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Old 09-09-2005, 02:03 PM   #1
annc
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Default Why does Google hate me?

For some reason, the Google bots don't seem to like the taste or smell or whatever of my main web site. I've got a robots.txt file, the pages validate, there's plenty of text on the home page. The MSN bots seem to think it's fine, although I don't yet see them in the vBulletin message board I created the other day. They certainly visited the old phpBB board fairly frequently.

But the Google bots just seem to poke their heads in several times a week without grabbing any content, and my message board stuff rarely shows up (even before the move to vBulletin, which I'm hoping will increase my Google exposure dramatically).

Any suggestions as to how I can optimise this site will be gratefully received. It's getting plenty of word-of-mouth promotion locally, and the message board is quite lively. I'd just like to draw from a wider audience.

   
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Old 09-09-2005, 03:03 PM   #2
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Google does not hate you! There are a variety of reasons why a site is not fully listed on Google. The most likely reason for a new site which has not been involved in SE spamming is that it is stuck in the Google sandbox. This happens to new sites about 1-3 months after launch, and the "stay" in the sandbox can be anything from a couple of months to a year or more! The best way for a site to get out of the SB is to have plenty of good, authoritative backlinks which slowly increase in number - a lot of links appearing in a short period of time is usually associated with link spamming.

Some people have suggested that setting up a Google XML sitemap may help to get a site moving, but so far their is no good evidence of this. I could go into the basic rules of SEO, but that would take all night..........

   
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Old 09-09-2005, 03:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvyn
Google does not hate you! There are a variety of reasons why a site is not fully listed on Google. The most likely reason for a new site which has not been involved in SE spamming is that it is stuck in the Google sandbox. This happens to new sites about 1-3 months after launch, and the "stay" in the sandbox can be anything from a couple of months to a year or more! The best way for a site to get out of the SB is to have plenty of good, authoritative backlinks which slowly increase in number - a lot of links appearing in a short period of time is usually associated with link spamming.

Some people have suggested that setting up a Google XML sitemap may help to get a site moving, but so far their is no good evidence of this. I could go into the basic rules of SEO, but that would take all night..........
Sorry, I should have been more specific. The site has been around for over two years. Google used to index it quite well - contents of all the PDFs findable, topics in the phpBB boards findable, but for the past 12 months or so it's been steadily removing my content from its indexes. The bots do visit, but in spite of the invitation from both the robots.txt file and the meta tag, they just wander off again.

The only recent change has been the move to vBulletin, which I did on Tuesday (Australian time).

So Google does hate me. <g>

   
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Old 09-09-2005, 04:25 PM   #4
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Kelvyn,
Quote:
I could go into the basic rules of SEO, but that would take all night..........
I hope you do get around to that sometime soon !

The subject is so mysterious and such a moving target, how does an honest, reasonable, but not expert, web publisher stand a chance ?

I got some decent results with a semantic HTML rebuilt and a few links from eBay auctions, but I'm sure I'm missing the boat in many respects.

I don't want to spend a goodly amount of my life trying to figure out the arcane and shifting rules of the 'Game', but would like to know the jist of the realistic stuff to get along well with the search engines.

And WTH is a 'sandbox' for ? Penalizing regular folks to fight off SE spammers ?

Thanks, Dave
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Old 09-09-2005, 05:32 PM   #5
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How many links do you have to your site from other web sites?

(The change to vBulletin could hardly be the explanation, since the problem seems to have been growing for a year or more.)
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Old 09-09-2005, 06:11 PM   #6
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How many links do you have to your site from other web sites?

(The change to vBulletin could hardly be the explanation, since the problem seems to have been growing for a year or more.)
Most of the similar sites in the country link to me. This place links to me (from within the forums). CIS used to link to me from within the forums, but most of those have gone with the demise of DTP and INETPUB.

   
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Old 09-10-2005, 05:24 AM   #7
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Default Google Hacks

There is a "Google Hacks" book which is useful. There are several web sites devoted to Google search engine work, too. As you say, it can be quite arcane.

Kelvyn is quite right to call it a book length subject.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annc
Most of the similar sites in the country link to me. This place links to me (from within the forums).
Ann

Google has 139 pages from your site in its index and lists 324 backlinks to your site, all except one being from this forum - and the lone one on efanational.com currently gives a 404.

Note that Google only recognises links from sites with a Page Rank (PR) of 4 or more, and in order to be of value to you, they should not all show the same link text. This means that forum signature links which are all the same will have little value.

Yahoo lists 337 backlinks, which include just a few others not from this forum. Checking those 4 sites with backlinks, all have a zero PR.

If search engine ranking is important for you then I would suggest that some basic SEO be applied to the site - and that good backlinks be sought. For example, have you submitted the site to the Open Directory? It may be considered "old hat" to submit there, but it still can provide a good quality link.

I will (as soon as time permits) produce a basic SEO guide.

   
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:31 AM   #9
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Default The Sandbox

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daudio
And WTH is a 'sandbox' for ? Penalizing regular folks to fight off SE spammers ?
Yes, that is what is believed by the majority of the SEM/SEM community. A good review is on this blog.

   
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Old 09-10-2005, 01:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvyn
Ann

Google has 139 pages from your site in its index and lists 324 backlinks to your site, all except one being from this forum - and the lone one on efanational.com currently gives a 404.

Note that Google only recognises links from sites with a Page Rank (PR) of 4 or more, and in order to be of value to you, they should not all show the same link text. This means that forum signature links which are all the same will have little value.

Yahoo lists 337 backlinks, which include just a few others not from this forum. Checking those 4 sites with backlinks, all have a zero PR.

If search engine ranking is important for you then I would suggest that some basic SEO be applied to the site - and that good backlinks be sought. For example, have you submitted the site to the Open Directory? It may be considered "old hat" to submit there, but it still can provide a good quality link.

I will (as soon as time permits) produce a basic SEO guide.
Thanks, Kelvyn. That is all very useful information. I've supplied links in quite a few overseas equestrian sites, but it seems they are all way down the PR lists.

   
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