If Google does not see or understand your webpages then you won't rank at all in Google. This Google webmaster guideline covers this, but it is sort of technical. We will describe it in full. The full text of this guideline states...
This guideline tells us that robots and "search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would" and it tells us that if a text browser has a problem displaying your site then search engine spiders may have problems crawling your site.
A search engine crawler must be able to "crawl" your site in order for it to be indexed in search engines like Google. In fact the Google webmaster guidelines mention several different times the importance of search engine crawlers being able to crawl your site.
This guideline is stating it again, and offers you a suggestion of how to check your site for crawler friendliness.
For those of you who are using such features, seeing your site in a text browser is highly recommended to give you an idea of how a search engine spider is seeing your site.
To examine your site in Lynx you must download and install it to your computer. (note: in truth, this is rather difficult for the average webmaster. If you need a simpler option please use our spider simulator). When I went to the Lynx homepage, I found it somewhat unclear, so I looked around until I found a place to get Lynx that gave some instructions and was more clear to a general user.
The first thing I noticed when I used Lynx was that it was like an old DOS window. For those of you who were not using computers in the "early days" when DOS was used often, I can tell you it will seem a bit confusing.
First off, you will not be able to use your mouse. All navigation is done by using your keyboard.
Here is what the Google home page looks like in Lynx:
Now that looks quite different doesn't it?
The reason it looks so different is because a text browser shows a very simple version of a webpage. Let us compare Google in Lynx, to Google the way we are used to seeing it.
The most obvious difference is the big friendly and colorful "Google" that we are used to seeing in the middle of the Google homepage. If you look at the first picture instead of seeing the Google logo, you will only see the word "Google" written in black near the top of the page.
This is because text browsers do not show images. The big colorful Google logo we are used to seeing is an image. The reason that it says "Google" in the text browser is because that is the ALT text that Google has chosen to use for this logo.
Now if you were to navigate through this page in the text browser, you would find that each link works. You will also find that all the text is displayed, and that the search form works. This means that all the elements of the Google home page work also in text browsers. Congratulations Google! Your home page does not pose a problem to search engine crawlers.
If your website can be navigated through in a text browser, then search engine crawlers can navigate it as well.
A simpler way to check your pages is through a "spider simulator" which shows you an approximation of what a search engine crawler might see on you site.
If you check your site on a spider simulator you will be able to detect most of the obvious problems (like text or links not being visible).
See our spider simulator. Using this tool you will see many factors of your website like the title, text , links and keyword density of your website.
- Make sure that search engine spiders are able to see your site correctly. - If you use "fancy" elements on your website, ensuring that your website is seen correctly by search engine spiders requires checking your site using a text browser.
*not affiliated with Google Inc