How Does Your Site Look to the Search Engines?

When search engines like Google or bing look at your website, they don’t see your colors or pictures. They see something like what you see in the image here.

Lynx web browser

This picture shows you the homepage for this website, as it looks in a text-only web browser called Lynx. If you want to see how your page looks, you can use Yellowpipe’s Lynx simulation tool. This tool is intended only for content developers who want to look at their own pages.

Let me back up a minute now. Web browsers are programs like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer. They show you web pages. Lynx is a special browser that shows you only text. It is used by people who want to use very old computers for some reason, and by web designers and developers who want to be able to see how the search engines see their pages. That’s about it.

As you can see, without the colors and pictures, web pages look pretty dull. However, if you clicked to enlarge the image, you could see that it says things about blogging and SEO and social media and online content, so the search engines can tell what HadenInteractive.com is about.

The page goes on for quite a long time — you’re just seeing the top of it. At the bottom, it shows all the links, such as the Clients page to which the Clients navigation button is linked.

Here’s another example, though, from a website we’re redoing. This is the “before,” and this is the entire page.

Not much there, eh? You can see the list of links — the navigation — in blue at the bottom. There’s some navigation, and a single large image, and nothing else.

Although the Yellowpipe Lynx viewer is only intended to show people their own pages, I don’t mind showing you this one because there’s really nothing there.

This is what the search engines see when your homepage consists of a large image. There are words on the image, but they are part of the picture, so the search engines don’t see them at all. What the search engines see in the place of that image is “booklrg.jpg” and that doesn’t tell them much.

Google, when looking at this webpage, sees only the name of the site. If someone searches for the name of the site, they will get this website. Otherwise, the search engines will never show this site to a searcher, because they can’t tell what it’s about. As you can imagine, the owner of this website isn’t happy with the amount of traffic the site receives.

We’re building a new website for the owner of this one. It will contain lots of content for the search engines, and it’ll get lots more human visitors. Check your website. Can the search engines tell what you’re all about?


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