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David and Susan
01-22-2008, 06:13 PM
Can anyone please help us - our faces are growing weary and our hair grey after receiving a severe cold shoulder from google and yahoo in recent days.

Googlebot and yahooslurp have not been into our site - www.acreatthelake.com (http://www.acreatthelake.com) since January 15th. Prior to that, Google in particular was going in pretty much every day (it had recorded 35 hits for the month prior to the 15th). We were well ranked on our search terms (#8 for lake norman vacation, #26 lake norman vacation rental - amongst others). Within days we have noticed that our index page no longer comes up and now nothing comes up at all for any of our terms. We are distraught as we put a lot of effort in trying to keep up there with the big boys!
We also added a sitemap after Christmas and am beginning to rue the day we did as we noticed a few days ago that we had errors showing on the Google dashboard. The error details said the sitemap in an unsupported file format. We have dutifully read other threads and google help in order to find a solution but to no avail. We used an .xml file format. Would anyone be willing to take a look at our sitemap and see if it is ok - www.acreatthelake.com/sitemap.xml (http://www.acreatthelake.com/sitemap.xml)

The last thing is that just yesterday Google announced via the dashboard that it could not access our home page due to a network error - it has never said this before - the page seems to load quickly enough at our end, so we are a bit stumped.

I know this is quite lengthy but if anybody could spare a few minutes to help us out we would be very grateful. If you need any other info please just ask

Thank you

Susan & David
www.acreatthelake.com (http://www.acreatthelake.com)
Lake Norman vacation rental

Marincky
01-22-2008, 06:45 PM
Hi Susan and David,

This is not an easy question to answer. There will be multiple things to go over here.

Firstly, I would be interested to know the search terms that you were typing in that first gave you good results.

Sites very rarely stay in a particular position and just because you reach page 1, 2 or 3 doesn't mean you will stay there for long unfortunately.

Have you any other sites linking in to you? Extremely important for the search engines to give you any rewards at all. You need to spend a lot of hard work and time getting yourself listed on many directories, forums, other related sites. Type in 'holiday homes' and every decent directory on the first five pages get listed on (find the free ones)

Google WILL look at your site for content, layout, speed of page downloads etc and mark you up or down accordingly.

A couple of your pages took me ages to open, try and address this issue.

The search terms that you want the SE's to find you on.... How many times are those terms written on your pages? You can have too few times or even too MANY times, you need to find the fine balance.

I think you could improve on your page titles. I live in the UK but am not prone to vacations in the USA, however, I am unlikely to type in the search engines ' Lake Norman Vacation Rentals' But I might type in 'Holidays in North Carolina'... so think about me? Think about everyone and not just those who know Lake Norman exists.

I have much more to say (as usual) but absolutely starving! It's 6pm here and worked through breakfast and lunch today so need food sorry! But I hope this helps a little for you. I am sure many more will join in this post.

Best of luck though http://www.vodahost.com/vodatalk/images/icons/icon7.gif

Bethers
01-22-2008, 07:05 PM
There is some sort of problem here and you might need to contact Google - it appears they have taken you out of their index. You have a page rank, but when I ask for the cached snapshot of your page, they are now saying you aren't in their index.

You definitely have a problem and this one you need to contact Google about. Looks like you've been banned. Contact them ASAP to get this settled.

Oh another note - what is that A@tl at the top of the page?

David and Susan
01-22-2008, 07:09 PM
Right we will do that right this minute - thank you!

Could it have anything to do with the errors on the sitemap or google not being able to crawl our home page?

I'll let you know what they say.

Thank you all for your help.

Bethers
01-22-2008, 07:12 PM
Could have to do with them not being able to crawl - but I don't understand that - cuz then we wouldn't be able to see the page either. I can't imagine it being because of the sitemap - unless that's got something really strange in it- yes, please let us know.

AJ113
01-22-2008, 07:15 PM
Three pages indexed and cached from this end Beth.

Bethers
01-22-2008, 07:17 PM
One other thing - they might not be seeing your page because of bad code you're giving them on the page:

<script type="text/javascript">
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
document.write("\<script src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'>\<\/script>" );
</script> If you look, you don't have your web address in there - it's blank. That may have something to do with it.

David and Susan
01-22-2008, 07:20 PM
ah that may be it! although we have been receiving data through google analytics - all very strange but thank you, I will attempt to remedy the page now.

Thank you

Susan & David

David and Susan
01-22-2008, 07:25 PM
I have made the changes, well I think we have. This is the danger in dabbling with things that we really have no idea what we are doing or why.

We very much appreciate your help - we can see the light at the end of Google's tunnel

You know thinking about it we used to be ok just bumbling along without a sitemap

Bethers
01-22-2008, 07:35 PM
If your site is small and you have links to all pages easily found, you don't need a sitemap. So, if you want to get rid of it - don't be afraid to :)

David and Susan
01-22-2008, 07:42 PM
well to be honest, when we got these error messages about unsupported file format, we dleted the old sitemap and replaced. when that didnt work, we deleted it and tried a different format and when that didn't work we thought we would go back to sitemap.xml and leave it for a while to see if it remedied itself - thats when we dropped off the face of the earth.

David and Susan
01-22-2008, 07:47 PM
Bethers
the A @tL is our little logo

Bethers
01-22-2008, 07:56 PM
To be honest, typed like it is on the page, it looks like a mistake. You might want to design it so that it's recognizable as a logo :)

David and Susan
01-22-2008, 08:01 PM
Ive just noticed that we have errors on our home page - 2 in fact but I don't know how to remedy them - says line 2 char 5 (Expected ';' and line 148 char 1 (_gat is undefined)
Could anyone shed any light on this please?
Logo will get an upgrade just as soon as people can find us on google. Appreciate the comments, keep em coming

Bethers
01-22-2008, 08:47 PM
It's unusual not to have an error of some sort on any page. those sound like they are minor - and probably not worth worrying about right now. Yes, the Google issue is priority #1 right now for you!

zc290549
01-23-2008, 02:37 PM
Hello David and Suzan,

I find one warning in line 11 you have duble in your home
page...

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<title>lake norman vacation rental </title>

Meta tags analysis. Title: Title meta tag contains no errors.
This tag contains 56 characters.

Title relevancy to page content is excellent.
The Title relevancy to page content is 100%.

Description: Description meta tag contains no errors.
This tag contains 231 characters.

Description relevancy to page content is good.
The Description relevancy to page content is 95%.

Keywords: This tag contains too few characters.
Found 1 keywords, most search engines read more than 4 keywords. (Make 70% - 100%)

Robots: Found no robots meta tag.
This tag is not really required but helps spiders to index the web page.

Author: Found no author meta tag.
This tag is not really required but helps for your (company) name recognizing.


This analysis is from this website (http://www.submitexpress.com/analyzer)

Regards,


Zlatko

Karen Mac
01-24-2008, 04:44 AM
The error isnt with your sitemap, but with that code that Beth gave you. I dont believe its part of the urchin tracker for google analytics, but for some other tracking or javascript that some program or affiliation, or advertising code that you put on there. Also your site isnt HTTPS so you dont need an ssl version of analytics unless you are accepting payment on your site.

Also.. they recently UPDATED their coding so it maybe that your analytics code is out of date and you need to add the new code. IN either case Id get rid of it, until you can confirm that is part of googles coding or that you know what its for.

Karen

David and Susan
01-26-2008, 02:42 PM
Thanks everyone-we have taken the code off and are waiting patiently for googlebot to go in. We also intend to resize our pictures to get pages to load more quickly.

David and Susan
01-27-2008, 11:51 PM
Should Googlebot start going in now???