Googlebot and Mediabot - Can you get in trouble?
On the PubCon Publishers Search and Marketing Conferences
in Boston, Google's Matt Cutts revealed interesting information
about Mediabot and how it could influence your Google rankings.
What are Googlebot and Mediabot?
Search engines use software programs (so-called bots or
spiders) to index web pages. These bots follow all links
they can find on the Internet to index web pages for their
The name of Google's bot is Googlebot. If you see an entry
with the name Googlebot in your web site statistics
then Googlebot has visited your web site.
In addition to Googlebot, Google also operates another
bot with the name Mediabot. Mediabot is the bot
that is used by Google to index web sites that display
AdSense ads. Google indexes these pages to find out which
ads Google should display on these pages.
What's the problem with Mediabot?
Until recently, Google has denied that displaying AdSense
ads on your web pages has any effect on your Google rankings.
However, some webmasters noticed that web pages that have
only been visited by Mediabot and not by Googlebot showed
up in Google's search results.
Google's Matt Cutts confirmed at
the Boston PubCon 2006 that the MediaBot pages can also
be used for Google's main index:
"Pages with AdSense will not be indexed more frequently.
It’s literally just a crawl cache, so if e.g. our
news crawl fetched a page and then Googlebot wanted the
same page, we’d retrieve the page from the crawl
cache. But there’s no boost at all in rankings
if you’re in AdSense or Google News. You don’t
get any more pages crawled either."
How can this get you in trouble?
If you serve different pages to Googlebot and Mediabot
then Google might ban your web site because you use cloaking
on your web site. Cloaking means that you're showing different
pages to users than to search engines.
As Mediabot analyzes the web pages you serve for your
visitors it's easy for Google to find out if you present
extra pages for Googlebot. If you do something special
for Googlebot then Google knows that you're cloaking.
What does this mean to you?
You shouldn't use cloaking or any other unethical search
engine optimization method for your web site. Search engines
will detect it sooner or later and they will ban your web
site from their indexes.
Don't try to cheat search engines. If you want lasting results,
you should concentrate on ethical
search engine optimization. Ethical search engine optimization
leads to a symbiotic relationship between webmasters, search
engines and web surfers so that everyone wins.