Search Engine Discovery Checklist

Posted Friday, 14 August 2009 at 22:48 by Andrew Liu
Tagged: google | search engine optimisation (seo)
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A former Google brainchild, Vanessa Fox (best known for her work with Google Webmaster Central and as a Google spokesperson) has put together a nifty little Discovery Checklist to help people work through their indexing issues.  These form the very essence of understanding what may be the issues behind your site indexing issues.

 

Remember, just because you have a traffic problem it doesn’t mean you have a ranking issue. In fact, your problems could be closer to home and have everything to do with the way search engines crawl (or fail) to crawl your website, which then points to how you code your site for the search engine bots.

 

Discovery

  • Initial Accessibility Assessment
    • Is the site indexed?
    • Are the URLs from the XML Sitemap indexed?
    • Are the right pages indexed (without duplicates)?
  • Page Discovery
    • At least one internal link to every page
    • Most important pages linked from home page
    • Comprehensive HTML Sitemaps
    • Good external links
    • XML sitemap
    • Links work without JavaScript, Flash, or images enabled
  • Page Accessibility
    • Single URL for every page (no duplicates)
    • URL exists for every page (URL changes for each new page)
    • Pages have extractable content (particularly images, AJAX, JavaScript, Flash, Silverlight)
    • URLs don’t have too many parameters
    • Does Google Webmaster Tools report any crawl errors?
    • Do all versions of home page redirect to single version (including www and non-www)?
    • Are pages blocked with robots.txt or meta tags?
    • Redirects are via 301 (not 302)
    • Not found page returns a status 404/410
  • Indexing Drop Diagnosics
    • Is the site penalized? (Microsoft Live Search Webmaster Center)
    • Did the site change infrastructure? (CMS, redirecting pages, language)
    • Substantial change in site content or external linking

Source: Jane And Robot

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