How Can I View Web Pages the Way Search Engines View Them?

When it comes to parsing, gathering and interpreting data, search engines are still far from perfect. When doing SEO, it’s useful to keep in mind the limitations and challenges of search engines, and in doing so, to craft pages in such a way that will make it as easy as possible for search engines to index and understand the content of a given page.

There are at least three ways to view the actual components of a Web page in the same way that search engines do: by viewing page source codes, by using tools, and by viewing Webmaster tools.

The first is by looking at source code.

If you’re not a world-class programmer, or you just like looking at only the high-impact pieces of a page, then you should use tools. Here are a few recommendations.

WEBMASTER TOOLS

Get Google and Bing’s view of your site. Both Google and Bing include errors with XML site maps. Google offers xml sitemap indexation percentages, click-thru rates from search engine results pages, editorial control over site links, links to your site and anchor text.

SOURCE CODE

This is as easy as opening a Web browser such as Chrome, right clicking your mouse, and selecting “view source.” This is most useful if you’re trying to get an idea of which content search engines see first, or how much JavaScript or non-search-friendly code a particular page has, but it’s not by any means the quickest way to analyze high-impact items such as meta-data and htags.

SEO X-RAY

For a quick look at a page’s Title Tags, H-tags, meta-descriptions, and meta-data, it’s hard to do better than SEOBook’s toolbar extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Simply install the extension, then go to any Web page and click the x-ray symbol to peek under the hood.

CHROME SEO

This is a Chrome extension that reveals a site’s IP address, server location, domain registration information, the presence of a site map and robots.txt files. This tool also uses APIs to pull in other useful items such as backlinks to an existing page and social bookmark listings.

PAGERANK TOOLBARS

There are a number of browser tool bars that display Google PageRank with varying degrees of reliability. One of the best is the one included with SEO Book’s Firefox and Chrome toolbars.

William Tyree is a marketing technologist and writer, and is currently Vice President of Marketing for DemandResults, creator of SEO for Salesforce. He has worked as a marketing and technology strategist in a variety of industries, including B2B software, entertainment, healthcare, legal, large nonprofit, eGovernment and food & beverage. His writing has been published in Harvard Review, The Atlantic, Japan Inc and elsewhere.

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About William Tyree

William Tyree is a marketing technologist and writer, and is currently Vice President of Marketing for DemandResults. He has worked as a marketing and technology strategist in a variety of industries, including B2B software, entertainment, healthcare, legal, large nonprofit, eGovernment and food & beverage. His writing has been published in Harvard Review, The Atlantic, Japan Inc and elsewhere.

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