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How to Hide a Site from Search Engines During Development

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In this session, we discuss how to hide your website from Search Engines while you are still in the development phase. We also discuss why it is important to let search engines index your website if you are developing your website from scratch.

Video Transcript

Rick: And then you talked about the… no indexing?

Member: Yeah. In other words, if you don’t want the site to be visible on that settings, you can go in there and say no indexing until you’re ready to turn it on right?

Rick: You can.

Member: Is that the best way to do it?

Rick: Yeah, that is the best way to do it if you have a good reason for doing it that way. However you know, if I’m developing a site from scratch, I don’t do that unless I’m developing it on a development server. If I’m developing a site from scratch for somebody, I’ll leave the indexing on. I let Google come and find it even if it’s not finished yet. You’re not going to get very much traffic but Google will start registering its presence.

Member: Okay, I was wondering about that.

Rick: And if it takes you 3 months to develop your site before you flip the switch, if you let Google index it, Google thinks your site’s 3 months old. If you don’t let Google index it, Google thinks your site was born the day you flipped the switch. Now if you flip the switch and your site is fully populated with content then that looks very much like spam sites because spammers put together these fake content sites you know, fully populated with content and instantly install a brand new site with you know, all the content already intact. And with you know, essentially with a click of a button, you have a whole site set up. And that is perfectly ligitimate behavior if you sort of want to unveil your site at one point, without anybody finding it otherwise. But it’s also spam behavior because spammers are attempting to automate back linking and automate SEO with spam content sites. And so since it’s automated, it happens instantly and Google can’t really tell the difference between the two. I mean, it’s a fully populated site in an instant, one way or the other.

Member: Okay, I got.

Rick: If you build your site over time then that’s what Google really expects. Google really expects to see a site with not very much and then with a little bit more and then a little bit more and then a little bit more. And Google’s not you know, Google becomes accustomed to you and your presence and it doesn’t have to try and figure out whether or not you’re a spammer.

Member: That makes sense.

Rick: So yes you can turn off access to it if you have a strong reason for doing it. And when I’m developing a site for a client on a development server then I do turn it off because I don’t want my development site to conflict with their site. I don’t want my development site to have a higher rank in Google because it’s you know, newer. I mean, because it’s older when the switch turns on and I don’t want Google to think that my development server is the place where traffic should be sent. The only reason I have a development server is so that the client can see the site while it’s being developed.

Member: Right. I think another good reason might be if they already had a… let’s say you decided to have just a one-page website and you build another website and then you want to migrate that new website all at once over to the new site and eliminate the page and you’re transferring from a hosting company, so to speak, which I did with this last one. Okay, that makes sense.

Rick: And so in that case, while you’re developing the big site, you would leave it unindexed because you… when it comes time for indexing, you don’t want the development site indexed. You want the real site indexed.

Member: Right. And the real site like the one page site that was there, it was already indexed and it had been out there for several years.

Rick: Yeah so you don’t want to develop competition for it accidentally then.

Member: Right, right. Okay, that makes sense. Thanks.

Rick: You’re welcome.

 

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