Using your navigation and SEO

Posted on April 18, 2010


The way you set out your website’s navigation can have a huge impact on your rankings. Not only do the search engines need to be able to move through your site easily to access the information they need, your site’s users need to find their way through your site as well. With this in mind, it’s important to use search engine-friendly methods of displaying navigation.

Navigation bar

The first place to focus on your site navigation is in your navigation bar. Most SEO experts recommend that you feature a navigation bar at the left edge of the screen, as the search engines will encounter it there sooner in their search. The navigation bar should feature links in text form, again for the benefit of the search engines.

Make use of keywords in links

It’s important to make use of your keywords in your link anchor text. Using keywords in this way boosts the relevance of the linked-to page to its target keyword. It’s important to remember, though, that not every link needs to feature a keyword. It’s perfectly acceptable to feature keywords in your navigation every two or three links. Using keywords sparingly in your navigation is something that’s less likely to annoy your site users as well.

What not to do

One of the worst things to do is feature your navigation within non-search engine-friendly technology, such as Flash. Embedding your navigation in a system that the search engines cannot read means that any hard work in relating keywords to links will be wasted. If use of non-search engine-friendly technologies is an essential part of your site design, it’s best to provide the navigation through straight text-based links as well. This will be doing your human site users a favour, too, whenever their browser refuses to display the more advanced technologies.


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