The content of websites and online stores is not fully accessible to all Internet users and search engines. The part of the content to which access is restricted is what is known as the “Deep Web”. These access restrictions exist for different reasons.
Deep Web: definition
A great many people have likely never known about the “Profound Web”. This generic term designates information that cannot be accessed directly through a search engine or by entering a URL. This is the bulk of the information and sites normally available on the Internet. This includes, among other things, databases of companies, universities and museums which can be consulted only by means of an identifier, bank accounts, shopping carts, user accounts of online shops … Stricto sensu, the Deep Web also encompasses the Dark Web, although their respective contents are very different.
Differences between nternet, Deep Web, Dark Web
Let’s start by clearly defining what the Internet is as we know it. All search engines, news sites, online stores and personal pages that can be found through a browser like Chrome or Firefox and for which no login information is requested belong to what is called the Surface Web (although ‘a small part still belongs to the Deep Web from the point of view of search engines). We will come back to this in the following paragraphs.
The Deep Web, which represents a significantly larger portion of the Internet, includes all content that is subject to restrictions. Google and other web crawlers can’t file this information.
The Deep Web includes the Dark Web . Access to the Dark Web is even more strictly regulated and is carried out only through special technologies. Unfortunately, these restrictions and the total anonymity that reigns there make the Dark Web a hotbed of digital crime. In the following paragraphs, the term “Deep Web” excludes the Dark Web and refers only to the content described above.
Why Deep Web Content Cannot Be Found
As we have already said, the content of the Deep Web is not found and referenced by search engine crawlers because its access is restricted and requires the provision of a username and / or password . The conditions to accept or payment barrier are other possible obstacles. In all these cases, as a user, you can only access the URL if you have previously entered a password or accepted payment.
But there is yet another situation on the Deep Web: You may visit a page whose URL you know when it has not yet been found and indexed by the search engine crawler. There could be various explanations behind this.
On the one hand, a webmaster can prevent indexing of content by using the nofollow command. On the other hand, it is possible that a page is hidden in a site so that the robot cannot find it. For each website, the crawler has virtually a limited “page budget”. If this budget is used up with lower-level pages remaining, those pages are skipped. A third possibility concerns technical conditions not met for indexing, for example the use of Flash.
What Deep Web Content Means for Your Website?
Normally, Deep Web content on your site is fine, neither for you nor for visitors. Quite the contrary: you can find these kinds of pages on almost all major sites and in online stores, and users only have to identify themselves to access them.
The only negative consequence of not being indexed by Google concerns SEO optimization on search engines. Indeed, it is not uncommon for relevant content to hide behind an access restriction, especially in scientific and medical fields. Your goal should be to ensure that as much content as possible is freely accessible and indexable (as far as the law and company policy allows), or at the very least to design landing pages that give search engines an idea of what is (still) to find on your site.