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Poodle Predictor as SEO and Web Standards Tool

I have a box filled with search engine optimization (SEO) tools. I use some. Some have ceased relevance; some I don’t remember why I bothered. The one tool I continually use is Poodle Predictor by GRI Technologies.

I’ve got two sets. One SEO-specific; one SEO/Web Standards.

Poodle Predictor is an excellent SEO/Web Standards tool with a funny name. The title — “Poodle Predictor - See your site like Google does. Simulate search engines and predict your Google listings” — is regular Phineas Taylor Barnum.

I use Poodle Predictor as visual-aide. I’ll take screenshots of the results obtained from clients’ sites and present them during conferences. Screenshots of tables-based sites with graphics for text silence arguments by clients. It is a subtle aspect of the Poodle Predictor's results: all large white space between text signifies images or embedded code, i.e., Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Flash or JavaScript.

Further, it visually displays sites as plain text. After all, search engines are themselves simply reading HTML sans presentational markup, e.g., CSS position:absolute, which makes The Poodle Predictor an invaluable tool for the resolution of Accessibility and search engine optimization issues. It’s very effective when explaining deficiencies with the overzealous use of AJAX or Flash in standards-compliant sites, by showing clients a—Mostly—blank page.

So, Yes. One can predict Google listings as well as every other search engines’ listings.

And, on that odd occasion, it will perform site validation. [Note: I seldom perform HTML validation on sites that only want SEO performed.] After analysis, this one particular site was fixed: titles, description, various other things and extensive copywriting. We waited two months but little improvement occurred in search results. I don’t remember—it could have beem content-to-code ratio—my reason but I ran one of the fixed pages through Poodle Predictor and found the problem. An unclosed <a href> attribute twenty lines above the editorial content which was rendering all of the editorial (text) content as one very long link text. Google could not find any content. That error was corrected and search results improved.

[Elementary aside: An SEO reason why sites should undergo validation.]

Poodle Predictor is one of those tools that has duality of purpose I recommend.

Sean Fraser posted this on January 27, 2007 03:20 PM.

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Roger Johansson wrote this at January 28, 2007 12:14 AM

Wow, that looks like a seriously useful tool to use both in client meetings and for your own QA work. It does seem to have a problem with utf8-encoded text though, but that is a minor thing.

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Sean Fraser wrote this at January 28, 2007 08:34 AM

Roger: I've had client meetings where I've screen-projected 456 Berea Street home page first, explained the benefits of web standards for search engines and, Then - projected the client site: it was a nearly blank page. The client team goes silent.

The acutal web developer may know about web standards whereas the management team may not and dismiss its importance. The visual display of a site's pages being blank - for search engines - gets Everyone's attention.

Devon wrote this at January 29, 2007 09:33 AM

I've never heard of this! I love it. I've just commented out the links to extrenal stylesheets and javascript, to show someone how their site appears in Google, then while they're in shock...explain to them how an H1 element is treated compared to font/@size - b - br. Usually does the trick, but I've got to try this Poodle Predictor...it's sounds more efficient and effective.

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Sean Fraser wrote this at January 29, 2007 10:13 AM

Devon: I've done that trick but most site owners believed it was some hocus pocus on my part. I'm certain you've experienced that "vacant" stare when explaining web standards or site optimization; Poodle Predictor illustrates one's explanation. It simplifies things - Especially - with "How Google sees it".

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The Elementary Standards: A Compendium of Web Standards, CSS, Linguistics and Search Engine Optimization methodology Copyright ©2005-2007 Sean Fraser. All work is published under a Creative Commons License. All Rights Reserved.

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