iWeb FAQ - Show up in Google

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How can I get my iWeb created (and non iWeb created) website to show up on google? And what about Meta-Tags?

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Please note that this is different from having a google search box on your site and to have it searching within you website. For that have a look at this page instead.



Chapter 1: Applications

Chapter 2: Manually going through the process step by step

Chapter 3: What is a robots file? What is it good for? How is it made?

Chapter 4: About search engine optimization (SEO)

Chapter 5: Search engine optimization (SEO) tutorial video for iWeb

Chapter 6: About meta-tags

Chapter 7: About Google and domain masking

Chapter 8: “I have now been told that the iWeb sites are based on images, not text, hence they won't show up on a Google search. help!”




Chapter 1: Applications


If you don't want to go through all the steps there’s an application you could use:


Rage Sitemap Automator ( 29.99 $ )

Rage Sitemap Automator is an application made by Rage. It will produce your sitemap, upload it and verify it with Google, Yahoo and Ask.com. It is really fast and the good thing about it is that you can use it for non-iWeb created websites too (WordPress Blogs, PhpBB Forums, Dreamweaver, or whatever). So it’s certainly worth the money. It’s also recommend if you have multiple websites. To get Rage Sitemap Automator click here.


If you don’t want to pay for that then go through the following steps...



Chapter 2: Manually going through the process step by step


If you have multiple Sites published to the same server also read magenta


1) Submit your URL going to addurl


2) Register here to register to the Google Webmaster Tools.


3) Before creating a Sitemap of your site there is a problem: The Navigation Bar of iWeb ’08 and iWeb ’09 is Javascript rendering so Google and other search engines (and applications for making Sitemaps) can’t look it through and don’t see what pages your website contains. The solution is to put a second Navbar on the bottom of the page made by your own, that’s how: create a text field, make normal text links to the pages included in the Navbar and you’re done (you can see an example of it at the bottom of this page). The search engines will now follow those links. Best is to make it once and then copy and paste it to the other pages included in the navbar. However you don’t have to put it on all your pages. Add it to the first page of your website.


4) Now create a sitemap http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

-Put your base URL (www.yourdomain.com) where it says Starting URL

If you have multiple websites submit http://yourdomain.com/sitename/

-Click on start


5) Download the un-compressed XML Sitemap


6) Open it in Safari to see if almost all pages are included, if they aren’t something went wrong. If it doesn’t open with Safari right-click on it (ctrl+click) and choose “Open with” and select “Safari”.


7) If it’s ok. Upload that file to the main location on your server (not in the folder named with the title of your site...) (If you don't know what the root is or how this is done read it here)

Entering: http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml in your browser should bring up this file. If it doesn’t come up in the browser then something went wrong and you will have to find out what. You probably placed it into the wrong location.

If you have different websites change the name of the sitemap.xml file to sitename_sitemap.xml


8) Once you uploaded that file go to the Google Webmaster Tools you registered to in Step 2.  In the Dashboard if it isn’t already already on the list you need to add your base URL. To do that hit “Add site”
, type your domain in the appearing box

http://yourdomain.com




and hit “Continue”.


9) Google will ask you to verify that it really is your website.


Under “Choose verification method” select “Upload an HTML file”.


Download the HTML file by hitting “this HTML verification file” and you will get a file called google8824XXXXXX.html or similar.


Put it in the main location on your server (same location where the sitemap.xml file is)

Entering: www.yourdomain.com/google8824XXXXXX.html in your browser should bring up this file. If it doesn’t come up in the browser then something went wrong and you will have to find out what.


Once you uploaded the file hit “Verify” and you will see a message appearing at the top of the window




and get redirected to the Dashboard.


Now go to “Site configuration” and “Sitemaps”




and hit
.


10) If you uploaded your sitemap to the root of your server (If you don't know what the root is or how this is done read it here) you will just have to type in "sitemap.xml" (or the name of the file if you renamed it)




and click on “Submit Sitemap”.

If you have multiple websites sitename_sitemap.xml

Do Steps 4 to 10 for the other sites as well. In the end all your sitemaps will show up in the Dashboard.


Again a message will appear at the top of the window




and your sitemap will be on the list:




11) That’s it. However you will have to wait about two weeks before you see your site indexed by google. To see if your website is indexed in google go to google, in the search box type site:’your url’ (see example here ) note that it changes whether you include or not the www. I find most of my pages indexed without because I first registered it that way.


You will have to replace the old Sitemap with a new one every time you add a new page to your website to keep it updated. No need to update it if you republish without having added a new page. To replace a sitemap:

- Make a new sitemap

  1. -Upload it to your Server

  2. -Go to your Google Webmaster Tools account

  3. -Click on the URL of your site

  4. -Go to Sitemaps, Check the box near the sitemap file name and hit “Resubmit selected” and you’re done.



Chapter 3: What is a robots file? What is it good for? How is it made?


A robots.txt file is used to tell search engines (such as Google or Yahoo) which pages or folder you don't want to be indexed by them. There are many reasons why you would want to avoid some pages from being indexed. Either because a page or an entire site is just for testing purpose and not to be seen by everybody or because it contains private informations about you and your family and you don't want it to be searchable and so on.


I made a file filled with some sample informations. You can download that file by clicking here.


When you open it in TextEdit or any other text editor application you will see the following page:




Disallow: /test/ means that search engines will not index the whole /test/ folder which is on my server and its entire content.

Disallow: /sample/Sample.html means that search engines will not index the Sample.html page which is contained in the /sample/folder. However all other pages in the /sample/ folder will be indexed.

Disallow: example.html means that they will not index the example.html page which is in the root of the server.


You have to upload the robots.txt file to the root of your server (If you don't know what the root is or how this is done read it here) so that it is reachable under

http://yourdomain.com/robots.txt



Chapter 4: About search engine optimization (SEO)


The most important thing is to have a navigation menu which readable for search engines by making your own as previously mentioned and keep your sitemaps up-to-date. Use synonyms in your content. Write your content so that it fits as good as possible everything a 'googler' could search for.


To know what Googlers are searching for visit this page: Google insights for search.

As an example if you have a website with music lyrics write “lyrics” in the searchbox. Scroll down and you will see which lyrics are the most-searched ones at the moment. You can also select an area. The lyrics searched for in the UK usually are different from the ones searched in the USA. These are the keywords you have to integrate in your content.


In the end it’s all about three things: Content, Content and Content



Chapter 5: Search engine optimization (SEO) tutorial video for iWeb




If you want to know more about SEO I would recommend you Rage’s iWeb SEO Video Walkthrough Tutorial which provides you with great step by step insights on what you can do to improve your website’s performance on search engines. The price of 69.95$ may seem a little high but I think it is justified by the content and the fact that it will help you to get more visitors and hence generate more income if you’re running a business. Of course the video makes use of applications made by Rage like the Sitemap Automator (29.95$) used to create, upload and submit sitemaps to various search engines and the iWeb SEO Tool (freeware) used to add meta-tags, alt-tags and more to your website. As you will read in the next sub-chapter I think meta description-tags are useless. But alt-texts are alternative text for images which to me are useful especially for search engines because they can’t actually look at the picture to see what’s on them. You can also just look at the video without buying the applications.



Chapter 6: About meta-tags


Some time ago you could "feed" search engines with words (keywords) by putting them in the meta tags (more precisely meta description tags). Nowadays search engines ignore those tags (probably due to spamming) and only look at the content. To me meta description tags are useless.


On this Google Webmaster Help page Google states that


"This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results."


Under the title tag looking at my website on Google the actual content of the pages displays. If you don't add meta tags to your pages Google takes the whole content of the page. Depending on what the potential-vistors search for the description (snippet of the content of my pages) changes dynamically. If the relevant part is at the bottom of the page it shows the bottom of the page if it's at the top it shows the top. Meta description tags aren't so dynamical. In addition to that if one puts a sentence in the meta description tags it would just show that sentence. Whereas if the content is taken it contains a lot of sentences, meaning many keywords.

 

On the previously linked Google Webmaster Help page clicking on More informations talking about meta tags they state:


"they won't impact your ranking within search results"


which is the main reason why people want to add them: a higher ranking. Doesn’t work, sorry.


I read that Yahoo makes more use of the tags than Google does. But it's a fact that more than 70% of the searches on the web are made with Google (who's using Yahoo?). Also remember that if a website gets indexed by Google it most probably will be indexed by Yahoo and other search engines too.


I never did any Meta Tags and it seems to me that my site works fine without Meta Tags on Google... Google includes Page Title and Page Content.


Another issue with Meta Tags on iWeb is that if I publish to a folder I can add MetaTags but next time I publish to a folder iWeb will overwrite that file and the Meta Tags are gone... I then would have to add them all over again... Time... Time... Time...


Bottom line: I see no need to include Meta Description Tags.


Of course that’s my point of view. But people reading this: You're free to decide on your own... It's up to you...



Chapter 7: About Google and domain masking:


Using WebForward with cloaking/masking may make the sites appear in google without content because it generates an iFrame embedding the content but the page itself doesn’t have any. If you want your sites to appear in Google under your personal domain you have to have it forwarded as CNAME. Look at the Personal domains FAQ for further informations.



Chapter 8: “I have now been told that the iWeb sites are based on images, not text, hence they won't show up on a Google search. help!”


iWeb pages are text. BUT (that's what the one who told you meant) if you use custom Fonts, thus not Internet Standard Fonts, those text fields will be converted in an image by iWeb to be sure that people see the texts as you chose.

Yet, again, as long as you use Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica and other Internet standard fonts it's NOT image, IT IS TEXT.

To see which text fields are gonna be turned into images go to File=>Preferences and check the “Show text imaging indicator” box. iWeb is gonna display a yellow picture symbol on the text field. The symbol will not be published to the net.




This FAQ is also discussed in my iWebFAQ.org E-Book (sample)


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