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Dear Readers,

Today's LONG issue is the result of areader's question about site submission. Robin Nobles, SEO extraordinaire, provided the answers.

I suspect there are many of you who have questions similar to his, so if you're having trouble staying listed, be sure and read through all the questions and make sure Robin hasn't given a solution to your specific problem.

Notice how complete and complex Clint's question is - that really helps those who are trying to help you. If you submit questions, make sure you fully explain your challenges.

Keep Clicking!

Search Engines Dropped You? Robin Nobles to the Rescue!

I was showing on the very first page in ALL MAJOR SE's for a specific most commonly used search phrase for computer hardware. On some SE's, the very FIRST hit on a page. Mind you, this is even listed before the huge multi-million dollar computer hardware websites! I just have a small privately owned business, so you can understand how important this was to me. To *MAINTAIN* this standing, logic would dictate you resubmit every few weeks or so.

WRONG! That's "old" logic. "New" logic is that if you have top rankings, you do NOT touch your site or resubmit it. Period. You leave your site/pages alone if they're ranking well. Don't mess with success.

"New" logic also says that if your page is listed in the engine, you don't resubmit it, even if the rankings aren't good. Instead, you tweak the page, and you work on building link popularity.

The bottom line is, if the page is in the index already, there is NO reason to resubmit it.

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You didn't mention whether you're using pay inclusion or free add URL. If you're using pay inclusion, which I highly recommend, the spiders automatically crawl your page within a specific time frame. You can make changes and see how those changes have affected your rankings in a few days to a week. But again, if your pages are in the top 10, don't touch them! If your pages slip in the rankings, give it a little time, and then tweak your pages or work on off pages factors. Then, let the spiders find the changes on their next spider run. I would stay away from free add URL whenever possible.

One thing about the free add URL areas -- if you use them, you're putting yourself in same category as the spammers who submit thousands and thousands of spam pages a day. I've seen pages not make it into the index if submitted through free add URL.

It's best to get away from the spammers altogether by using pay inclusion or letting the engines find the pages on their own through their next spider run.

If not, how can one maintain their great standing? What about NEW websites that come along and may rank higher than your site? How do you keep them from doing that? I would think, by resubmitting. ??

NO! Keep in mind that new sites will rarely be able to compete against you. Why? Because off page factors are so important these days. For example, if your pages have been in the index for two years, you've probably built a high link popularity for the pages/site. You have probably built a ton of excellent, FOCUSED content. A brand new site won't have that link popularity, and it will rarely have that content. It won't have link text pointing to it that describes the site using the important keywords. YOU will have a jump on them. :)

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule out there, but the way to higher rankings is NOT resubmitting your pages.

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At any rate, after resubmitting a few weeks ago, I have been DROPPED from some SE's, and on others am now FOUR pages back! I'm totally devastated and beside myself over this. The only main difference in submitting this time, was a 'site map' being submitted instead of my home page.

If you submit a site map with links to your other pages on that site map, the engines will crawl through the links and <hopefully> index them. But again, why resubmit your site map if it's already in the index? Just let the engines find the site map on their next spider run.

Here's a rule I want you to follow: if your pages are already in an engine's index, DON'T resubmit it.

If it's a new page, you have several choices. You can use pay inclusion, or you can add a link to the page from a page that's already in the index. Your last choice would be to use free add URL.

This was done because not all of the links at my site are linked to each page, so 'crawling' from the main URL would NOT work. This was just a blank page except for some 100+ links. It was just a simple page that listed every link at my site. It had no text on it other than the links, but had a title tag, descript tag, & keywords tag. http://orpheuscomputing.com/site_map.html

The engines, for the most part, would NOT like this page. It's simply a page of links. AltaVista, in their "spam guidelines," says that a page that's just a list of links is considered spam. If you want the site map to be successful, put CONTENT on it. Describe each link using link text that describes the page. Put some content at the top of the page or in various other areas of the page. Don't ever just have a list of links.

The other difference was adding this block of tags below:

<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">
<meta name="classification" content="computer hardware">
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
<meta name="revisit-after" content="7 days">
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">
<meta name="googlebot" content="index,follow">

So, it was either the 'site map' page, or one or more of these tags that destroyed things for me. Which could have done it, and why? (7 days has since been changed to 30). Are any of those tags detrimental for SE placement?

I wouldn't use any of them except the comment tag at the very top. I believe in simplicity. Use only the tags that are truly needed from a search engine optimization point of view. Do you think an engine will review your site and spider it if you tell it to come back in 7 days, or 30? Nope.

I would use the title tag, a description META tag, and a keyword META tag. That's it. Of course, depending on special circumstances, you may use other META tags, such as the <noindex> tag if you want to keep spiders out of the page. But as a general rule, only those three tags are needed, and it keeps the <head> section of your page much cleaner and easier for the spider to navigate. Plus, it pushes your important keyword-containing content closer to the top of the page.

The doctype comment tag won't present any problems and can be important from a W3C point of view.

Regarding a line from your newsletter, [quote]: "When I launch a site, I arrange link partnerships well in advance, and we're usually getting crawled by all the major search engines within a week of the links going up, with multiple pages included at their next database update."

I heard 2 days ago on TechTV (formally ZDNET), that 24 hr. a day computer network, that the major SE's PENALIZE you for reciprocal links, and link partnerships.

They don't penalize you for setting up strategic partnerships with other sites and link back and forth with them. If you join a link farm, which was popular a year or so ago, they WILL penalize you. They will penalize you if you participate in a program that "artificially" boosts your link popularity. If you do it on your own, like stated in the quote above, you'll be just fine. And, it's VERY important to form those link partnerships, both from a link popularity and a visibility point of view.

Why did your rankings go down? It could be from a number of reasons, including a change in algorithm, over submission, the page of just links, etc. Don't beat yourself up about it. Instead, fix the site map to make it a more viable page for both the engines AND your users. Site maps are wonderful tools for users! Make it search engine AND user friendly. Don't resubmit your pages if they're already in the index. If they get dropped from the index, give it time to see if they'll get picked up during the engine's next spider run. If they don't, look closely at your pages to make sure you're doing nothing "wrong" and make any needed changes to boost your chances at better rankings. If you're using pay inclusion, your changes will get found by the engines. If you're not using pay inclusion, let the engines find the changes on their own.

Patience is a virtue when working with the search engines. It's so easy to want top results NOW, especially when you had them and lost them. But, take it easy and don't get in too big of a hurry to make changes or resubmit your pages if they fall from the index. Pages fall from the indexes constantly -- and most of the time, they get back in on the next spider run.

GOOD LUCK with your site!


Bless you for a reply to my dilemma.

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