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What I think is going for us:
-382 Text Heavy Articles, some are 10+ pages, some only a page.
-We are selected to be a fresh site. When I search for some of our keywords and our main page comes up it usually has a date on it, either the day I'm searching or a day or two earlier. Google I think spiders our site very often.
-We update with new articles every day or at least every other day.
-50 or so directory pages that link those pages together
-We have 14 forums which are pretty popular (not as popular as webmaster world of course) these get new posts or multiple new posts each day. Plus they are each dedicated to an individual product or product line and most rank in the top 10 or top 5 sites for their product or product category keyword
- We have over 600 incoming links
What I think may be hurting us - mostly the stuff that is a needed evil to make us money:
-We have large size pages, I think our main page is around 50K or a little less. This is because we have to have a lot of long ad code - we have to make money.
-We have a few pops on some pages, no more than 2 or 3 though, but they are unique. Again, have to make money.
-We use PHP, however, recently we've done some changes to make our content more spiderable, in that making sure that all php pages (not including message boards) end with .htm.
What I'm a little mad about is how our competition is doing. Our biggest competition (a huge magazine) requires a password to get into their content, so it's not spiderable they have a PR 7 and 1036 links. Another competitor has only press releases and updates maybe once a week (however has no ads) and has a PR 6 with 488 links. Our other major competitor has good content, however they update maybe monthly and maybe only have 40 articles, with a PR 6 has 306 links. A directory in our field, that ONLY links to articles (including ours) with very little original content has a PR of 7, has 2360 links.
So what are we doing wrong? We CLEARLY have more content than our competitors, maybe 10 times more. We update on a much more regular basis. I think there is something holding back a PR increase. I really feel that we are a content heavy news site for an industry and we deserve the distinction of being PR7 like other quality news and review sites. I know we don't have as many links as our competition with higher PR, but its so hard to get them in our industry because there are so few non retailer sites in our industry. Retailers don't like linking to us because we can convince their customers not to buy a product! So please help... what are we doing wrong?!?!?!?
Hopefully as my niche grows my links will grow.
PR doesn't come from just the number of inbound links you have, but what sort of links those are. Six hundred inbounds from PR1 and PR2 sites won't have much impact. So do some research and obtain links from places with PR7 and above.
You say you're on a campaign to raise your PR. I think you probably mean you want to improve your positioning, not just raise your PR. High PR doesn't necessarily equate to high positioning in the search results.
Do your many pages link back to the main index page? Is the anchor text in all those links related to the keywords for which that index page needs to be found? Same thing with links from outside places. A banner ad might pull more referral traffic, but for me personally I want search engine traffic so I would instead take a text link with the appropriate keyword phrases in the anchor text. THAT will strongly impact on your positioning. And I suspect that's what you really want.
Do your many pages link back to the main index page?
Yes, we have a standard navigation bar. Each page links back to the main page in at least one place, plus each page links to the 1st level catagory pages.
Is the anchor text in all those links related to the keywords for which that index page needs to be found?
Same thing with links from outside places.
Yes our site name (most commonly the link text) includes the name of the product that we cover.
A banner ad might pull more referral traffic, but for me personally I want search engine traffic so I would instead take a text link with the appropriate keyword phrases in the anchor text. THAT will strongly impact on your positioning. And I suspect that's what you really want.
We don't buy banner ads on other sites so most, if not all of our links are text.
Welcome to WebmasterWorld!
What are you doing wrong? Not much. Mostly focusing on PR too much. I did a search, and your site came up #2. That's very good in such a competitive segment.
Lose the domain name in your titles - they dilute the value of the words which follow. Use more-varied terms for your sentence subjects. A little less professional sounding, but still-accurate terminology which covers all possible terms your target audience might use when searching - They may not be pros. We're not supposed to do site reviews here on WebmasterWorld, so that's it for specifics - on to generalities:
The advantage of content is that it provides much more fodder for search engines to match. In that respect, view each word and phrase as a "target" and ask yourself if a consumer would call it that every time. If not, then neither should you. You have a ton of content to tweak, and so can do so without making it sound stilted.
I'm one of a group here that thinks PR is vastly overrated. I believe it does make a difference when all other Web page factors are equal, but otherwise anything above PR4 is good.
PR is assigned in a logarithmic manner based on number and quality incoming links - there are millions of low-PR pages and very, very few PR10 pages. Don't focus on PR alone - Madness lies in wait... :o
Have a look around here in the marketing and copy-writing sections for much more (and likely more useful) info.
Just saw BeachBoy's post. Note this well:
a text link with the appropriate keyword phrases in the anchor text
Your domain name (site name) is absolutely the least-important text on your site, in your links, and in incoming link anchor text. Why? Because if someone already knows your site name, they don't need to search.
Ask for links in the form of "More good infomation on <product you cover> from yourdomain.com" where the link text is <product you cover>, not "yourdomain.com".
When you hear random groups of people on the street mentioning your domain name, then focus on "branding" it. Until then, a product-oriented focus is best.
I'll shut up now.
Get more incoming links or higher-PR incoming links.
Get generic (so they don't quickly become obsolete) product descriptions in incoming-link anchor text. On-site link anchor text is good, but incoming link anchor text is better.
You have one - or possibly a few - domain names. The words in the domain name are run together, and search engines can match only those specific words. I can think of at least a dozen other synonyms, so don't focus on your domain name, focus on incoming link anchor text including all of those synonyms.
Nice content, BTW.
You also might want to read around here about pop-ups (use the site search feature). Just to be forthright, I depise them, and don't stay long on sites which annoy me. But more importantly, the next-generation browsers feature pop-up killers, and 3rd-party soultions are also getting popular. Now is the time to re-examine that business model and plan for the effects of pop-up killers.