DU Google Search Guidelines and Tips

DU has invested significant resources in licensing the Google Search Appliance. The technology driving search results at our institution is the best available. However, the DU Google search will do the best job of finding and ranking your pages if you follow some basic guidelines. These recommendations will help your pages to be better ranked on external search engines (such as google.com or bing.com) as well.

Ensuring that your content gets found

The DU Google Appliance is constantly indexing DU web content. It does this by "crawling" through online documents using a browser to follow links from specified starting points. Your content will NOT be found unless it meets both of the following criteria:

  1. The content must be stored where DU Google is configured to crawl;
  2. Your content must be reachable by following links from a starting point in the crawl (or be a starting url);

If your content is not being found, and you believe it should be, please contact the DU Google Search Administrator.

Optimizing your pages for better results/ranking

Please visit the "Optimizing search results and ranking" tips page for suggestions on how to improve the ranking of your pages in the Google results.

Hiding pages from DU Google

The DU Google Appliance is setup to search most du.edu servers. But it is also setup to ignore a few specific servers and sub-directories on www.du.edu. Any directory named "work" (all lowercase) will be off limits to the internal search engine. We recommend that you use a work directory to house pages that are not yet ready for public viewing.

DU Google employs a "crawler" to create an index of pages linked to each other. So, any page that has never been linked to any other page on DU Web servers will not be found.

To ensure that a single page is not indexed by a Google crawler, you can use the robots META tag with "noindex". Here's how: In the head of an html document type the following into the code:

<META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex">

Most major crawlers (including Google) respect the "noindex" value -- but there is no guarantee that all crawlers will skip a page employing this method. If you page is hosted on a public web server, and there are links to that page from any other web pages, you should consider the content public even if you use "noindex."

Identifying why your efforts aren't rewarded instantly

DU Google constantly refines its database of information about each page it crawls on DU web servers. Building the database by crawling each page takes time. When you add or change ranking factors you may not see the results immediately. The Google Appliance crawls continually, but does not index every page, every day. In general, most pages are indexed two to three times a week.

Questions about DU Google Search?

Contact the DU Google Search Administrator.