Search Engine Basics – Be Seen

You go to Google or Yahoo!, but your site is no where to be found!!!

Well, it could be that your new web site is invisible. You see, in web marketing there is a tension between awesome technologies, like Flash and Javascript, which can greatly improve internet experience, and the top search engine companies whose search robots are blind to these technologies.

You see, Flash and Javascript are client-side effects. Flash does its magic on your computer. But search bots, like the ones Google and Yahoo! use are too simple minded to run client-side programs. They only see that is written in plain old HTML or what is actively processed on the host server (ASP).

Here is an example, take a minute to visit the homepage for the Bill Murray’s last movie, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, you can find the web site at The site is great, fun, everything you want in a web experience, but it is invisible. Google’s cache for the site is blank (I checked on April 20, 2005).

Of course, not all hope is lost. There are a couple of things a web site owner can do to both take advantage of technologies like javascript and still be visible to search bots.

So here is your web site tip of the day. Take a look at this online toy store, Nearly everything on the page is javascript generated. The navigation bar on the left side of the page comes from an external javascript file. There is an image flip effect done with javascript. Even the toys listed on the home page are randomly placed there by, you guessed it, a javascript. But this site leaves a clear impression on search bots.

The site owner chose to use javascript because it allowed for more of his products, in this case, cowboy-related toys, to cycle through the homepage. But because he did not want to blind Google or Yahoo!’s search bots, he added plain text and links at the bottom of the page. Scroll down and you will see it.

The vast majority of visitors to this online retailer never scroll down to see this key-word laden message, but search bots do.

Try this on your own invisible web site and good luck with you online marketing.

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