Friday, May 20, 2005

New Idea - Google webmaster control panel

[See previous]

If you watched the Google Factory Tour yesterday, you know that Google hinted at and then announced its version of a personalized homepage:What I am wondering is this: Can Google create a personalized page for WebMasters as well?

Here's the problem, and this problem happens both on big sites like HowStuffWorks as well as small sites. When you publish an article on your web site, you have no way to notify Google's spider that the article is available. So, on a big site like HowStuffWorks, it generally takes two or three days for the spider to come by and find the new article. On smaller sites it may be a week or more.

With a WebMaster interface, you would have two possible buttons. One would say, "Goggle, please spider this individual page". The other would say, "Google, please spider my entire site." When you push the button, the Google spider immediately crawls the page or the site and then the Google index updates immediately to show the changes.

Another part of the WebMaster control panel would show a complete list of all of the files from your site in the Google index. You can sort of get this now using the "site:" option, but it does not seem to be entirely accurate and it is not a compact list.

Another really nice feature for WebMasters might be this: The WebMaster types in a URL, and Google shows 10 or 20 keywords in the Google index where the page ranks highly.

Here's a feature that Google could implement with a little extra work. Google could, fairly easily, instrument its search result pages so that, when anyone clicks on a search result, Google counts the click. Then Google could create a page that indicates exactly which keywords on Google sent your site traffic, and how much traffic was sent. The one minor problem with this idea is that it would provide SEOs with even more data that they would then use to further optimize (corrupt) the Google index. On the other hand, if Google offered a WebMaster interface, it might be easier to detect SEO tampering.

The overall thrust of the idea is this: Give WebMasters some tools so they can interact directly with Google's spider and index. This would make Google's index more complete and more up-to-date.

If you have other ideas (or if you see flaws in these ideas), please add them to the comments.

For more information on Web sites, see WebKEW.

Comments:
"Then Google could create a page that indicates exactly which keywords on Google sent your site traffic, and how much traffic was sent."

Google could do this but it gives Google too much information.

Then what stops Google from charging sites for every click Google sends them?
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
The Google crawler hits my site 2 weeks apart so it sucks for blogging. What you talk about would help.
 
You can generally get this information from the web log refurl entry. Sure it would be nice if someone would collect all of that information and display it in an attractive display for you, but there is nothing stopping you from doing it yourself. In fact, there is nothing stopping you from paying someone to do it for you.
 
When you push the button, the Google spider immediately crawls the page or the site and then the Google index updates immediately to show the changes.

Two problems with this. First, spammers would love an option like this. And second, updating the index (during which people experience the famous Google Dance) takes a long time when you have 8 billion pages. If I am not mistaken, it just doesn't change your page's rank, it also must change the rank of the pages that link to you. Lots of work that is better done in batch mode and not immediately.

Another part of the WebMaster control panel would show a complete list of all of the files from your site in the Google index.

This may be good idea but will probably cause more abuse for webmasters than benefits, especially for the ones who practice security by obscurity. In addition to every public page for your site showing up, people might also find out that your admin page is called marshallbrain.com/myblogtool/login.php - how is this possible? If myBlogTool login page has a link to say, 'www.myblogtool.com' and you ever click to it, it is possible for www.myblogtool.com folks to know where you came from. A lot of blogs and sites foolishly and openly show a list of all the sites that link to them - referral list. And once Google crawls all these pages your admin page will be crawled. Sure, nobody knows your password but the fact that now we know you use myBlogTool Ver 2.4.3 which had a SQL Injection vulnerability makes you a pretty good target. If Google has a show every-page-on-site option, everyone's going to run it on irs.gov, whitehouse.gov, and a lot of universities and schools that has personal information on students.

Another really nice feature for WebMasters might be this: The WebMaster types in a URL, and Google shows 10 or 20 keywords in the Google index where the page ranks highly.

Potential to SEO abuse. Even lawsuits against Google when 3M finds out that some other site has higher pagerank for PostIt.

Then Google could create a page that indicates exactly which keywords on Google sent your site traffic, and how much traffic was sent.

As someone else commented, this is quite quite easy to accomplish using minor coding on your website. I do it for a lot of my non-busy websites and it is indeed helpful. On the top of every page, I make a simple database insert query that just adds the current visitor's IP/hostname, browser, referral page, and timestamp. If you code it well, you can actually see which pages some random visitor to your site checked out and how long he was on each page. It is much more efficient to set it up on your website than ask Google to do it for you. Plus now you can also tell when Yahoo and MSN are sending you visitors on what keywords.

In fact more decent log analyzers have the [top search words] section e.g. Webalizer.

Thanks.
 
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