Do The Search Engines Know Your Website?


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Are you considering a search engine promotion campaign to improve your
website's search engine visibility? To aid in your decision, have you
checked your website to determine its search engine awareness?

Perhaps you may be thinking why do I need to check my website? Do you
remember going to the doctor for an illness? Hopefully, your doctor
performed some tests to diagnose your illness before prescribing your
medication. If not, you may have gotten some very undesirable results.

In the case of your website, you need to diagnose the patient and
determine the extent of your website's search engine visibility. Based
on your findings, you can decide to focus on standard search results
or paid search results.

Your checks should be done in the Google and Yahoo search engines
since they are the major search engines in today's marketplace. As an
option, you should consider MSN since they have recently released
their search engine. It is only a matter of time before they are
considered a player, if not already.

Your first check determines if your website is indexed in Google or
Yahoo. Think about the card catalog in your library. Each book has a
card in the card catalog signifying the indexing of the book in the
library. In this exercise you'll check if your website has a "card" in
the Google or Yahoo card catalog.

The first exercise is opening your web browser to the Google - www.google.com,
Yahoo - www.yahoo.com or MSN - www.msn.com website. Enter your
website's URL, www.yourdomainname.com, in the search box and review
the search results. Your website's domain name or URL should appear in
the search results if your site is indexed.

If just the domain name or URL is listed, the website has been indexed
but not crawled by the search engine spider. A domain name and several
lines of descriptive text indicate the website has been crawled by the
search engine spider to determine the website's content. Also, look
for the link "Cached Page" or a similar phrase. This is another
indication the website has been crawled for content by the search
engine.

Now, you should know if your website is indexed and has a "card" in
the search engine card catalog. Your second check evaluates the extent
of your website's indexing by determining which website pages are
indexed by the respective search engine.

The second exercise is opening your web browser to the Google, Yahoo
or MSN website. Enter the "site" command and your website's URL in the
search box in the format "site:www.yourdomainname.com" (quotation
marks not required) and review the search results. All of your
website's pages indexed by the queried search engine should be listed.
At the top of the search results screen look for "Results X - Y of
about Z from www.yourdomainname.com" or a similar phrase. The value
for Z indicates the total number of pages indexed by the queried
search engine for your website.

In addition, you might see the comment "repeat the search with the
omitted results included" in the results listing. Since the search
engine does not always show the entire listing, you can click the link
and view the complete list of your website's indexed pages.

Your third check determines the number of inbound links from other
websites to your website. The number of inbound links is very
important in the ranking algorithms of many of the search engines. The
commands for this exercise are slightly different between the search
engines. We'll review the commands for the three major search engines.
The other search engines have similar commands.

Google & MSN

Open your web browser to the Google or MSN website. Enter the "link"
command and your website's URL in the search box in the format "link:
www.yourdomainname.com" (quotation marks not required) and review the
search results.

All the external website pages linked to your website and indexed by
the queried search engine should be listed. At the top of the search
results screen look for "Results X - Y of Z linking to www.yourdomainname.com"
or a similar phrase. The value for Z indicates the total number of
externally linked pages to your website.

Yahoo

Open your web browser and go to the Yahoo website. Enter the
"linkdomain" and "-site" command and your website's URL in the search
box in the format "linkdomain:www.yourdomainname.com -
site:www.yourdomainname.com" (quotation marks not required). The "-
site" command is used exclude the internally linked website pages from
the results.

Review the search results. All the external website pages linked to
your website and indexed by Yahoo should be listed. At the top right
of the search results screen look for "Results X - Y of Z linking to
www.yourdomainname.com." The value for Z indicates the total number of
externally linked pages to your website.

Do not be alarmed if the displayed results from Yahoo and MSN are
significantly different from Google. Recently, Google began displaying
limited or no results from the "link" command. The general conclusion
from the search engine optimization community was that Google felt
disclosing the link information might possibly share too much
information regarding their ranking algorithm and its impact on a
specific website.

From these three simple checks you should have determined if the
search engines know the existence of your website and be prepared to
select the proper search engine promotion campaign. A pay-per-click
search engine campaign would be a good choice if your website's search
engine visibility is limited and the time deadline to achieve your
desired search engine rankings is short. If the time to achieve the
desired search engine rankings is not critical to your website's
marketing plans, then a search engine optimization campaign to improve
the standard search results could be a logical decision.

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