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Can not find pages on a key word search

Posted on 2004-08-01
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My website http://www.anytimevacations.com has been up for over 2 years. I have been adding over 100 pages per month since the first of the year. Google seems to be indexing and giving a PR to all my pages within a couple months of being uploaded. The problem is that I have several pages showing up on the first page of google while the majority of the others can not be found within a search. Take for instance this page with a PR3: http://www.anytimevacations.com/nevada/vegas/flamingo_las_vegas.htm I think this is a good page but I can not find it in a search for any of the key words that I would expect to find it under. I have hundreds of pages with the same conditions. Anyone have any ideas?

Bruce
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Question by:bdb530
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by:duz
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Bruce -

The question does not give us enough data and you will need to tell us more.

/nevada/vegas/flamingo_las_vegas.htm You say "I can not find it in a search for any of the key words that I would expect to find it under".  Exactly what search queries are you expecting to find it under?

You say "I have several pages showing up on the first page of google". Please give an example and the search query used?

Thank you.

- duz
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by:bdb530
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A couple examples of the first page results would be Key Words: "southwest luggage regulations", "northwest luggage regulations"

I am using key words "Flamingo Las Vegas"  "Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas" to find http://www.anytimevacations.com/nevada/vegas/flamingo_las_vegas.htm
without any luck.

I have several other pages that can be found within the first 100 results but I would say that less than 2% of my pages can be found when I search for the key words the page was designed for.

Bruce
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by:humeniuk
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According to Google: "Although we index more than 4 billion web pages, we cannot guarantee that we will crawl all the pages on a particular site. However, we are always working to increase the number of pages we crawl and hope to include more pages in our index soon."

Another factor is the your navigation setup.  Google indexes pages by following internal links.  When you take into account that Google may not crawl all your pages, that your site is huge (hundreds of pages), and that the page you use as an example is a few folders deep in your website, it makes that that would be one that doesn't get indexed.  If you take a look, you may find that the pages being listed are closer to/fewer clicks away from your home page.  My guess is that at least you wont find any pages listed that are further away than this one.

This is probably the primary reason for what you are experiencing, but saying that doesn't really solve your problem.  You can probably help your cause, but not necessarily solve it completely by working at optimizing your site for Google and other search engines.

A good place to start is the Google Webmaster Guidelines at http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html

Google (like most search engines) likes nice clean code.  FrontPage is notorious for creating dirty, inefficent code.  The best way of getting a handle on what constitutes clean, is to validate your code against w3.org standards at http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.anytimevacations.com%2F.  For the example page you provided, see http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.anytimevacations.com%2Fnevada%2Fvegas%2Fflamingo_las_vegas.htm.  BEFORE you do this, however, you should add the following code at the top of your page <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">.  This essentially tells the validator what standards to use in evaluating the page.  You will find that your pages contain numerous 'errors' - meaning things that don't conform to the w3.org standards.

One warning, though.  Don't do this unless you want to go through the arduous process of unlearning a lot of stuff you're used to doing and learning a different approach to designing websites.  I'm in the middle of going through this process and I can say from experience that it sucks.


Another cleanup suggestion - remove the redundant meta tags at the top of your pages, such as:

<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0">
<meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="The Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip has one of the most spectacular lush tropical gardens/pool areas live Flamingos.">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="las vegas vacation packages,vegas,nevada,casino,las vegas hotels,all inclusive vacations,travel agency,flamingo las vegas">
<META NAME="revisit-after" content="4 days">
<META NAME="robots" content="ALL">

They don't benefit you and clutter up your code.


Remember that when it comes to keywords (important to your search engine rankings), the best thing you can do is make sure your keywords appear in the text content of your website near the top of your page.  This means the top of your code, which is not always the same thing as the visual top of your page.

Tables are relevant to both this keyword reality and code clutter.  Tables are To save typing time, I'm going to self-plagarize from another thread re. the effects of tables on search engines (http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web/Online_Marketing/Q_21072891.html):

"Remember that you want your keywords to appear within your content near the top of your page.  This means the top of you code, not the top of your page visually.  With tables, things that are at the top of your page visually are not necessarily at the top of your source code.

I don't think tables are necessarily bad when it comes to search engines, but I think CSS is better, though maybe only a little better.  It's better for the user because tables tend to render fairly slowly in browsers.

From a SEO standpoint, CSS us better because it requires less code.  Remember that search engines like a lot of content (ie. viewable text) and a good content-to-code ratio.  So, two pages that look the same done with tables and CSS will have different content-to-code ratios and, theoretically, I suppose that could effect how they are rated.

A related advantage is that you can keep your CSS code off of your HTML pages (ie. include pages/documents where the info can be found).  This will further improve your content-to-code ratio."


Which brings us to CSS (cascading style sheets).  This is something else I am in the process of learning.  Again, lots of work unlearning one way and learning another, but I believe it will pay off in the long run.  Learning some CSS basics is pretty much essential to getting your pages to validate 100% with w3.org.  If you're interested, I think the best place to start are the free CSS tutorials at http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp


As I mentioned, this is all a lot of work and you may not want to take it on given that your site in general is being indexed and is receiving a decent rank. If you do choose to undertake it, here's a tool you can use to help keep you motivated: the Search Engine Keyword Tracker & Keyword Ranking Tool at http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/keywords/.  It's free and you will be able to monitor your pages' rankings as you make changes.   (credit to duz for this link - he mentioned it in another post and it's great)

I hope this helps.
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by:bdb530
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I understand what you are saying about the sloppy code. I have validated a few pages but started looking at the number 1 listing for different key words that is relavent to my site and their code was in worse shape than any of my pages. Therefore, I wasn't that conserned about it. Besides I have first page listing using the same sloppy code.

Bruce
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by:duz
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Bruce -

OK lets take the first of your pages that comes up for |southwest luggage regulations| www.anytimevacations.com/luggage/southwest.htm

Google says there are 8,990 pages for this search.

Inbound links

Two of the keywords are in the url.

The keywords |southwest luggage regulations| appear in:

Title
Description meta
Keywords meta

Keywords found on page:

southwest, 19
luggage, 13
regulations, 9

Now lets look at |Flamingo Las Vegas| for http://www.anytimevacations.com/nevada/vegas/flamingo_las_vegas.htm

Google says there are 421,000 pages for this search.

None of the keywords are in the url (Google does not see an underscore as a word separator)

The keywords |Flamingo Las Vegas| appear in:

Title
Description meta
Keywords meta

Keywords found on page:

Flamingo, 11
Las, 14
Vegas, 14

So based on the evidence so far the answer to your query "I have several pages showing up on the first page of Google while the majority of the others can not be found within a search" is that - where you are showing high in the rankings the number of pages for that search term is low and where you are not in the rankings the number of pages for that search term is higher.

If you have another pair of examples where you think this is not the case we could look at that too.

- duz
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by:bdb530
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Yes, the less competitive the search term is where my pages are ranking well. The concern is that the others don't show up at all.

http://www.anytimevacations.com/hawaii/big-island-activity-guide.htm
shows up on page 27 for the key word search " big island kayaking ". I can deal with that. By trying to optimize the page for key word I can either improve it or make it worse.

However, most of the pages I can not find at all like the one for the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel.
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by:duz
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Bruce -

|big island kayaking| http://www.anytimevacations.com/hawaii/big-island-activity-guide.htm

172,000 pages for this search which again is high in the context of your other search terms that perform well. Also kayaking only appears only once on the page and is not in the Title.

We are arriving at the inevitable conclusion that the pages in your site are not optimized and that the only way to have them appear as highly ranked is to reduce the number of competing pages by choosing less frequently used keyword combinations. Do you agree?

- duz
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by:bdb530
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Is there any way to find where a page actually ranks? Even if it is 171,999 out of 172,000.

Bruce
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by:duz
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Bruce -

No there isn't at that sort of level.  There are a few online tools for smaller numbers like this for example http://www.googlerankings.com which claims to go up to a 1,000. I don't use this tool so I don't know how reliable it is.

-  duz
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by:bdb530
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I've tried this tool and nothing shows up for most of the pages I checked.

I want to make sure that there isn't anything wrong ( in google's eyes) with the pages that I can't find when searching for them by key word. If they are rated at beyond 1000 that's ok. Like you said then I can work on optimizing and selecting some alternate key words.

Does google have any way I can find the rankings? I've read about some type of code, but don't remember what it was about.

Bottom line: If my pages are just under optimized I can work on that, but if there is another problem I need to find that first.

Bruce
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duz earned 250 total points
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Bruce -

>I've tried this tool and nothing shows up for most of the pages I checked.

I checked entering |big island kayaking| and www.anytimevacations.com with the limit set at 1000 and it come back with Position 259 Big Island Kayaking - Hawaii Activities http://www.anytimevacations.com/hawaii/Big-Island/activities/kayaking.htm

>I want to make sure that there isn't anything wrong (in Google's eyes) with the pages that I can't find when searching for them by key word.

There is no right or wrong in Google's eyes (there is as far as things like hidden text etc. but that is not the issue here). Google will either index a page or it wont.  If it can find it and read it then it will be indexed.  If you enter the url of the page into the search and Google shows an entry then it is indexed. For example http://www.anytimevacations.com/nevada/vegas/flamingo_las_vegas.htm is indexed.  

Every page of every site that has been indexed can be found near the top of the rankings simply by choosing the search. For example http://www.anytimevacations.com/nevada/vegas/flamingo_las_vegas.htm is number one for |flamingo vegas vacation packages bugsy virtual index| It's number one because there are only 26 competing pages for this search.

So as I said before the pages in your site are not optimized and that the only way to have them appear as highly ranked is to reduce the number of competing pages by choosing less frequently used keyword combinations.  This means that the site is unoptimized.

>Does Google have any way I can find the rankings? I've read about some type of code, but don't remember what it was about.

You probably read about the Google API (code) which is described here http://www.google.com/apis/ and developers have created tools which require the API and which do various kinds of reporting, for example this one http://www.seocount.com/

>Bottom line: If my pages are just under optimized I can work on that, but if there is another problem I need to find that first

Not being optimized IS the problem, the whole site is unoptimized.  You can only get so far by fiddling with the Title and keyword density which as you have seen for even mildly competitive search terms is not very far.  All the other onpage and offpage factors need to be addressed if you want to progress.

It's a difficult pill to swallow especially when you have put in a lot of work which is why I have tried to lead you to your own conclusions.

The real bottom line is that you are in a very competitive area with poor optimization.

- duz
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by:humeniuk
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Lots of great info from duz - nothing new there :-)  I always learn more from reading his posts.

I feel a little vindicated by "Not being optimized IS the problem, the whole site is unoptimized".  If your pages are indexed, and it appears they are, your only route to improving your rankings is to optimize your site further.  Quoting duz again, "It's a difficult pill to swallow."  I know that well, largely because I'm in the same boat as you, Bruce.  I didn't pay enough attention to key words in my long-winded answer and (again as duz said) that's a good place to start - choose the carefully, use them wisely.

I hope you will revisit my post and consider whether there is any value in my verbiage.  Likewise, since that is essentially the approach that I am taking, I would be interested in hearing from duz what parts of it do or do not have merit.
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by:bdb530
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This is not a hard pill to swallow. The first step to fixing anything is defining what the actual problem is. I still have difficulty believing that most of my pages didn't show up at all especially when I look at most of the sites that do.

I'm still fairly new at SEO and sure I still have a lot to learn. I've been working to optimize many of my pages. I am try to make sure that I use all the key words that google would associate with a theme for the keywords that I am targeting on my pages. Here is an example of one page,  

http://www.anytimevacations.com/mexico/cancun.htm

the target key word phrase is "Cancun Vacation Packages". Everyone please take a look at it and tell me if I'm on the right track. Any and all honest feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks, Bruce
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by:humeniuk
humeniuk earned 250 total points
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Most of the above still applies.  I still think you need to clean up your code and make your keywords more prominent, ie. look at your source code and look how far down the page you have to go to get to your body text.  One very important factor is the unique content that your page provides.  That content should use your keywords frequently, but naturally!, and should be as close to the top of your page (again, the code version, not the visual version) as possible.  Given the table-based structure of your site, this could be tough to accomplish without a different design approach as outlined above.

Similarly, use header tags - <H1></H1> for example - for your titles as they get more weight.

Something else that's important to remember is that you have to treat your target pages almost like a different home page.  What I mean by that is that your actual home page will have different targeted key words than your pages for specific locations, ie. your Cancun Vacation Packages page (btw - you have a bad link on that page - 'Mexico Vacation Specials' in your left navigation bar).  You have a very large site, but a page that introduces something new, something more specific needs to have some focus of its own.

So, when someone searches for 'cancun vacation packages' on Google, you want them to find your Cancun page.  You can't optimize your home page for Cancun AND Acapulco AND Mazatlan AND Puerto Vallarta, etc.  To a certain extent, you need a strategy that gives attention to each important page rather than to the site as a whole.  This is a tall order, but as duz mentioned, one of your issues here is that you are in a very competitive area.  For example, your home page has a PR of 5, one level down your Mexico Vacation Packages has a PR of 4, and another level down your Cancun Vacation Packages has a PR of 3.  However, each level down becomes more specific and thus falls into a less competitive area, so there is more opportunity for improvement in them.  This is an opportunity to (as duz said) "reduce the number of competing pages by choosing less frequently used keyword combinations" and improve your placement.

What you can do is start at the top and work your way down.  Optimize your home page first.  Next, focus on your eight 'Favorite Destinations' - Hawaii, Mexico, Florida, Las Vegas, Tahiti, Europe, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.  Finally, focus on the sub-sections within those 'Favorite Destinations', ie. Cancun.  Treat each of those pages almost like its own website from a promotion/SEO standpoint.

Take the Cancun page, for example.  Meanwhile, when searching 'cancun vacation packages' on Google (to see who you are competing with), the top three sites are:

http://www.cancun-hotels-vacation-packages.com (three of the keywords in the URL, that helps)
PR-5, 40 incoming links

http://cancun-hotels.tripadvisor.com
PR - 6, 1380 incoming links (mostly from the huge tripadvisor.com site)

http://www.deltavacations.com/cancun_vacation_package.aspx
PR - 6, 5 incoming links

Incoming links are very important to PR and SE placement, but according to Google, your Cancun page only shows one (from your Mazatlan page). You can improve your ranking by adding quality incoming links.  Quality links are links from important sites (higher PR) with content that is relevant to your content.  Make sure you qualify your link partners, check out their websites to make sure they aren't using any of the bad practices you want to avoid.  When you find a good Cancun-suitable link partner, have them link to your Cancun page rather than your home page, their link is more valuable to your Cancun page due to their Cancun-relevant content.  Remember, too, that you don't want any more than 100 links on any page, so if you get to that point on your own links page, consider splitting up your links by category, ie. a general links page, plus one for each of your 8 favorite destnations.

Speaking of links, I also checked out the incoming links for your home page.  A couple of them are link farms:

http://www.superlinks.com/link2.cfm/fromrow/71/CatID/93049.htm
http://www.moneymaker6.com/default.asp?part=Linkmarket5

I don't know if you 'exchanged' links with them to get those listings, but if so, you will damage your search engine placement by linking to them.  If you remove your links to them and they stop linking to you, there is no great loss - I doubt you're getting much traffic from them anyway (let alone sales).

Two others are links from chaotic, bloated links pages on sites with completely unrelated subject matter.  If they aren't link farms, they are pretty close to being the same thing.  Again, if you link to them, I strongly suggest you stop for the same reasons as above.  They are:

http://www.best-discount-cigarettes.biz/links/index.php
http://www.cigarettes-cigarettes.biz/links/index.php

There may be more in there, but those are a few that jumped out at me.


I hope this is helpful.
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by:Delacourt
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Your site i.e. domain name : is indexed in google as an authority site, the pages you link two have to all abide by a certain subject.

So if your main subject of quality is vacations, that needs to be relevant throughout all your pages, and through that you will give an authorities vote of confidence to your sub pages for vacation. Only then will searches for things like vacation nevada and so forth, be recognised by your site as the most authoritive.

However, if there is a site with : Nevada Vacation as their "authoritive relevance" then this site will be more relevant than yours for the above searches and therefore list higher !

Just my two cents worth
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