Hi Lisa ~
To answer your question specifically ... you are quite right - the
only site of the three that is listed in Google's directory is
www.teddybearsusa.net (I'll refer to it as the .net site in this
The reason the other two, www.teddybearsusa.info (.info) and
www.teddybearsusa.us (.us) aren't listed is Google specifically warns
against the use of sites with duplicate content in its "Quality
Guidelines - Specific recommendations",
"Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains
with substantially duplicate content."
When Google encounters sites with essentially the same content (as
these three sites), it will list one, based on criteria which is a
part of its well-guarded algorithm, and basically ignore the others.
Although sites with duplicate content may be listed for a time,
eventually, Google's algorithms catch the duplications, and the other
sites are ignored.
If you want your .us domain included in Google's index, you will need
to permanently redirect the other two - the .info and the .net - to
the .us domain. The proper way to do that is to use a 301 redirect.
There are instructions on how to redirect a site using a 301 redirect
on "Taming The Beast", here:
The effect of redirecting your .net and .info sites to your .us site
will eventually drop either of them from search engines, and will give
you the chance to have your .us site indexed. Anyone who types in
either the .info or the .net URL will automatically be redirected to
your .us site.
Since Yahoo is listed as your registrar or tech support for all three
domains, and since your store is located on Yahoo. They should be able
to help you with this relatively simple task.
.net Site With Google
Once you have pointed the other two domains to your .us site, you can
then request that Google delist the .net site.
To do that, you can use Google's Remove Page to change the URL of your
website. That page is here:
You said, "I believe I included the correct meta tags for description
There is nothing wrong with either of those metatags; however, both
metatags are basically ignored by the major search engines, including
Google. The reason is that some unscrupulous webmasters would "stuff"
both the description and the keywords in an effort to gain a better
ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Some directories may use your description for that snippet of
information under your page title, but most search engines will add
their snippet from your page's content, based on the search query.
Therefore, it is important to use those key words (those words and
terms under which you wish to be found) within the content of your
page if you wish to place well in answer to a searcher's query.
Why Your Site Is Only Listed
By the URL With No Description
As mentioned, your .net does show up if you perform a search for the
domain, www.teddybearsusa.net. Here's the listing I got for that
Google can show you the following information for
* Find web pages that are similar to
* Find web pages that link to www.teddybearsusa.net
* Find web pages that contain the term
Clicking on the "Find web pages that link to ..." returns 0 results.
Clicking on the "Find web pages that contain the term ..." returns
just your main site's URL.
The reason for this is bad or missing HTML coding. In this case, the
lack of a closing tag for your header </head>, before body tag and the
contents of your page does hamper some browsers and no doubt has an
effect on the search engine crawlers.
Using Yahoo's Site Builder can produce some strange coding which makes
it difficult for search engines to crawl and index a site. My
suggestion is to clean up the code in order to make it user-friendly
and search engine friendly, which will also help with indexing and
assuring your site shows up in answer to a searcher's query.
If you aren't comfortable with HTML, you might want to consider hiring
a designer to help you with the proper coding and help with some of
the essentials of HTML and good design.
All the traffic TO your site won't help if your site isn't designed in
a user-friendly manner and in such a way as to make it EASY for your
visitor to do what you want him to do. In this case, it's buy a bear,
or book a party, but the design of the site is such that accomplishing
these tasks is difficult for your visitors to do.
Title and Alt Tags
Put Them To Work For You
The one tag that search engines DO notice is the <title> tag. The
<alt> tags for graphic images is just good sense and courtesy for
accessibility reasons, but an excellent additional way to utilize your
For instance, your Party Information page, has a title of party_info.
This is an excellent opportunity to enhance the page with a title like
"Plan A Party with Teddy Bears USA" or some other emphasis on this
page's content, a bear party.
Again, the alt tags just meet the requirements of the ADA by giving
those with graphics turned off or those with alternate types of
browsers to understand what those graphics are.
Google recommends that you "Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are
descriptive and accurate."
and also recommends,
"Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site,
because most search engine spiders see your site much
as Lynx would..."
And to check and see what search engines/crawlers and alternative
browsers are seeing, you might want to run your pages through the Lynx
You'll notice a lot of graphics that are basically meaningless to the
visitors, such as [c.gif], [star1.gif], [bridebear.gif], etc. When
visitors encounter those, without an alt tag (even if it's an empty
alt tags, such as: alt=""), the reader gives or reads those results.
Remember, the purpose is to make your site user-friendly - for all
users. If you make your site user-friendly, it is usually search
engine friendly as well.
Links To Your Site
Although your .net site IS listed in Google, it does not show up in
the first 700 results for such search terms as:
* teddy bears usa
* teddybears usa
* build a bear
or other of the search terms listed in your keyword metatags.
In "Getting Listed", Google 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."
There are no links TO your pages, so you might want to start building
links from relevant sites to your own.
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 including:
Jill Whalen's article, "Link Popularity"
Traffick's "Ten Steps to Building Links to Your Site", Craig Fifield - 5/3/2002
Search Engine Watch's "Google PageRank Lunacy" by Mike Grehan, March, 2004,
and his "Link Equity Explained", available in PDF,
"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.
About Those Search Terms
It's not always easy to figure out what terms a searcher is using when
he conducts a search for your particular product or service.
There are sites which can help you delve into what terms are popular,
however, and then you can be sure to incorporate those terms in your
own site's content.
I highly recommend a day's subscription to Word Tracker do find out
what people are searching for when looking for customized stuffed
The Word Tracker site is here,
The knowledge you gain from spending a day digging down to find out
how they're searching is well worth the fee.
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).
It is incumbent upon you, the webmaster or the website owner, to
ensure your site meets these basics if you want your site listed.
Webmasters who do 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
* Jill Whalen, High Rankings
* Detlev Johnson, Search Engine Guide
* Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch
* 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. A word of warning,
though, there is not necessarily any definitive answer to a particular
question or situation discussed on Webmaster World. More often than
not, there are some educated guesses at certain situations, but it is
an excellent site to pick up a general knowledge of what's relevant
and what's not.
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.
There are several factors which are no doubt keeping your .us site
from being listed in Google's index. Among them are:
* Duplicate content (content on the .info and .net sites)
* Improper coding
While the keyword and description metatags are useful in helping you
keep your focus on what CONTENT should be within your page, for the
most part, both are ignored by the major search engines, although they
may be used by certain smaller directories. Therefore, you should use
them as guidelines about your pages' content and not rely on them to
help in your search engine listings.
Relevant links TO your site are necessary in helping you rank well in
SERPs. While it takes time to develop a rapport and establish links
with relevant sites, it ultimately helps your site be found by
searchers looking for your product or service.
There really is no substitute for RELEVANT content, a user-friendly
site with good HTML, and links to your site to help you be found by
I have not included such items as what visitors expect in the way of
web design and user-friendliness in this answer, as it is beyond the
scope of your question. However, you may wish to consult with a web
designer who can help you with such issues as defining purpose,
compelling visitors to do what you want them to do, establishing
credibility and other issues which are equally as important to turn
visitors into customers.
Search terms ~
- build a bear
- Lynx viewer
Google ranking checked via "GoogleRankings.com",
Besides the specific domain search as listed above, I relied on
reliable resources I use in my daily business as a designer and SEO
I hope this helps,
Google Answers Researcher