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Webmaster Guidelines

Updated March 16, 2004

These suggested guidelines will help Thumbshots robots generate a nice preview of your page. The thumbshots guidelines complement the guidelines from Google, AllTheWeb, Altavista and other search engines. By following these guidelines, you can make your site more attractive for users and more effective for search engines.

It's important to understand that robot guidelines are based on technological limitations and the human psychology, not personal preferences. Many of the thumbshots guidelines below are similar to search engine guidelines because of the same limitations that are inherent in all robots. A good place to start is by reading Google's guidelines.

Over time, these guidelines may change as a result of improvements in Internet technology. Please check this page once in a while for updates.

Design and Content Guidelines

  • Make pages for users, not for robots.
  • Place important visual content on top-left fold of the page (640 x 480).
  • Use a large logo if possible.
  • Place useful images that accurately describe your content. Show big colorful pictures of flowers if you are a florist. Show mathematic graphs if you are a statistics site.
  • Place useful text information that describes your content. A news web site may want to emphasize text over images. A photography site may want to emphasize graphics over text.
  • Use friendly colors, not excessive "burning" colors.
  • Use colors that represent your content. Warm colors for florists. Strong colors for game sites.
  • Use consistent color and layout across your site. Humans recall better when they see the same look and feel.
  • Avoid making drastic layout or color changes too frequently.

Technical Guidelines

  • Each picture should not exceed 80kB in size.
  • DHTML content generated using Javascript must complete in under 5 seconds after page is loaded.
  • Use <object> tag for Flash media because <embed> tag is ignored.
  • Flash object should complete animation within 10 seconds after loading.
  • Flash file size should be under 500kB.
  • Meta-refresh, Javascript or Flash redirects must refresh page in under 5 seconds.
  • Use ALT tag to provide text information for your images.
  • Enable support for the If-Modified-Since and ETag HTTP header. These features tell robots whether your content has changed since it was last visited.
  • Don't deceive your users, or present different content to robots than you display to users.
  • If you are using the Open Directory data from, make sure you add the proper ODP attribution if you want to be listed in the directory.

    The quality of our thumbshots is very important to us and to users. Our goal is to provide a What You See Is What You Get experience and to build trust with users. We will not hesitate to punish a site for misleading users by removing it permanently. Webmasters should concentrate their efforts to improve their site by following the guidelines because it will provide a better user experience than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.

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