If you want a website that works for both people and search engine spiders like GoogleBot, you have to spider check your work. It sounds obvious and simple, but if you don’t spider check your work – how do you know it works?
Search engine optimization or SEO is an environment where humans have limited visibility. There is definitely a limit on how much human eyeballs alone can see in terms of how the GoogleBot sees your website without actually spider checking your work on Google.
Search engine spiders like GoogleBot are robot software that crawl your website for ranking. Google says compared to humans, “Bots access pattern is completely different” – one of the greatest understatements in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines!
People tend to assume Google rankings are much more automatic than they actually are due to this difference between how humans view a website and how robot search engine spiders view it for ranking.
If you’re an SEO and live and breathe Google’s algorithms, many of the problems you deal with on a daily basis are related to bridging the gap between what works for human visitors to your website and what works for search engine spiders that bring traffic.
Search engine visitors are the most affordable way of getting free targeted traffic to your website. However, one of the biggest SEO mistakes most people make is assuming their web designer is also a search engine optimization expert.
In most instances, you should not expect the person primarily concerned with the look and feel of your website and its coding to also keep up with the latest in Google’s algorithms that are constantly evolving and updating. While web design and SEO are both at the heart of your website’s functionality, never assume your web designer is also an SEO expert.
SEO is a different knowledge and software set than most web designers can devote time to or should be expected to stay on top of. SEO is also a one strike you are out environment. You can do a hundred things right, but get one important element of SEO wrong and it can undo everything else you do.
The question that can often make this point clear is to ask your web designer, “How do you spider check your work?”
Although Google’s Webmaster Guidelines provide tools and guidance on how to check a website through a spider’s eye view – like looking at the site with a Lynx text based browser or using the Googlebot tool in Google Webmaster Tools – in fact, very few web developers have actually read and followed Google’s guidelines.
This is why spider checking your website is so important to see if what you thought you were communicating on the Internet is actually being seen and ranked on Google. If you haven’t spider checked your website, you simply can’t tell if it is working on search engines. Here are a few easy ways to do that.
First enter the following in the Google search box:
A site:search is the single most important diagnostic search on all of the major search engines that tells you how that search engine views your website. Don’t put a space after the colon in a site:search or you won’t get the right results.
Because your root domain without any slashes after the domain name is the top of your site’s hierarchy, you always want to see your root homepage as the top result of a site:search on Google.
If you don’t see your homepage at the top of a site:search, there may be a problem. Most of your ranking strength is focused in your homepage where the majority of the external links to a site usually point. The lack of appearance of your homepage at the top of a site:search on Google is one of the ways you can see if your site is under a penalty or downgrade – although this is not conclusive evidence of that fact alone.
Note carefully how your homepage displays with a site:search in Google’s and Bing’s listings. 65 characters are displayed of your homepage title in blue text at the top of your search engine listing, 150 characters of meta description appear under it – or a snippet of text from your body text that matches the keywords from a search request.
Click Your “Cached “Link
Next, on Google and Bing move your cursor to the right of the search engine listing to make your “Cached” link appear. On Yahoo, the cached link appears below the listing. Note the cached date – the last time the spider returned to your site for ranking.
Article by Steve Penny. Santa Cruz Green SEO specializes in sustainable searches and is the top ranked site on Google for Green Search Engine Optimization. Steve is author of 7 Ways To Motivate People That Don’t Cost A Penny and Hiring The Best People. He’s been asked to speak at the biggest human resource conferences in the world. Videos of these presentations may be viewed athttp://stevepenny.com