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  1. #1
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    There are so many important factors that count towards a success in search engine optimisation and there is a wealth of knowledge articles available to read on this topic. The two important factors I am going to discuss here today are navigability and crawlability. Although crawlability is generally the one which seems to be the one related to SEO, navigability also has a great impact on a website's search engine rankings. A site with good navigability makes it easier for search engines to find all important pages and content of that website.

    Crawlability Issues
    How well can a search engine robot crawl a website has probably one of the biggest impact on a site's search engine rankings. An ideal website would have all its content accessible within 3 mouse clicks from the homepage. However this is not always easy. Still if it is used as a general rule, it can greatly help in making a website easily crawlable.

    JavaScript is one of the very common crawlability issue for a website especially if used to deliver important content. Remember search engine crawlers do not understand JavaScript although Google has recently heard to be working on crawling JavaScript hidden content but again Google is not the only major search engine. The solution is to provide alternate ways of crawling the same content by using <noscript> tag. A good example is using JavaScript for popups.

    <a href="javascriptopupscript()">More Information</a>
    The above way for displaying a pop up through JavaScript is a bad practice and it will make the content of the pop up un-crawlable. To avoid this problem you can use the simple html way of opening a new window as follows:

    <a href="targetlink.html" target="_new">More Information</a>
    If you are more concerned about the properties of the new window, you can still use JavaScript on the pop up page to set them accordingly. You can do so by checking the referrer url.

    The same problem arise with flash content. The robots cannot read them and as a result the content presented using flash will not be indexed. If you really want one version of your website in flash, don't forget to create an alternate html (crawlable) version. Mixing HTML and Flash is a better alternative though, provided you keep the HTML part for most of the more important content.

    Image text is another issue. Robots are not humans. They cannot read image text (text presented as an image) and hence cannot index its content. The solution to this issue is easy; Images should be used for decoration and not as a text alternative.

    Cookies are another culprit. Again the robots do not understand cookies language.

    A very bad practice that some websites carry is "Fill the form (for example enter your email) to see the content". Again Spiders (Robots or crawlers) cannot fill forms to get through and see the content and as a result your most important part of the website (the content) is not crawlable. So a big NO to any such practice. (Exceptions are paid subscriptions and members only stuff).

    Navigability of a website
    Navigability can be defined as the accessibility of a website from any page a user might land on. For a business website it would mean that no matter which page a user lands on, it would drag him towards what it sells. Whatever the website is aimed for, navigability necessarily means providing appropriate links on virtually any possible landing page, to the rest of the website. To be more specific, any page of the website which can be indexed by a search engine should have links to the rest of the website.

    For common and general pages of any website, you won't normally find any navigability problem as every good website have links from all the main pages to the rest of the website. But there are still pages where navigability is a problem for your website. These pages include pop up information pages, small script pages and technical support pages etc. Often for the sake of keeping the more important or main page, additional information is provided in a pop up window. In such case, if the pop up crawlable (as a discussed above) and the search engine spider can index it, then it is important that you put a link on it to the homepage of the website otherwise if the page is found on the search engine and is being visited by someone, it will be very hard to navigate the rest of the website.

    A similar problem can arise with websites having technical support pages provided separately. Often technical support pages are designed separately and do not contain the main navigational links. It is again strongly recommended that a link be put to the homepage on all such pages.

    In brief anything crawlable in the website should also be loaded with navigable links to the rest of the website or at least the homepage of the main website.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member hagen's Avatar
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    Hi, some good tips...

    Here are a couple more basic ones:

    Many problems can be overcome with a site map... Check out Google sitemaps... You don't even need the site map to be visible... and it can be generated using a simple python script... Cuts out the 3 click rule, java problem, flash navigation prob etc etc...

    Do some research on speculated algorythms that google uses to calculate the "rank" of a page... There is plenty of stuff out there that seems reasnobly informed... This is a seriously important consideration when adding the links structure to a site... IE its possible to devalue a page by having too many outgoing links or to over value a page which isn't important... It is very possible to construct a site where a subpage has greater value then the homepage... I have done it for certain designs.

    Installing a Google tooll bar is also very worth doing to see the page rank...

    Have fun :-) -Hagen
    Hagen Rose: hagen(at)jxwd(dot)co(dot)uk
    JX Web Development, Bournemouth, Dorset...JXWD.co.uk

  4. #3
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    Great stuff Hagen ..... Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by hagen
    Hi, some good timps...

    Here are a couple more basic ones:

    Many problems can be overcome with a site map... Check out Google sitemaps... You dont even need the site map to be vissible... and it can be generated using a simple python script... Cuts out the 3 click rule, java problem, flash navigation prob etc etc...

    Do some research on speculated algorythms that google uses to calculate the "rank" of a page... There is plenty of stuff out there that seems reasnobly informed... This is a seriously important consideration when adding the links structure to a site... IE its possible to devalue a page by having too many outgoing links or to over value a page which isn't important... It is very possible to construct a site where a subpage has greater value then the homepage... I have done it for certain designs.

    Installing a Google tooll bar is also very worth doing to see the page rank...

    Have fun :-) -Hagen

  5. #4
    Senior Member hagen's Avatar
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    Hi all, another thought, submit to see content or login / cookie member areas can be cached by search engines if you take a little care...

    Here is an example code fragment used to allow Search engines to bypass cookies (I used it to optimise my forum to alow search engines in.... It shows the main user agent names to look out for!!....

    :-) Hagen


    function append_sid($url, $non_html_amp = false)
    {
    global $SID;

    if ( !empty($SID) && !preg_match('#sid=#', $url) && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'Googlebot') && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'msnbot') && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'Slurp') && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'almaden.ibm.com') && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'zyborg') && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'Jeeves') && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'crawler') && !strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] ,'spider') )
    {
    $url .= ( ( strpos($url, '?') != false ) ? ( ( $non_html_amp ) ? '&' : '&amp;' ) : '?' ) . $SID;
    }

    return $url;
    }
    Hagen Rose: hagen(at)jxwd(dot)co(dot)uk
    JX Web Development, Bournemouth, Dorset...JXWD.co.uk

  6. #5
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    The tough formula will be maintaining crawlability vs customer experience, for example, we sometimes get asked by our clients to make thier company website flash based, which ofcourse is impossible for bots to crawl because all the navigation is flash based.
    But we submit the sitemap which is a very good solution, although this way we don't get the advantage of onpage SEO optimization sadly

  7. #6
    Senior Member aeroweb99's Avatar
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    Boy, nothin' like resurrecting a 4 year old thread!

  8. #7
    Senior Member hagen's Avatar
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    Great post thank you... :-)

    RE Forum Guy... Google is reading some swf content these days, it's also runnning optical charactor recognition... who knows where it will end up... maybe html searchability will become redundant in the medium future?...
    Hagen Rose: hagen(at)jxwd(dot)co(dot)uk
    JX Web Development, Bournemouth, Dorset...JXWD.co.uk

  9. #8
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    Good information for all those would like to learn SEO as well.

  10. #9
    Junior Member romes22's Avatar
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    Good article, SEO is very important if you want your website to be found.

  11. #10
    Member andrewnleon's Avatar
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    Good stuff good stuff.


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