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something to check on your website


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One professionally done website that I had a quick look at yesterday was really snazzy but completely unfindable on the net. The reason being that it didn't have any keywords listed at all (which seems to have had the effect that even google ignores it).

The quickest way to check this is just to open your website in Explorer, then click on "View", then "Source" which'll open a little text window. What you need to do is to scan your eye down the text and look for two lines starting:

<meta name="keywords"

<meta name="description"

If this applies to you, the next thing to do is to pick a paragraph from your website and use the entire paragraph in a google search. Assuming that you've not pinched someone else's text, this should bring up your website at the head of a short list. If it doesn't, you've got problems.

As always remember that the lovely photos, animations, etc. don't bring the punters. It's the text that gets people to your site.

 

Arnold

 

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"...As always remember that the lovely photos, animations, etc. don't bring the punters. It's the text that gets people to your site."

True Arnold, text gets them to your site BUT once there, I always think it is down to the old proverbial...A picture tells a thousand words!

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For sure Miki. A naff site will certainly put people off. You also need enough good photos to answer questions before they're asked (not too big though as it takes too long to download).

The problem with the site that I saw the other day was that they had a really fantastic looking site that would put the vast majority of us to shame in terms of appearance and functionality of the site. Unfortunately, the absence of the keyword entry meant that, aside from brochures mentioning the site etc., there was no way for people to find it.

It's a good idea also to go to www.yahoo.com and type links:www.yoursitename.com as the search to check who is linking to your site. In the case of the site I'm talking about, there was one link from a paid listing and nothing else vs dozens and dozens of links to sites like yours & mine.

 

Arnold

 

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Indeed. 'Tis almost time for the winter revamp for us too.

I wouldn't worry too much about the keywords per se as a lot of search engines don't use them at all but look at the text on your site instead (notably google). However, it would appear that you still need to have the keyword entry even with google which, as I say, doesn't actually use the keyword entry for indexing purposes.

For a totally over the top list of sites, try doing links:www.arnoldstewart.com . Four pages worth and for a site that has incredibly basic keyword lists and that I never even bothered to promote!

 

Arnold

 

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There are lots of things to check on your website - the first that the HTML has no errors that the search engines cannot get past or that you have designed a site that search engines HATE and that does not just include Flash, animation, large graphics, text as graphics etc etc.

I have a page on my site that gets more hits than any other and I am told is the easiest to find in the search engines - nary a keyword. You can have every meta item known to man but if it is not done correctly and one or two other far more important items are left out it is all a total waste of time. Good coding is the be all and end all - the rest such as pretty pictures and links are window dressing.

There are specific design rules that rather like designing a supermarket floor layout gets you far more sales.

Arnold, you may be horrified to find that Google can only see one or at most two of your pages for indexing purposes - the meta shmeta make no difference.

try here http://gritechnologies.com/tools/spider.go?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ourinns.org%2F

All the above given with help and hope that the advice gets you higher in the search engines.

Long live the Poodle.

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Hi Di

Just run my own website through poodle, fascinating, but what does it all mean? All I seemed to find was my code (which I wrote myself so know what's in it) and the links on my pages. All my links appeared and all my code appeared does that mean it is OK? If it weren't OK would I see some fault/error messages or some non-listed pages?

Sue
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Oh, I know Iceni that there's loads of things to check, it's just that the keyword thing isn't nearly so obvious as a lot of the others. Opening up your own page as a trial is enough to check out most things but not that you can be found.

Well, aside from the lack of a keyword entry, the site that I looked at it had EVERYTHING: flash, animation, large photos, videos. If there was a feature that the authoring package had, then this site seemed to have it. Except for the small matter of the keyword tag which made everything else pointless. It was an absolutely beautiful site though.

Text as graphics is another thing that I've noticed one or two places using. One site I saw a few months ago had the entire thing in graphics, net effect being of course that it was totally invisible to the likes of google.

Arnold, you may be horrified to find that Google can only see one or at most two of your pages for indexing purposes - the meta shmeta make no difference.

Usually that's the case. However, google indexes all of my pages on mascamps.com as every single one gets direct hits from google. I don't know why because, as you say, normally it only indexes lead pages but it is definitely indexing the whole lot of mine in all eight languages too. OK, I'm not getting a whole lot of hits from google on the catalan directions page but I am getting hits straight from google on it.

 

Arnold

 

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Yaks, the danger of getting involved in arguments on other subforums ;-)

Here a few other tips:

1. Go to www.overture.com. From the top right menu, choose the target market you are interested in (e.g. UK). The choose the button Advertiser Center, then Tools, then Keyword Assistent. Other languages are in other language texts obviously, do the UK or US first.

Enter the keywords you think your clients will your site by. Click the button to see how many users on the Overture network searched for that in the previous month. Keep a record of the number of hits per suggestion. Try local places, landmarks, niche markets etc. Build up a small list of what you want to target and keep those in mind for your site.

2. Bring up http://yoursite/robots.txt
This should either bring up a plain 404 error page with no graphics etc, or a plain text file. If it is a web page, even one that says "404 file not found" or a plain text file, you should read http://www.searchengineworld.com/robots/robots_tutorial.htm

Failure to get robots.txt correctly identified could lead to either all pages on your website being unindexed in the search engine, or possibly only the home page

3. Make sure your web page has a proper
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  • 2 weeks later...

Happened to come across how to get google itself to tell you how many pages of your site that google has indexed: go to the main search page of google and type site:yoursite.com ; eg site:www.mascamps.com . Even I was surprised to see "1 - 55 of about 67 from mascamps.com"! Not quite so impressive as site:livingfrance.com "1 - 100 of about 4,520 from livingfrance.com" but pretty good.

I've not actually counted all the pages on my site but that sounds like most/all of them to me.

 

Arnold

 

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That is how many pages Google knows about on your site, not necessarily how many it has gone and grabbed the text, and indexed. The rest are "unindexed" or "partially indexed" pages.

http://www.clickz.com/resources/search_reference/budget_roi/article.php/3072781

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One of the sites I deal with has a page that beats all the others and is very highly rated by the search engines including Google - not a meta in sight. Now it seems that there is a lot more to SEO than meta tags, layout, frames etc.

I could suggest that I would use a carpenter to do my woodwork and a SEO specialist to look after my SEO and rankings (and not someone who has decided to offer advice because they are bored [not this site I might add]).

There are loads of things to check on your website and the most common way to get a low ranking is to repeat your keyword again and again and again.

Lets say you have a gite in Limoges. Just use the word gite and Limoges often enough and you will not be seen for all the sites that don't spam. Bit like every other job, there is a bit more to this than meets the eye - If Buntina was around he would either agree or add some really useful info.

Not being negative but I tried to get the macon to put my windows spaces in for free and got very short shrift, advice is worth what you pay for it.

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Hi

interesting to note that google robots can penetrate data base pages.

I once spotted that the robot spent 14 hrs in a shopping cart on one of my sites. It had an active cart and was busy adding every product item.

The result was "Results 1 - 10 of about 7,020 from " 

Not surprising that LF gets a high score ?

 

Peter

 

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Agree with most of what's been said here - sometimes its useful to think of Search Engines from their point of view....

What would / does make Google better than any other Search Engine ? - without a doubt it has to be the quality of the search results, Google wants to supply you (the surfer) with quality results - that way you are going to be back next time you need info, products or a service - so how can Google identify a quality website above a 'not so good' website?

This has been a recent discussion on other SEO forums - here is a list in no paticular order, bits taken from Googles own patent and other more obvious points that should provide a signal of quality to Google:

  • Company Name, Address, Tel and Fax etc
  • Company Number
  • VAT (TVA) Number
  • Unique Content (Low or no duplicate content)
  • Suitable design for the market
  • Correctly formatted HTML Code and CSS that Validates
  • Fast loading pages
  • Ease of navigation
  • Ability to click back to last site
  • Site not over optimised (keyword repetition)
  • Time spent by visitors to the site
  • Customer / Supplier Testimonials
  • Regular Updates, amendments
  • Disability Access
  • Disability Access Statement
  • Membership(s) and links to trusted Trade Organisations and Bodies
  • Privacy Policy
  • Detailed Help Section
  • FAQs
  • About Us
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Quality on topic links inbound
  • Quality on top links outbound
  • Posted Terms and Conditions
  • Domain name registered for more than 1 year, preferably longer
  • Dedicated IP address
  • Hosted by a "trusted host" not 'free hosting'
  • Low link "churn" (links not changing too fast on a page)
  • Web site regularly growing
  • Backlinks regularly growing
  • Session ID's in URL not required for viewing web site
  • Valid use of Robots.txt file
  • Low number of affiliate links
  • No site-wide external linking

Hope the above provides some food for thought

Mpprh - certainly spiders will follow database driven pages, but much better if there is no idication that the pages are coming from a database - that way every spider will follow every page

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Mike,

Most of these are good ideas, however you are forgetting search engines are algorithmic and make almost no use of human intelligence. For example, how can an algorithm determine "Suitable design for the market" or "Ease of navigation". How can it tell if a help section is detailed?

Also, the distinguishing features between a good page and a better page needs to be ambiguous; is a web site *necessarily* better because it has Terms and Conditions, a VAT number, or a privacy policy, than one with out? Perhaps if the user is looking for a corporate or ecommerce web site (perhaps), but not if they are looking for MP3 downloads or academic research.

Similarly, the "regular updates, amendments" and "Web site regularly growing" might even be negative indicators for a whole class of queries for reference information - where static or infrequently updated reference sites from government departments, technical specifications are required (like HTML and HTTP specs themselves).

For these reasons link-derived become the overwhelming way of choosing sites. And if the things you suggest make sense for YOUR site and encourage incoming links, all well and good but don't add them where it doesn't make sense in the hope that Google, Yahoo or MSN will directly take notice.

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I've read a lot on this and other forums about optimising your site to get it up the ranks on the search engines and I have come to the conclusion that it is time not well spent . It is probably useful to spend a little time refining your keyword and tags and it is certainly worth cultivating third party links but how many visitors to your website actually come from Google? There is no getting away fromt the fact that the VAST majority of your visitors will come from advertising, either traditional press/brochure advertising or web advertising with the odd one coming from third party links. For example, Arnold who runs Mascamps hotel is obviously very knowledgeable about all this business and has a highly optimised website but when I typed in 'Perpignan accommodation' in Google he did not appear in the first 5 pages (I didn't go any further than that). I tried 'Perpignan Hotels' and Carnet Plage' with the same result. When I typed 'Queribus castle' Mascamps.com appeared on page 3. This is in no way to deride Arnold who takes a lot of time to offer very useful advice on this forum but just to point out that even someone who is very knowledgeable about the medium will have great difficulty competing with the plethora of commercial hotel booking and gite booking sites out there whose very existence often relies on their search engine placement and who can often afford to employ specialists for just that purpose.

My advice would be to concentrate on the content of your site rather that all the technical business. If people arrive at your site and it is well designed and professionlly done that will give them confidince in the product and they are more likely to book. It's the difference between a glossy brochure and a A4 sheet of photocopied paper. And when it comes to spending money, spend it on advertising and don't spare the horses, especially in the first few years. If you can put your (quality) product in front of enough people, you WILL sell it...
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Hi Hegs, that list is meant as an overall 'indication of quality' and some things will not apply to sites in different markets, and many of the points are not soley for SE's they help / encourage the user to complete the desired goal

Although search engines are algorithmic it has been shown that Yahoo, for example, also applies 'search quality' checks which involve human intervention - in this case some of these quality indicators may apply

>>how can an algorithm determine "Suitable design for the market" or "Ease of navigation"

Ease of navigation - a spider can easily follow links within the site - it can access the homepage in one 'jump' from any page in the site, links are not JScript links, not using Session ID's

>>How can it tell if a help section is detailed?
Spiders read all content - if its readable, not difficult to scan a help section, determine the scope of the page compared to other 'similar pages' from other sites - is it better or worse, then score based on that

Links are easily scamed and SE's need other ways to determine 'quality' - how would you suggest they do it?

Add to the list please

 

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Indeed Macker. I suspect that the vast majority of time spent on "SEO", whatever that may mean to various people, is time wasted. I once had a little personal site (still online) which managed to get into the top 10 for various searches on Northern Ireland tourism & culture with no promotion whatsoever (it surprised me to see it right up there one day!). I've done next to nothing on the site in several years now yet it's still up there and all because it's got quite a lot of content - quite laughably (in my view) ahead of places like the tourist board who are presumably spending serious money promoting their sites.

My site is a teensy bit misleading as I suspect are a lot of peoples' sites on the forum here. Outside the summer season I do various things to move it up the rankings (which seems to be quite effective) but what's actually happened of late is that the sheer number of listings that I have for our place is moving our own website down the rankings. Not because it's being "demoted" but simply because it has to fight its way through getting on for 100 listings. In practice, you'll find us listed with most of the top ranked websites for searches along those lines.

Which brings me onto another point - is it better to add listings or to concentrate on getting our own website up the rankings? In terms of sheer profitability, it's presumably going to be more worthwhile to get direct bookings but on the other hand what if it takes 100 hours work to get us up from, say, page 3 to page 1? In that 100 hours I could add perhaps 20 or 30 new listings (always assuming that they're either free or commission based; it's clearly not going to be worthwhile adding 20 £100 a year listings!). I have heard of people on the gite forum (or perhaps on laymyhat, I'm not sure) who were dropping listings in favour of concentrating on their own website.

 

Arnold

 

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Ah but Hegs, the point is that it does appear that google is indexing all my pages. I've had direct hits from google on all of them in all of the languages (I think "all" is around the 67 total that the "sites" search came up with, not sure if it's exactly "all" but it's very close to it).

As I was saying, I don't know why it is indexing all the pages (or seeming to) because as everyone rightly says, google normally only indexes a few pages from a site.

I haven't time to look through all the stats history in detail but I get high numbers of hits on the hotel page in english, french and spanish (and a proportionate number in the other languages considering that the pages are considerably shorter and the languages used less), likewise for the regional guide pages and, surprisingly, on the transport pages which I'd thought would only be hit by those who've booked with us. Anyway, if you add up the main languages, that's 9 pages with a fair number of hits and 15 more in the lesser languages. We've also pages for things like the winery and history of the place which is where the 60-odd comes in (ourinns is about 15 of that total at the moment).

So, how come all the pages are indexed? Have I done something accidently to do that? And is there a tool around that will definitely say what pages are indexed (in that none of those mentioned with the possible exception of "sites" on google seems to fit the bill)?

Is it something as simple as having a fully multilingual site? I guess that google france "likes" the French pages, google spain, the Spanish ones, etc. which would imply that I would be indexed on the 8 languages but then why is it indexing each page in a given language too?

 

Arnold

 

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To head off sighs of disbelief, I did a quick scoot through our site looking for phrases in google.

From a fairly random sample, searching for the last paragraph of various of our pages, I found every single one that I'd time to look for across a number of the languages of the site.

Anyway, it appears that google is indexing the whole lot as even minor offshoots such as our new year menu was indexed and it's several clicks into the site. OK, I'm not claiming that I'm getting top billing for all those pages but they certainly are indexed.

How come it's doing that if most people only seem to manage to get a couple of pages indexed?

Incidently, Macker, found out why we're not doing too well on the "Perpignan hotel" search that you did and will be sorting that in a day or two. Stupid ole me changed the title of a page without thinking about it a few weeks ago!

 

Arnold

 

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>> How come it's doing that if most people only seem to manage to get a couple of pages indexed?

Do not where you get that idea from, Googlebot is a ravenous bot and will take as many pages as you can give it, one site i have has 5k plus indexed

Badly designed, or bad navigation will get you only a few pages indexed

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>> I suspect that the vast majority of time spent on "SEO", whatever that may mean to various people, is time wasted.

mmm.... nope don't agree at all there - one of the most effective forms of promotion

>> the sheer number of listings that I have for our place is moving our own website down the rankings. Not because it's being "demoted" but simply because it has to fight its way through getting on for 100 listings.

eh? if its not being demoted then what? - your own website *should* out-rank any *gite* or *accommodation* directory - if not you got your own site wrong IMO

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>> the sheer number of listings that I have for our place is moving our own website down the rankings. Not because it's being "demoted" but simply because it has to fight its way through getting on for 100 listings.

eh? if its not being demoted then what? - your own website *should* out-rank any *gite* or *accommodation* directory - if not you got your own site wrong IMO

Not really. Our own site is listed within those directories and each one has someone dedicated to getting their site up the rankings. So if you search for "hotel maury france" you will find us on the second page but most of the first page are places that list us (there's a maury in America which muddies the waters a bit). That's if you do the search right now; if I do it over the winter months, we are usually at the top of the first page but I don't have the time in the summer to do all the work to keep us consistently at the top.

In practice, what seems to happen as we get into the summer is that it gradually drifts down the rankings but not disasterously so. In the winter, it moves fairly briskly back up again. OK, in an ideal world, we would be at the top all the time but from late June onward there just ain't the time. This actually works out fine as we get the longer bookings direct since they're generally made pre-summer and it's the shorter duration breaks that people book over the summer itself.

 

Arnold

 

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>So, how come all the pages are indexed? Have I done something accidently to do that? And is there a tool around that >will definitely say what pages are indexed (in that none of those mentioned with the possible exception of "sites" on >google seems to fit the bill)?

If you have a relatively small site (<1000) it is likely you will get most if not all pages indexed. The only way to tell that *I* know of is to to a site: search with a word you know exists on every page (but not in the URL). There may be another way (but I doubt it in general as that would give us the ability to see how much of Google's index doesn't really exist).
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