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After this latest Dec update I have looked at about 5 or 6 key searches and in every case I have to slog down to at least #50 or 60 before the first of the stand-alone operator sites start to show. Everything above that is totally dominated by the global and national directory type sites.
Why do they dominate... because they can play the linking game to an extent that is simply not possible for the small operator. This is not about giving viewers the best choice of sites (many sites are empty shells), its not about content (conspicuous by its absence in many cases)... no, the one common denominator is links. Not voluntary linking because of intrinsic value but engineered linking as an seo technique.
The stand-alone operator does not have access to a carefully crafted and controlled linking programme, they battle huge odds to get a reciprocal with a decent PR, even their entry in ODP will probaly end up on a page with a PR zero... same for their entry in Yahoo. They start to try for anything they can get, increasing the risk of straying into bad neighbourhoods. That is the reality for the small stand-alone operator.
Net result is usually a huge amount of effort for little or minimal link improvement so they remain locked in Google's Bermuda triangle..... and the quality of their site and its worth to the intended audience remains wasted... and that is often a great pity.
Is anyone else seeing this pattern in their pet areas? Is Google becoming the graveyard for small stand-alone operator sites in the competitive areas? Is AdWords the only option for the small operator? I'd have thought Google's commercial wellbeing was better server by enticing those better able to afford AdWords.
Some food for thought to get 2003 underway. Best wishes for a prosperous new year to you all.
I have give up because I am no mangaed to have more inbound links from the area. So just leaving it there now ...
I must be one of the lucky ones, for a site of mine I rank number 1 and 4 for my main keywords in a field where the results throw up 2 million plus results! The site has been online for a year now, but I have spent no money on the site except for the hosting money.
Just my 2 c's
There are a few 'small' operators that show up in the results but in the main it's the big guys with the big directories and big bucks that grab the positions.
Anyway, thank G for Adwords - my site is always no 1 or 2 on the list for my search terms...
If you aim for highly targeted traffic it is far better than being up there on generic terms that will just create curiosity hits anyway.
Personally I most firmly believe that links are NOT the only thing that can get you what you want. Try ignoring the competition and your rankings for a while and concentrate on the mind of your target market... what do you offer that they want... bring it out, highlight it, talk about it.
Example of what I mean: I get so frustrated as a user when I want something like accommodation with a spa and a gourmet meal... and NOBODY has it to offer? give me a break... I know you are out there, tell folks about what you have :)
Most important though is targeting all the 3 word phrases that really bring the qualified traffic. That's where you don't even need high PR, even with a 3 or 4 you can have multiple top3 listings.
Onpage optimisation + content spamming => link spamming ;)
[edited by: heini at 1:41 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2003]
But when it gets to their specialist pages, their incoming PR has normally diminished tremendously, and, as a specialist site, you have an absolute advantage in knowledge of what your viewers are likely to be looking for.
Whereas the directories and affiliates are often working off templates and just changing placenames and accommodation details...
For example, apartment-locator sites will come up first, even for searches of small towns that have no apartments; and national real estate pages will rank high on searches for a town even when they have no listings for that city or town.
Frustrating for the webmaster who actually has useful information about that city or town, and not very useful for the searcher.
I don't know what the answer would be. Despite its constant beratement in these forums, the ODP can help in this respect, in that actual people are not as likely to deeplink the national apartment-locator or real estate site in every locality category in the continent.
Yet, even no-content sites, unlisted in the ODP, often come up high on Google SERPs.
If your small guest house is located in Spring Bay, Michigan ... then target Spring Bay and Michigan, then guest house, cottage, villa or whatever you think people are likely to search for.
My regional site does very well in almost all search engines. Lots of good (original) content and very regionally targeted. Don't throw in the towel ... get to work! ;)
Also, if you have a gray tool bar, go a huntin' for any infringements you may have made in ... ummmmmm error. Duplicate content, orphaned pages, doorway pages, hidden text, hidden links, bad neighbourhood links, cloaking, etc.
(Ooooh ... just hit 1000 posts ;) That's a good start to the new year!)
[edited by: Liane at 3:29 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2003]
joined:Dec 8, 2002
I don't think there's anything left that is not spam....the truth is Google has effectively killed the SEO industry - with the free help of the SEO industry....go figure.
It was always kind of obvious this would happen though, who's surprised?
I've gone PPC for my commercial sites while my free content sites still get hit for free by tons of Google visitors.
Unless more search engines come and save the SEO industry I really don't see any small merchants surviving Google - your future is PPC.
Anyway that's the deserved fate for those who freely helped Google hurt themselves.
A single hotel site (as opposed to a group site) should get PR4 or PR5.
If you cannot get that sort of PR on Google, my advice to a single hotel, would be to construct a new site. In the case of Father-Time say, consider a new site along the lines of"garden-route-information.com" or similar, and construct a real information site on the Garden Route - pages on everything to see and do from gas stations to game parks. Then have a page on "where to stay" where you recommend your own hotel (any maybe a few other really expensive non competitive hotels)
Give it time and Google will give you reasonable PR.
I believe Google provides an opportunity for small sites that otehr SEs just dont. To me the key is focus on your specific market (as others have said), add a page of orginal focused content every day,and non reciprocal links will come your way, if you are non-competitive to the other site. Just make sure you have pages that are not "sales" pages. We just dont bother with asking for reciprocal links, and politely decline such requests. I really beleive reciprocal linking is a waste of time.
But for all sites, big and small, I beleive it is a matter of hard work on focus and original content, plus a lot of patience...
It really comes down to creativity. Offer something that your competitors don't.
[edited by: chiyo at 4:06 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2003]
What I mean is.. that content needs to be on the existing domain.. the site needs to be built.. it doesn't need another domain..
[edited by: excell at 4:06 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2003]
joined:Dec 8, 2002
not a rhetoric question, i'm truly wondering what you liked about it.