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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Stockport, UK
    Posts
    121

    Default Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Hi

    I recently redesigned an extensive website 'Songs of the Inland Waterways' which contains details of over 300 songs about the UK canals. Along the way I had amazing help from forum members.

    Now I'm back having encountered another 'hiccup'.

    Basically the 'front pages' of the website remain in the root directory but the songs are in sub-sub directories Songs/A/, Songs/B/, etc. The contents of each alphabetical directory are generated from separate Xara files and some of the 'reference' pages in the root directory are as well. Obviously only one Xara file creates the index.htm file (actually index.html for some reason I've now forgotten).

    I began to notice that the website was not appearing in Google searches and realised that the sitemap file only listed a few pages. To get round this I settled on using the PRO Sitemap Service which generates a sitemap for the whole site daily which I can upload to Google as and when I wish. The Pro Sitemap Service was also very useful in tracking down broken links of which I had several.

    The website now comes up more often in searches but not as much as it did some months or years ago. Using some Google tool or other I learnt that the site is considered not mobile friendly.

    It was a great effort to rejig the site in the past few months and the prospect of creating mobile compatible versions of all the pages is too horrific. If I were to create mobile versions of the 'front pages' do you think Google might look more kindly upon me? Or does anyone have a better suggestion?

    Thanks in anticipation.
    Ian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Bracknell, UK
    Posts
    8,656

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    I went to your site on my laptop and the pages I visited loaded quickly.

    I looked at your site with my iPhone and it's really a hard job using it - you have no mobile variant. Everything is tiny.

    I suspect ( but don't know ) Google doesn't like that you have no mobile variants.

    In general I applaud the work you put into this - it's clearly a labour of love.

    As a site it is all over the place in terms of design with menus positioned all over the place depending on which page you are on.

    Ironically for someone wanting a better google ranking you didn't even put a link in your post and no link in your post signature. Google likes sites that other sites reference.

    In terms of search results I'm not sure what the best search terms you should target. Most of your pages are very light in terms of content for Google to latch on to. I didn't spot a Google site reference in your page source - you should be using Google webmaster tools and submitting the site to be trawled by Google. Also use your hosting tools to see what pages are actually visited.

    I hope someone gives better advice than mine.

    Good luck.

    [ In your place I'd consider contacting local radio/papers and asking if they'd like a special interest story/interview connected to a local waterway. They are always looking for stories/guests and would reference your website on their website and extend your reach and hits hugely. Just an idea. ]
    Last edited by pauland; 31 July 2021 at 12:04 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Stockport, UK
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Thanks Pauland

    I'll take on board your comments.

    There are basically three different menu arrangements with a vertical side menu on most pages and a horizontal arrangement on some of the introductory pages. The Song Menu page has its own alphabetical menu bar. I'll see if I can reduce that number. Old pages (with a narrowboat logo rather than a circular logo) still exist on the site and these have a different menu. These are still in situ so that links to them still work. I am in the process of adding redirection code to these but that will take some time before I've done them all.

    I'm looking into producing mobile variants of the introductory pages but want to avoid having to do so for the 300+ song lyric pages. I've always thought these to be legible on mobile devices if you turn the phone through 90 degrees and view in a landscape mode,

    https://www.waterwaysongs.info/index.html

    In terms of search results I'm not sure what the best search terms you should target. Most of your pages are very light in terms of content for Google to latch on to. I didn't spot a Google site reference in your page source - you should be using Google webmaster tools and submitting the site to be trawled by Google. Also use your hosting tools to see what pages are actually visited. - I'm not quite sure what you mean by Google site reference - All pages should have a Google tracking code on them. I have been submitting the sitemap to Google.

    Thanks again - though your advice to create mobile variants of all pages presents me with a tremendous challenge

    Ian

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Bracknell, UK
    Posts
    8,656

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Quote Originally Posted by IanB View Post
    There are basically three different menu arrangements with a vertical side menu on most pages and a horizontal arrangement on some of the introductory pages. The Song Menu page has its own alphabetical menu bar.
    Users like consistency. I've had to hunt on a page because I couldn't see any menu because it was at the bottom. All pages should be consistent with navigation.

    I've always thought these to be legible on mobile devices if you turn the phone through 90 degrees and view in a landscape mode
    ..not on my phone - barely legible at any orientation.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ..and..

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ..easier to read!


    Put the URL in your signature!

    https://www.waterwaysongs.info/index.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Stockport, UK
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Thanks again.

    Consistency is good. I'll aim to be more so.

    I've started the process of creating mobile versions of the entry pages :
    https://www.waterwaysongs.info/index.html
    https://www.waterwaysongs.info/introduction.html
    https://www.waterwaysongs.info/updates.html
    I may change the menu button layout at a later date. Maybe I'll have to opt for a drop-down menu.


    I'll see what can be done with the reference section next. Then the 300+ song pages which currently have a side menu. If the text if to be more legible this may have to be changed.

    Ian

    https://www.waterwaysongs.info/index.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Bracknell, UK
    Posts
    8,656

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    I'm waiting for someone to suggest I just zoom the page, but that should not be required to read text easily.

    Unfortunately the big disadvantage that Xara has is that it does not use a templating system like Wordpress or a CMS based system, where essentially you'd just be designing four or five pages that would control the layout and formatting of your 300.

    My opinion is that Xara is not well suited to sites with a large number of pages because there is no concept of templates or master pages.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    London
    Posts
    650

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Ian,

    The main song menu might be better in a grid format for your mobile variant. I would be conscious too that the mobile font size IMO should be at least 20px. Text styles across variants is really useful here (e.g. Normal text desktop might be say 16px whereas you can set Normal text in the mobile variant to be say 20px).

    The attached screenshot is from an AV demo (still WIP); it was derived through a piece of work earlier this year on audio plugins.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screenshot_20210731-153711.png 
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ID:	130278 https://initiostar.co.uk/demo/JukeBoxv5/

    In the demo only letters A & B are active, A has the option of immediately highlighting additional info about the song, where as B provides an info popup as an option.

    Maybe some ideas to think about - 300 hundred pages in a shed-load of work; I would get the basic mobile framework sorted and tested on real devices, Android and iOS, before you plough on - best done entirely on a test site.

    Gary

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Bracknell, UK
    Posts
    8,656

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Initiostar View Post
    Ian,

    The main song menu might be better in a grid format for your mobile variant. I would be conscious too that the mobile font size IMO should be at least 20px. Text styles across variants is really useful here (e.g. Normal text desktop might be say 16px whereas you can set Normal text in the mobile variant to be say 20px).

    The attached screenshot is from an AV demo (still WIP); it was derived through a piece of work earlier this year on audio plugins.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screenshot_20210731-153711.png 
Views:	16 
Size:	96.0 KB 
ID:	130278 https://initiostar.co.uk/demo/JukeBoxv5/

    In the demo only letters A & B are active, A has the option of immediately highlighting additional info about the song, where as B provides an info popup as an option.

    Maybe some ideas to think about - 300 hundred pages in a shed-load of work; I would get the basic mobile framework sorted and tested on real devices, Android and iOS, before you plough on - best done entirely on a test site.

    Gary
    Excellent points.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Stockport, UK
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Thanks for all the help which I will take on board.

    I think I'm a bit too fond of my menu buttons but may have to jettison them. Also the side menu may have to be changed to the top or drop down. Also the videos will need to be resized. Also, also, also ...

    There will need to be so many changes that making them on a parallel test site seems to be the way to go. I may be away for some time.

    Ian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Stockport, UK
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Can I trick Google into looking more favourably upon me?

    Though I have modified some of the introductory pages, producing a mobile friendly version and increasing the text size, I have come to a decision, for the moment, that creating a mobile friendly version of the whole site just to appease Google is not worth the effort.

    There are many websites which were designed to be viewed on computer screens - this one - talkgraphics - being an example.

    If users of my site are interested enough they may be prepared to turn their mobiles through 90 degrees and even zoom in - or get out a decent sized tablet - or blow the cobwebs off their laptop.

    I've had enough of technological changes dictating what I should do. Now, where's that papyrus and quill?

    Ian

 

 

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