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SEO Experiment: Let Google Sort it Out

One way to prevent Google from crawling certain pages is to use <meta /> elements in the <head></head> section of your web documents. For example, if I want to prevent Google from indexing and archiving a certain page, I would add the following code to the head of my document: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex,noarchive” /> I’m no SEO guru, but it is my general understanding that it is possible to manipulate the flow of page rank throughout a site through strategic implementation of <meta /> directives. Read more »

Yahoo! Slurp too Stupid to be a Robot

I really hate bad robots. When a web crawler, spider, bot — or whatever you want to call it — behaves in a way that is contrary to expected and/or accepted protocols, we say that the bot is acting suspiciously, behaving badly, or just acting stupid in general. Unfortunately, there are thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of nefarious bots violating our websites every minute of the day. For the most part, there are effective methods available enabling us to protect our sites against the endless hordes of irrelevant and mischievous bots. Such evil is easily blocked with […] Read more »

Yahoo! Lies about Obeying Robots.txt Directives

There are two possibilities here: Yahoo!’s Slurp crawler is broken or Yahoo! lies about obeying Robots directives. Either case isn’t good. Slurp just can’t seem to keep its nose out of my private business. And, as I’ve discussed before, this happens all the time. Here are the two most recent offenses, as recorded in the log file for my blackhole spider trap: Read more »

CSS Implementations of the Rich and Famous

A great way to improve your CSS skills is to check out the stylesheets used by other websites. Digging behind the scenes and exploring some applied CSS provides new ideas and insights about everything from specificity and formatting to hacks and shortcuts. Learning CSS by reading about ideal cases and theoretical applications is certainly important, but actually seeing how the language is applied in “real-world” scenarios provides first-hand knowledge and insight. While there are millions of standards-based, CSS-designed websites to explore, studying a few of the Web’s elite players and CSS experts helps to put things into perspective by providing […] Read more »

Yahoo! Once Again Caught Disobeying Robots.txt Rules

Hmmm.. Let’s see here. Google can do it. MSN/Live can do it. Even Ask can do it. So why oh why can’t Yahoo’s grubby Slurp crawler manage to adhere to robots.txt crawl directives? Just when I thought Yahoo! finally figured it out, I discover more Slurp tracks in my Blackhole trap for bad spiders: Read more »

Yahoo Incongruities.

When frustration builds, and finally reaches its the boiling point, it’s nice to be able to express yourself to someone. Although I really don’t enjoy ranting about things, but when it comes to certain aspects of Yahoo!, I just can’t he’p myse’f. So, thanks to recent attempt at using My Yahoo!, it’s time to get some of this off my chest, clear the decks, and give Yahoo! (yet another) chance to clean up its act. Here are a few complaints I have against various aspects of the Yahoo! enterprise.. First and foremost, Yahoo! sends virtually zero traffic. I know this […] Read more »

Unexplained Crawl Behavior Involving Tagged Query Strings

I need your help! I am losing my mind trying to solve another baffling mystery. For the past three or four months, I have been recording many 404 Errors generated from msnbot, Yahoo-Slurp, and other spider crawls. These errors result from invalid requests for URLs containing query strings such as the following: http://perishablepress.com/press/page/2/?tag=spam http://perishablepress.com/press/page/3/?tag=code http://perishablepress.com/press/page/2/?tag=email http://perishablepress.com/press/page/2/?tag=xhtml http://perishablepress.com/press/page/4/?tag=notes http://perishablepress.com/press/page/2/?tag=flash http://perishablepress.com/press/page/2/?tag=links http://perishablepress.com/press/page/3/?tag=theme http://perishablepress.com/press/page/2/?tag=press ..plus hundreds and hundreds more 1. The URL pattern is always the same: a different page number followed by a query string containing one of the tags used here at Perishable Press, for example: “/?tag=something”. The problem is that there are […] Read more »

Yahoo! Slurp in My Blackhole (Yet Again)

Yup, ‘ol Slurp is at it again, flagrantly disobeying specific robots.txt rules forbidding access to my bad-bot trap, lovingly dubbed the “blackhole.” As many readers know, this is not the first time Yahoo has been caught behaving badly. This time, Yahoo was caught trespassing five different times via three different IPs over the course of four different days. Here is the data recorded in my site’s blackhole log (I know, that sounds terrible): Read more »

Yahoo! in my Blackhole

Okay, I realize that the title sounds a bit odd, but nowhere near as odd as my recent discovery of Slurp ignoring explicit robots.txt rules and digging around in my highly specialized bot trap, which I have lovingly dubbed “the blackhole”. What is up with that, Yahoo!? — does your Slurp spider obey robots.txt directives or not? I have never seen Google crawling around that side of town, neither has MSN nor even Ask ventured into the forbidden realms. Has anyone else experienced such unexpected behavior from one the four major search engines? Hmmm.. let’s dig a little further.. Here […] Read more »

Prevent JavaScript Elements from Breaking Page Layout when Following Yahoo Performance Tip #6: Place Scripts at the Bottom

By now, everyone is familiar with the Yahoo Developer Network’s 14 “best-practices” for speeding up your website. Certainly, many (if not all) of these performance optimization tips are ideal for high-traffic sites such as Yahoo or Google, but not all of them are recommended for smaller sites such as Perishable Press. Nonetheless, throughout the current site renovation project, I have attempted to implement as many of these practices as possible. At the time of this writing, I somehow have managed to score an average 77% (whoopee!) via the YSlow extension for Firebug. Of the handful of these tips that I […] Read more »

How to Verify the Four Major Search Engines

Keeping track of your access and error logs is a critical component of any serious security strategy. Many times, you will see a recorded entry that looks legitimate, such that it may easily be dismissed as genuine Google fare, only to discover upon closer investigation a fraudulent agent. There are many such cloaked or disguised agents crawling around these days, mimicking various search engines to hide beneath the radar. Thus, it is a good idea to implement a procedure for scanning and checking select agents for authenticity. In general, the verification process involves a “forward/reverse” DNS lookup, which is then […] Read more »

Suspicious Behavior from Yahoo! Slurp Crawler

Most of the time, when I catch scumbags attempting to spam, scrape, leech, or otherwise hack my site, I stitch up a new voodoo doll and let the cursing begin. No, seriously, I just blacklist the idiots. I don’t need their traffic, and so I don’t even blink while slamming the doors in their faces. Of course, this policy presents a bit of a dilemma when the culprit is one of the four major search engines. Slamming the door on Yahoo! would be unwise, but if their Slurp crawler continues behaving suspiciously, I may have no choice. Check out the […] Read more »

Robots Notes Plus

About the Robots Exclusion Standard 1: The robots exclusion standard or robots.txt protocol is a convention to prevent cooperating web spiders and other web robots from accessing all or part of a website. The information specifying the parts that should not be accessed is specified in a file called robots.txt in the top-level directory of the website. Notes on the robots.txt Rules: Rules of specificity apply, not inheritance. Always include a blank line between rules. Note also that not all robots obey the robots rules — even Google has been reported to ignore certain robots rules. Also, comments are allowed […] Read more »

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