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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Getting Google to index more than a page

Getting Google to Index – the basics

Frequently I come across those who encounter either a perceived delay or other problem in getting their site into Google’s index. Whilst occasionally some sites don’t show within the index it is more common place to find the site in question already within the index but for whatever reason that it wasn’t being looked for correctly.

Has Google found your site?
There is a very simple way to answer this question – enter your URL into Google’s search box.
(eg: www.yourdomain.whatever)

If your site does feature then it will show up a link to the main page, together with the message –
Google can show you the following information for this URL:

If your site fails to feature the following message will greet you –
Sorry, no information is available for the URL

If Google hasn’t found your site
There is no need for immediate panic! What you need to ensure is that you have a few links coming into your site – you don’t need hundreds, at least not to start with.

Probably the easiest way to achieve this is to enter yourself into some basic, perhaps local, directories. These need not be the paid for kind as what you are aiming for is to bring Googlebot/Google’s spider to your site.
(Take a look at SearchGuild’s directory forum for further inspiration.)
Another option would be to arrange a few reciprocal links with sites that are similar to your own – this is basically where you exchange links with each other.
Do not be under the misconception that you need these links to be from high PR sites/pages – more important is that the sites providing you with the links are themselves regularly crawled.

To keep track or see what Google has indexed from your site enter the following into the search box:
site:www.yourdomain.whatever
This will bring up the pages of your site that Google has indexed.

If Google doesn’t crawl beyond your homepage
There can be a few reasons for this. However you should at least give Google a little time to do this. The primary things to check if you feel that Google is definitely showing no interest with the rest of your site are:

Put in a site map – site maps list and link to the other pages within your site. Place a link to one from your home page as it should make for smoother indexing.

Title, description & keyword meta tags – it is best to vary at least the meta description tag on each page so as spiders do not confuse pages as being the same. It also assists with the site being found for different phrases within various search engines.

Robots.txt files – make sure you are not inadvertently blocking spiders out of the other pages with a ‘no-follow’. Unless you know what you are doing and have reason to use this type of file then you are better not doing so.

Navigation – check that your pages are user friendly with functioning internal links. You should have some text links from your homepage directed inwards as well as linking from your internal pages back to the homepage and ensure they all work.

Flash & Javascript – keep both to a minimum, especially on your homepage.

Generally Google is fairly swift at picking up on new sites so getting into the index should not prove a problem for most. However, it can take a while for a whole site to be indexed and unreasonable for you to expect whole inclusion virtually overnight! Another common misconception is if it is a case of your site not ranking where you expect it to then this is not the same as ‘not being indexed’.

(First produced for Searchguild.com)

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