Search Engine Robots - How They Work, What They Do (Part I)
Automated search engine robots, sometimes called "spiders" or "crawlers", are the seekers of web pages. How do they work? What is it they really do? Why are they important?
Think of search engine robots as automated data retrieval programs, traveling the web to find information and links.
When you submit a web page to a search engine at the "Submit a URL" page, the new URL is added to the robot's queue of websites to visit on its next foray out onto the web. Even if you don't directly submit a page, many robots will find your site because of links from other sites that point back to yours. This is one of the reasons why it is important to build your link popularity and to get links from other topical sites back to yours.
When arriving at your website, the automated robots first check to see if you have a robots.txt file. This file is used to tell robots which areas of your site are off-limits to them. Typically these may be directories containing only binaries or other files the robot doesn't need to concern itself with.
Robots collect links from each page they visit, and later follow those links through to other pages. In this way, they essentially follow the links from one page to another. The entire World Wide Web is made up of links, the original idea being that you could follow links from one place to another. This is how robots get around.
The "smarts" about indexing pages online comes from the search engine engineers, who devise the methods used to evaluate the information the search engine robots retrieve. When introduced into the search engine database, the information is available for searchers querying the search engine. When a search engine user enters their query into the search engine, there are a number of quick calculations done to make sure that the search engine presents just the right set of results to give their visitor the most relevant response to their query.
You can see which pages on your site the search engine robots have visited by looking at your server logs or the results from your log statistics program. Identifying the robots will show you when they visited your website, which pages they visited and how often they visit. Some robots are readily identifiable by their user agent names, like Google's "Googlebot"; others are bit more obscure, like Inktomi's "Slurp". Still other robots may be listed in your logs that you cannot readily identify; some of them may even appear to be human-powered browsers.
Along with identifying individual robots and counting the number of their visits, the statistics can also show you aggressive bandwidth-grabbing robots or robots you may not want visiting your website. In the resources section of the end of this article, you will find sites that list names and IP addresses of search engine robots to help you identify them. How Do They Read The Pages On Your Website?
When the search engine robot visits your page, it looks at the visible text on the page, the content of the various tags in your page's source code (title tag, meta tags, etc.), and the hyperlinks on your page. From the words and the links that the robot finds, the search engine decides what your page is about. There are many factors used to figure out what "matters" and each search engine has its own algorithm in order to evaluate and process the information. Depending on how the robot is set up through the search engine, the information is indexed and then delivered to the search engine's database.
The information delivered to the databases then becomes part of the search engine and directory ranking process. When the search engine visitor submits their query, the search engine digs through its database to give the final listing that is displayed on the results page.
The search engine databases update at varying times. Once you are in the search engine databases, the robots keep visiting you periodically, to pick up any changes to your pages, and to make sure they have the latest info. The number of times you are visited depends on how the search engine sets up its visits, which can vary per search engine.
Sometimes visiting robots are unable to access the website they are visiting. If your site is down, or you are experiencing huge amounts of traffic, the robot may not be able to access your site. When this happens, the website may not be re-indexed, depending on the frequency of the robot visits to your website. In most cases, robots that cannot access your pages will try again later, hoping that your site will be accessible then.
*SpiderSpotting - Search Engine Watch http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/spiders.html
*Robotstxt.org List of robots and protocols for setting up a robots.txt file. http://www.robotstxt.org/
*Spider-Food Tutorials, forums and articles about Search Engine spiders and Search Engine Marketing. http://spider-food.net/
*Spiderhunter.com Articles and resources about tracking Search Engine spiders. http://www.spiderhunter.com/
*Sim Spider Search Engine Robot Simulator Search Engine World has a spider that simulates what the Search Engine robots read from your website. http://www.searchengineworld.com/cgi-bin/sim_spider.cgi
Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant for Search Innovation Marketing, a Search Engine Optimization company serving small businesses. She has specialized in Search Engine Promotion since 1998, including three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly Media, Inc., a technical book publishing company.
Copyright © 2002-2005 Search Innovation Marketing. http://www.searchinnovation.com All Rights Reserved.
Permission to reprint this article is granted if the article is reproduced in its entirety, without editing, including the bio information. Please include a hyperlink to http://www.searchinnovation.com when using this article in newsletters or online.
How to Protect Your Search Engine Placement by Keeping Up-to-date on Industry Changes
There's no denying it: Search engines are a dominating force on the Internet, with millions of people going online to search on their topics of interest every single day.In fact, it was revealed at a recent industry conference that in June of 2005 alone, 10.
PPC v Natural Search - A Cost Comparison Case Study
The attraction of Pay Per Click (PPC) online advertising is undeniable. Each click costs virtually nothing, you only pay for the clicks you get, and you set your own daily budget so you know exactly how much you're going to spend.
The Truth About Search Engines: Playing A Game You Cant Win
If you go strictly by the numbers, Yahoo, MSN and Google are the "Big 3" of search engines and directories. Between them, they index millions and millions of pages in their directories.
Hiring An SEO Constultant - 10 Reasons Why You Should
It crosses every webmaster's mind anytime they see an ad or an email for search engine marketing. Many small business owners wonder what they're missing by not doing it.
Google Page Rank Is Dead - Or Is It? - Part I
For a long time now, marketing gurus all over the world have been talking about google page ranking. Page ranking is simply Google's way of measuring your pages accordingly.
The Top 3 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Websites Search Engine Rankings- and How to Fix Them!
Getting your website up and running is hard enough. After spending hours getting the HTML code just right and trying to make sure that you provide a great user experience, the last thing you want to do is change everything around in order to get your site ranked higher on the search engines.
Spamglish; A Search Engine Comedy With A Language All Its Own
When the movie Spanglish hit the screens in 2004, it was dubbed "A comedy with a language all it's own." I don't think the producers even knew they were slipping a lesson for website owners who want better search engine listings into the movie.
Marketing Articles: Getting A Better Search Engine Rank For All Of Your Pages!
In one of my articles, I discussed how to market your web site link twice. It detailed out how to promote not only www.
Google Rank Cake
6 cups thick content mix 1 jar word of mouth, whipped 2 tablespoons meta tags 1 cup creativity1) In a bowl, stir content mix with 1 cup creativity. Stir.
The Budget Webmaster's 6 Step Guide to Improving Existing Rankings in Google
The Budget Webmaster's 6 Step Guide to Improving Existing Rankings in GoogleYou know the scenario. You get an occasional click from Google for a certain keyword.
Site Maps: Let Search Engines Find Your Pages
With 40 million websites in existence, and more than 3 billion web pages indexed by Google at the time of this writing (July 2003), it's no wonder that more and more people are relying on search engines to find their way through the unruly world that the web has become.Nowadays, it is crucial to get your pages indexed by the most important search engines.
Use Search Engines For A Guaranteed Web Site Promotion
For your web site to succeed, you must use is search engines optimization. Web sites definitely need top rankings in major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN.
Reciprocal Links to Boost Link Popularity ?
Link popularity means the number of incoming links pointing to your website. This is one of the criterical factor that rank the search results.
Googlebot Wont Go Home
I have 'Googlebot' crawl my site every day like a dispossessed spirit that can't leave.It was not always like this, I would go for a month or more before he came to my site and then would only crawl a few pages and leave again.
Has Google Indexed Your Site ?
So has Google found your site yet?Over the last 12 months Google has undergone many changes to the way it looks at and lists your site.This week sees another upgrade in Google.
A Simple White Hat Technique To Get Indexed By Google
Everybody knows that getting indexed in Google is getting more and more difficult each day and every body is looking for that edge over the competition.Most "white hat" SEO's frown upon methods like cloaking, blog and ping and other such "black hat" techniques and never had any special technique that they could use to help get their pages indexed better.
SEO Quickstart - 3 Things You can Do to Improve Search Engine Rankings Right Now
Increasing your search engine rankings should certainly be one of your main goals if you are looking to increase your targeted traffic. The reason for this is if you improve your search engine rankings, you'll increase the amount of visitors your website receives, and when you increase traffic to your site you are going to increase customers and sales.
60 Day Sandbox for Google & AskJeeves; MSN Indexes Quickest, Yahoo Next
Search engine listing delays have come to be called the Google Sandbox effect are actually true in practice at each of four top tier search engines in one form or another. MSN, it seems has the shortest indexing delay at 30 days.
SEO Expert Guide - Free Site Promotion (PR) (part 6/10)
In parts 1 - 5 you learnt how to develop your proposition, identify your key words and optimize your site and pages. You were also introduced to our mythical Doug (who sells antique doors, door handles, knockers, door bells or pulls and fitting services) in Windsor in the UK.
Would You Like More PageRank?
The higher the PR of your site the higher will be its search engine position. So the goal is to get lots of sites linking to your site.
|home | site map|