SEO Be seen correctly by Google

google looking at a webpage

"search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site."

- from the Google webmaster guidelines

If Google does not see or understand your webpages then you will rank lower or won't rank at all in Google.

This may seem a bit technical but it is important to understand how Google even knows your website is there. Every webmaster should know that a search engine crawler like Googlebot 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.

You may have many things in your webpages that you do not really know what they are (do you really understand how your sidebar widgets work?). This means this is a very important guideline for you to know.

How to examine your site the same way as Google does

Our page spider tool uses the same methods that Googlebot does to look at a webpage. Using this tool you can figure out if search engine spiders are seeing your pages correctly.

Make sure the text is being seen and the links are being seen. These are the biggest issues and can be blocked by things like Flash or javascript (the things Google calls "fancy features").

Examining your website using Lynx.

To examine your site in Lynx you must download and install it to your computer. When I went to the Lynx homepage, I found it somewhat unclear and difficult to install. 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. 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:

google 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 keywords of your website.

Key Concepts:

Make sure that search engine spiders are able to see your site correctly. Ensuring that your website is seen correctly by search engine spiders is vital.

Patrick Sextonby Patrick Sexton

Be seen correctly by Google