New to the web, paid a company back in March to register my new website with all the search engines. As I am now reading your book (Growing your Biz with Google) in August, I see that my website has a 0 page rank! does this mean that I am not even registered with “Google”? Did I get ripped off?
If you could check and see if I am even in existence with Google and Yahoo, that would be great. If not, please tell me how I can fix this problem as fast as possible, as I am currently working on a “review website” with Microsoft Front Page 2003, that I plan on using to load up with links back to my main website, and I would assume I am spinning my wheels if I am not even registered? If you can let me know if this tactic (creating a review website of various other home business opportunities) will work, I would be most appreciative! I have had my site up since March and it just sits stagnant!
Do you think this will breath some immediate life into the site? (ie: traffic?) Thanks in advance, Dave. Love the book so far! Also, when you agree to add other links to your website, where do you put them? Should I create an entire page just for links? And where is the best place to get into reciprocol linking when your site is relatively new? Does reciprocol linking work as well as building a review site? (ie: one way linking?) and lastly, how do you suggest registering a new website in the future so that I don’t have this problem again?
First off, let’s start out with a definition. The sandbox is where Google puts new Web sites for anywhere from one month to three months or longer; their intent is to avoid having new sites pop up out of nowhere to be top o’ the page results for a specific search. It’s one way that Google maximizes the quality of its SERP (which you’ll recall are search engine result pages).
For people building a new site, however, this is a real drag. Buy a domain name, build a nice site, get a bunch of inbound links from other sites, and you could still be “stuck in the sandbox” for months, waiting to show up in the search results.
One way that I’ve found for dealing with this is to put up something, anything, related to your new domain name as soon as possible, even if it will be completely replaced by your real site once it’s built. It leads to some interesting PageRank situations, of course, where your home page is ranked (for previous content, but that’s okay) while secondary pages aren’t ranked at all, even though they’re just one click away. If you have the Google toolbar installed, check out the weird way that PageRank works at my findability.info site currently: it’s exactly that situation as I write this.
But don’t panic! Not having PageRank doesn’t mean that you don’t show up in search engine results! In fact, they’re pretty much independent of each other and pages with zero PageRank frequently show up in searches, while pages with high PageRank are sometimes impossible to find in a search engine.
To see if Google knows about your site at all, you need to use the special search pattern of site: followed by the domain name. To see about findability.info, for example, I’d use site:findability.info. Then look on the top right to see how many pages are indexed:
You can see that Google now knows about 34 pages on the site, which is good since they’re only about four days old. That’s really the value of PageRank: it increases your priority with Googlebot, their spider, which means that your new content is found faster when it changes. One important factor: how often do the other pages on your site change?
(I talk about this at length in the Google book).
In terms of your site, Concepts From Home.com, when I do the same site: search I find that Google only knows about two pages and reports them as having similar content. The one page it actually shows is your faq.html page (not even your site’s home page). Looking on your site, it appears you have about ten unique pages or so, however, and if they’ve been up since March, that’s rather inexplicable, making me wonder if there’s some bad SEO stuff that’s triggering something inside Google.
Nothing jumps out, though – perhaps you have too many keywords in your meta keywords field, but most people believe Google ignores that anyway, you have two “head” tags, but that’s not a grievous error, – so we’re left with a common puzzle: what doesn’t Google like about this site?
But rather than answer it specifically, let me say that I believe that the important question here is one of business strategy. Your site is focused on home business opportunities, but that’s a staggeringly busy category. Do a search for that on Google, for example, and you’ll find 134 million matches. With a category that busy, you’ll basically never make it out of the mire, even once Google knows all your pages. Instead, i would suggest that you need to pick a specific subcategory and really take to heart what I talk about in the book: put the time in to become a credible expert on the topic, share your expertise with the community, and then leverage that to grow your online business.
So my counsel would be not to build a reviews site with a tool like Microsoft Front Page, but rather to ask what you could contribute to the home business community, then consider a site that encourages you to make frequent contributions. I’d think about a weblog that critically evaluates home business opportunities for military spouses, for example, just to pick one area where you could perhaps focus a bit more and gain traction in the marketplace. Then apply for other opportunities and review them. Write about your own too, fairly and honestly, and then work on putting in the time – not hiring an SEO “expert” – to gain visibility in your marketplace.
A few final answers too: never put reciprocal links on your home page – I prefer adding a new page to a site that’s “links” or “sites I like” or similar. In terms of reciprocal linking, a good strategy is to search Google, MSN, Yahoo, AOL, etc., for specific searches that are those that your customers would be doing, then ask the sites that are matched to swap links with you. Put their link on your site first as a show of good faith and given them 7-14 days to respond to your email request. Don’t be surprised if less than 10% say yes, though.
You had a lot of great questions as you’re trying to get a handle on doing business online, and I hope I’ve answered them all. my key advice to you is the same I offer everyone who wants to do business online: join the community and become a contributor and subject matter expert. Time is your ally, so make a long term commitment and don’t look for results in 30 days, but think strategic and you’ll enjoy ever-increasing success online.