What you see when you enter a website is just the tip of the iceberg, just like the visible part of the internet, with more than a handful of usually used tools inserting hidden codes that can only be revealed using specific means. Between the usual line-up of coding-specific tools, such as Dreamweaver, WordPress and various other services, search engines also make use of certain parameters when visiting a website and obtaining information.

The information seen by search engine crawlers, such as the Google Spider, varies greatly from what is actually seen by the user. That’s why we thought to remind you about a free tool developed by Google itself, which helps webmasters fight hackers by “seeing” just like a boot does.

Fetch as Google Features

The information returned by Fetch as Google only contains what search engines can actually see, and when I say search engines, I mean even the mobile ones. Unfortunately, the tool only acts as it were Google itself and will not reveal the information recovered from other search engines, such as Bing. Also, the crawler will not return media files that the Google Spider cannot access, such as pictures, flash files and others. Moreover, the results obtained are somewhat limited compared with the actual Google Spider, but approximately 95% of the info can be fetched. Now that we’ve got the minuses out of the way, here’s what it can really do:

  • Check the HTTP response returned by the server, verifying that Google can reach the static/dynamic IP assigned by the hosting company.
  • A Full HTML-copy of the website, which can also be fetched using developer tools found in browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
  • The first 100KB of indexable text on a page, which is usually more than enough to create a picture of the URL. If the page is generated entirely from JavaScript or other services that are not text-based, the results may appear blank.
  • The date and time of your crawl request

Common uses for Fetch as Google

Google-Search1The most common use for this tool is verifying a website against hackers. Usually, besides invading the viewable space of a domain, hackers rely on tricky, but commonly used means which are hidden to the naked eye. For example, spamming text like links towards porn websites and products of strange nature may be inserted underneath the code and visible only to search engines. When reaching the domain with a tool like Fetch as Google, the owner will be able to see these disguised elements and react accordingly.

The tool can also be used to check if Google can actually reach the website and what does the search engine finds when crawling. Combining the software with HTML suggestionsCrawl errors and online sitemap generators, one might really improve many HTML elements and debug errors.

Where can I find it?

To properly use Fetch as Google you will need an added and verified site and then in the Webmaster Tools home page, do the followings:

  1. Select the website.
  2. On the Dashboard menu, click on Fetch as Google under the Health tab.
  3. Type the URL in the text box shown and select the type of fetch desired, web or mobile (cHTML for Japanese websites or XHTML/WML for others).
  4. Fetch it.

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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.