Why isn't my site coming-up with Search Engines when I type searches?
There are many reasons you may not have been indexed yet. If you've waited the estimated time it takes to index but still do not see your page(s) listed, remember, it is not uncommon for an engine to lose your submission, in which case you might try re-submitting.
If you are still having trouble getting indexed in one or more engines here is nearly every possible reason this could occur along with tips on how to correct the problem:
- Check your Meta Tags! More than 90% of all websites are NOT search engine ready. These sites have no "keywords" or "description" for spiders to "index". To check any web page's Meta Tags, simply go to any web page and right-click on the web page's background, then select view source. You will find the Meta Tags at the top of the source code you are looking at where "keywords" are embedded. No Meta Tags mean no traffic!
- Make sure you've allowed enough time to become indexed. Paramount Web Hosting's Submitter report and Reporter's URL Verification report will tell you how much time you should allow before being concerned about not being indexed.
The method to determine if a page or domain has been indexed varies from one engine to another, and in many cases, it's difficult to tell for sure. Never assume that you're not indexed just because you searched for a bunch of keywords and you never came up in the first few pages of results. You could be in there but buried near the bottom.
- Be sure you're not already indexed but just don't know it. Unfortunately, none of the major engines are kind enough to e-mail or notify you as to if and when you've been indexed.
- Some engines have been known to drop pages that cannot be traveled to from the home page. HotBot has been rumored to do this. You may want to consider submitting your home page that links either directly or indirectly to your doorway pages.
- VERY IMPORTANT: Some search engines such as Google and HotBot have been known in the past to refuse to index Web sites that do not have any other Web sites linking to them. Or, they may index your home page but refuse to index any other pages until you achieve at least one or more links from another domain. Or, they may index you for awhile but then "prune" their database later of all Web sites that did not achieve any external links within a certain period of time. However, do not worry! You simply need to establish some links and when that's done, resubmit both your pages and the pages that link to you.
- If you have information inside frames, that can cause problems with submissions. It's best if you can create non-framed versions of your pages. You should then submit the non-frames versions of your pages which can of course link to your framed Web site. Alternatively, you can enter your relevant text within the NO FRAMES area of a framed page which most search engine spiders will read.
- Search engine spiders cannot index sites that require any kind of registration or password. A spider cannot fill out a form of any kind. The same rule applies regarding indexing of content from a searchable database, because the spider cannot fill out a form to query that database. The solution is to create static pages that the engines will be able to find.
- If your pages are on a host that provides free Web sites, many engines no longer index pages from free web sites or limit the number of pages or sites they will index from these hosts. Many times they will get too many "junk" submissions from free web site domains so they choose not to index anyone from those domains, or to limit indexing. It's always best to buy your own domain name (very important) and place it on a respected, paid service to avoid being discriminated against.
- If your Web site shares the same IP address as many other Web sites on your host's Web server, then you may find your IP banned from something another Web site on the same server did! It's always best to ask your hosting service if your domain name has its own unique IP assigned to it. If not, ask them to move it to its own IP to avoid the potential of having your submissions ignored because of something that a site sharing your IP did.
- Some submission consultants feel it is dangerous to submit anything more than ONE page a day to a given engine for a given Web site. Therefore, if you've tried everything else, try again, but this time submit only the home page. Make sure you have links (either visible links or hidden links) from the home page to your doorway pages so that the search engines can find them.
The technique of submitting one page that then links to other pages is called creating a "hallway page." In many cases, this will not only get you indexed in cases where they are ignoring you, but it will often improve your rankings. That's because many engines assign "bonus points" to pages they find on their own versus pages that were specifically submitted to them.
- Dynamic pages often block spiders. In fact, any URL containing special symbols like a question mark (?) or an ampersand (&) will be ignored by many engines.
- Most engines cannot index text that is embedded in graphics. Text that appears in multimedia files (audio and video) cannot be indexed by most engines. Information that is generated by Java applets or in MEL coding cannot be indexed by most engines.
- If your site has a slow connection or the pages are very complex and take a long time to load, it might time out before the spider can index all the text. For the benefit of your visitors and the search engines, limit your page size to less than 60K. In fact, most Webmasters recommend that your page size plus the size of all your graphics should not exceed 50K-70K. If it does, many people on dial up connections will leave before the page fully loads.
- If you submit just your home page, don't expect a search engine to travel more than one or two links away from the home page or the page that you submitted. Over time they may venture deeper into your site, but don't count on it. You'll often need to submit pages individually that appear further down into your site or have no link from the home page.
- If your Web site fails to respond when the search engine spider pays a visit, you will not be indexed. Even worse, if you are indexed and they pay a visit when your site is down, you'll often be removed from their database! Therefore, it pays to have a reliable hosting service that is up 99.5% of the time. However, at some point a spider is going to hit that other 0.5% and end up yanking your pages by mistake. Therefore, it pays to keep a close eye on your listings.
- If you have ever used any questionable techniques that might be considered an overt attempt at spamming (i.e., excessive repetition of keywords, same color text as background, or other things that the Paramount Web Hosting Page Critic warns you about), an engine may ignore or reject your submissions. If you're having trouble getting indexed in the expected amount of time, make sure your site is spam-free.
- If your site contains redirects or meta refresh tags these things can sometimes cause the engines to have trouble indexing your site. Generally they will index the page that it is redirecting TO, but if it thinks you are trying to "trick" the engine by using "cloaking" or IP redirection technology, there's a chance that it may not index the site at all.
- If you're submitting to a directory site like Yahoo, Open Directory, NBCi, Looksmart, or others, then a human being will review your site. They must decide if the site is of sufficient "quality" before they will list it. I recommend you read the submission guide on the directory tab of the Paramount Web Hosting Submitter. It contains tips to improve your chances of obtaining a good listing on these directories.
- If you have a hierarchy of directories at your site, put the most important information high, not deep. Search engines will presume that information placed higher is more important. And crawlers may not venture deeper than three, four, or five directory levels.
- A number of engines no longer index pages residing on many common free web hosting services. The common complaint from the engines is that they get too many "junk" or low-quality submissions from free web site domains. Therefore, they often choose not to index anyone from those domains or they limit submissions from them. It's always best to buy your own domain name (very important) and place it on a respected, paid hosting service to avoid being discriminated against.
- Make sure you're submitting within the recommended limits. Some engines do not like more than a certain number of submissions per day for the same domain. If you exceed the limit, you may find that all your submissions are ignored. Fortunately, Paramount Web Hosting's submitter will warn you regarding current limits and recommend you stay within them. Some submission consultants feel it is dangerous to submit more than ONE page a day to a engine for a given Web site. For those who wish to be ultra-conservative in their approach, the Paramount Web Hosting Submitter includes a checkbox to limit submissions to one URL per day per engine.
- If you're submitting to a directory site like Yahoo, Open Directory, Looksmart, or others, then they will review your site. They must decide the site is of sufficient "quality" before they will list it. See the directory submission guide on the Directory tab of the Submitter for tips on properly submitting to the directories.
- Paramount Web Hosting will tell you the average index time of each search engine. However, this is only an average. Sometimes engines will index sites every 30 days fairly consistently and then suddenly stop indexing most sites for several months. This can be frustrating, but it does happen. Generally a major engine will not go more than three to four months without refreshing its index.
Last but not least, sometimes the engines just lose submissions at random through technical errors and bugs. Therefore, some people like to resubmit once or twice a month for good merit in case they do lose a submission. Certainly if you've followed all the "rules" and are still not listed, re-submit! Sometimes a little persistence is all that's needed.