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search engine ranking

Posted on 2004-09-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have a client that I recently devloped a web site for.  Some of you may recalll- my last post was in regards to this site losing ranking in the search engines.  Thereafter - that problem was resolved.  since then, the site owner has made a spate of additional changes from adding links to almost a complete overhaul of the site.  Picture loaction changes - text changes- adding subdomains- adding links-removing links- on a near daily basis.
    And again- the site is losing ranking.  His answer- change the title- again.  He thinks the bots need to see a change.  I heard- on some webmaster eduaction sites- that many times- especially on smaller sites with few indexed pages, too many changes can unknowingly HURT your ranking.  The idea being that the bots see too many changes to quick as a possible spam site or simply as too inconsistant and unstable.
My question is-  what is the truth?  I have heard that burying your site under tens of thousands of links is key.  Others have said-- links and other enhancements help- but they are just enhancements and that providing a stable, consistent site of integrity is the key to a consistent ranking.  
As it is- the dust never settles on this site.  The changes come so fast and furious that- eventually- I fear that we will do something that kills the site and we wont be able to figure out which change did it- or that the bots will just tag it as spam and dump it.

Again- my thanks.  I need a solid direction to go in.
Rick

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Question by:rixxagain
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8 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:rixxagain
ID: 12109218
Woops.
Site URL is--  www.azlionhunts.com

Thx
rick
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Expert Comment

by:duz
ID: 12109538
Rick -

>Picture loaction changes - text changes- adding subdomains- adding links-removing links- on a near daily basis.

There is nothing wrong with this provided you know what you are doing but unfortunately your client does not.  I see that he is still uploading unoptimized images and from looking at the site in general I can tell you that your client is rolling dice and basing his changes on ignorance of SEO and total lack of knowledge in this area.

Clients who know nothing about SEO (or even worse think they do) are quite common and I have had hundreds of them over the years without any real problems.  That is because, if we are optimizing an existing site, we explain to them that while they are our clients we have total control of the site.  We give them as many reasons as it takes to persuade them to relinquish control and normally it's just one. That is we cannot have the client sabotaging (by accident) our contracted performance.  

This is where the problem lies and the quicker you get this client to stop messing around with his new toy the better.

>The changes come so fast and furious that- eventually- I fear that we will do something that kills the site and we wont be able to figure out which change did it

Exactly.

- duz
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Author Comment

by:rixxagain
ID: 12119762

You already will get the points Duz- I agree completely. This is not his fault-- it is mine for allowing to get so exacerbated.  My bad-.

I have another question though.  He got ANOTHER  list of suggestions from ANOTHER expert that he talks too.  Everyone he talks to seems to feel that keywords and titllesm etc are ALL there is to seo.  Now he wants robot-tags.  Its my understanding that the bots are not very influenced by bot tags.  Do they work or not?

It is my understanding that these meta-tags and all are good enhancements but do not make your consistent ranking.  From what ive seen- they seem to bump you up on the engines for a short time- then he fades away again.  His site is like a yo-yo.  Like hes trying to trick the bots- and they dont let him very long.

It is- from the people that I talk too- important that you develop good tags and keywords-- a good title and content- and then ya leave it alone.  Its my understanding that the bots are pretty savvy about people trying to look like IBM or Microsoft to them and that they are pretty intuitive.

Im asking you Duz- cuz you are a straight to the point person- I know youll tell me the truth.  There seems to be little concensus about these matters.  Me - I want to limit who I listen to- to a couple people that actually know the score.
Many-many thanks for your help Duz
Rick
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Expert Comment

by:duz
ID: 12120452
Rick -

>Its my understanding that the bots are not very influenced by bot tags.  Do they work or not?

In the early days search engines used meta tags like "Keywords" a lot until they realized that thier results were easy to manipulate by "stuffing" the tags.  For example keyword stuffing like this; <META name="Keywords" content="restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, Tucson, Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, restaurant restaurant, restaurant restaurant, Tucson Arizona, Tucson Arizona, Tucson Arizona, restaurant restaurant restaurant restaurant, Tucson Arizona Tucson Arizona Tucson Arizona"> The search engines are no longer influenced by meta tags that can be abused and all but ignore them. Nowadays this kind of activity is more likely to raise a spam flag.

>It is- from the people that I talk too- important that you develop good tags and keywords-- a good title and content- and then ya leave it alone.

Partially corrrect. There is on-page optimization and off-page optimization.  For on-page optimization, which is what your question is about, the very basics are:

Page Title Element
META description tag
heading tag <h1>
Alt Attribute (as per http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/altAttribute only)
Hyperlinked Text (Normally supplied by a site map with keywords in the link anchors)
Keyword Directory Naming
Keyword File Naming
Visible Copy (Content is king)

I said partially corrrect because "leaving it alone" is not true for Content and this should be added to by creating new pages as often as required. One page a day for competative keywords and more for highly competative and less for non-competative.

>There seems to be little concensus about these matters

That is not quite correct :)  There is more or less a consensus among the experts but for every one of them there are a thousand wanabees (people who think they are experts). The problem for most people (including your client) is that they cannot tell the difference between them.

- duz
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Expert Comment

by:duz
ID: 12120487
Rick -

Sorry re-reading my answer I see you may have asked specifically about the Robots meta rather than metas in general.

All major search engine bots index and follow links by default so the only reason for using a Robots meta is if you do not want to be indexed or do not want the links on the page followed.

- duz
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Author Comment

by:rixxagain
ID: 12122684

Oh No Duz- I was asking about the metas in general.  In fact, just about anything that will get this person a stable listing.  Content is king- seems to match my thoughts.  

What is the difference between on-page and off-page optimization?  I dont know what it is.

   Also- does constantly changing the metas keywords and titles, etc raise the spam flag?  Reason I ask is-- I can see from the log on our server that the bots looked for a robots.txt file last night.  So I know they SHOULD have searched the site.  I dont know if they did though, and there is no change in his standing today.  How long does it take to change in ranking once the bots come through?

Also- if we made a change and there is an error in the html in the content- how long does it take for that error to effect the ranking?   For example- we changed all kinds of things a week ago last friday.  One week later - he was slipping badly.  Is the slipping from an error in all those changes a week earlier?  Or IF the bots scanned last night - how soon will that effect his standing?  I dont know how fast things happen on the internet- in other words.

Time for workie-- More later.
Thanx Duz.  Im not pretending to be an expert, which is kinda necessary to ever become one.  haha.
Enjoy the day.
Rick
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Accepted Solution

by:
duz earned 350 total points
ID: 12125576
Rick -

>What is the difference between on-page and off-page optimization?

On-page is the changes you make to the page itself and off-page is making sure you have lots links to your pages from other relevant websites.  So for example the anchor text on an inbound link is an off-page factor.

>Also- does constantly changing the metas keywords and titles, etc raise the spam flag?

I don't think so but obviously it's not a good thing to do.

>if we made a change and there is an error in the html in the content- how long does it take for that error to effect the ranking?

In general any changes to the code you make can take from a few hours to months to show in the SERPs.  It depends what the changes are and how they impinge on the overall Google algorithm.

>we changed all kinds of things a week ago last friday.  One week later - he was slipping badly.  Is the slipping from an error in all those changes a week earlier?

If you have a stable page (one where no changes have been made for a year) and you make one change on it and monitor the results for long enough you may (just) be able to make a conclusion. If you made two or more changes you could not conclude anything, for example one change may have improved the position in the SERPs but the other may have cancelled it out. Likewise if you make any changes at all to a non-stable page you cannot make any conclusions whatsoever about the results.

When your client makes multiple changes and then tries to draw a conclusion he is living in fantasy land.

>I dont know how fast things happen on the internet

As far as optimization is concerned quite slowly and a lot of patience is required. When we talk to clients with a brand new site in a competitive area we tell them to leave it with us for a minimum of a year.

- duz
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Author Comment

by:rixxagain
ID: 12149423
Sorry so slow to respond Duz.  Work tyin me up.  Thanks so much for all your help.  Im sure ill have more probs and as I do-- ill give ya a holler here at EE.
Many thanks many times.
Rick
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