Web Sites

  pj123 17:43 17 Apr 2004

I have built and put up on the internet about 9 websites. All but one of them have been detected by the search engine spiders within two weeks of uploading. No matter what keywords are entered nothing comes up. I have told the owner that it is a pretty mundane site and keywords like "holiday home" and "south yorkshire" etc. are not very good, but what can I do to get this site noticed. All I have done is what the owner told me to do. I have told him to contact the Yorkshire Tourist Board to get it linked but he hasn't done that yet. The site is click here and has been on the internet for about a year at the moment.

  Taran 18:48 17 Apr 2004

Most regional tourist boards apply a charge to list hotels and holiday properties but in many cases this cost is of little consequence to the revenue it can generate. I get a lot of this sort of thing from some of the hotels I've dealt with in the past, and there is simply no way of putting every B&B, hotel, holiday cottage or whatever at the top of any search engine rankings.

Without going off on one here, there are certain realities:

1. Unless it's the only property in its category in the region it will always have significant competition

2. There are now so many hotel/property letting sites that link with or without permission to various properties that you can never hope to compete with the volume of traffic they enjoy which helps but them above you in the search engine game.

3. Making sure that the web address is on all business correspondence [cards, fax headers/covering sheets, letterheads, small ads in magazines or newspapers] is still one of the best ways of getting known.

If I knew of a sure fire way of getting high search rankings on a regular basis I'd be a very, very rich man.

One hotel I've worked for over the last few years has an unusual name, is situated in a small village and has been designed with search engine optimisation in mind and regularly submitted to all the major engines. I was pleased that it ranked second in a Google search, but it was topped and bottomed by a whole load of hotel indexing sites that offer a "places to stay" type of service.

As long as there are thousands of places to stay in the region you are operating in and sites that offer search facilities of them, those sites will always rank higher than yours.


  Taran 08:58 18 Apr 2004

just one note of warning - repeated use of keywords in the page metatags can often lead to only one page being indexed by the search engines, since they sometimes assume that if 10 pages all have the same keyword and description they are, in fact, all copies of the same page.

It's a fine line to tread and it can either help you get ranked or stop you getting ranked at all.

  Taran 10:53 18 Apr 2004

Without going off on one here and writing page after page, yes, it is true that search engines 'read' a site or page content much as you or I might, but it is very wrong to completely discount metatags, robots.txt files, keywords, page descriptions, meaningful page titles, image ALT tags and all the other little tricks that can aid search rankings.

If all we had to do was publish a site in bare HTML without appropriate document DTDs, without checking the site in different browsers, without seeing if the code is valid, without using those methods of pulicising the site or helping search indexing to our advantage, without...

Well, you get the idea.

All I was getting at is that metatags still do have a valid use and although they may not be as important as they once were, misuse, or incorrect use of them can be detrimental.

There is a remarkably fine line between doing everything right and making problems for yourself or your site.

  Forum Editor 11:23 18 Apr 2004

do certainly pay more attention to site content, but that doesn't preclude the necessity for carefully-chosen meta-tags.

This problem of non-listing or low listing is a perennial one, and crops up at every web-design seminar I'm involved with. The problem is that many site owners think about their product or service from their own perspective, and select keywords accordingly. The trick is to try to place yourself in the mind of your potential client or customer - what would they type into a search engine if they were looking for your type of site?

With a bit of practice - and by asking friends and colleagues you'll come up with a list that may be quite different from the one you first thought of.

  pj123 13:40 18 Apr 2004

Yes, I agree that links cost money. The Yorkshire Tourist Board charge about £60 a year (which is peanuts if you get bookings from it) and they also insist on an inspection of the property before adding it to their website. The problem here is to get the owner to go for it. Thanks for all the other information. I have never used metatags though (as far as I know) and all the other sites I have done have been found by the spiders within two weeks. I will keep nagging the owner to contact the Yorkshire Tourist Board, in the meantime I am working on some more keywords and will change the "title/s". Thanks again.

  pj123 15:41 19 Apr 2004

OK I have now made some changes to this website. I have changed the page names and I have reset all the links. But when I click on some of the links I get "The page cannot be displayed". Sometimes the links work and sometimes they don't. What have I done wrong or missed out? To refresh the site is click here This is not as easy as I thought.

  Taran 16:19 19 Apr 2004

Your pages are not there, or if they are, they are not the same file names as are detailed in your hyperlinks.

Have you linked to a filename or a URL ?

It would help you now and in the future to adopt a logical naming system for your page names.

Call your More Information page info.htm or info.html, make your Prices page prices.htm or prices.html, make How To Get There into location.htm or location.html and make Contact Details in contact.htm or contact.html.

Don't use spaces in your page or file names for the web. If you want to use multiple words to name a file, separate them with an underscore, like_this.

If you adopt this kind of naming convention you won't ever get yourself into trouble in the future when trying to decide if page 124 had a product desciption on it or directions on how to get there. On very large sites it can also help to create some subdivided folders to hold portions of a site. If you have a product catalogue for example, you can create a folder in your web root called catalogue and have all of its pages in that folder.

Anyway, I'd imagine that your page names are not reflected in the hyperlinks properly. Triple check that all files are named as you think they are and then make certain that your links point to them.

I notice from your page source code that you are using Microsoft Publisher. This isn't going to help you much. Publisher is a pretty lousy web editor, so if you have something else available to you I'd consider using it.

  pj123 16:40 19 Apr 2004

Thanks Taran. I understand what you are saying. The pages are linked to a filename. This site was first built using MS Publisher but I now have Dreamweaver MX and this is what I am editing it in. I haven't had any problems with the other sites that were also started in MS Publisher but subsequently edited in Dreamweaver. I will check all the links again.

  pj123 17:14 19 Apr 2004

Done what you said Taran and all seems to be OK now. Thanks a lot. Still think it is a very mundane site but that is what the owner wants, and who am I to argue.

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