July 25, 2008

Do Search Engines Know Yous Site?

Normally, Search Engines will send a robot (also called spider, or crawler) to look around the Web, to see what's new and what's going on in general. Moreover, the spider will look through web pages and evaluate how good and useful they are. But crawlers only come to the places they know about.

So if you launched a site www.buymyproduct.org and, say, Yahoo! doesn't know about it, you can wait for weeks and months and any longer. The spider will hardly visit you.

Unless you make an invitation. And just a bit later, I'll tell you how this invitation for Search Engines is done.

In 2003, I met a client in Belgium I'm still working with. Cyr is now the big boss of several flower delivery services in Belgium and Netherlands, and he just launched one in Germany. Sure, SEO is #1 in his business weapons arsenal.

But the story starts with how I found him. I went to see my cousin who studied psychology in Brussels, and Cyr turned to be his roommate. He just launched an online flowers delivery store (great idea for a student, I guess!) and was wondering why it didn't work. Well, I made a simple check. He had a nice site, well-designed and correctly written. But Google.be just knew nothing about him!

We agreed on a favourable fee for an SEO campaign, and I began from submitting his website to Search Engines — and he started getting orders in about two weeks!

So, let's see what Search Engines know about your site www.buymyproduct.com. Go to the web page of the Search Engine that is important to you and type in the following query site:your_domain_name. For example, type site:buymyproduct.com.

Check if Search Engines see and display your website, and if the number of pages they show is correct.

Now let's see how it's done and what results it can bring. 4 situations are possible.

  • a) No results are found.
  • b) Some pages of the site are listed by the Search Engine, but they make up even less than 50% of the pages the site really has.
  • c) What the Search Engine shows is approximately the real amount of pages the site has.
  • d) What you see is too much, over 150% of how many pages the site really has.

Now, let me be fair: a) b) or d) is a red flag.
If you got no results at all, too few or too many, this means you have a problem.

Here's the good news, though. The problem can be solved, and I'll tell you how on part two.