Hello Brotherbill999 ~
There is a combination of three items which help with a site's search
engine results page (SERPs) ranking in Google:
1. Rich content relative to the search terms under which
you wish to be found;
2. Good HTML design (for user-friendliness / search engine
crawler friendliness); ans
3. Links to your site.
While keyword metatags are an excellent way to keep you focused on the
content of your page, they bear little or no weight in search engine
algorithms which determine SERPs ranking. Indeed, although only Google
know how its algorithm is weighted for various factors, there is
evidence that cramming metatags with multiple incidents of a word or
term can be weighted against you for "spamming".
The best way to place well is to start with relevant content. Google's
Webmaster Guidelines suggests,
"* 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."
Be sure to use those relevant terms in your Title Tags as well as
within the content, and you don't need to repeat it so often that it
seems unnatural. Content should appear in a reasonable context,
similar to how you would normally speak to a visitor to your business.
Google suggests you examine "whether you'd feel comfortable explaining
what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful
test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search
engines didn't exist?""
Try to keep those terms to one or two as well. If there are other
terms, you can always add another page to emphasize those terms as
well, because it is not always feasible to have all the terms
emphasized sensibly on one page.
Good Design - HTML
Google offers guidelines to assist webmasters in user-friendly and
crawler-friendly design. In its "Design and Content Guidelines"
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."
Doorway pages or "splash" pages may look nice, but they're basically
worthless for search engine crawlers. They are also a waste of your
visitor's time. Remember, if a searcher comes to a site from any
search engine, he's there for a specific reason. It is incumbent on
the website owner to provide it as efficiently as possible. This
includes good navigation, and design to accommodate use of the widest
possible array of browser software.
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. Ultimately, if you don't do it well,
it will cost you in SERPs ranking, because Google has indexed over 6
billion pages, and there are sure to be pages which meet good design
Links to Your Site
The best design and the most relevant information won't help without
links to your site, though. Google clearly states,
"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."
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.
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.
Google's Search & Rank
Once Google discovers your site, either through your manual submission
via it's Add:URL page, it is not unusual to see your page appear well
in SERPs rankings and then disappear. Most people become alarmed at
this, but it is usually the difference between Google's so-called
"freshbot" and it's "deep crawler" and integrating your pages within
Google's extensive databases over several data centers.
Google's Add:URL utility is here,
Remember that Google is constantly improving its algorithm to provide
relevant pages in response to a searcher's query, and new pages are
added daily. When you finally rank well for the search terms you want,
you can't stop. Your competition wants a high ranking, too, and they
are no doubt working as hard as you to get there. If you don't
maintain your site properly, those who do will surpass you with
information deemed "more relevant" and move up.
to the Searcher
It helps to always keep in mind that Google's responsibility is to
return the "most relevant" web pages in response to a searcher's
query. Notice that I used the word 'pages' as opposed to an entire
website. The simple fact is that often a single page is far more
relevant than a website's index (or landing) page, this only
emphasizes the need for good navigation and basic design. You want to
make sure that Google's crawlers can find those pages.
It is the website owner's responsibility to provide that information.
If you don't, someone else will.
Reading "Google Today" will help you understand Google's dedication to
providing the most relevant information.
Since you didn't provide your own site specifics, such as URLs, etc.,
I cannot make suggestions on what you might do, other than in the
generally accepted rules for inclusion and a decent ranking in
I am, however, 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 as a form of
information - but 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.
Search terms used
The answer to your question was based on information offered by Google
and from bookmarked sources used regularly in search engine
There is no guarantee of a good ranking in SERPs in Google, but
understanding Google's responsibility to searchers as well as
utilizing its recommendations and suggestions in your own site design,
it is possible to rank well.
So far as "keywords", keyword metatags will not help with your ranking
with Google or the other important search engines, although they may
be utilized by some lesser search engines. Key words or terms should
be used within your site's Title tag, perhaps in a page's title link,
and in rich content on the web page.
Getting listed in Google can take up to eight weeks, and you can
submit your site or web pages via Google's Add:URL form, although if
you establish relevant links TO your page, Google will find it.
So far as Google's cache, it is also updated regularly. It adds new
pages and drops some, so it is your responsibility to keep your page
up to date and ensure you are providing the most relevant information.
All of the above practices take time. Rarely does a site appear for
the first time in the first location. So-called "overnight" results
are rarely seen. It is more a progression as you add to content and
add links to your pages.
Best of luck in your own SERPs ranking.
Google Answers Researcher
Clarification of Answer by
21 Feb 2004 08:19 PST
Hi again Brother Bill,
If you want to be found for localized terms (ie., Georgia, Florida,
North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama), then you would do well to
rethink the structure of your website to include pages devoted TO
I found those termss on your index page under the heading "Trucking
Insurance", and once on the page for trucking insurance,
Not at all on the Workers' Compensation page,
Nor on some other pages for other types of insurance, either. A better
structuring of the site could definitely help.
A logical structure that wouldn't be seen as spamming might be to have
one page for each of the states, listing the types of insurance, with
a specific link to that insurance for that page.
In other words, first a page for each of the states, with the broader
listing of the types of insurance offered for that state, and then a
specific page for each insurance for each state.
Each specific page would (and should) include a discussion of what the
state requires, perhaps with links to the laws/regulations for that
state, as well as links TO your own page (remember, that is as
important as good html and content).
I suggest specific pages for the types for each state in order to
avoid diluting the key words with another state's information. That
gives you a page which actually contains content containing the key
words under which you want to be found.
It gives you at least two internal pages containing those words
pointing TO that page, too. One for the 'type' of insurance and one
for the state. Done right, it is not seen as spamming, but a natural
way of organizing your site.
There are other design considerations, all rendering the site more
user-friendly (although some of them are aesthetic), which are beyond
the scope of this question. The link to your form, though, is
incredibly long. You might want to use a good HTML editor to render
the pages better, or consult with a designer who can help.
The bottom line is. If you want to be found for those terms, you have
to have actual content that contains those terms in a normal and
reasonable way. You need links TO your site, other than a business
directory link or search engine results links.
So far as your comment about 'spamming' Google, I don't see evidence
of that on your pages. Indeed, I find a lack of the terms.
If you're talking about the number of times you submitted your page,
Google does not penalize you for submitting more than once.
Hope this helps,