What Google Said When You Weren't Listening
By Kim Roach
Google wants to create quality search engine results just as badly as you want to acquire high search engine rankings. Fortunately for us, Google provides
web masters with plenty of guidelines and
tips for building a Google-Friendly site.
Unfortunately, many web masters simply aren't listening. Most web masters seem to be pulling tips and strategies from almost every source but Google itself.
However, Google has some of the most beneficial SEO tips to be found online.
Below are just a few of the questions that you can find answered directly by Google.
Q. Does Google index dynamic pages?
A. Yes. Google indexes dynamically generated pages. This includes pages with the following file extensions: .asp, .php, and pages with question
marks in their URLs. However, these pages can cause problems for the Googlebot and may be ignored.
Fortunately, there is a solution. If you feel that your dynamically generated pages are being ignored, you may want to consider creating static copies of those
pages for the Googlebot. Keep in mind, if you choose to do this, be sure to include a robots.txt file that disallows the dynamic pages so that Google doesn't see
those pages as duplicate content.
Q. Does Google index sites that use ASP?
A. Yes. Google is able to index most types of pages and files with very few exceptions. This includes pdf, asp, jsp, html, shtml, xml, doc, xls, ppt, rtf, wks,
lwp, wri, swf, cfm, and php. This is not a complete list, but it gives a good overview.
Q. Does Google index sites that use Macromedia Flash?
A. Yes. Google indexes pages that use Macromedia Flash. However, Google may have problems indexing Flash pages. If you are concerned that your
Flash content is inhibiting Google's ability to crawl your site, you may want to consider creating HTML copies of those Flash pages. As always, you will need to
include a robots.txt file that disallows the Flash pages so that Google does not recognize those pages as duplicate content.
Q. How do I add my site to Google's search results?
A. According to Google,
inclusion in Google's search results is free and easy. They also state that it is unnecessary to submit your site to Google. Google uses software known as
"spiders" to crawl the web on a regular basis and find sites to add to the index.
When a spider misses a site, it is often because of one of the following reasons:
- The site is not well connected with other sites through an inbound linking structure.
- The site launched after Google's most recent crawl was completed.
- Poor web site design makes it difficult for Google to effectively crawl your content.
- The site was temporarily unavailable at the time of crawling or an error was received. You can use Google Sitemaps to see if the Google crawlers received
errors when trying to crawl your site.
Q. How can I get my web site into Google's Mobile index?
A. Google Mobile offers Google Web Search, Local Search, and Image Search for web sites that are configured for mobile devices. Google adds new
sites to their mobile Web index every time they crawl the Web.
To let Google know about your mobile site, it is best to
submit a Mobile Sitemap. To help ensure that Google's mobile crawlers
can crawl and index your site, you should:
– Use well-formed markup
– Validate your markup
– Use the right DOCTYPE and Content-Type for the markup language
that you are using.
Q. Will participation in Adsense or Adwords affect my listing in Google's free search results.
A. Google's advertising programs are independent of their search results. Participation in an advertising program will have no effect on your organic search
Q. Why does my site have a PageRank of zero?
A. Yes. Google has an answer for this as well. According to Google, a page may be assigned a rank of zero if Google crawls very few sites that link to that
particular site. In addition to this, pages that have recently been added to the Google index may also show a PageRank of zero. This is simply because they haven't
been crawled by Googlebot yet and haven't been ranked yet.
The key is to be patient. A page's PageRank score may increase naturally with further crawls.
Q. My URL changed. How can I get Google to index my new site?
A. Google cannot manually change your URL in the search results. However, there are steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition.
First, you can redirect visitors to your new site. To do this, simply use an HTTP 301 (permanent) redirect. This ensures that Google's crawler will discover your new URL.
To preserve your rank, you will need to tell others who link to your site about your change of address. To find a portion of the sites that link to yours, you can go to the
Google search engine and type in: site:www.mydomain.com . To obtain a comprehensive list of links that point to your page, perform a Google search on your URL in
Q. How often does Google crawl the web?
A. Google's spiders crawl the web on a regular basis to rebuild their index. Crawls are based on a number of factors, including Pagerank, links to a page, and
a web site's structure. This is just a small list. There are a variety of factors that can affect the crawl frequency of individual sites.
Q. How do I create a Google friendly site?
A. To help Google find, index, and rank your site, it is suggested that you follow their
Here are some of the general guidelines that Google offers to web masters:
- Have other relevant sites link to yours.
- Submit a sitemap.
- Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo. For a complete listing of web
directories, go to StrongestLinks.com.
- Make sure each and every page is reachable from at least one static text link.
- Offer your visitors a site with links that point to the most important parts of your site. If your sitemap is larger than 100 links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.
- Keep the links on any given page to a reasonable number (less than 100).
- Check for broken links and correct HTML.
- Create a useful site that is full of information-rich content. Your pages should be written in a way that clearly and accurately describes your content.
- Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate.
- Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your web site. Most search engine spiders see your site in much the same way as Lynx would.
- Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session Ids or arguments that track their path through the site.
- Make use of the robots.txt file which tells crawlers which directories they can or cannot crawl.
Q. How can I report a site that is spamming the Google search results?
A. Google is constantly working to improve the quality of their search results. Therefore, they have implemented a program that allows web searchers to report
spam that they find within the search engine results. These Spam Reports are submitted directly to Google engineers and are used to devise long-term solutions to fight spam.
However, before you submit a site as being spam, Google highly suggests that you take a look at their
webmaster guidelines to determine if sites are acceptable or not.
Q. Why are sites blocked from the Google index?
A. Sites may be blocked from the Google index if they do not meet certain quality standards. Google does not
comment on the individual reason for pages being removed. However, they do reveal that certain actions such as cloaking, writing text that can be seen by search
engines but not by users, or setting up pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling the search engines may result in removal from the index.
If you receive a notification that your site violates Google's quality guidelines, you can correct your site to meet their
guidelines and then request reinclusion.
So there you have it, some of the many tips that Google is handing out for free. If you want to obtain high search engine rankings for the long-term, Google actually
provides some very good advice.
About The Author
Kim Roach is a staff writer and editor for the SiteProNews newsletter.