Wednesday, February 23, 2005

googlebot, reverse psychology, and you

Last week we started watching a thread at WMW called "Inclusion in the Google Index," in which several members (who currently exclude googlebot from their sites via robots.txt) claimed to have received emails from Google encouraging them to open up their sites to Google.

The thread quickly turns into yet another "Google sucks" thread, with some criticisms that seem quite legitimate, and others that cross the line into whiny. At one point, a poster tries to gather support by asking,
Who's in for a "Google Free Site" with its own little logo, webring and a page explaining why more and more webmasters are blocking the google bot….this should/will hit prime time news in no time.

Maybe we should start a yahoo group on this topic. Lets teach them PHD's to stop messing with the web's heart & soul....us webmasters.
This is, of course, admirable, but it reminded us of the scene in Animal House in which Bluto (after the memorable reference to the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor) tried to drum up support against Dean Wormer, Greg Marmalard, et al.:
"And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...
[thinks hard]
the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!"
... then ran, alone, out of the room, assuming all the others were right behind him.

But given the recent Allegra update, at nine pages and counting, the WMW thread misses obvious question. If your site is a poor performer at Google - heavily penalized, sandboxed, or outright banned - could it be a smart idea to refuse entry to Googlebot, thus, apparently, piquing its interest? If you ban the bot for a few months, clean up your site, and then let the bot back in, could that be one way to clean your site's slate and have Google give it a fresh look? Idle speculation, of course, but worth checking out.

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