Robots Simulator: A Webmaster’s Best Friend
Studies show that web users will only read the top 15 search results for any given query. That means millions of websites gather dust, never to be seen—and what’s the point of creating that content if you’re not read?
Thus evolved the science of search engine optimization, which includes key word counts, editing metatags, link management. Webmasters can spend weeks, even months, fine-tuning these elements—but like any product, it needs a test drive. That’s what search engine spider simulators are for.
A search engine spider simulator, also known as search engine robot simulator, allow you to see the page as other web crawlers do. “Robots” is an industry term that describes how Google, et. al scour the Internet for new pages. They’re like electronic detectives, with each given a particular task. Some bots are designed to follow every link, downloading as many pages as possible for a particular index or query. Others are programmed to look out for new content.
Both these bots play a huge role in whether or not your website ends up in the top 15…or languishes at the bottom.
Does it index every page of your site? It’s highly possible that a programming glitch causes the bot to skip a large portion of your content. There goes all your efforts to increase keywords or optimize titles and crossheads!
It’s also possible that the bots are basing your ranking on old versions of your website, unable to recognize the changes you have made. You might as well have not done anything at all.
You may have also made the mistake of accidentally blocking a bot from checking a section of your site. While it is important to restrict website users’ access to sensitive information—for example, those reserved for a company’s internal networks; the personal information of members who have signed up for a newsletter; or premium pages that you’d rather reserve for paying subscribers—the bot should be given free rein, if only to improve your chances of getting a higher ranking. If not, that’s just like throwing the bot with the bathwater.
It would be impossible to pick up these errors without actually recreating how the bots review your site. You can do this by using a robot simulation software, many of which can be found on the Internet Using the same processes and strategies of different search engines, these programs will “read” your site and inform you of which pages are skipped, which links are ignored, and which errors it encounters. You can also review the robot.txt files, which will enable you to spot any problems and correct them before you submit them to real search engines.
See, that’s why robot simulators are a webmaster’s best friend.
About the Author: XML-Sitemaps.com provides free online tools for webmasters including a search engine robot simulator and a Google sitemap validator.