Archive for November 26th, 2008

Google’s Technical Guidelines

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Google has several recommendations that are listed in the technical section of its Webmaster Guidelines.  It is highly recommended that all website owners adhere to these guidelines.  This blog is contains a quick overview and clarification of these guidelines:

Check Your Site In A Text Browser - If you do not have a text browser such as lynx, a spider simulator will work equally well.  The idea behind this is that it allows you to view your site as the search engine spiders see it.  Any problems caused by Javascript, Flash or other “spider unfriendly” elements will be easily noticeable.

Remove Session IDs For Spiders - If you have a dynamic site that uses session ids to track visitors, you may suffer duplicate content issues.  Spiders can be “confused” into thinking that the same page with different ids is actually two separate pages with identical content.  To get round this, you can set up rewrites in your .htaccess file that only respond to specific user agents.

Ensure Your Server uses “If Modified Since” - This is generally not a problem for two reasons.  Firstly, almost every server will support this header.  Secondly, the bandwidth reduction is only significant for very large sites that are crawled very frequently.  The following video from “feed the bot” gives a good explanation:

The rest of the technical guidelines will be discussed in tomorrow’s blog