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    Hi

    Thank you very much for the very detailed feedback.

    The main site (excluding the forum) is about 22 pages. The top menu level already has 8 options. I could not think of a better organization without increazing the top level options. Therefore I made the MISC.

    You are right, I might rename the "students" to "testimonials". I just thought it was a good match next to the "teachers" menu.

    I used to have a COURSES page. However it seemed to me a small summary of the other detail courses page, duplicating info. So I removed it.

    >>>>
    1. Is it targeting the most relevant search words?
    OK, "learn" and "Greek" are very important but where to from there? Which better describes the services on offer to potentail clients?

    Courses
    Lessons
    Tuition
    Tutors

    Maybe you want to target several of them.
    <<<<<
    Not sure what you mean. Yes, all of these are valid keywords.

    I do not have the resources for the localization you propose. We are fluent in Greek and English. I know that we may lack in the German market. I really do not know how the Germans are searching for a Greek tutor, but unless they do it in English, I cannot target them.

    Actually I thought that Greek speaking parents abroad may search in GREEK language. So I could have my pages in Greek. My mistake for not researching this.

    >>>>
    You need to consider this issue in conjunction with the course-type search words.
    <<<<<
    I am sorry, what do you mean?

    >>>>>
    I'm in Sydney, Aust. If I search for "greek lessons" or "greek tutors", G is preferentially listing Aust. businesses in the top 10.
    <<<<<
    I told you, I do not have the resources to localize and have different languages.
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    Hi Bobptz,
    It seems your client's site has major SEO problems. I can't even find their site with a domain name search on G.com.

    My first SEO action would be to ensure that G recognises my client as a legitimate business and which country search market it is targeting.

    Your client does not appear to do this.

    Your first SEO task should be to ensure your client ranks top of a domain name search in the Google country property being targeted. It doesn't.

    The more I explore this site, the more SE referral problems I find.

    This should be an SEO exercise with a low level of search competition for its services. It seems we may have a horror website history that confounds G and its referrals.

    It seems to me the site needs to go back to basics planning of its target customers and the content they need in the sequence they need it.

    My impression is that you need some informed SEO advice.
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    Hi John

    Thank you very much for the suggestions.

    >>>>>
    I can't even find their site with a domain name search on G.com.
    <<<<<
    Here is a graph for the domain name keywords for USA only. Generally, there was a sudden drop end of August. Things start to look better in 2018.


    >>>>>
    ensure that G recognises my client as a legitimate business
    <<<<<
    This is debatable. Like ensure the WHOIS info matches the CONTACT info. Some say it is very important, some say it is irrelevant.

    >>>>>
    and which country search market it is targeting.
    <<<<<
    You said this before and the answer iss this: Primary target is all high-income countries, secondary target is everybody. The resources of the company are limited, the language is Greek and English.

    If you have examined the backlinks, you will see a backlink from an American university to the forum of the site. Everybody says content and backlinks is king in SEO.

    >>>>>
    It seems to me the site needs to go back to basics planning of its target customers and the content they need in the sequence they need it.
    <<<<<
    IMO this is good advice for a blog. This is not a blog. They do not write articles after keyword research. There is a forum where people ask questions. So based on this, what can this business do? Yes, they could add a blog. Instead they prefer to write guest posts and gain backlinks from it.

    >>>>
    My impression is that you need some informed SEO advice.
    <<<<
    I have already taken much feedback and corrected many tragic mistakes (such as duplicate content), from the beginimg of Dec 2017. I dissavowed 205 domains. One domain that made backlink end of August could be the problem for this mess. The seem to be positive results after this. However if you have other specific suggestions, I am very happy to consider them.
    Last edited by bobptz; Feb 22nd, 2018 at 04:20 AM.
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    Hi Bobptz,
    It seems you've had some poor/out of date SEO advice over the years.

    SEO starts with content on web pages - not links. The purpose of links is to support content. G won't even count links to your site if the content of the linked pages does not support your web page's content. If your site pages have no useful info, you are wasting your time trying to build links to it.

    Lack of relevant content is your primary problem. Eg: Content of your...

    "Business Greek Course" page = 165 words in English
    "Courses for Tourists" page = 159 words in English

    A bunch of their content is random Greek translations of English phrases. They contain hardly any search query relevant info.


    Quote: "Here is a graph for the domain name keywords for USA only. Generally, there was a sudden drop end of August."

    Forget the Search Query report. G hides 90+% of the relevant search query information these days. If you are doing SEO well, 60% of the generic SE referrals should be derived from the hundreds of search queries that refer ten searchers per month or less. Your Home page and every one of your course pages should be important search query landing pages. Check your Analytics Behaviour -> Landing pages reports for generic search referrals.

    Quote: "This is debatable. Like ensure the WHOIS info matches the CONTACT info. Some say it is very important, some say it is irrelevant."

    This is easy to test. Run a bunch of search queries like:

    • Greek lessons
    • Greek courses
    • Greek tutors

    If you look at the top 10 results, I would expect you to see many of the top 10 results are located in the same country/city as you. I.e. G. is showing you that it is skewing results to the location of the searcher.

    There are many signals that G can use to assess your website's "location" but the most important one is claiming your "My Business" account. G sends out mail to your business address so you can confirm back that you and your address are real. You can also configure which country you are targeting in your Analytics Console. Addresses on WHOIS are secondary in importance.

    If you encounter anyone who thinks location is not important in the day of the mobile phone search, run away! IMHO, such folk are ill-informed, out-of-date and ignorant of current SEO issues. Invite them to come here and debate their opinions with us.

    Quote: "Primary target is all high-income countries, secondary target is everybody"

    YOU CAN'T SUCCESSFULLY TARGET EVERY COUNTRY!!!! Google won't let you target "all high income countries". It seems you only get one location choice these days in this search market.

    If you try to target all, you will be successful in NONE!

    SEO is a point scoring exercise. If you want to target USA searchers, on a per capita basis you will need to score around five-times the ranking points for the same search query as UK searchers. USA searchers will not have a clue about your prices in Euros. So, with limited budgets, it seems to me you may as well focus on UK searchers. Can three people handle the Greek lesson needs of a 66 million population country?

    Quote: "If you have examined the backlinks, you will see a backlink from an American university to the forum of the site. Everybody says content and backlinks is king in SEO."

    G does NOT use all external links in its ranking of specific web pages for specific search queries.

    The Uni page link you ref. is likely totally useless. To G. there is nothing special about a link from a Uni page. The Uni site will be huge and its content relate to an almost infinite area of information. The importance of any page about Greek tuition that links to your forum page will be worth 3/5 of 5/8 of 7/16 of 9/32 of 11/64 of writing another 100 words of search query relevant info on one of your search landing pages.

    There is no guarantee that G includes this link in its ranking of your site for a specific phrase. A link to one of your forum pages seems to be useless as these contain no info and do not links back to any of your important search landing pages.

    I strongly recommend you do a lot of search query experimentation. Look at the pages that rank top 10 and see if they offer similar services as you offer. If they don't, you should expect the potential clients you want to target to modify their searches and try again. Forget frequently used keyword reports, choose your keywords based on delivering relevant pages.

    Eg. Search for: Greek lessons for children

    Most top 10 result are about pages of DVDs, games, flash cards, etc. Yes, you rank in this top 10 list but I doubt many searchers will be inspired to convert their landing on your page into an order. You need to think about why.
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Feb 28th, 2018 at 03:30 AM.
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    Originally Posted by JohnAimit
    Hi Bobptz,
    It seems you've had some poor/out of date SEO advice over the years. G won't even count links to your site if the content of the linked pages does not support your web page's content.
    So, a link from CNN, WhiteHouse.gov and Harvard.edu to my knife manufacturing business would not be counted unless the content on the pages was relevant to knife manufacturing?
    Last edited by KernelPanic; Feb 28th, 2018 at 07:18 AM.
  10. #21
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    KP Quote: "So, a link from CNN, WhiteHouse.gov and Harvard.edu to my knife manufacturing business would not be counted unless the content on the pages was relevant to knife manufacturing?"


    Assessing external links is very problematic and fraught with unknowns these days. For a start, external links need to be "follow" links, then we need to address all these issues...

    1. What external links does G use in a search ranking query?

    G says we can't even guess which links are counted.

    Sep 2017: Google: We Ignore Tons Of Links But Which Links Is Almost Impossible To Figure Out

    "Gary Illyes from Google was asked about why he didn't mention links in his desktop to mobile comparison tool post. He said that is because it is "close to impossible for you to check which links are actually deemed critical." So why bother trying to figure out which links are important and which links are not if there is no way for you to do so?"

    "Gary then added that Google "ignores tons of links" and that even if you collect data from Google Search Console and third-party tools 'that you won't know which ones are absolutely critical.'"

    2. What use and value is the link text?

    There are some hints and clues that G may use the link text words in its link selecting process and ranking point score.

    I've never seen any detail or confirmation from G on this issue. It may be too close to its ranking "secret sauce".

    3. Where does the link land on learn-greek-online.com?

    If it lands on the forum Home page, its link ranking value back to the Home page is less than 1/66th of its incoming link value. If you were assessing that link's value to the Business Courses page it would be worth less than 1/1,320th of the incoming ranking value.

    4. What is a link from CNN or Harvard worth?

    The first problematic ranking factor is that links from these sites will be constantly decaying in ranking value.

    CNN publishes around 200-300 new pages per day. It seems to use a part chronological URL naming convention that will decay a page's external link values as it becomes buried deeper in the bowels of the site.

    G has indexed 3.25 million pages on CNN.com. Unlike Learn-greek-online, it is way too complex to even attempt any accurate assessment of a single link from it. What we can say is that there is no obvious CNN content organisation that appears relevant to Learn-greek-online. Just knowing this, the large growth in new pages and the size of the site, we can predict that a single link is likely to be worth 3/5ths of 5/8ths of 7/16ths of an extremely small number that is decreasing in ranking value every single day.

    Harvard.edu = 9.5 million G indexed pages. One link from a page on this site is likely worth even less than a CNN page link - if it is even counted by G in the search query ranking points.

    If we put all these external link ranking factors together it seems to me that the answer to the question about the value of a link from CNN or Harvard is probably very little, if anything at all.

    If folk think links from sites like CNN and Harvard are important because they have huge DA or "trust" values, they should throw away whatever SEO tool they are using to predict these external link values.

    To the non-believers...

    Folk, can I suggest you need to go back to basics to learn how G passes PageRank between web pages?


    KP, Have you looked at Bob's website? Would you agree that his single biggest SEO problem is its lack of relevant content on his "money pages"?
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Mar 1st, 2018 at 02:39 AM.
  12. #22
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    >>>>>>>>>>
    Would you agree that his single biggest SEO problem is its lack of relevant content on his "money pages"?
    <<<<<<<<<<
    By reading what you say, I should ignore backlinking and I should add 200 words of relevant text on my home page (this is the most important money page). Have I understood you correctly?

    My home page has 400 words. The highest ranking competitor (ranks #1 - #5 for most important keywords) has 450 words in the home page. I don't get it. Is it the exta 50 words?
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    I originally thought 'learn greek online' was the big money KW in your industry.





    Turns out it's not, well it is... but there are loads of other terms which are without doubt worth ranking for. When you aren't targetting tutor and other keywords it's a wasted opportunity, obviously, don't keyword stuff... but you could easily rank for more of the above and put it into text naturally as a lot of them perfectly describe your business and matches the users needs
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    >>>>>
    put it into text naturally as a lot of them perfectly describe your business and matches the users needs
    <<<<<
    I am already doing this.
  18. #25
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    Your title:
    Code:
    <title>Learn Greek Online</title>
    Your H1:
    Code:
    <h1>Learn Greek Online</h1>
    Not the best for CTR. I know it does what it says on the tin, but... why would a user click "learn Greek online" over "learn Greek online for free" or something more juicy. I think you need to compensate for some sort of selling point. Make it so the user really wants to click. It also seems like you're trying to force for that phrase to be ranked with both h1 and title being like that IMO
    Last edited by matt1966; Mar 1st, 2018 at 05:53 AM.
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    Originally Posted by JohnAimit
    KP Quote: "So, a link from CNN, WhiteHouse.gov and Harvard.edu to my knife manufacturing business would not be counted unless the content on the pages was relevant to knife manufacturing?"



    [B]4. What is a link from CNN or Harvard worth?

    If we put all these external link ranking factors together it seems to me that the answer to the question about the value of a link from CNN or Harvard is probably very little, if anything at all.

    Well this is a great post John, thanks. But I am unable to believe that a CNN link from a post about knives would be of no value to a website about knives.

    Comments on this post

    • KernelPanic agrees
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    Quote: "By reading what you say, I should ignore backlinking and I should add 200 words of relevant text on my home page (this is the most important money page). Have I understood you correctly?

    My home page has 400 words. The highest ranking competitor (ranks #1 - #5 for most important keywords) has 450 words in the home page. I don't get it. Is it the exta 50 words?"


    Hi Bobptz,
    I'm saying that you are wasting your time on external links until you improve your site's structure and content.

    When you talk about adding (number) of words to your Home page as it is your most important money page, it seems I've not explained myself clearly. Implementing effective SEO should mean you are creating many more "money pages" than your Home page. Your major money pages should include:

    Home page
    Individual service type pages
    Individual type of client pages

    With the variety of search types and words I can see in G's predictive search suggestions, I believe that if your Home page was more than 33% of your generic search arrivals, it would indicate to me you have a major SEO problem.

    Your first problem is that your site navigation is screwed.

    START HERE! You confuse your services with who they are for and your incentives to buy.

    Your courses (from learn-greek-online.com/certificate-attainment.html) seems to be:

    • Basic User
    • Independent User
    • Proficient User

    On other pages you offer:

    Small group lessons
    Lessons for children

    Why aren't these listed as "Courses"? One problem is that you don't have a "Courses" page that tells visitors about all your Course options.

    You need to sort out this confusing info.

    Under your Courses menu item you confuse us with it also mixing up who the courses are for AND your incentive to buy AND your online order form.

    If a searcher landed on any of these pages, they would have no idea where they were on your site and no indication of whether they have already viewed a specific page.

    These are just some of the most basic problems you need to address in your SEO journey before any link building is going to be the slightest bit of use.

    I strongly recommend you spend some time researching and learning about...

    1. Information architecture

    Your site makes many of these errors...

    Top 10 Information Architecture (IA) Mistakes

    "Structure and navigation must support each other and integrate with search and across subsites. Complexity, inconsistency, hidden options, and clumsy UI mechanics prevent users from finding what they need."

    Nielsen is regarded as the "father" of web usability. Some other articles from his people that should be of relevance to your problems follow:

    Is Navigation Useful?

    "For almost seven years, my studies have shown the same user behavior: users look straight at the content and ignore the navigation areas when they scan a new page."

    "Structure has been under-valued on the Web for four reasons:
    Most sites have miserable information architectures
    Users are so impatient on the Web that they don't take time to learn about any individual website and its structure ó instead, they proceed to the next site."

    Navigation: You Are Here

    "Each page on a website could be the first page your website visitors see, so itís important to convey enough context so that people can proceed immediately toward their goals."

    "Visitors Donít Always Use the Front Door

    In a world where search engines can drop your website visitors anywhere, it's important to signal where users are in the information space, so they can navigate from there successfully. Even when visitors arrive via the homepage, they may need orientation as they traverse the site."

    I know many of these articles are old in web terms but they are not about search engines or technology, they are about how the eyes and brain interact to find and assess info from web pages and what visitors do when they don't see it. Those issues change extremely slowly, if at all.

    2. Reconsider your potential client's info needs

    Please throw away any frequently used keyword tool! They are the death of SEO.

    Real potential clients don't make one search for a service like yours, they will make multiple searches for a variety of search queries over a period of time as they progress through their purchasing process and different types of clients will use different search queries.

    What I can tell you about a search query like "learn greek online" is that 99% are not and never will be potential clients for a wide range of reasons. You could rank #1 and still find maybe only 6% click through to the site and then 99% of those would unlikely to become clients. It is likely that around 3-4 times as many searchers will modify their search query rather than click through to any page #1 search result.

    Frequently used keywords are where people start their info searches. You want a relevant page from your site to be high on page #1 when people are at the end of their purchase process.

    The info search sequence will likely follow these types of searches:

    • Problem/solution searches
    • Type of service searches
    • Type of business searches
    • Location services
    • Type of user searches
    • Inclusion of "buying words" in search queries - reviews, testimonials, best, price, order, etc.

    Following is a list of G suggested search queries that pop-up when I start a search query with various alternative primary search terms. You need to consider how you will structure your site and its content to rank top of every single relevant search variant:

    greek lessons:
    for beginners
    for adults
    (my city)

    learn greek:
    to speak
    alphabet
    words
    online
    (my city)

    greek language:
    classes
    course
    school
    worksheets
    (my city)

    greek tutor:
    online
    (my city)

    greek lessons for:
    beginners (my city)
    toddlers
    foreigners in (Cypres, Athens,

    You are not structuring your site and pages to answer the questions your potential clients pose as they progress through their purchasing process. Throwing a few hundred extra words on a single page won't solve your problems.

    Please note the importance of the searcher's location in ALL these search queries. If you do not address location in your SEO, go and buy G Adwords. SEO will be a waste of time for you.

    PS. To DirectHits, I'll reply to your question shortly.
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Mar 4th, 2018 at 03:01 AM.
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    You certainly have been generous with your SEO advice, JohnA. This took quite a while to put together.
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    DirectHits Quote: "Well this is a great post John, thanks. But I am unable to believe that a CNN link from a post about knives would be of no value to a website about knives."


    Hi DirectHits,
    I did say "probably very little, if anything at all."

    I'm interested in why you think a CNN link to a knife manufacturer's site is likely to be valuable.

    I'm largely making my prediction based on how G passes and decays PageRank as it transfers through a website. (It is only my prediction, not fact.)

    I find the most valuable SEO tool is Google. You can do searches for queries to see how high any page from a specific domain ranks (Eg. CNN.com) but I find the most useful is G's site search. (site:cnn.com)

    Today G tells me it has indexed 2.71 million pages on the domain.

    I then run the site search command, site:cnn.com knives

    This asks G to list all the pages indexed from the domain that includes the word, "knives". The answer is 12,500 pages. (0.46% of all pages)

    Most of the time the word, "knives" is used on pages that have nothing to do with knife manufacturer and rarely is there any link to an external site. I quickly scanned 100 indexed "knives" pages and found only 2 in 100 that contained relevant content and an external link. Both pages were in separate sub-folders of the sub-domain money.cnn.com.

    This is the URL of the first relevant page with external links in it: money.cnn.com/2006/05/19/pf/goodlife_fortune/

    PageRank problem 1:
    It seems there are no pathways that Googlebot can follow from the site's Home page to this sample page.

    CNN URLs seem to be named with a chronologically URL. It looks to me like they very quickly age out of PageRank passing existence. That means their PageRank values likely implode when they are no longer linked from a high level CNN sub-category page. That seems to happen within a day or two.

    Summary:
    • CNN seems useless at passing PageRank to other websites
    • Passed PageRank seems to only last a matter of days
    • CNN seems to create Googlebot pathways that inhibit passing page rank

    There is damn-all content volume on CNN that is likely to compliment a small business website for any length of time.

    Am I overlooking any significant factors that you think would elevate any aged CNN link into any sort of G ranking prominence?

    I'm a firm believer that G's PageRank is enhancing link values from web pages that are related to the search topic. We don't know the detail of how this is achieved but the theory has worked for me since before G was launched.

    For non-SEOs reading this post, you may find the following Matt Cutts videos useful. Note that they are all old. I've included their dates:

    Aug 2011, video: Do multiple links from one page to another page count?

    This describes how the original PageRank was computed. (It's a simplified version - "I'm not going to get into anchor link text")

    Aug 2011, video: What does trust mean as a ranking factor for Google?

    May 2014, video: Will backlinks lose their importance in ranking?


    The basics of PageRank still seem to hold true. What has changed or we have never known is:

    • What links does G use in its ranking algo. It does not use all it can find.
    • We have never know what ranking values G assigns to individual links. (IMHO, it's likely G varies these values regularly.)

    I look forward to your thoughts.
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Mar 5th, 2018 at 03:42 AM.
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    While I agree with a great deal of what JohnAimit says it is also important not to end up in a cul-de-sac with blinkers on.

    Yes, when considering how to rank higher via backlinks. But what about your actual real goal?

    Even aged pages on sites like CNN can rank well for certain terms. I have a few of my own examples where CNN like sites link to one of mine in the blog comments (yes you heard it, the blog comments - nothing to do with me, I didn't put them there, my customers did).

    Visitors coming to my sites via these types of links are far more likely to convert than the average visitor because the fact that the links have got through the moderator gives them confidence (I think?)

    ... who said blog commenting is dead ;)

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