About 4 months ago I used several web design forums to try and understand why my website was being ignored not only by Google but nearly all major search engines. This article is a summary of what I have learnt in the 8 months since launching the website.
About the website
Launched in Nov 2004, www.beatsuite.com is a royalty free music library. The website is a hybrid, eCommerce site using both flash and html. The site also features a complex, expandable tree menu. It runs from a my sql database.
After launching the site I found that even after 3/4 months I could not fin it in Google even though I submitted the website to Google, to DMOZ and paid for express inclusion into the Yahoo directory in November. Having read lots of information about search engines, optimisation and other stuff I found I had done everything that most people had recommended. I had 100’s of inward links related to my industry namely royalty free music, flash loops and music for websites. All of my page descriptions, h1 and h2 tags were accurately written using keywords I had analyses for months beforehand. My entire website was created by professional web companies that had experience of designing search engine friendly pages for years. I had no hidden text or gimmicks to fool the SE. This was not some first time college effort. Still my PR was 0.
This was very annoying, expensive and after investing allot of money I was very upset. Why did Google not pick me up? Even when I typed in my company name ‘The Beat Suite’ I still could not find it. I trawled through several major web marketing sites, read and printed 100’s of pages and documents from all the usual big names.
Note - One problem on the web is that you cannot verify information or trust the validity of it
However I was well agreed with my web team and my consultants that the site had no major problems and should be getting indexed and ranked by Google and other engines. We searched for many hours to find out why search engines did not like it. We checked everything, conclusion – nothing wrong.
As it happens on web marketing forums, every Tom, Dick and Harry had a reason why my site was being ignored. Most of them were so wrong,and inaccurate that it was hard to take it serious. People came up with all sorts of issues and some even said I should redesign the website again!....comical - Never listen 100% to what people on forums tell you...why...because they have an agenda I.e. - I am a clever expert look at me, I know what I am talking about, I want paid, I am trying to sound smart etc etc.
So no search engine indexing going on, no rankings for any keywords, cant find my website through company name or long strings of text from some of the pages. Could not find my site on Google at all!
Strange. Why was this happening to me. My product was online, my advertising was in the magazines and money was being spent but my primary market (the web) was completely ignoring my wonderful website full of high quality music tracks, music loops and sounds for multimedia developers. MMMM.
Why I think my website was ignored
(you can argue and fight over this but this is personal opinion, I do not want paid, I am not an expert, its simply my experience.)
My website uses a long and expandable tree menu. Each product page features 8 products. Each product had an extra ‘more information’ page. This meant my website had lots of pages rich in content and keywords. I think that Google and others see sites like this and analyse them over a period of time before assigning any ranking. This means spiders visit again and again and simply log the details of the site but keep them under observation.....WHY?
I think that if you imagine if you launch a new site full of highly optimised pages you could simply jump to the top of the rankings very quickly. There must have to be a review period for large sites. The engines could be cheated very easily. With complicated and rather large website like mine I also think that because they could so easily clog up rankings, that the SE’s actually keep them unranked until a period of time whereby they have been evaluated again and again and are finally removed from this solitary state. After many visits SE spiders must then say ‘ok this site has many pages, lots of content, its been visited #*$! times, its still there, we will now carefully rank some of the pages but not all. The rankings must be restricted by a SE, it must only allow #*$! pages to be ranked.
Reasons people gave for lack of ranking/being ignored by Search engines
I did ponder on the fact that our tree menu used a ton of code, people said this was so long that the spider simply did not get through it all.....incorrect. Spiders are far cleverer that most people assume.
I had the wring doc type code in my code – again believed my many so called experts to be the reason that spiders did not rank me...again wrong.
In the end I used over 10 large web marketing forums to try to understand why our website was being ignored. Nothing posted in them in reply to my post actually made any difference in the end.
People said that audio was not good content, that text pages were far better...wrong. I have few text pages, most pages are database driven shopping pages with audio previews and small descriptions.
What is the status of my website now?
I have a page rank of 5, it jumped from 0 to 5 six months after launch. It rocketed overnight.
I have no.1 positions in several smaller search engines such as Excite, Alta Vista.
I have fairly good rankings now for all of my keywords apart from 1 or two. We will now work towards optimising pages for certain keywords.
If you run a website and find that it takes a while to get rankings and even get onto the SE ladder than you will be right, it does. With small html sites and even flash based you find that they get ranked quicker. Its not all about links but they help.
Larger websites such as eCommerce sites seem to take longer to get ranked simply because the SE has to decide which pages to rank, they may be 1000’s or 10,000’s. Think about it a website with 1,900 rich text pages full of product related keywords, they would simply clog up search engine rankings resulting in the high street companies dominating the internet. A search for large cheap TV would end up in top 50 results for multinationals with huge websites.
It takes time, skill, analysis and care to create and promote a website in a competitive world. The internet is now being fought-over by large and small, experts and students alike. Its a war ground for keyword supremacy and ‘look at the size of my inward links page’.
If people who claim to be experts in website marketing are so good than surely they can put any website or keyword at the top....Rubbish, maybe in 2 or 3 years they could but who could pay then for that long, you would learn yourself in that time. Anyway...Google have lots of money, experience and knowledge. They have the best programmers and minds and search engine (possibly). The search engine is a complicated beast taking in I think hundreds of factors before ranking a page. The process is comprehensive and complicated. They are too clever to be fooled. They change regularly to keep up/ No one knows how it works, its simply common sense and guesswork on top of some out of date information and hints from the search engine.
Design the website to be compliant with the 5/10 major search engines, see Google’s recommendations.
Analysis keywords and slowly and purposefully write good pages, titles, descriptions.
Start a links campaign.
Listen to people in forums but TAKE WITH A PINCH OF SALT. They will read your post and offer advice without knowing the specifics of your website and will most probably not read all of your code or spend enough time understanding the issues. They will simply fire off an educated reason that may sound technical or expert. People love to think they are superior in subject.
Talk face to face with other website owners.
Read documents but do not be too reactive to every little comment that you read. Many documents are out of date or as mentioned earlier written by people with an agenda I.e – get paid as a web marketing guru or consultant.
Be careful of the internet, its like Chinese whispers gone mad!
Hope this helps someone. I spend months scratching my head and pulling out hair wondering about this. Be patient, stick to your guns and it will come...eventually. Web marketing is a lengthy process that requires patience, money, skill, experience and advice. If it were easy then everyone would be top.
Steve Bainbridge, MD
<edit> live links removed. Please see [url=http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?act=boardrules]Forum Rules[/url].</edit>
Edited by chrishirst, 01 July 2005 - 07:14 AM.