Why Isn't My Website In The Search
If your site isn't found in the search
engines, it is probably because the robots couldn't deal with it. It could be
something as simple as not being able to find the site, or it may be more
complicated issues involving the robot's not being able to crawl the site or
figure out what your pages are all about.
Submitting your site to the major
search engines: that will help with the "can't find it" problem.
Even having links pointing back to your site can be enough to attract the
search engine robots. Google, for example, suggests that you may not have to
submit your pages; they will find your site if you have a link pointing back
to it from at least one other site on the web.
If the robots can find your site but
can't make sense of it, then you may need to look at the content and
technology used on your pages. Frames, Flash, dynamically generated pages, and
invalid HTML source code can cause problems when the search engine robot tries
to access your web pages. While some search engines are beginning to be able
to index dynamically generated pages and Flash (e.g. Google and AllTheWeb),
use of some of these technologies can hinder your ability to be indexed by the
search engine robots.
Text in images cannot be read by the
search engine robots. Using ALT image text is an important way to help the
robots "read" your images. Websites with extensive images rely
heavily on ALT text to present their content.
How Do I Get The Most Out Of
If you know what to "feed"
the spidering robots you will help yourself with search engine ranking.
Having a website full of good content
is the major factor. Search engines exist to serve their visitors, not to rank
your website. You need to be sure to present yourself in your site in the way
that will be most useful to the search engine visitor. Each search engine has
its own idea of what is important in a page, but they all value text highly.
Making sure that the text on your pages includes your most important keyword
phrases will help the search engine evaluate the content of those pages.
Making sure that you have good title
and meta tags will further assist the search engines in understanding what
your page is about. If the text on the page is about widgets, the title is
about widgets, and the meta tags are about widgets, the search engine will
have a pretty good idea that you are all about widgets. When their visitors
search for widgets, the search engines know to list your site in the results.
A sitemap page is a very good way of
giving the search engine robot every opportunity to reach your website pages.
Since robots click through the links of your web pages, make sure that at
least your most important pages are included in the sitemap; you may even want
to include all your pages there, depending on the size of your site. Be sure
to add a link to the sitemap page from each page on your site.
Another important consideration is that
of keeping all of your pages within a small number of "clicks" from
your top page. Many robots will not follow links more than two or three levels
deep, so if your "widgets" page can only be reached from your home
page by following multiple links (e.g. home page >> about us page
>> products page >> widgets page), the robot may not crawl deep
enough to get to the widgets page.
Testing Your Website For Search
Engine Robot Accessibility
To get an idea just what the search
engine robot "sees" on your page, you can look at the Sim Spider
tool. You may be surprised at how different your site looks to the robot. You
can find this tool at http://www.searchengineworld.com/cgi-bin/sim_spider.cgi
You will see text and ALT image text
show up in the results. If your entire website is built in Flash, you will see
nothing at all because robots don't understand Flash movies.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to search engine robots,
think simply. Lots of good content and text, hyperlinks the robots can follow,
optimization of your pages, topical links pointing back to your site and a
sitemap will help insure the best results when the robots come visiting.
Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant
for Search Innovation Marketing (http://www.searchinnovation.com),
a Search Engine Promotion company serving small businesses. She has
specialized in search engine optimization since 1998, including
three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly &
Associates, a technical book publishing company.
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