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Indexing Your Site In Google

Danny Goodisman is an old friend of mine from Seattle, he is the webmaster for a car accessories retailer and online store.  I’ve been helping him with tips on search engine optimization over the last few months.  As a programmer though he had to chart through the mire that is google with regards to getting his company’s website indexed.  Here is Danny’s posting about his experiences.

“Most of the resources on Search Engine Optimization talk about improving your page's position on Search Engine searches. They talk about such page attributes as Page Title, Meta information, and so on.

However, all this information is moot if the search engines do not find your pages to begin with; in that case your page will have no position at all, regardless of the page content.

My company's site was in that situation: most of our important pages were not showing up on search engines at all, so (as was said above), most search engine optimization resources were irrelevant.

That has changed, however, and here I will list changes I made to the site that allow search engines to index our pages where they couldn't before. There are probably other considerations, but these were definitely at work on my company's site.

1.                  Cookies: Don't try to cookie the search engines; they don't like it and will leave. Our site kept track of users by means of cookies. It still does, but for the search engine spiders (they can be identified by their http_user_agent), no cookie code is sent to the browser.

2.                  Forms: Don't have vital navigation occur with forms: search engines will not enter any information in form fields, including selects (dropdown menus). Our site has some navigation that's done with selects, and it was necessary to make another "path" for search engine spiders to get to those pages.

3.                  URL Format: Search Engines don't typically like the URLs used by many data-driven sites. Many database-driven sites (as ours was) use URLs such as this:

Search engines interpret such URLs as meaning the site is highly dynamic, and tend not to index those pages. We revised the links on the site to look like this, which search engines much prefer:

4.                  JavaScript: Search Engines can't render JavaScript, so if a given link works by generating a URL with JavaScript, then navigating to that page, search engine spiders will be unable to follow that link. Either the link must be re-programmed, or an alternate path must be created to that page.

So now I can get to the real work of getting top position on the search engines, because while ranking 295th on a search is better than not ranking at all, that difference is unlikely to result in a large increase of sales.

Danny Goodisman is the webmaster at”