Site Navigation Affects Search Engine Optimization

These days everybody seems to have a website or blog. A common question that I typically hear tossed around by publishers is, how to increase website traffic or how to rank higher in search engines? The plain answer to this question is to optimize your website for search engines (SEO). There are many attributes of SEO which determines page ranking, but for the purpose of this article I will be discussing the importance of site navigation.

Some people may be asking, “What could possibly be the importance of site navigation relative to search engine optimization?” This of course is a valid question, and is usually why site navigation gets overlooked when considering SEO rofl.  
As it turns out a lot of sites together with indexing problems, in conjunction with a lack of representation in the search engines, are commonly suffering from an inefficient internal page linking structure. If a page is not accessible by a link on your website it won’t be crawled by search engines.

Commonly, the most damaging errors relate to JavaScript and CSS navigation systems that the search engines have difficulty to crawl. It’s extremely important for the search engines how web publishers categorize and label their website’s content and navigation. One option to think about when writing or editing your site’s navigation is an XML sitemap.

An XML sitemap protocol is designed for spiders (spiders are the bots that search engines use to sift through and read websites for indexing purposes.). XML sitemaps are easily a background XML file listing URL’s for a site along with additional metadata about each URL. XML site maps are accessible to all major search engines so they can more efficiently crawl the site through top and deep level links.

Sites that use flash, image-based, or JavaScript navigation should definitely consider using XML sitemaps, as they are predominantly crucial. Search engines have a difficult time crawling these types of sites. By integrating an XML site map you can now completely open up your site and its content. Sitemaps are also implemented consistently to merge vast sites with depth to a manageable means.

If you have considered sculpting page rank flow using the no-follow tag you can cap off the flow of page rank to pages considered unimportant from a search point of view. Capping off page rank to pages cuts out potential duplication, and increases the relative magnitude of other more important pages.

Another consideration to make when creating or revising site navigation is not using dynamic URL’s. Search engines find it a lot less confusing to follow static web page URL’s and a defined path or directory structure. At worst, dynamic URL’s do not get indexed at all despite using XML site maps lol.

This is just a straightforward overview of the role that site navigation plays in SEO. Surprisingly navigation can affect your site’s rank both negatively and positively. So it’s important to design or review search engine friendly navigation, and hopefully you’ll be able to find your site listed on google page one sometime soon.

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