engine results pages

The bottom line is that Google will penalize sites that spam or game
the system by listing them so low they'll rarely be seen, or in some
cases, remove and/or ban them from their index at all.

Here are some deceptive practices that Google specifically mentions as
being unacceptable:

   * You employ doorway pages. Google does not encourage the
     use of doorway pages. We want to point users to content
     pages, not to doorways or splash screens.
     (From reasons your page isn't listed)
   - ://

   * Hidden text. 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.
     (From Quality Guidelines - Basic principles)
   - ://

   * Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
   * Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
   * Don't send automated queries to Google.
   * Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
   * Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains
     with substantially duplicate content.
   * Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or
     other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate
     programs with little or no original content."
     (From Quality Guidelines - Specific recommendations)
   - ://

and finally, Google says in its reasons you may not be included in its index,

   "Your page was manually removed from our index, because it
    did not conform with the quality standards necessary to
    assign accurate PageRank. 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.
    However, 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
   - ://

Site Specifics

Starting with the first specific page on your site,

1. Costa Adeje Gran

The page name itself is really considered 'spam'. Your page name does
NOT help your search engine placement. It doesn't help, and can only
be interpreted to be an attempt to 'spam' when you mention "costa
adeje hotel" twice in the name of the page.

Remember Google's admonition is to make pages for users, not search
engines. Consider how difficult this would be for a searcher to *TYPE*
this page into his location bar on his browser. It is very obviously
an attempt at spam.

Consider the title on the page, "Gran Hotel Costa Adeje  Costa Adeje
Tenerife". Again the use of the terms twice, and the entire title
repeated again preceded by asterisks. This doesn't enhance your
visitor's experience, it can only be seen as 'spam'

Hidden text. Google specifically mentions hidden text, which includes
text so close to the color of the background that it is virtually
invisible. I'm talking about the third time the phrase is used, "Costa
Adeje Gran Hotel  Costa Adeje Tenerife" in a very light and very small
text. Another attempt to stuff the term on the page, or 'spam'.

Your rank for the term "Costa Adeje Gran" is currently 305 and 306, or
virtually non-existent to visitors looking for this term, as few would
rarely go to the 30th page to find your site.

And, of course, there is the matter of duplicate content. You have a
duplicate page (whose name makes much more sense, by the way),

Obviously, these attempts to 'game' the system have been discovered,
and if one were to guess, your lack of a good rating is because of the
above spamming. These attempts to "over-optimize" the site have cost
you, and could - according to Google's admonitions - get you banned
from their index. Expect to see more sites similarly penalized,
because this just isn't the most *relevant* content that Google
intends to present it's users.

2. Costa Adeje Palace Hotel

You are currently listed at No. 201 for this page and No. 202 for the
duplicate page,

The same observations regarding spamming and duplicate content apply.

3. Your index page

Although you didn't ask, your site's "landing page", or home page,
also has hidden text and other methods which are mentioned above. In
addition, your huge keyword metatag content, which is discussed below,
can be costing you in ranking.

Keyword Metatags. Google or any of the other important search engines
considers the Keyword metatags, because of the obvious 'stuffing' or
'spamming' done by webmasters. In your case, you have more text within
your keyword metatags than you do on the actual page. These keywords
are stuffed with irrelevant words and terms. Although the keywords
don't help with your SERPs ranking, they can count against you,
especially if they are perceived to be an attempt to spam. When you
have more content in your keywords, including irrelevant terms, than
you do on the page. This is another attempt at spam.


Google and the other search engines are very serious about penalties
for spam, and is constantly tweaking its algorithm to reduce the
chance such a site will be presented as *relevant* to a search query.
Each change in the algorithm greatly increases this ability to catch
these pages and more important, to "reward" pages which are designed
well, have *relevant* links to their site and contain informative
content with higher rankings.

The fact Google is catching a lot of the obvious spam is to the
searcher's benefit, but Google even has a page on which to report
spam. All it would take is one competitor to report your site, and the
consequences could result in the site getting removed.

You might want to read Google's stance on spam on the spam report page here,
   - ://

1. Design

Your pages take a long time to load, even on an extremely high speed
internet connection. I see they are also designed in Front Page, which
is highly proprietary. The only browser on my computer that you don't
have some design problems, including text hidden behind some graphics
is Internet Express.

In other browsers, such as an older version of Internet Express (5.x),
Firebird, Mozilla, Opera, and Netscape, there are overlaps and other
design problems that I am sure you do not intend to present to your

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")

The information explains how errors in HTML can affect your ability to
be indexed, and ultimately, ranked.

Google recommends downloading Lynx, a text-based browser, to see how
your site appears to search engine crawlers,

     "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." (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
yourself here,

It might be time to change designers - one who is cognizant of
legitimate ways to optimize your site for search engines - ways that
will keep you from being penalized.

2. Dump the spam

The duplicate content, hidden content (or nearly invisible text) can
only hurt you, and will never help you at all. Your content should
contain relevant text in a natural manner, not loading the key words
in such a way that it doesn't make sense to your user.

If your search term is for a particular hotel, don't try to cram every
other hotel's information on the same page. It makes much more sense
to link to further hotels and doesn't dilute either your search term
content or the purpose of the page.

What you're seeing today as 'relevant' results won't last. The very
nature of a search engine is to add relevant content and push the
other lower in rank. This is actually a terrific time to set the
standard using Google's Guidelines - since few other travel-related
sites are doing it. The simple matter is that sooner or later they'll
have to do so or risk being penalized in favor of those who do.

In other words, if you want to be found for the search term "Costa
Adeje Gran", make sure that *page* contains information about that
hotel only, and you can link to other pages about other hotels in the
area after you deliver the pertinent information.

3. The Importance of Links

Google explains the best way to rank and be listed in its search engine,

     "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."
   - ://

A check of your site using Google's Link:tool, that is, typing the
query "" (without the quotation
marks) returns 0 results.

Establishing relevant links to your site is part of the combination
for ranking well in Google's SERPs.

Establishing Links

As noted above, 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 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.

For good ranking in the results, there is no substitute for the
combination of information-rich content, links to your page or site
and good design. With some remedies to the problems that exist, adding
links and ensuring your content is relevant to the search terms you
want, you should see better ranking.

Search terms used -

* Google update + travel industry

And 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 question.


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