Checking The Search Engine Index

If you want to check if pages from a web site are listed in a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or MSN, you can use the site: command. Simply type site: followed by the web site address (no spaces) into the search box, for example, as below:

Using the Site: Command on Google
This will return the pages from the site queried that are listed in that search engine. If the site queried is not listed in that search engine, there will be no results. (If it's your site you may want to consider submitting it to the relevant search engine! See my web design resources page for links to submit to the UK versions of Google, MSN & Yahoo.) In Google you need to go to the final page of the results and click on repeat the search with the omitted results included.

Google has previously excluded some pages in these results, such as pages from a site with duplicate title and description. Changes are now afoot to rectify this issue: read Using the site: command for more information and particulars about using the site: command in Google. If you have your site verified with Google you can perform this check on your own site in webmaster tools from the index stats link under the statistics tab.

The Site Command in Google Webmaster Tools
Occasionally pages may disappear altogether from the Googles index. I recently had a case where some main pages from my site were temporarily excluded. Sometimes this can be due to a penalty or ban imposed by Google, or maybe inadvertantly as a result of recent changes made to a site. In my case, the suggestion was made that this was the result of "everflux", basically a technical hiccup as the vast Google database updates. Seven days later the missing pages were back in the index. Panic over! The point here is that on occasions pages in good standing with Google may temporarily drop out of the index for a short time. Unfortunately this means that during that time those missing pages will not be returned in search results. This also highlights why it might be important to regularly perform a site: query on your website.

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