This is more than just a series of interactive site reviews. This is a set of site reviews from a Dream Team – the Who’s Who of search. Not only will this session be incredibly informative, it will also be extremely entertaining to hear these panelists interact with one another as they review some audience members’ sites.
Moderator: Jake Baillie
Matt Cutts, Software Engineer, Google Inc.
Tim Mayer, Director of Product Management, Yahoo! Search
Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC
Todd Friesen, Director of Search Engine Optimization, Range Online
Danny Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief, SearchEngineWatch.com
This is basically just a tearing part of sites – completely interactive.
First site is: promoportal.co.uk
Guy from site: I am looking for what we can do improve the URL structure of this site. There are lots of things controlling the URLs. We aren’t able to do URL rewriting on .NET.
Greg: Get rid of .Net. Laughter. Why can’t you do any rewriting?
PromoPortal: we tried to but the database doesn’t allow it.
Greg: You can get it to rank – it’s not ideal but its not a death sentence.
PromoPortal: It’s one year old and we aren’t getting traffic.
Greg: That’s bad.
Matt: Your products are available on lots of other sites.
PromoPortal: Most of the suppliers are the same.
Matt: What’s my value add? Why would someone come here? Put some effort into why someone would come here. Rather than 21 different sites but more info on 1 domain.
Todd: Notice Matt is turned away so we can’t see his screen and secret tools. Laughter
Greg: If there are lots of sites all selling the same thing – only 1 is going to rank.
Matt: You shouldn’t say – how can I make my duplicate content not look duplicate.
Todd: You are in a very competitive space and your backlinks aren’t anywhere where they need to be.
Next site – stretcher.com
Stretcher: Its a homegrown site. Been online since ’96, we own all the content. We’re really happy with our Google traffic but have been blacklisted by Yahoo and want to know how we get off this.
Greg: So what did you do?
Stretcher: It could be that we don’t know what we are doing or it could be that we get ripped off frequently. There are only 3 pages indexed by Yahoo!
Greg: In Google you do well b/c of the age of the site and they figured out that you are the owner of the content. Sounds like Yahoo hasn’t figured that.
Tim: I see we have 395 indexed.
Stretcher: We have 5,000 though.
Greg: Have you ever used the DMCA to go after the ones that copied you?
Todd: All the titles are showing up in lowercase on Yahoo! but on the page they are all title-case.
Greg: What you’re serving the bots is different.
Matt: Could be that Yahoo is messing it up (basically). We have thousand of your pages.
Greg: How many links do you think you have on each one of these?
Matt: Take your sitemaps and split them a little more fine-grain b/c your sitemap is huge. Have it a nice useful sitemap.
Stretcher: What can we do for Yahoo though?
Tim: The feedback that you got from the team is that you have too many links?
Stretcher: We never got any feedback.
Tim: We can look at it specifically and see what we can do to get you back in.
Matt: Make sure all your articles have titles.
Danny: Its not a lowercase thing in regular Yahoo but it acts like you’re telling Yahoo not to cache it even though there is nothing on your site telling it to.
Tim: Sometimes when we penalize a site we won’t include the cache. Could be a way to tell if you are penalized.
Next site is ezrarealty.com
Ezra: We are trying to generate leads off the web for high-rise development. I would like to get some feedback on what we can do to improve the SEO. How well does the site do what its supposed to do.
Greg: I would start with tweaking your titles a bit. Add condos or high-rises to your title tags. Flip around your title tags too put the keywords at the beginning.
Tim: One usability point – the nav links on the homepage don’t really pop out. No real calls to actions. The links don’t seem intuitive.
Todd: You’re looking at high-level competition – you need a lot more links – even internally as well. Get condo and stuff onto your links internally as well.
Matt: I am getting a little hung up on your backlinks. You’re running a risk as being viewed as “brochure-ware”. You need some compelling content. Articles about the boom in Las Vegas and the tearing down of the frontier. We don’t really give a lot of credence to “SEO” friendly directories.
Tim: It seems you have a lot of reciprocal links.
Greg: There is so much to do in Vegas and so many quality sites. Start in Wikipedia and see what sites are listed there for vegas and backtrack their links. Real estate market is crap for reciprocal links.
Todd: You have over 2000 outbound links in MSN – that’s that MSN knows about and they don’t know a whole lot about the Internet. laughter
Matt: You need good content. Get rid of your link exchanges.
Greg: With the real estate market – its very obvious when people are stuffing the anchor text. The titles naturally read like they are written.
Next site: bodyabcs.com
bodyabcs.com: I am relatively new at this and I want to be #1 for San Diego chiropractic.
Todd: Start by putting that in your title tag. laughter
Danny: Use it on your homepage as well.
Greg: My guess is that people are also going to search for chiropractor. And no one searches for “My Story“. Each page is an entry point that should be focused on the topic of that page.
Matt: Ditch the cartoon font.
Todd: The majority of your links seem to be link exchanges.
Greg: Anytime you are working in a specific geo location – people always overlook all the links right in their own backyard.
Matt: I understand the temptation. Don’t even bother with the link exchanges. Don’t overlook the power of an article in newspapers or local ezines.
Danny: Local links are important – even though they might not be that relevant ;).
Matt: Check out the Google local business center.
Jake: Also Yahoo! YP as well.
Greg: Check out local bloggers as well and see if you can get links from them.
Tim: Be careful when linking to a chiropractor in Florida b/c there probably isn’t a reason for it.
Greg: Is that a decision you guys should really make?
ABC: Anything I’m penalized for?Â My other site is Infinity Razor.
Matt: You have a real site – full speed ahead.
Greg: Associations – don’t forget about them.
Next site is realestatelicense.com
realestatelicense.com: We are doing okay on Google but having problems on Yahoo!
Greg: The first thing is that Yahoo hates the real estate market but in their defense it is a heavily abused industry. It conducts itself in general the way things were done in ’97. I like the title of your site.
realestatelicense.com: One concern was that our dropdown used JS and we used something to hide it (noscript).
Greg: Its legit but I would say ditch the JS menus all together.
Tim: If you have pages in the index – you’re not penalized. Are you just not ranking?
realestatelicense.com: We have no rankings basically – maybe at 99 or so. And the site has been around since ’98.
Greg: Have you looked at where you stand against your competitor’s backlinks?
Tim: Seems to be very templated and could be viewed as very similar across the network.
realestatelicense.com: That could be a problem when you go across the states.
Tim: I would see if you could generate more unique content across the site.
Matt: Let’s talk frankly. How many sites do you have?
realestatelicense.com: A handful but we did a 301 redirect on those.
Every site Matt asked him – they own. Inclusing teachmespanish.net
Matt: I would take Tim’s advice to heart. You have 58+ different sites and its hard to create unique content for those.
Greg: The days of find and replace are gone. Blogging is good here. Take feeds from your blog and put it on the main page so the content is always changing.
Matt: Also be careful on your cross linking.
Next site is compuplus.com
compuplus.com: This is my brother in law’s site – very low margin site. i am not an SEO or IT so layman’s terms please.
Todd: One of the very basics – all the direct links to the products are images – no text links or even ALT attributes.
Greg: Your URL structure is pretty crazy. You need to come up with a way to clearn up all the junk your URLs create sid=x3c5q9x53ypal76&track=middle. You could run into huge duplicate content issues. You don’t want to feed that session ID to a bot.
Tim: It also looks like someone is trying to keyword stuff these URLs. More compact URLs would serve the engines and your visitors better.
Greg: All your descriptions are supplied by the manufacturer so they aren’t unique and everyone is using the same stuff.
Todd: We have this issue with a huge national chain. Start at the top and rewrite these – start with your best-sellers. If you change 500 you will increase.
Matt: Your backlinks look good. People are choosing to link to you. Your only real issue is on page which is great. Change the URL keyword / drop the session IDs / you have different categories – you want to change it to be based on sub-categories. Are the reviews original?
compuplus: I don’t know.
Matt: Try to get real ones. We have tens of thousands of your pages. Little tweaks should make a big difference.
Next is hifisoundconnection.com hifisoundconnection.com: Our site’s been around for 5 years. It’s driven by a back-end provider and are SKUs are driven dynamically.
Greg: Your URL structure is pretty sound but you’re going to run into the same problems we have been describing today. We have a client that has problems like and they blog about the unique products they sell and link back to where you can actually buy it. People aren’t always going to enter through the front door.
Todd: One of my real pet peeves – I type in hifisoundconnection and I get: hifisoundconnection.com/Shop/Control/fp/SFV/30046
Matt: Xbox used to do the same thing. Try to change it. Your Entrepreneur writeup is really good – highlight that. I agree with Greg put a blog on it. For example – What’s a head unit? How do I install something?
Danny: When I get to some of your internal pages. The only way to get to some pages is through a drop down. Google can’t get to some of your pages.
Matt: One day Googlebot might be able to fill out forms but until that day…
Next site is suddenlyslimmer.com
suddenlyslimmer.com: I am new at this and I just need help.
They go to the view source and her tags are STUFFED.
Greg: Start with your title tag. Highlight voted #1 day spa. All this other stuff – oh boy… I see multiple titles, descriptions.
suddenlyslimmer.com: This is the only page I know how to get to. The site was designed in India and I have had a nightmare of a time finding a programmer.
Greg: Even a really bad programmer could fix that. You just need title/meta/description.
suddenlyslimmer.com: Yeah but I am trying to get to all the pages.
Greg: It doesn’t work that way though.
Todd: Some of you programmers talk to her after.
Greg: Nothing highlights on your pages b/c the entire page is one big image. There’s nothing for the bot to actually index. You need text on the pages.
They scroll through and see how stuffed the pages actually are with lots of text and a ton of links…
Matt: The bottom section where everything is a link is the problem. Make it into a nice sitemap. Think of Googlebot as a dumb 4 year old. If something is an image he can’t read it. Text outside the images.
suddenlyslimmer.com: I have been trying since ’96 to find a good programmer.
Matt: We still want Mom and Pops to rank.
Todd: On the upside you are #3 for Arizona day spa. Laughter
Matt: Those are good results!
Danny: You are in the top 10 across the board.
Greg: So maybe that stuff does work!
Todd: Don’t change your index page for the engines – cloak it back.Next is customautotrim.com
customautotrim.com: I’ve had this site since ’97. I converted it from all static to about 85% dynamic now. Site loads really slow. Its tough to get honest feedback.
Greg: This is a good example of a catalog page: customautotrim.com/billet_grilles.htm – but are you using the same content on all pages?
customautotrim.com: That’s an older section. We weren’t sure what to do with all of our links.
Greg: Your titles are a little long and repetitive.
customautotrim.com: Some of it is dynamic.
Greg: You need to control the part that generates this. It dilutes your word and your clickability. Get more specific and shorter.
Matt: Don’t be too greedy. Don’t lose your focus. I would use 301s for all your domains – a lot seem parked. Put a lot of effort into a small number of sites and not the other way around. The main site itself looks pretty good. Maybe change your “_” to “-”
Danny: Are you doing anything with the shopping search engines? You could be dominating in Froogle.
Todd: Your title tag is very important for ranking but your Meta description is so important for getting people to click through to your site.
Greg: This little chunk of text at the bottom that are hyperlinks are kind of hidden. One might get the idea that these are intended just for bots. If you’re going to do that – make them look like links.
Matt: Your dropdowns and your text links are really good. Make sure you have links back to the main page.