Digital Marketing

Jan 21, 2009

Best Navigation for SEO

What’s the best navigation bar for SEO?

There are three things to consider: SEO, Usability, and Technology.

For SEO purposes, we need to consider that the search engine spider crawls webpages from left to right. It will crawl thru your left table first. It is widely known that the spider considers more important whatever is at the beginning of your webpage. This is known as “keyword prominence. So, ideally, your content (text) should be the first thing the spider crawls. Not your navigation bar. There are exceptions. Especially, if you have a search engine friendly navigation bar that is keyword rich.

Something else to consider is, the placement of the navigation bar can effect the usability of your website, and ultimately your conversion rate. So, it is best to be flexible as to where to place the navigation bar. Personally, I always liked the top navigation bar, and a footer navigation. It could be that a left vertical navigation bar, and a footer is the best for SEO.

What about the technology your navigation bar is written in? Google can now read parts of Javascript and Flash. However, even though navigation bars that use images look great, for SEO they still offer little value. The best option for SEO is a text-based navigation rather than an image navigation. But, if you want the usability of a Flash or Javascript navigation, then a great alternative is to use HTML rollovers without Javascript. A rollover is an image that changes when you mouse over it.

If you’re using a dropdown navigation, then I’d suggest to change from a drop down navigation to crawlable DHTML with href tags.

Of course, there is not a “one-style-fits-all” type of navigation bar. The best navigation bar will vary from industry to industry. The best thing you can do is to try to achieve an intuitive navigation that is search engine friendly.

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