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The answer to a recent question from one of my clients is worth passing on. Google’s main indexing spider, the ‘Googlebot’ retrieves only the HTML that it finds for each page it locates. Despite the presence of images in the Google cache suggesting the opposite, the file presented from Google’s cache simply relies on the image files (and CSS for that matter) still being present on the original server. Googlebot-image, on the other hand, is a separate crawler that gets the images and stores them in the Google image search index. In my experience, the image bot is also a far less frequent visitor.

The original question related to tracking the visits of search engine spiders when the web stats being relied upon are using JavaScript tagging. These tags are not processed by the Lynx-type software bots from the search engines, so the possibility of using an image ‘get’ as a tracking method was suggested. Sadly this won’t work.

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Filed in Blog, September 20th, 2005. Leave a comment, or trackback from your own site. Follow comments via RSS

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