Archive for May 11th, 2011

11
May
11

5 Things Search Engine Spiders Can’t Read

Search engine spiders are really good at two things: capturing text and following links. This is, in fact, pretty much all that they do. They hit a site, read all the text they can see and then follow every link they can find to another page, where they do the same thing. Over and over. Until they run out of links to follow. Which is all well and good, unless your website makes it hard or impossible to do these things. When that happens, you may find your pages missing from the search results. And that would suck.

Here are the 5 main reasons a spider has trouble with your site:

    1. Flash. Sites built on Flash can be awesome, beautiful, seductive, dynamic and the best ones leave your visitors with a very positive experience. They also leave spiders with an empty stomach.

      Example: Waterlife. Great flash presentation, very effective messaging. No spiders allowed.

      A spider sees it like this:

      Spidered Text :
      WATERLIFE – NFB
      Spidered Links :
      No spiderable links found.Meta Keywords :
      No meta kewords found.Meta Description :
      The interactive story of the last great supply of fresh drinking water on Earth.
    2. JavaScript. Some of the coolest site navigation schemes ever are built on JavaScript. They can be elegant, striking, intuitive and effective. Unless you happen to be a spider.

      Example: EricJ. Very cool sliding landscape thingy takes you for a ride, but spiders go nowhere.

      A spider sees it like this:

      Spidered Text :
      Eric Johansson
      Spidered Links :
      http://extended.ericj.se
      Meta Keywords :
      No meta kewords found.Meta Description :
      No meta description found.
    3. Text in Images. Images are great—they’re what make the internet pretty and interesting. And you get to use any font you want, including some pretty wild typography. But spiders don’t see pictures, so all your pretty pictures—and any words inside them—are wasted.

      Example: Font Fabric. Great typographic design work here. But notice that in the spider report—even though a bunch of links are read—none of the words in the images show up in the spidered text.

      A spider sees it like this:

      Spidered Text :
      Fonts | Free Fonts, Buy Fonts, Windows Fonts Home About Contacts Subscribe 13 Comments Gabriel Sans 38 Comments GOTA Free Font 51 Comments HERO Free Font 57 Comments NULL Free Font 20 Comments Aston font 38 Comments AGE Free Font 4 Comments Reader font 42 Comments SAF Free Font 129 Comments Dekar Free Font Categories All fonts (41) Free (21) Tutorials (1) Fontfabricâ„¢ – Content (RSS) – Comments (RSS) – The Unstandard theme
      Spidered Links :
      http://fontfabric.com/
      http://fontfabric.com/
      http://fontfabric.com/?page_id=2
      http://fontfabric.com/?page_id=104
      http://feeds2.feedburner.com/fontfabric
      http://fontfabric.com/gabriel-sans/#comments
      http://fontfabric.com/gabriel-sans/
      http://fontfabric.com/gabriel-sans/
      Meta Keywords :
      buy fonts
      free fonts
      custom fonts
      high quality fonts
      nice fontsMeta Description :
      Our goal is to create high-quality fonts which stand in a unique class of their own, and which will serve as a good base for any designer project whether it be web, print, t-shirt design, logo etc.
    4. Image Navigation.  You want your navigation to stand out, to jump right off the page, right? Well, get yourself some fancy, colorful, maybe even animated buttons! Hell yeah! Problem is, if the button is purely graphic, the spider can’t read your link text. Even if it has no trouble reading the link. This happens a lot less now than CSS makes fancy readablebuttons easy enough to do, but I still see it from time to time.

      Example: ASU Student Intranet. Functional navigation, should work fine for all the little student visitors. But notice in the spider view below. Nowhere do you see the words “new employees.” Spiders see the links, but not the link text. You do want the spiders to see your link text, don’t you?

      A spider sees it like this:

      Spidered Text :
      Student Affairs Intranet JavaScript DHTML Menu Powered by Milonic Student Affairs Intranet Welcome The Student Affairs Intranet (SAI) is designed to share information quickly and easily within our departments. Reference materials and interest topics are located under “Staff” and “Tech” on the menu bar, and new items are frequently being added to these menus. This site is best viewed using Internet Explorer (IE) version 6.0 or higher (Windows), Safari 2.0 or higher (Mac), or Firefox 3.0 or higher (both Windows and Mac). For easy access to this site, you may want to Current Virus Update (Windows) 5583 (4/13/09) 7.1.x & 8.5.0i software Upcoming Events… Sorry… Nothing is scheduled at this time See detailed events listings Mac OS X Users (new 11/13/07): VirusScan for Mactel 8.6 has been released to the ASU Community for use. The software requires a PowerPC or Intel based Mac computer, Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.6 or later) or Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) Operating system. VirusScan for Mactel 8.6 can be downloaded from http://asu.edu/asusoftware/. New Virus Scanner in Town: Windows PC Users: VirusScan 8.5i has been released to the ASU community. This version of VirusScan is compatable with Windows NT, 2000, XP and 2003. VirusScan 8.5i (ASU configured) can be downloaded from the ASU Web Site https://webapp3.asu.edu/myapps/. Patch 6 is also available from the same location…..
    5. Your Mind. That’s right, hard to believe but true. Search spiders cannot read your mind. You have to show them every damn thing you want them to see. You have to explain every damn thing you want them to figure out. You need to give them very clear directions to whichever damn place you want them to go.

Oh, yeah. And they used to not read PDFs. But now they mostly do. So nevermind.