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Q: SE Positioning question - followup for Serenata ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: SE Positioning question - followup for Serenata
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: ionweb-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 02 Apr 2004 17:55 PST
Expires: 02 May 2004 18:55 PDT
Question ID: 324317
Hello again - hope all is well :)

Since we last spoke - we (or I... grins) were patiently waiting for
google to finish up the dance.  Since that time the site has reached #1 and #2 in MSN, Yahoo,
Altavista, for the term fitness trainer houston (there are several
other keywords for which it ranks in the same position - but this
phrase will suffice for our speculation)

BUT.... google still does not give it much importance.  My question is why?
I know you are not a big fan of the other SE's (and I too like the way
google works... most of the time any way). Perhaps a fresh set of eyes
can provide some insight as to what is going on. Is the only factor
Page Rank that is keeping it down in google? (at least G finally gave
it a 1/10 PR) If this the case, it's frustrating because I was able to
get top rating in the other SE's without any fancy submissions... just
patience and effort.

What are your thoughts???
Best regards,
Subject: Re: SE Positioning question - followup for Serenata
Answered By: serenata-ga on 03 Apr 2004 18:06 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again IONWeb ~

Thanks for asking for my input, and please forgive that I didn't see
it until just now.

I can tell you with 99% certainty that since Google has introduced its
localized searches,

   [See: "Closing the Last Mile Gap: Local Search",
", April 2, 2004

         "Will Local Search Live Up to its Hype?"
          By Matt Hicks, eWeek, April 1, 2004
   -,1759,1560195,00.asp ]

You're going to be hard pressed to rank for that search term in Google
unless you actually use those terms and/or words in your copy.

Look at landing page for your site ... the word "Houston" can only be
found four times total, and that's all in metatags, not in the page's

And no matter how you look at it ... your landing page is still an
entry page to the 'real' site, which Google isn't inclined to weight
as heavily as other entry pages which reflect the site's content and
lead from that page to the inner pages.

If I remember correctly, you kept the page because your "main squeeze"
likes the image (the reflecting pool, etc.), and I can appreciate
that. However, in all honesty, the graphic on that splash entry page,
and the content do not reflect what searchers would be looking for
under those search terms, "fitness trainer houston".

The entry then to the "main site" is in small letters at the bottom -
and at the very bottom are the text links to other inside pages.

You are either going to have to get rid of the reflecting pool and (at
the risk of angering one of my favorite Google Answers customers) get
to the purpose of the site, working the design into the "real" pages,
or your are going to have to be less "reflective" and more direct in
the content on your entry page (not the home.php page).

Again, I really hope that didn't upset you ... but your landing page
just doesn't seem related to what your site is about.

While I'm at it, I did want to clear up a misconception about MSN and
Yahoo! I respect both of them. But until recently, Yahoo was a
directory, not really a search engine - that's relatively new. And MSN
is still using other search engines as it develops its own.

I have just found for years now that I can get more relevant material
without wading through a lot of garbage and ads on Google.  That's why
it is still my favorite Search Engine! The fact we're starting to see
search engines improve and a so-called "search engine war" heating up
can only be good for searchers.

Lastly, I had to check to see why Yahoo would list you at number one
for the search term ... and ut-ohhhh!

Remember, search engines return PAGES ... not sites. And look at the
PAGE Yahoo returns for that search term: your LINKS page - and picks
up your Description metatag. That's how Google did it years ago, and
changed the technology because the results for searchers were less
than optimal. How long do you feel searchers will stay with a search
engine that gives them a page of links to other sites?

Yahoo Search Results:

     "TOP 20 WEB RESULTS out of about 73,200. Search took  0.09
seconds.  (What's this?)

   1. Personal fitness trainer houston
      Certified personal fitness trainer Houston TX promoting
      a healthy lifestyle, diet, and exercise for weight loss
      and physical finess, includes articles and self-help
      information - 9k - Cached  


MSN Search Results:

Notice that the number 1 position is your main landing page. The
viewer won't find anything about Houston in that page ... check your
logs for referrers from MSN and how many of those visitors go beyond
your first page.

As a searcher, if I can't find anything there about fitness trainer
and houston, I'm gone.

The second page does get to your home.htm page (which redirects to
home.php). How did it find "home.htm" instead of "home.php", and how
is it redirected? If the page itself redirects to home.php, that may
be why it's not showing up in Google's index for the search term. I
say "may", because Google doesn't like to list redirects, considering
them less than ideal (and sometimes even spam).

Alta Vista is likewise picking up your links.html page first.

Now, let's see what Google HAS indexed for your site.

Try entering " " in the Google
search box (without the quotation marks).

   - ://

And you can see there are 11 entries. If you want the tie in "fitness
trainer" and "houston", you do need to make sure you use the terms
intelligently and close enough together to make the connection for
being found under those terms.

Notice, too, that links.htm ranks higher than your home.php ... I
suspect that you don't want links AWAY from your site to rank higher
than information ABOUT your site. It might be wise to consider how to
write effective copy to boost you up there.

Recent news shows Google's pulling out ahead in the search engine
preferences ... because Google is giving good quality to its users.

After taking a look at the other search engines, I wouldn't consider
your links page to be relevant content for that search term. I bet you
don't either.

I hope this helps answer your question. And thanks again for asking
for my input. I enjoy our exchanges!


Request for Answer Clarification by ionweb-ga on 03 Apr 2004 19:51 PST
Hello Serenata,

No worries about the delay - you have a life too I am sure ;)
Before I rate you with 5 stars (as always) I'll give you a few data points.
First, I completely agree with you on the landing page - Yes it is
pretty but has nothing to do with the topic... **side note = "was"
main squeeze ;)** I generally do not like using effects like that for
a site that is attracting customers (unless it fits the purpose of
what is being peddled of course)

Now, back to the landing site - there is not too much more I can do
with the copywriting to incorporate the search terms I am seeking (I
could play around with the title, description if needed - and may do
that when time allows) If the customer wants it and is content with
the level of calls coming in - I guess my hands are tied - believe me
- I have nade the same suggestion as you have on numerous occassions

OK... stats since first of year (some omitted because of lack of
relevance or insignificant numbers)

Unique Visitors: 1035
Bot visits:
  Zeal   148
  Google  71
  MSN     35
  Inktomi 24
Page stats (entry in parenthesis):
  /       820(706)
  /home    556(46)
  /contact 297(28)
  /links   160(28)
Links from search engines:
  MSN   122
  DMOZ   72
  Yahoo  64
  Google 36

So, needless to say - it is seeing traffic and from the hits on pages
not indexed - it would appear as if users are getting to the other

Anyway... this was sort of a pet project to refresh my memory on
design since back in 1998 when I first started (have had a 5 year
hiatus - goodness things have changed) But I am getting back up to
speed. I think you would be pround if you saw my site (up three weeks
and already have 7 pages indexed in G with a PR1 woohoo! - small leaps
but not bad for virtually no inbound links from high PR sites) I'm
sure you can figure out how to get to it if you care to take a peek
and shoot me an email ;) It's all css... which I can not remember if
you like that layout or not - my memory is fading! But, it is lean and
clean which I like a lot.

Well - look forward to your thoughts as always - like I said - another
set of eyes is always a good thing ;) Hope all is well with you!
Take care,

Clarification of Answer by serenata-ga on 03 Apr 2004 20:48 PST
Well, I'm sorry we're talking "former" when it comes to the main
squeeze department. Isn't it always the case to feel comfortable
enough to mention it and then feel a trifle foolish when it seems a
faux pas? Color me blushing, and if it was uncomfortable, make it

Interesting stats ... but they sort of go with current SERPs rankings, don't they? 

And you'd be hard-pressed to convince me there is a better SE than
Google. Mostly because of the number of *relevant* sites I can find in
my (literally) dozens of searches performed daily.

I use Google for three types of searches, and while I am more familiar
with search engines than many out there, I would suggest the purposes
for which I use it are pretty much what everyone else does, too:

   1. Information ... that is just to find information about
      a particular subject.

   2. Location ... in finding a specific website (say for a
      retailer or manufacturer) - not necessarily someone's
      physical location.

   3. To buy something ... which is pretty straight forward.

Anyway, I'd say that's pretty much the same reason others search the
web and why ranking in Google is important.

Surprisingly, I've had SEO clients I've helped to first page listings
who realize that by the time they get the sites put together to get
there, it's no longer crucial they be there. They get as much traffic
from ranking further in the search results as they do from the first
page results, which I think gives some credence to theories I've seen
propounded by those unitiated with the scramble for higher rankings
that ... the first pages don't always have the best information!

Imagine that! The ordinary searcher, without understanding the 'whys'
has realized that for some reason those at the top aren't always the
most relevant.

Remember to keep the three elements and you should be in good shape
with any search engine:

   1. Relevant content;
   2. Links TO the site (outside links); and
   3. Good HTML.

That's been Google's and the legitimate SEO's tune from the beginning,
and ultimately, despite others' tries at gaming the system, continues
to work.

Oh yes, let's not forget time. It doesn't happen overnight. Hanging in
there and working at it takes an investment in time and smarts.

Thanks for sharing the information, it is interesting indeed. Don't
count on the newer engines trying to catch up to Google to not be
changing and improving their own algorithms as well. And the last
conference on Search Engines, the others still said if you design to
Google's standards it helps across the board.

That should be telling us something.

Ummm, again - if I hit a nerve, forgive me. But at least it shows that
I remembered you? [Going to the second string weaker excuses now ;) ]


Request for Answer Clarification by ionweb-ga on 04 Apr 2004 09:25 PDT
Now, Serenata... no nerves touched on the "former squeeze" (grins)
these things are always for the best so please color yourself back to
normal hues ;)

I agree with your comments - they are consitent with research I have
performed on my own over the past year or so. I share your sentiments
about G and perhaps the relevant searches that it returns is one of
the reasons it is a little more difficult to get listed than in other
SE's. In my own experience with building my own site, the "Big 3"
areas of focus do work - G has been running deep crawls on a regular
basis in the three weeks or so that the site has gone "live" Even
though I have much work to do with the link campaign - but it just
takes time to gain good links - will be more attractive to others once
the PR rises - but what it has done in such a short period of time -
it should do just fine.

Well Serenata - have a wonderful day - perhaps I'll see you around or
perhaps in wmworld ;)
Kindest regards,

Clarification of Answer by serenata-ga on 04 Apr 2004 10:46 PDT
Thank you for the rating and for the tip. That was generous in both cases.

Warm regards,
ionweb-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $15.00
As per usual, informative and detailed answers. For anyone reading
this, Serenta has always provided new information to think about and,
equally important, confirmed some issues I already knew (which in my
mind is imperative when brainstroming and wanting to validate thoughts
or ideas)

Subject: Re: SE Positioning question - followup for Serenata
From: serenata-ga on 10 Apr 2004 16:05 PDT
I was curious and following up ... 

There seems to have been some 'adjustments' since answering this ...
did this affect you unduly?

Subject: Re: SE Positioning question - followup for Serenata
From: ionweb-ga on 10 Apr 2004 17:47 PDT
Hi serenata,

I am unclear as to what you are referring to as 'adjustments'
Are you referring to a recent google update??
Would love to chat further or in depth if applicable.


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