Saturday, March 20, 2010

Working with Multilingual Websites


A multilingual website is any website that offers content in more than one language. Examples of multilingual websites might include a Canadian business with an English and a French version of its site, or a blog on Latin American soccer available in both Spanish and Portuguese.

Usually, it makes sense to have a multilingual website when your target audience consists of speakers of different languages. If your blog on Latin American soccer aims to reach the Brazilian audience, you may choose to publish it only in Portuguese. But if you’d like to reach soccer fans from Argentina also, then providing content in Spanish could help you with that.

Google and Language Recognition

Google tries to determine the main languages of each one of your pages. You can help to make language recognition easier if you stick to only one language per page and avoid side-by-side translations. Although Google can recognize a page as being in more than one language, we recommend using the same language for all elements of a page: headers, sidebars, menus, etc.

Keep in mind that Google ignores all code-level language information, from “lang” attributes to Document Type Definitions (DTD). Some web editing programs create these attributes automatically, and therefore they aren’t very reliable when trying to determine the language of a webpage.

Someone who comes to Google and does a search in their language expects to find

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Free Google and Yahoo! Sitemap Generator for Windows

Google Sitemaps allows the webmaster to help Google index their pages optimally. The GSiteCrawler will help you generate the best Google Sitemap file for your website. The GSiteCrawler uses different ways to find all the pages in your website and can generate all sorts of files, statistics and more. The sitemaps file format has lately been also adapted by Yahoo! - even MSN/ is pledging it's support.

Making sitemap files has never been so easy!
The GSiteCrawler is available for free and runs under Windows - all you need is an internet connection and the desire to make the most out of your website!

Do you only need a quick sitemap file? Just follow the steps in the integrated wizard and you'll have the sitemap file on your server in no time!

Are you looking for more than just a sitemap?

The program also offers tons of options, settings, tweaks, and more - if you want to do more than generate just a simple sitemap file. How about a urllist-file for Yahoo? an RSS feed? a ROR file? a HTML sitemap page? It's all possible with the GSiteCrawler!


GSiteCrawler Features
In general, the GSiteCrawler will take a listing of your websites URLs, let you edit the settings and generate Google Sitemap files. However, the GSiteCrawler is very flexible and allows you to do a whole lot more than "just" that!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Working with Multi-regional Websites


Did you know that a majority of users surveyed feel that having information in their own language was more important than a low price? Living in a non-English-speaking country, I've seen friends and family members explicitly look for and use local and localized websites—properly localized sites definitely have an advantage with users. Google works hard to show users the best possible search results. Many times those are going to be pages that are localized, for the user's location and/or in the user's language.

If you're planning to take the time to create and maintain a localized version of your website, making it easy to recognize and find is a logical part of that process. In this blog post series, we'll take a look at what is involved with multi-regional and multi-lingual websites from a search engine point of view. A multi-regional website is one that explicitly targets users in various regions (generally different countries); we call it multilingual when it is available in multiple languages, and sometimes, the website targets both multiple regions and is in multiple languages. Let's start with some general preparations and then look at websites that target multiple regions.

Preparing for Global Websites

Expanding a website to cover multiple regions and/or languages can be challenging. By creating multiple versions of your website, any issues with the base version will be multiplied; make sure that you have everything working properly before you start. Given that this generally means you'll suddenly be working with a multiplied number of URLs, don't forget that you'll need appropriate infrastructure to support the website.

Planning Multi-regional Websites

When planning sites for multiple regions (usually countries), don't forget to research legal or administrative requirements that might come into play first. These requirements may determine how you proceed, for instance whether or not you would be eligible to use a country-specific domain name.

All websites start with domain names; when it comes to domain names, Google differentiates between two types of domain names:
  • ccTLDs (country-code top level domain names): These are tied to a specific country (for example .de for Germany, .cn for China). Users and search engines use this as a strong sign that your website is explicitly for a certain country.
  • gTLDs (generic top level domain names): These are not tied to a specific country. Examples of gTLds are .com, .net, .org, .museum. Google sees regional top level domain names such as .eu and .asia as gTLDs, since they cannot be tied to a specific country. We also treat some vanity ccTLDs (such as .tv, .me, etc.) as gTLDs as we've found that users and webmasters frequently see these as being more generic than country-targeted (we don't have a complete list of such vanity ccTLDs that we treat as gTLDs as it may change over time). You can set geotargeting for websites with gTLDs using the Webmaster Tools Geographic Target setting.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Microdata Support for Rich Snippets


HTML5 is the fifth major revision of HTML, the core language of the World Wide Web. The HTML5 specification includes a description of microdata, a new markup standard for specifying structured information within web pages.

Today, we’re happy to announce support for microdata for use in rich snippets in addition to our existing support for microformats and RDFa. By using microdata markup in your web pages, you can specify reviews, people profiles, or events information on your web pages that Google may use to improve the presentation of your pages in Google search results.

Here is a simple HTML block showing a section of a review of “L’Amourita Pizza”:

Here is the same HTML with microdata added to specify the restaurant being reviewed, the author and date of the review, and the rating:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Google's SEO Report Card


How many of Google's web pages use a descriptive title tag? Do we use description meta tags? Heading tags? While we always try to focus on the user, could our products use an SEO tune up? These are just some of the questions we set out to answer with Google's SEO Report Card.

Google's SEO Report Card is an effort to provide Google's product teams with ideas on how they can improve their products' pages using simple and accepted optimizations. These optimizations are intended to not only help search engines understand the content of our pages better, but also to improve our users' experience when visiting our sites. Simple steps such as fixing 404s and broken links, simplifying URL choice, and providing easier-to-understand titles and snippets for our pages can benefit both users and search engines. From the start of the project we also wanted to release the report card publicly so other companies and webmasters could learn from the report, which is filled with dozens of examples taken straight from our products' pages.

The project looked at the main pages of 100 different Google products,

Sharing the Verification Love


Everything is more fun with a friend! We've just added a feature to Webmaster Tools Site Verification to make it easier to share verified ownership of your websites.

In the past, if more than one person needed to be a verified owner of a website, they each had to go through the meta tag or HTML file verification process. That works fine for some situations, but for others it can be challenging. For example, what if you have twenty people who need to be verified owners of your site? Adding twenty meta tags or HTML files could be pretty time consuming. Our new verification delegation feature makes adding new verified owners a snap.

Once you're a verified owner of a website, you can view the Verification Details page (linked from Webmaster Tools or the Verification home page). That page will show you information about the site as well as a list of any other verified owners. At the bottom of the list of owners,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is Your Site Hacked? New Message Center Notifications for Hacking and Abuse


As we crawl the web, we see bad content inserted on to thousands of hacked sites each day. The number of sites attacked is staggering and the problem is only getting worse. Hackers and spammers target and successfully compromise any sites they can - small personal sites, schools and universities, even multinational corporations. Spam attacks against forums and user content sections of sites, though not as shocking, are even more widespread.

You may have read in an earlier post that we've begun notifying webmasters about new software versions via Webmaster Tools to help protect their sites. Continuing with our effort to provide more useful information to webmasters, we're happy to announce that we'll soon be sending even more notifications to the Message Center.

Starting this month, we will notify more webmasters of more potential issues we've detected on their websites, including:
These notifications are meant to alert webmasters of potential issues and provide next steps on how to get their sites fixed and back into Google's search results.