What More Can I Do

Hi

I am wondering what more I can do/what I am doing wrong with my site http://www.weddingphotographyselect.co.uk

I have a competitor that started a site the same time as me, about 8/9 months ago and is doing better for these keywords

Wedding Photography - Bottom Of Page 2 | I am bottom of 5
Wedding Photographer - Top Of Page 2 | I am top of 6

Wedding Photographer - Page 25 | I am Page 3

I have more keywords spread across more pages (not stuffing), I have more content. I have double the number of backlinks and I would say his are of no better quality than mine. I would say his site is coded better than mine, but does that really matter. His main page is is very bare, it used to have more keywords/text about 4 weeks ago. It works tho and is minimal. Not much text referencing any of the above keywords. For arguments sake, let say we have done similar SEO things.

In web tools, I have a lot of duplicate meta titles/description show up. It was about 50 for a long time, then jumped to 600 due to SMF forum, it’s coming down slowly after putting some things in robots.txt / url paramaters. My site is crawled every day. 500 out of 600 pages indexed. Very small amount of 404 errors, most due to google pciking up things like %A as an url for whatever reason.

So. What am I doing wrong, what more can I do.

I have quite a few links from an unrelated website that I have been a member of for some time, with lots of posts so thought I would add my site as my signature. It’s a well known and decent site. Could this hurt me tho? Just like I have nofollow links from this forum?

What things could be slowing my progress? I haven’t done any article submissions,Ii don’t see the point or free directories, I would say most of my links come from photographer sites/blogs

I despair. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thank You.

The first thing that strikes me is that you main pages have got almost no text. You need to have text for the search engines to index. You can’t optimise your site for your target keywords unless you have text to hold those keywords.

Your home pages contains a map, lots of images, a few links, and some AdSense ads, none of which help with optimising for keywords. The subsidiary pages I checked also contain very sparse text.

It makes me wonder exactly what keywords you are targeting. You seem to be in the business of selling advertising space to wedding photographers, but there’s nothing on the site that indicates that fact to the search engines. I would suggest you start by adding text-based content that describes the service you are offering (and its benefits, etc). I feel sure that will make a difference.

Mike

Hi

thanks for the response. We didn’t have text for a lont time apart from title tags on the map, realising this isn’t any good. We adjusted it.

About 3 or 4 weeks ago we added text to the page. It’s contained in div tags at the top of the page. We want to keep the site clean and we wanted something above the fold so at the top of the site there is a link ‘Designed By Wedding Photographers’ which is a drop down div tag. I would say it is more for search engines to know what our site is about because as you say there is nothing to let a bot know, a user will be pretty sure, it is in no way black hat and my competitor had similar.

You mention I have no text, well the same really goes for my competitor. They had text in similar drop down div tags but at the bottom of the page, but they have removed that about 3 or 4 weeks ago too.

Hope that clears that up if you have any thoughts. I don’t like bolding things but I have in the text. I think I will remove that soon…

What The subsidiary pages did you check. Most pages are articles, interview, blogs or photographer profiles.

e.g

The Spotlight. Full of wedding photographer interviews.
Featured Photographer - Wedding Photographer Blog
Wedding Articles - Links to various articles, wedding or photography related.

Darius,

I can see in your source code the text you are referring to - in the “contentabout” div. The problem is that this is not visible on the page. Presumably, you are using CSS or JS to hide it. Unfortunately, that’s a no-no as far as search engines are concerned. Google for one will never index text unless it’s visible to the viewer. It might also penalise pages that contain excessive hidden text.

Also, the text in question might fall foul of Google’s latest over-optimisation obsession. You have the phrase “wedding photographer” or some related term in almost every sentence. I don’t know if Google will penalise you for that (assuming they take any notice of the hiddent text at all), but it’s not doing you any favours.

I would strongly suggest that you redesign the home page so that you have three or four paragraphs of clear, informative text containing your main selling points. Put that near the top of the page. Make it separate from the site links “Advertise”, “Get Listed”, etc. This won’t involve a major redesign. You should be able to build on what you’ve already got.

Having had a closer look at the site, I have to say that it’s not at clear exactly what you are selling. You seem to have two separate targets: wedding photographers, who you want to sell advertising to; and end customers who are searching for a wedding photographer. My first impression was that the photographers were your main target. I realise now that’s probably not the case, but you need to make that clearer. For that reason, I would delelgate the “Advertise”, “Get Listed”, etc. links to somewhere a little less prominent.

You asked which subsidiary pages I checked. These were the ones that you reach by clicking on the map. Mainly, I just saw photos on those pages, or a note to say the list is under development and please be patient. Admittedly I didn’t click through any further. (By the way, your map doesn’t seem to include any of the Scottish cities, but that’s another matter.)

Hope this is of some help.

Mike

Hi Mike

Thanks for taking the time to look. The text is contained in hidden text, as was my competitors which now doesn’t have any text referring to wedding photographers apart from a very small amount at the bottom of the page. If above the fold is anything to go by, it should be penalised. I understand GOOGLE doesn’t like hidden text but it is hidden for design and not anything else, are you sure it will see this as hidden text?? i would like a 2nd opinion on that, not that I don’t value your input…

My competitors whole site is built around this hidden method. e.g when you search for photographers, it shows a little and you click more to see more of a photographers profile.

I think I will remove the bold text, I knew I shouldn’t have done it at the time and it isn’t present anywhere else on the site.

We shall be removing the map soon but point taken :slight_smile: We wanted a clean design but static pages, hence the counties just list the available photographers, before you can click which presents you with a profile written by photographers, which generally contains the word wedding, photographer , photography.

We did start out just as a photographer directory but wanted more content, so it’s growing to just a wedding resource, so people spend time at the site and value it for a wealth of information, it’s like a standard wedding blog but not a blog. Generally wedding blogs are all posts on the main page daily. We’ve just put these into different section e.g Articles, Spotlight e.t.c. I’ll have to think about the redesign as I want to keep it clean and simple. We want the main page quite static as we are not sure what consantly changing content on the main page will do to fluctuate serp positions as content will move from one page to another all the time.

Given what you are saying. the same penalties should apply to my competitor. Hidden text. No real detail on the main page.

Anyway. I’ve sent you a PM. Again. Appreciate your time…Im pulling my hair out. Used to be daily now I check stats monthly :slight_smile:

Well, having now seen your competitor’s site, I don’t understand how he is doing so much better than you.

Maybe you are focusing too much on the competitor. Perhaps you should try to think this through from the ground up: what you want your site to achieve; how to achieve it; etc. Never mind what anyone else is doing.

Perhaps some of the other forum regulars would care to add their comments. There are people here who know vastly more than I do.

Mike

Hi

Thanks Miki. From time to time I focus too much on my competitor, I think everyone should but once the panic has subsided I just concentrate on what I am doing as GOOGLE can chew you up and spit you out from one day to the next, but there you go. I probably needed to hear 2 things. Don’t focus to much on competitor and how you don’t see why they are doing better.

Thanks for your time…

If anyone else has any input. It’s always appreciated.

You’re welcome, Darius. Let us know if you manage to improve the situation.

Mike